How an Award-Winning Community Boosts Engagement with Webinars

Newark element14 is a high-service distributor of technology products, services and solutions for electronic system design, maintenance and repair. Bringing together the latest products, services, and development software, all connected to an innovative online engineering community where purchasers and engineers can access peers and experts, a wide range of independent technical information and helpful tools.

Whether researching new technology, designing an electronic product, or looking for parts to repair an existing system, Newark is the trusted global source to find the answers and parts you need to keep your project on the fast track, right from the start.

 

Diane Kibbey, VP of Community and Social Media at Newark, is responsible for reaching out and connecting with a  community of more than 600,000 engineers. For the Newark team, aside from the community experience and discussion board, webinars traditionally performed as a top tactic to cost-effectively connect and engage hundreds of Newark element 14 community members. However, over time, attendance and active participation declined. As she explored how she could improve the webinar experience, she realized the current tool, WebEx, couldn’t provide the data she needed to investigate declining performance and didn’t support her vision to provide a seamless journey from community platform to webinar program.

After researching alternatives to WebEx, Diane turned to the ON24 webinar platform to engage with and delight her community members, and the first webinar was a hit! The company engaged with 220+ community members with 200 survey responses. Even better, Diane and her team recruited 30 new members to the community from the webinar and, over time, generated 500 additional on-demand views.

Newark selected ON24 for three key benefits:

  • Ease of use for remote presenters – With the help of the ON24 platform, Newark humanized their brand by having their experts from around the world present using video seamlessly.
  • Detailed analytics – With ON24, Newark could see how the audience interacted with the provided resources, surveys and determine how to follow up with each attendee.
  • Single-Sign-On capability – Using ON24’s integration services, Newark set up single-sign-on between the community platform and ON24, allowing community members, when logged into the community, the ability to register for webinars without having to input their information again.

Coming Soon On WBPS: The 10 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid

Webinars have become the trusty Swiss Army Knife tool marketers require. Webinars are the foundation to any good marketing mix because they help generate pipeline, advance leads through the buying cycle and educate customers and prospects.

But, the use of such a scalable and personalizable medium has created competition for the time and attention of global audiences. Simply presenting a webinar isn’t enough.To break through the noise, you have to deliver great webinars.

What even makes a great webinar in the first place? If you pitted webinar marketers against webinar attendees, you’d get different answers. Most marketers are concerned with registrants, attendees and MQLs. Attendees care about content, engagement and overall experience. Either way, many webinars programs continue to run into the same set of issues.

Well, it’s time to replace fear of mistake with confidence of success.

Hosting countless webinars himself, Mark Bornstein has accumulated a wealth of webinar best practices. But even the best webinar programs can fall victim to common mistakes attendee experience. If your webinars are just falling short of success, join Mark on June 12 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) as he unveils his 10 Common Webinar Mistakes to Avoid in 2019.

Until then, here are two mistakes to avoid:

Mistake 1: Not having an on-demand strategy

  • Audiences help themselves to content when they want to today. You webinars should be there when they want them — even on mobile.
  • Nearly a third of webinar registrants attend on-demand. Some even miss the live event entirely. Don’t miss out on a third of your potential audience.
  • The increasingly global nature of business means international audiences are viewing your webinar content. Keep them engaged with available webinars.

Mistake 2: Leaving your audience out of the conversation

  • In too many webinars, presenters present while the audience simply listens. Think of webinars as two-way conversations instead of presentations.
  • Engagement becomes viewer analytics, providing insight into attendees, so provide opportunities for engagement.
  • Add polls, Q&A, social media tools, chat and other interactive elements.

Register now to join us on June 12 as we unveil the final eight mistakes, plus plenty more insight from the Chief Webinerd himself, Mark Bornstein.

Upcoming at ON24: Making Personal Connections IRL and Online With Insight50

Engaging top-tier leads today means using both physical and digital experiences to build personal connections. What helps best? Shared physical and digital experiences. Prospects and leads should be able to go from the show floor one day to a webinar the next and hold the same fluid conversation in a single seamless experience.

But putting together the brand assets, the copy, the handouts and prepping the sales team to make this work requires an almost frightening level of coordination. But it is possible.

On Tuesday, June 4, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT), Insight50 US will bring together an expert panel to discuss the balance of physical and digital, how the two are becoming more intertwined and how marketers can craft their own experience that bridges the physical-slash-digital divide.

This upcoming Insight50 US panel will include:

These experts will discuss:

  • Where and when to integrate in-person events and webinars in account-based management campaigns
  • How salespeople fit into the physical-digital equation and how marketers can best enable them
  • How marketers can craft bespoke webinars for an audience of one and use that content to scale
  • And, of course, how to report both physical and digital results

Register now and learn how to bring your physical and digital events together. Interested in learning more about how ON24 makes digital events work? Check out these links below:

The Webinerd Channel: Zoetis on Webinars

Zoetis is a global animal health company and the world’s largest producer of medicine and vaccinations for pets and livestock. With more than 65 years of experience, the company has a lot to say and share about animal care and wellbeing. But communicating the facets of veterinary innovations and care isn’t easy.

So, how do they do it? Well, on June 5, we’re going to sit down with Ryan Dunn, Sr. Marketing Manager at Zoetis, to discuss how the team communicates to its globals audiences through webinars. In particular, Ryan will discuss how webinars play a role in his company’s omni-channel strategy and how they help promote the organization’s thought leadership.

During this Webinerd Channel event, we’ll specifically discuss how Zoetis:

  • Uses educational webinars to grow revenue
  • Targets different influencers in the supply chain
  • Uses an omni-channel mentality to drive webinar programs
  • Develops ideas for increasing audience engagement

Zoetis has a great story to tell when it comes to using webinars to disseminate content, but you don’t have to wait until June 5 at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) to learn the basics. Want a head start? Check out these past blog posts on how webinars can fuel content:

CMO Confessions Ep. 21: Cradlepoint’s Todd Krautkremer

Hello and welcome again to another episode of CMO Confessions, our bi-weekly podcast exploring the real stories of leadership behind sales and marketing in B2B companies today. This week, we have Todd Krautkremer, CMO at Cradlepoint.

Cradlepoint is an industry leader in cloud-delivered 4G LTE network solutions for businesses, government organizations and more. It’s currently working to extend its lead into the 5G space as well. But we’re not here to talk about Cradlepoint specifically, we’re here to talk about how Todd got to where he is today and learn what he has to say about marketing in general.

And he has a lot to say thanks to his wealth of experience in software engineering, sales and, of course, marketing. Todd started his career as a computer software engineer building networks for AT&T. There, he watched his sales comrades succeed where he couldn’t. So, after leaving AT&T, he found himself a position in sales.

But after he joined sales, Todd realized there was a massive gap in customer-centric marketing. So, he moved into marketing. Since then, Todd has approached marketing with an engineer’s mind and an obsession with approaching marketing from the customer’s perspective.

In this episode, you’ll learn a lot about the similarities and differences between engineering and marketing, why data is now the de facto engine behind marketing today and the marketing tech stack has so drastically changed from even five years ago.

If you’re interested in discovering what Todd has to say, you can find his Twitter profile here. If you’re interested in exploring his background, you can check out his LinkedIn profile here.

If you’re interested in listening to our growing podcast series, you can find all of our episodes right here in podbean. Alternatively, you can also find us on both iTunes and Google Play stores.

Without further ado, welcome to CMO Confessions. Let’s chat.

Table of Contents:

Cradlepoint’s Todd Krautkremer’s journey to CMO
Todd’s early marketing homing beacon
How an engineer approaches marketing
The must-have marketing skill sets and using data to the best of your ability
Handling tech stacks now vs. five or six years ago
What was once old in marketing is now new again
On getting marketing and sales to play nice

Transcript:

Joe Hyland:

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions, a Weekly B2B sales and marketing podcast where we explore what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24, and joining me this week from the Bay Area is Todd Krautkremer, CMO of Cradlepoint. Todd, how you doing?

Todd Krautkremer:

Hey, doing great Joe. Thanks for inviting me to the show.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I love having you on. I really appreciate the time. Okay, so let’s dive right in. I get asked a lot, from younger marketers to tell them the path to becoming a CMO, and I think they, most people think there is a very deliberate, set of roles that one needs to get into this chair. You have a you have a different path, or perhaps a less common journey. And I’d love, I’d love to hear more about it.

Cradlepoint’s Todd Krautkremer’s Journey to CMO

Todd Krautkremer:

Yeah, sure. I think everybody carves their own path, but, what is consistent is really being able to have a sense of what the life of a customer is all about. So my path is a very circuitous path. I was trained as a computer software engineer, and my first job was writing software for some of the world’s largest networks. The company I was working for was at the heart of many of the world’s largest networks at the time. And that’s how I stumbled into networking. I got completely driven by understanding how this code that I’m writing actually works in the real world. I had to understand how you build networks and I took a job with AT&T at the time that was building their networks at divestiture, it gives you some idea what my age is for those that are counting. And we needed to build one of the world’s largest networks, literally overnight, by that I mean within a year and a half.

And it was a life-transforming experience because I became the IT guy or the guy in this case, the network engineer, and all the vendors were trying to sell to me and they were trying to get me to buy their technology and their solution. And it was a, it was a life-altering experience. And then from there I, I also noticed that, while I was doing all the work, the cars lined up outside of my window were a Porsche with a personalized plate and a BMW with a personalized plate and the Mercedes with a personalized plate. And I realized that in the world of sales you kind of control your own destiny.

So I decided to get into sales. I went to AT&T and I said, hey, “I want to get into sales.” And they said, “No problem Todd here is literally a seven-year road map of how you can get into sales from where you are today.” I said, “I was kind of thinking now, not seven years from now.” I took a job with Neiman’s that was building at that time, public packet switching networks for the carriers, went through product management, got into sales in about two years and then did my first startup. And I got so frustrated that the, the utter lack of marketing and was complaining all the time because I really had a feel for what customers were going through and how to talk about our value proposition, in a way that matters to customers. Finally, the CEO of the early stage company said, well, if you think you can do a better job, the role is yours. I said, I think I can. And I got into marketing and found my true calling. And it really is the ability to live the customer’s life, to relate to what’s important and to translate the value of what you’re doing into terms that the customer can resonate with and value.

Todd’s early Marketing Homing Beacon

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I love that. Said a little differently, empathy is so important for great marketers and really being able to see things from other people’s perspectives and walk a mile in their shoes, so to speak. Do you think, starting on the, on the programming and coding side and going over to sales and then kind of completing this journey over to marketing, do you think the stops in multiple different disciplines or departments helped you have a more well-rounded view of the customer’s challenges? Or was that just dumb luck and that happened to be your path?

Todd Krautkremer:

Well, gee, how do I answer this both truthfully? It was a little bit luck in that the opportunities had presented themselves. But on the other hand, I had to seize the opportunity and I was clearly moving in a path towards sales and marketing. Otherwise, I would be a CTO somewhere, right? Cause that path is also very fruitful. So I think the way I was wired, what was important to me, what interests me, what I was passionate about, even as I was a developer, remember cause I was writing this code and I wasn’t happy just developing the code, I had to really understand how customers used it. So there was always that attraction in my life that homing beacon, if you will, that I was locked onto.

But let me tell you this, what’s really funny today, and you and I see this all the time, as CMOs, right? For some reason, an engineer walks in the room and says, “I’ve examined the problem and I’ve taken this approach and I’m developing this kind of solution.”

He goes, “Wow, that guy is amazing. He’s gone through all this education and we see it at work right there. Then you go to the next conference room and you say, “Hey, I’ve got this marketing challenge”, and everybody in the room, sales, engineering, customer service, the receptionist all say, “Hey, here’s what I think you should do.”

How a Software Engineer Approaches Marketing

Todd Krautkremer:

So, I don’t know why that’s the case, but to bring it full circle marketing is very, very technical. Let me just draw a comparison here. Let me compare the life of engineering with the life of marketing today to make good on this point. So right? The product and the engineering team, they care about product market fit. We care about product customer fit. They have a DevStack, right, with all this advanced technology that helps them write code and and manage code and deliver products…

we have a martech stack, which is extremely complicated and sophisticated and we can’t do what we’re set up to do without it. They have a DevOps function; we have a marketing ops function. They do continuous integration; we do continuous campaigns. They have sustaining engineering; we have sustaining influence that’s essential to keeping our name in front of the right people, that at some point in their own journey, will decide they’re going to buy something and you’re there, you’re top of mind and you’re relevant. They do QA testing; we do A//B testing. They do user experience, that’s a real big thing to stay in the engineering side; we do persona and customer journey maps. Kind of the same thing. And now the big thing in the engineering side is everybody’s got to hire data scientists. Well, you can’t be an effective marketer today without a quant. So my story here, Joe.

Joe Hyland:

It’s true. It is true. I mean there’s just slightly different personas. Right? But you just touched on data, which I think is, I think it’s fascinating. And you’re right, I know a few marketing departments that aren’t either strongly leveraging data or having plans to do so in the immediate future, and really more the former than the latter with, with every group I’m talking to. It’s a pretty wildly different skill set that when you think about most traditional marketers in the paths they take. You came from the programming side. I think you naturally draw these lines of comparison between engineering and marketing. And I think they’re pretty damn close. Do you guys at either Cradlepoint, or you can go back to previous roles; one, are you utilizing data to the best of your ability? Do you feel good about it? And I guess the second part would be do you feel like you have the, the skill sets within marketing to best do so? Or are you hiring non-marketers to do it?

The Must-Have Marketing Skills Sets And using Data to The Best of Your Ability

Todd Krautkremer:

That’s a lot of questions within that question. But in the world of SaaS, which is the company I was previously at was really a SaaS-based approach to networking. Getting real-time telemetry data from the product was essential and it allowed me to understand the customer journey, not on the outside of the product, which, which is my job, and to the other point about data I’ll cover in a minute, you can’t do that data. Once that journey flows into the product you need that telemetry data to really understand how that customer is consuming your value and are they having success and are they solving business problems and will they churn or not at the end of that journey?

So that I think is, of course, the way you think in SaaS, but increasingly, it’s the way you have to think about all solutions. And in order to map that internal product journey where I get product telemetry data that’s easy to external, I need external telemetry data on the customers and where they’re visiting and what they’re reading and what they’re consuming and where they are in their journey. And am I serving up to them content and insights that meet them where they are in their journey or am I constantly shooting ahead of them and behind them? Which means I’m not being effective and really moving them towards us and our solutions.

So yes, data is essential. It’s what makes marketing different today than it was five years ago. And in order to really get those insights, because nobody delivers to you an exact picture, you have multiple sources. You have to have quants, you have to have people who enjoy finding insights in seemingly unrelated data that now become actionable insights. And the only way you can do that is really to have, you know, our version of data science with people with real business analytics and quantitative analytics backgrounds.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I guess, one, I agree, two, it’s interesting seeing this skill set in marketing departments. You’re right, a lot has changed in the last five years. We’ll talk about technology, you referenced it before, but there really weren’t quants, at least in the marketing departments I was working in, in marketing. They may have sat in different parts of the business, right? But, so many dollars are going into growth marketers and growth marketing. And if you’re not really, if you’re not analyzing the data and making smarter decisions off of all these signals you’re getting back you’re kind of missing the point, right? So, but yeah, it is interesting to see the difference in skill sets required because it’s pretty, pretty stark.

Todd Krautkremer:

Yeah. And kind of the, I would say, the pinnacle of executing based on data-driven decisions and doing this in real-time, which is where we all aspire to get to, right? This notion of real-time [inaudible] in marketing. I had the, the opportunity to meet with a team at IBM and literally they took me into their real-time marketing team and they had a whole bunch of quants crunching data, streaming real-time from their website, and while they were crunching data you could see there were people on the website, they were, they were doing firmographics on that individual in realtime and they were copying offers in front of that individual based on real-time data feeds. All of this in real-time. It looked like a top trading room. The level of activity was crazy. And of course I don’t have the budget and the staff to do that, but it doesn’t necessarily quell my desire to get to that kind of outcome in the not too distant future.

Handling Tech Stacks Now vs. Five or Six Years Ago

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. Well, I mean, that sounds like a pretty sophisticated shop they had. But, what’s cool about marketing today is you don’t necessarily, everything is a spectrum, right? And if that’s on one end of the extreme side of the spectrum I think we’re all using data in much smarter ways and technology is making life simpler. It’s also making life a lot more complicated. I’d love to get your perspective on this. So I’m seeing tech stacks grow and grow for marketers, with many great promises of kind of solving all of the marketer’s challenges. How are, how are you handling your tech stack and without actually walking through it from a macro perspective, what’s it look like now versus, you know, five or six years ago?

Todd Krautkremer:

Yeah. You know, it’s the modern version of a gym membership. Just because you have a gym membership doesn’t mean you lose weight.

Joe Hyland:

It’s true. That’s a great idea. That is great, I’ve never heard that analogy. That’s a great one. Combining the two. Yeah, you’re right.

Todd Krautkremer:

So, you know, these amazing technologies, right? There’s whole companies that are just trying to advance the marketing capability set. But just because you buy one of those solutions, plugging in your stack doesn’t mean you’re going to get benefits. So what we’ve done here is we tie kind of, it really gets to a business objective. Let’s take ABM that’s kind of top of mind. I mean that’s a whole different way in which we drive demand through influence and have more of an account based approach, right? So it starts with that business objective.

Then you have to figure out what are the tools I need in the stack in order to execute in a measurable way, our goals of the business around account-based marketing. But then you have to get people that have a dedicated responsibility to leverage those tools to execute against that business imperative and deliver the results. And then you gotta be able to measure the results and have the programmatic elements in place that ensures that it provides basically an operating system for the technology and the people and the business objectives to follow and execute in. And if you don’t have all of those pieces, then you’re likely to have a gym membership that you may visit once a quarter and spend about five minutes on the bike and call it good and think that you’re getting the benefit. That’s just been our experience.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. So I agree with you. I’ll add one element in there is if one is not careful, you get an increasingly large toolset of technologies and if you’re not careful, they operate in silos, which point cleaning data from them is never going to happen. I love that you started with the business imperative and objective. I see too many marketers today either starting with tactics or starting with technology and ABM is a good example. ABM is not a strategy. ABM might be a means through which you can accomplish what you’re trying to achieve. But that is, you know, because of our space that I’m in, I go to a lot of marketing conferences and if I hear that one more time that the new strategy is ABM, I don’t know what I’ll do, it’s not a strategy. And also this,

What Was Once Old In Marketing Is Now New Again

Joe Hyland:

And so you referenced your age or your tenure earlier and ABM is a perfect topic for this. So many things in marketing that were once old are now new again. ABM is all the buzz right now, but it’s not as if personalized marketing and delivering a highly customized message is a new concept for marketers yet it’s talked about like this is some brand new thing that never existed before.

Todd Krautkremer:

No, that’s exactly right. In fact, you know, we’ve always used sales as kind of being that last mile transformation layer that takes our messaging, positioning, our personas and everything else and really brings that together at the point of engagement with the customer. But as we all know, customer behaviors, have radically changed. And where in the past, the salespeople was one of the primary ways they got insights and information about new technologies, what other people are doing. That’s not the case anymore.

So now they’re really on their own self-guided journey and we’re having to figure out new tactics of how do we get in front in more of a persona based in more of a spear phishing type of approach to get the right information to the right person at the right time so we can influence their direction and do that before, long before the salespeople even engage. So you’re right, it’s many of the same things that marketing’s always been about. But because the customers are forcing us to switch up when we apply these tactics in the sales cycle, it’s forcing us to look at technologies like account-based marketing to execute what was done perhaps later in the sales cycle through more face to face engagement.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I mean, it’s a cool time to be a marketer. I always strongly believed that marketing is never about you, it’s always about them, whoever them is, whoever your audience is. And you just said it well: purchasers or consumers are taking themselves on self-guided journeys that is, that started six or seven years ago and I don’t, I don’t actually think it will ever end. But marketers have more and more control now and I’m seeing marketing departments, not just leaders, but departments, becoming much more strategic to the business versus just being the chotchkies and making a pretty department.

Todd Krautkremer:

That’s exactly right. In a good, a good metric of that shift just in my own life when you think about board meetings, right? Our board is spending more time talking about the role of marketing in achieving our business objectives than ever before. So they are recognizing that it’s not just a tool for getting a company brand out there and getting heard and having people resonate. It’s a tool that can really facilitate and drive leverage and scalability in sales and the partners that do the selling on our behalf.

On Getting Marketing and Sales to Play Nice

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, similar to my experience. When we have our quarterly board meeting I present our sales pipeline, so I’m incredibly close with our sales leader, my counterpart, on the sales side. But the board feels that marketing is the key upstream indicator for pipeline. So I stand up there alone and present it. It just, I think that was rarer five or 10 years ago.

Todd Krautkremer:

Absolutely. In fact, that used to be that the sales teams and marketing teams and even boards, they kind of encouraged this tension between sales and marketing and they had to be an odds because that way truth lies somewhere between. That is a very passe view of marketing.

Todd Krautkremer:

Today, you should not be able to see the light between a sales and marketing department. There should be no gaps. They really should be an extension of each other — if you’re doing it right and if you’re really leveraging the full capabilities of marketing together with the things that sales can uniquely do. And, that’s a very different place than we were even three years ago. Certainly five years.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, completely. When I started my career almost 20 years ago, my job was to literally write letters, this is sales and marketing alignment back then, I would write letters for our sales reps, I would print them, I would sign them in the sales rep’s name and then mail them off and hope that, you know, whoever I sent them to write back. So things have changed a little bit.

Todd Krautkremer:

They’re putting more power in the hands of us to do what we’re ultimately paid to do. And that’s really transformed the shape of the business growth. Right? That’s what we’re here to do is to create an inflection through one to many activities and provide more sales leverage.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And your experience coming through sales after your programming days, I think is an interesting breeding ground. But I think many, many, many people still struggle with the relationship with sales. We talked about empathy earlier. If you’re empathetic and you see things from other people’s perspective, life’s actually pretty simple. And you’re right, if you can, if sales and marketing have ultimately the same goals, there should be no light between the two groups. And I actually think the tension, if any existed before really should, should go away. Our marketing department’s goal for the year is our sales team’s goal. I think that’s a pretty simple way to structure it. You just, you just need to think differently about how you set up objectives.

Todd Krautkremer:        

Yeah. I mean it used to be, of course, we talk in the terms of MQLs and SQLs, and that’s just like plumbing, right? If a marketing department is talking about MQLs, there’s still a fence between sales and marketing. Our terminology is pipeline coverage and that is we’re going to guarantee we’re going to deliver this amount of pipeline to meet the number. So we’re in the trenches, we’re committing to delivering that pipeline so sales can do their job. And then helping to find where those other pipeline factors will come in because we have influence over those too. Partners are a great example. And through partner marketing and channel marketing, we can now drive pipeline contribution through our partners.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. That’s wonderful. And you’re right, an MQL doesn’t go away, you know, marketing needs to, needs some way to measure these key upstream indicators. But yeah, the, I hope…

Todd Krautkremer:

It’s the outcome, it’s just a milestone in the process to achieve an outcome.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And so I joined our company four years ago and I said to our CEO, and we’d had some troubles with sales and marketing alignment. I said “Let’s just set the goals the same and it’s all about for us.” So our use case was demand gen, and I said, “Set the goal at pipeline. Let me worry about MQLs. Cause you don’t want me sitting in the room saying, ‘Oh, I know we’re behind our sales targets, but marketing set our MQL goals.'” Like that’s when BS starts and you never get rid of it.

Todd Krautkremer:

Exactly. Spot on.

Joe Hyland:        

All right, well Todd, listen, I told you this would go by fast or we’re at the bottom of the, of the hour. I love your passion. I love the data-driven approach. I don’t think I could ever mimic your background, but it’s fascinating hearing someone who went through it. So thank you so much for the time. I really, really appreciate it.

Todd Krautkremer:

Thanks, Joe. Let’s do this again sometime. I had a blast.

Joe Hyland:

All right. Over a beer next time.

Todd Krautkremer:

You got it. Cheers.

6 Elements of Modern Content Marketing

B2B content marketing is having a rough go of it lately. Optimism is low even though content marketers are creating, sharing and promoting more content than ever before. The content created gets lost in the digital noise, the data collected isn’t thorough and the audiences reached aren’t receptive.

We know why and how B2B content marketers are failing. But how are they succeeding?  According to a joint study between ON24 and Heinz Marketing,  the marketers that get the most out of their content know how to drive engagement. What’s more, the successful marketers in the study all share certain traits.

More Content Marketing Tips

To provide you with a better idea of what’s working, we’ve consolidated the traits found in successful content programs into six attributes. These high-level qualities cannot be easily shoehorned into a content program, but marketers should use these attributes as guideposts as they move towards a content program based on engagement, rather than clicks.

Attribute One: Personalization

Successful content marketing programs customizer messaging for individual audiences. To do so, content creators must have a keen understanding of audience pain points, industry terminology and a robust library of personas to draw on — even at the expense of campaign efficiency.

Attribute Two: Interaction

Audiences need to interact with content, not stare at it. This means taking advantage of two-way conversations through digital media and in-person events. Driving a two-way conversation can help an audience understand what they need from a solution and help marketers better target and engage with audiences.

Attribute Three: Curiosity

Great content programs evoke curiosity in audiences. News updates, product releases, in-depth installation guides, expert commentary and more can all pique the interest of relevant attendees. Again, having a well-defined understanding of a target audience is necessary to know what makes them curious and what makes them click away.

Attribute Four: Personas

This entry should be no surprise given how much of content marketing depends on well-honed personas. With quality personas, marketers can bring out the personality in content and craft work that’ll actually get read, rather than glanced at.

Attribute Five: Precision

Up to 90 percent of content marketers create for sales goes unused. The solution isn’t, however, to create less. Instead, marketers need to make their content more precise. Assets should address the unique pain points their prospective customers face in the buying journey — even if it’s a single slide or quote.

Attribute Six: Brevity

Brevity is the soul of both wit and good marketing. Knowing when to say less — or provide less — can help marketers engage more. So, take a step away from the 20-page white paper and send a summary to your audience instead.

Rising Above the Noise at Sirius Decisions

 

ON24 has been a sponsor at the Sirius Decisions Summit for many years. It’s a great conference and a bellwether for the latest marketing trends. Every year, there are new buzzwords, “hot takes” and an onslaught of emerging technologies that are supposed to make us better marketers.

We seem to be plunging towards a future where all of our marketing will become completely automated and powered by intelligences far greater than our own. And this new world of marketing is all about digital signals. Tiny increments of data that tell us whether a set of ones and zeros would be more likely to buy something. What has gotten lost in this futuristic story? Our prospects and customers.

Well, this year something has changed. Maybe all of the talk about personalization and ABM has marketers finally taking a more customer-centric view of the world. Or maybe marketers are realizing all of this automation is starting to turn audiences off. I actually overheard one woman at the conference say “people are really starting to hate my marketing because there is just too damn much of it.” Yikes! Regardless of its origin, this year people were thinking a LOT about their audience’s experience. It’s this mindset, that could very well save marketing from itself.

More on building better audience experiences:

I felt this shift profoundly during the two break-out sessions I gave and the many conversations I had at our booth. Usually, all marketers ever want to talk about, with regard to webinars, are topics like how to drive higher registration or how to find better leads. This year, the focus was on how to deliver a better audience experience. And it’s about time.

To rise above the noise, marketers need to start thinking about how to build experiences that their prospects and customers will WANT to opt-in for, not run away from. All of these amazing marketing tools, and all of this great automation, were made to get us to our marketing, and lately, it has become our marketing. That’s where webinars are taking on a completely new role.

At SiriusDecisions, I talked about the “modern webinar”, an engagement-driven experience where audience members are interacting with your presenters, immersed in your content and fully experiencing your brand. The modern webinar is becoming more like TV programming than the PowerPoints many of us deliver. Instead of one-off webinars, I am seeing companies creating serialized programming, with established hosts, talking about topical issues with their guests. In many cases, these webinars don’t even have slides, just great conversation — and the audience is a part of that conversation. In these webinars, audience members are responding to polls, asking questions, downloading content, clicking on CTAs, tweeting and much more. It really is an experience. And these experiences are increasingly the tip of the spear for many marketing functions, including ABM, customer marketing and programs at every stage of the buying cycle. Wherever there is marketing, there are engaging webinar experiences connecting people to brands.

The true magic of the modern webinar is that if you build this model, something extraordinary happens: all of that engagement turns into data. Real data. Actionable data. Now instead of measuring clicks and opens, you are getting actual insights into the minds of your prospects and customers. In a recent report from Sirius Decisions, they called webinars the highest rated “human touchpoint.” This is how we put human engagement into our digital marketing.

At this year’s SiriusDecisions Summit, I could see the light bulb going on. Marketers from companies everywhere are beginning to figure out that to truly rise above the noise, you have to build immersive audiences experiences. And through these experiences, we will get much better at turning those ones and zeros into happy customers.

Want to know how you can break through the noise and connect with your audience? Download our joint report, “Break Through the Digital Noise: Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion and Loyalty.”

Why B2B Marketers Need to Drive Webinar Engagement

B2B marketers are faced with a crowded, attention-sucking environment. There’s a lot of digital noise out there, so it’s important to make the most out of opportunities proven to drive engagement. As it turns out, webinars are a great opportunity. According to Demand Gen Report’s annual Content Preferences Survey, 64 percent, or two-thirds of respondents say they’re willing to spend 20 to 60 minutes in a webinar.

But simply running webinars isn’t going to be enough. For B2B marketers to get the most out of webinars, they need to build events with engagement in mind — from polls and surveys to panels and pre-event questions. In fact, Demand Gen Report hit this point home in a recent article, “B2B Marketers Look To Modernize Webinar Experiences By Promoting Two-Way Engagement.

Click the links below to learn how webinars engage:

Making Way for Two-Way Dialogue in Webinars

Demand Gen Report’s Brian Anderson sat down to chat with several webinar experts to discuss how B2B marketers can craft webinars with engagement in mind and collected several great tips. Among those tips is providing opportunities to drive two-way dialogue in webinars.

When folks talk about two-way dialogue in webinars a few common tactics come up. Q&A sessions, polls, surveys and chat rooms are all common tools that can easily be deployed.

Combine these tools with varying webinar formats — such as expert panels, product demos and video briefs — and you have a great recipe for two-way conversations with attendees. Presenters can watch a webinar’s chat feed and respond to questions in real-time. Polls can give them a better understanding of where audiences are at and tailor the program to suit the audience.

Prepping Webinar Engagement

But two-way dialogue extends beyond the actual webinar. For example, marketers can empower their audience and allow them to dictate the topic and questions within a webinar by asking registrants to contribute questions before the event takes place.

Elle Woulfe, PathFactory’s Vice President of Marketing, uses this tactic when promoting webinars. According to Woulfe, the results are good, telling Demand Gen Report that collecting questions ahead of time helps prepare webinar panelists and encourages registrants to attend so they can see their questions answered.

Woulfe also tells Demand Gen Report that webinars can pull in even more questions and engagement when co-marketing panel webinars.

Making More With Webinar Leftovers

Finally webinars, it turns out, are content-rich opportunities. That is, they can easily be re-cut, reused and recycled into additional content. Podcasts, small videos, ebooks, YouTube videos can all be derived from a single webinar and can further engagement as time wears on.

Old webinars are actually really solid sources of engagement, too. In fact, according to the ON24 Webinar Benchmarks Report 2019, 36 percent of all webinar attendees only attend on-demand webinars. That’s a third of your overall attendees — and plenty of opportunities to drive more engagement.

For example, marketers can run old webinars as a simulive event — where a team member sits in on a replay and answers any questions that come through on chat. Marketers can also provide unique polls for attendees watching an always-on event or provide attendees with new, relevant information.

At the end of the day, B2B engagement is about knowing where audiences are most likely going to interact and reaching out to talk with them. Understanding your audience’s pain points is essential, but so is making it easy for them to share their concerns and questions with you. Find those opportunities within your webinar events and take advantage of them.