And the Beagle Short Tale Award Goes to …

Beagle Research is exploring one of the few categories of online videos that thus far has escaped formal scrutiny: the marketing videos of software — specifically, CRM companies.

The research group has announced “The Beagle Short Tale Awards” for 2011. A panel of five industry experts rated about 150 clips in such categories as production values, animation, best use of an invented character, best video introducing a new concept, and best customer testimony. It took between three and four months for the judges to view all of the videos.

It was particularly interesting gathering the clips because they came from CRM vendors, whose bread and butter, after all, comes from formulating and then tracking the success of marketing campaigns, Denis Pombriant, principal of Beagle Research told CRM Buyer.

’46 Hyper-Effective Telephone Reps’

“For example, one of the winning videos, by, is so successful that it figured out it was the equivalent of having an extra 46 hyper-effective telephone sales agents,” Pombriant said. won the top prize in the best strategic use category. Other winnders were Eloqua, Microsoft, NetSuite, RightNow, Sage North America, SAS and Zuora. A special award went to Jess3, a creative agency.

Pombriant intends to continue the awards, expanding them to include other categories — possibly best soundtrack, for example. He also plans to begin taking submissions.

Winning Videos

Winners of this year’s contest:

Best Strategic Use of Video –“How to Use Online Video for B2B Marketing” has developed a catalog of short videos that contains over 1,500 titles on all subjects relevant to the company’s sales, products, services, strategy and market outlook. The video that caught the judges’ attention, however, was a short video it developed last year detailing how to use its video technology.

Best Use of an Animated Character – Sage North America“Napkin Mike” Series

Sage North America developed a spokesperson character, “Napkin Mike,” who is literally a figure drawn on a napkin, to represent its Sage ACT contact manager product. Mike appears in a series of sales and educational videos designed to show off the newest features of the product, as well as to provide instruction in how to use them.

Best Story Telling and Best Video with an Educational Theme and Best Animation – Eloqua “The Future of Revenue”

In a three-minute, 41-second video, Eloqua aptly compares earlier business improvement ideas, such as total quality management, with the next big idea: revenue performance management (RPM). It then describes its revenue performance management application.

Best Video Using People and Best Series (multiple videos on same subject) – NetSuiteNetSuite vs. Microsoft Great PlainsNetSuite vs. SAP

NetSuite borrowed the Mac vs. PC format with much success, using different actors in each video to better portray particular competitors. It uses, for instance, an actor with a German accent when portraying SAP and an actor with an upper midwest dialect to portray Great Plains.

Best Customer Testimonial and Best Video Under One Minute – ZuoraVarious customer testimonials (Ning, Xactly, Marketo, InsideView, Codesion, Quova, AppBuddy).

Zuora’s customers give testimonials over the course of a single day. The 30-second shots are well produced and consistent showing “that video need not be long or expensive to produce to achieve good results.”

Best Marketing Video – SAS“Proven: A SAS Overview”

Founder and CEO James Goodnight is the video’s pitchman, discussing what makes his company and products best for helping customers with BI needs. The judges deemed it an effective video because it combines the company’s history of success with major companies and its customer orientation, stressing the importance of customer satisfaction.

Best Sales Video – RightNow“Welcome to CX”

Pombriant and the other judges admit this may be the hardest category to rate since all videos ultimately help — or hurt — the sales process. The video was selected for its animated drawing approach, describing the single most important issue for RightNow and its customers: the customer experience (CX).

Best Customer Service Video –

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