Announcing ON24’s 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report

Here is a fact about webinar marketing: Thursday is the best day for webinar attendance, followed closely by Wednesday. Here’s another fact webinars in general: about two-thirds of ON24 users personalize webinars to their audience while over a third produce one-to-one webinars for targeted accounts.

There are a lot of facts to learn about webinars, from the best time to attend to what tools practitioners use to record video. Fortunately, you can find all of them in the ON24 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report.

This year’s benchmarks report assesses the trends behind webinar use in 2018, evaluating everything from the best day to send promotional emails (Wednesday) to which webinar formats are taking off with practitioners (video adoption, for example, jumped by 16 percent).

But the 2019 edition of ON24’s Webinar Benchmarks Report is a little different. We not only included a quantitative assessment of the state of webinars circa 2018, but we also asked our community members what they think about webinars today and how they are actually using webinars.

So, what did they have to say? Here are a few high-level takeaways:

  • 76% of respondents say webinars allow them to drive more leads
  • 86% of participants say they run up to 150 webinars in a given year
  • 89% of those offering webinar-based training say they can easily scale programs
  • 52% of respondents say they share quality leads generated from webinars with sales

Why does this matter? Because a well-run webinar program is defined by knowing what’s possible and how. The ON24 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report provides you with the ability to make your one-to-one communications scale in a digital world. This is especially important as marketing budgets, and the pressure to prove ROI, grow.

In fact, according to Demand Generation Report’s “2019 Demand Generation Benchmarks Report,” 58 percent of B2B marketers cite webinars as their most successful tactic for top-of-funnel engagement. Nearly half said webinars were the most effective channel they had in converting and accelerating leads at middle and late stages of the funnel.

There are a lot of great facts in the 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report that’ll help you build a robust, engaging and data-driven webinar program. Download the report today to get started.

For more insights and guidance on how to make the most of your webinar platform, download ON24’s 2019 Webinar Benchmarks Report and watch the corresponding always-on webinar for more best practices.

Webinar World 2019 is Coming to Sydney, Australia on May 2

On March 11, Webinar World 2019 took to San Francisco to discuss how marketers can build engagement into their experiences and motivate audiences to take action. It, by all accounts, was a big success. So much so that we’re taking Webinar World 2019 on a global tour. First stop: Sydney, Australia.

Webinar World Sydney takes place on May 2 at the scenic Pier One Sydney Harbor, nestled underneath the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. This one-day event offers attendees the opportunity to learn from webinar experts, discover new strategies for engagement and network with APAC peers.

What kind of sessions can attendees expect? Well, here’s a small sample of the overall agenda:

Engage Smarter Not Harder: Lessons Learned in the Experience Economy

Daniel Harrison, General Manager, Customer Experience, Oracle Digital, Oracle

Digital trends, like the rise of smart mobility and social media, have made customers more aware of how they can interact with brands. Customer experience is now just as important as the actual goods or services themselves. We call this the experience economy. And guess what? Webinars are experience powerhouses.

In this session, you will learn:

  • How to create a webinar that puts customers at the steering wheel
  • Lessons learned on using webinar data to effectively follow-up with leads
  • Why working with partners is key to deliver memorable content and reach mid-market companies

Think Global. Engage Local.

Michael Meinhardt, CEO and Founder, Cloudwords

Michael Meinhardt, CEO of Cloudwords, will take the stage to discuss how leading brands are thinking differently about how they go-to-market globally. What does it boil down to? Developing relevant multilingual content and create better conversations with current and future customers. But that’s easier said than done. Join this session to learn how marketing professionals can drive strategy for regional demand generation, revenue, customer retention and more.

In this session, you will learn:

  • The digital tools empowering language localization today
  • How a strong digital strategy enables any organization to scale globally
  • Where webinars fit into the global marketing puzzle

Building Killer Webinars with Rock Solid Process

Joanne Pok, Webinar Program Lead, Salesforce

Webinars are one of the most effective content marketing tactics that drive demand. But creating an impactful webinar involves multiple moving parts and reliance on many different teams. Important elements can fall through the cracks.

In this presentation Joanne Pok, Webinar Program Lead at Salesforce, details how she seals those cracks with a rock-solid process. Join us to learn her recipe for creating a killer webinar, including:

  • Planning, driving, and delivering: the key steps at each phase
  • Managing multiple stakeholders and streamlining webinar operations
  • Refining your strategy as your webinar program evolves

Finally, Webinar World Sydney attendees will be the first to learn what the state of play in webinar marketing in Australia and New Zealand is with the unveiling of the State of Webinar Marketing 2019 Report. Sara Gonzalez, General Manager of Digital Events at RedBack Connect, will reveal the findings of the annual research study. The study itself evaluates how APAC marketers use webinars, what success looks like for the region and how practitioners are organising resources to support their programs.

Webinar World Sydney will be a great time for APAC marketers looking to develop a strategy that’ll drive audiences to engage and take action through powerful digital experiences. To learn more about Webinar World Sydney and register, click on this link.

3 Tips for Running an Expert Interview Webinar

I recently wrote about different webinar formats you can use to keep your audience engaged. One of my personal favorites is the expert interview because it gives you a fabulous opportunity to bring your audience the unique experience and knowledge of an authoritative voice while allowing you at the same time to showcase your own skills and understanding of the issues.

Equally important, preparing for and leading an interview gives you a chance to spend valuable one-on-one time with a guest who matters as much for your own practice as he or she does for your participants: a government agent or regulator, an industry leader, or an executive from a key client, for example.

Finally, building your webinar around an interview lets you move away from the traditional slide presentation to lead a dynamic discussion around issues facing your audience. It is, above all, a conversation, which provides you with broad freedom to explore questions in depth without becoming weighed down by bullet points and linear logic.

So how to make sure your expert interview is memorable for participants and guests alike? Here are three ways:

1. Remember your audience

Yes, you want to make the webinar interesting and fun and engaging for your attendees, but a story about the time your guest went surfing amid sharks off the coast of Australia – as entertaining as it may be – isn’t going to help participants revise their workplace policies, for example, to account for legal recreational marijuana use in their state.

Never forget that your audience signed up to learn something and that it’s your job to make sure they do. It’s ok to go off topic from time to time with anecdotes, as long as you don’t take too long to get back on.

Takeaway: prepare your questions, and the structure of the conversation, with audience needs in mind.

2. Let your guest be the expert

You may have the broadest knowledge about the topic you’re covering, but when you’re interviewing an influential guest, you’re no longer the star of the show.

Let your interviewee do most of the talking. Ask them relevant questions that allow for meaningful answers. Listen to their responses so you can follow up when you think your audience needs more detail or explanation.

And above all, try not to interrupt your guest unless it’s absolutely necessary: to get immediate clarification on a particular point they made, or allow them to correct misstatements. You can follow-up and probe deeper into the issues when they’re done talking.

3. Fine-tune your questions (while also allowing the conversation to go anywhere)

Good questions make for great interviews: the way you frame the issues, the way you tee up responses, the way you elicit insight and perspective. And the best way to make your webinar a success is to ask questions that allow your guest to provide valuable and perceptive answers that get straight to the core of your audience’s concerns.

Spend time fine-tuning your questions. Edit them down to the essentials, then edit them down again to make sure you get quickly to the point while providing essential context. Have a colleague put them to you so you can hear what you’re actually asking rather than what you think they say.

During the interview, it’s a good idea to use your questions as a guide to the conversation rather than as a strict outline that you must follow: the discussion is likely to take unplanned directions that lead you down paths that are relevant to attendees.

CMO Confessions Ep. 18: SurveyMonkey’s Leela Srinivasan

Episode link: 18: Leela Srinivasan of SurveyMonkey: The Real Value of Data, the Power of Personas and the Brand’s Path to the Enterprise.

Hello again. It’s been a wild and crazy trip after our annual user conference, Webinar World 2019. Didn’t make it? No worries. That’s why we have CMO Confessions.

This week on CMO Confessions, Leela Srinivasan, CMO of SurveyMonkey, shares how she got her start in marketing, why too much data is becoming a big problem for even the most data-centric company and how SurveyMonkey approaches customer satisfaction. It’s a really great episode that you can digest here or on podbean.

If you’re interested in diving into Leela’s perspectives on marketing you can find her Twitter profile here. If you’re interested in her background you can check out her LinkedIn profile here. As a special note: Leela is looking for fantastic SurveyMonkey stories to promote. If you happen to have one you’d like to share, please, please reach out to her at either of the above social media channels.

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:

How to Move a Well-Loved Brand Forward
The Power of Persona
Purpose Over Profits
SurveyMonkey Becomes EnterpriseMonkey
How to Build a Better Customer Story
Data Rich and Insight Poor
The MarTech Stack Conundrum
Leela’s Path to CMO

Transcript:

Joe Hyland:       

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions. Super excited to have my guest on today. I am joined by Leela Srinivasan, CMO of SurveyMonkey. Leela, how are you doing?

Leela S.:

I’m doing great, Joe. How are you?

Joe Hyland:

I am wonderful. I have a million topics I’m hoping we can cover today. We’ve got half an hour, so we’ll see if we even get through half of them. Before we dive into topics, tell me, or tell our audience what’s happening at survey monkey right now, you’re, I think, less than a year in. So I’d love to hear how the journey is going so far.

Leela S.:

That’s right. So I’m about eight months into my time here at SurveyMonkey and it has been a fast and furious journey so far and also really fun one. We completed our IPO — went public just over two months ago and so you can imagine a large chunk of the year has been devoted to getting ready for that. That was certainly an experience. And now we’re onto all the reasons I came here, which are really to help the company spread its wings. For our 19 years in business most of that time we’ve been perceived as a self-serve company that individuals buy a subscription and use online super easy to use, delivering a ton of value and there’s actually a much broader enterprise story to be told. So I’m very excited about that. So just gearing up for the new year and getting ready to hit the ground running.

How to Move a Well-Loved Brand Forward

Joe Hyland:

Okay, wonderful. I’m interested to talk about the brand that SurveyMonkey created before you got there and kind of how you’re evolving it. And before I give you a chance to answer that — just in the hallways, maybe 10 or 15 minutes ago I saw a colleague and said what I was about to do and how you were on the show — and she said, “Oh, love SurveyMonkey. I feel like I’ve been using them forever.” So this is, this is such an approachable, likable brand. What do you do with your brand as you, as you move it forward and move it in kind of these exciting directions?

Leela S.:

Yeah. Well, first of all, that’s very sweet, Joe. Thank you. Good to hear. And frankly it’s one of the things that drew me to the organization. I’ve been in B2B marketing for a number of years now and quite frankly, I almost didn’t take the interview because I couldn’t quite see the parallels between my journey and my value that I hope I deliver to organizations and where serving monkey was in my mind’s eye. So, as I said earlier, we were a self-serve platform, right? That’s the core of our business. But once I started talking to the organization, I realized that behind the scenes of the last couple of years or so, SurveyMonkey has been very quietly building this portfolio of enterprise grade solutions, building out the survey platform so that it is enterprise ready. It meets with all of your compliance and security needs and all that good stuff.

Leela S.:

And so there’s a huge story to be told here to your question of the brand. It is a conundrum. You know, we have this well known, well liked brands. Our mission is to power the curious and we talk about helping individuals and organizations measure, benchmark and act on the opinions of people who drive their success. But 2019 has to be the year in which we help, for example, marketers understand all the ways in which SurveyMonkey can add the value use of all its products. Or where we help the same thing for HR, right? These are two core communities where day in, day out, we’re answering 20 million questions on our platform. Two and a half million people a day are responding to a survey. And so the job ahead for us is to help those different audiences understand the value that we deliver day in, day out to organizations who are empowering the curious individuals within their organization to gather that feedback from the people who matter most. Whether that’s customers, employees, students, patients, you name the audience.

Leela S.:

So yeah, it’s also really fun brand. So, I like fun brands who doesn’t like fun? But the balance between what … and I think this is something we’ve seen evolve over the last five, 10 years, right? You think about brands like Slack and I was actually talking to Kelly Watkins here, so it goes on site to do a fireside chat at our marketing all-hands and we were just shooting the breeze on brands and I think Slack has done an excellent job of nailing sort of that intersection between approachability and fun and the right home while still — we’re very clear that they serve a business purpose. And so you look around the landscape of B2B organizations and a lot of them have been trying to kind of get there, right? They, they’re trying to ditch the sort of white papers and blue suits and buildings, iconography and trying to go for something more human and approachable.

Leela S.:

SurveyMonkey kind of in a different position where we’ve got almost a consumer-esque brand and so, and that’s very powerful for us. We’ve been able to get a lot of benefit from that, but how do we steer into something that’s a little bit more business message-y? How do we talk about the value for marketers, for example?

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. Well, one person’s opinion — and I think you do a nice job of that by highlighting the benefits that your customers are seeing. Right? So I’m just, my perception is you guys tell pretty powerful stories from your customers’ perspectives. Ultimately the underlying point is that they’re doing it and it’s powered by SurveyMonkey, but I think you’re doing a nice job of telling the customer story versus saying, “Hey, we want to tell you why SurveyMonkey is so great and you have to listen.”

Leela S.:

That’s good to hear. That’s great to hear actually. I have always tried to be customer centric and the way we think about marketing, whether it’s here or elsewhere. I do think there’s so much opportunity though for us to continue down that path and when I say that we have something like 16 million active users using our platform and there are so many stories in that base and I could almost — sort of tempted to use this podcast as an open casting call for marketers that are driving value. I’m not kidding, actually. I want to tell your story in 2019. So if you have a really good story about how you’re leveraging SurveyMonkey to measure, benchmark and act on customer feedback or get your arms around your target audience and be more effective as a marketer — I want to hear that story and I’m on Twitter, I’m on LinkedIn, you can hit me up in any direction you desire. I will take the call. I will get my team involved and we’d love to just showcase more of you.

How SurveyMonkey Approaches Focus

Joe Hyland:

Alright, I love it. We’ll put your Twitter handle and your LinkedIn profile in the notes for this so that people can take you up on that. I love that. It’s interesting. I think there’s a lot of opportunities in the market, but I’m curious about your perspective on this. Focus can be a beautiful thing and the strength that you guys have, which I think a lot of other companies have is it’s a very versatile solution. So, you referenced just a couple of different audiences. I’m sure there are dozens and dozens of use cases for the product. How do you look at prioritizing where you put your marketing team’s focus because there’s so much you could do, which is good, but it’s also dangerous.

Leela S.:

Yeah, it’s a great question. And I, if I’m honest, I think it is something that’s been a challenge for SurveyMonkey over the years because to your point, it’s a horizontal platform and there are almost limitless use cases for our technology. So since I arrived about eight months ago, one of the things we have been focusing on is really coming back to the customer, of course, thinking in a more persona-based way because if we can really put our finger on the challenges that the different audiences are facing and talk to them in very real terms and empathize with them and then talk about how we can help them solve those challenges, then I think we’re just in a fundamentally better place.

The Power of Persona

Leela S.:        

And so, one of the changes that I made to the team and coming in was to organize around the persona a little bit more in product marketing and demand generation so that we have people in this building who obsess about the, the HR practitioner, for example, their worlds. How difficult it is for them to retain employees in an economic environment where there is more demand than supply of talent, right? I mean an average retention cycles are going down and down and down as people continue to get tapped on the shoulder for new opportunities. And so for employers that just creates this need to create ever more engaging employee experiences. And how do you do that? Well, one of the ways is by listening to your employees and listening to them when they’re a candidate, listening to them when they onboard to figure out if they got what they need, how can you make the next onboarding experience better? Listening to them all the way through their engagement cycle, gathering feedback on them, helping them grow all the way through to offboarding as well and taking the exit interview and learning constantly along the way. How can you create a better workplace? How can you make the workplace more inclusive? How can you help them grow at your organization rather than finding another opportunity?

Leela S.:

So, that’s sort of the team on the product marketing demand gen side is focused around that employer or sorry, the HR persona, they have a counterpart in creative that aligns with that. And then the same is true of marketers of course. So, the marketing faces all kinds of challenges and opportunities, many of which we can help by helping them better understand customer loyalty and identify champions, for example, and package together, proof points really quick with that and in turn, help other customers discover the through the testimonials of customers. We can help organizations to run really quick market research on the fly, which you can use for content marketing, for example. So all sorts of different ways that we can help marketers get closer to the customer. But it starts by just having that focus, that obsession almost with your target audience; what matters to them, what their challenges are and how you can help them to be meaningfully better.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. I think you’ve said that very, very well. You need to be. I feel marketers need to be obsessive on personas and that needs to be the driving force for how we go to market. It’s really natural that talk about all the ways that we as companies are great and no one wakes up in the morning and says, I can’t wait to hear from ON24 or SurveyMonkey or Slack, right? Like, we have challenges, but that is a slippery slope that it’s easy to kind of slide down.

Leela S.:

I just had a sad moment there for all the marketers that actually communicate. It doesn’t. I’ll be looking for your next email, Joe though. I promise.

Joe Hyland:        

That’s fair. Well said. I think it’s very easy to forget that because we all have goals and milestones and objectives that we’re trying to hit and it’s easy to lose sight of it. I think it’s interesting that you organize the team around personas. I personally think that that’s quite smart in part because we’re going through a reorganization or a reshuffling of the deck on our own marketing team and we’re doing just that. We’re organizing content, product marketing and demand generation around key personas and use cases. I find that if something is a hobby, it tends to not go that well. So we were trying to do this over the past year, but without having any vertical or use case owners. And I finally decided that really wasn’t serving us well.

Leela S.:        

Here’s the other thing as well, when you go in that more customer-centric persona-centric direction. We’ve — this may not come as a surprise to you, but we, we occasionally run some research here at SurveyMonkey. We have a fantastic in house research team. Yeah. And they know a thing or two about conducting research. But they recently, we recently ran a study to better understand the connection between customer experience and employee experience. And learned was that if you ask employees who believes that their companies place a great deal of importance on customer satisfaction. If you ask those employees how likely they are to be at the organization two years later, they are significantly likelier to be at the organization two years later than employees who don’t think their companies care about customer satisfaction. And so it’s not just, I think a better way to market, but it also just creating that connectivity between your team and the customer so that they understand that what they’re doing matters that actually reaps dividends in terms of you being able to retain people, which as we talked about earlier, is kind of difficult in this market.

Purpose Over Profits

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. I think that’s brilliant. It’s also so intuitive and logical. People want to feel like they’re what they’re doing matters, that they belonged to something that serves a purpose. And it’s pretty easy in any B2B environment, if you’re not careful, have employees, they — “What are we really doing here? Like what is, what is the point of this?” And if it’s just about profits, I find that is quite unmotivating.

Leela S.:

Again, I think we’ve seen this, I credit the millennials with just articulating things that many of us older folks have been thinking all along, but this notion of providing impact. What does it really mean to have impact? One form of impact is definitely delivering on financial goals, but really if you can, if you can look in the mirror every day and say, “You know what, we’re delivering impact for our end users, for the customers that are leveraging our solutions, our technologies, whatever it is.” That’s a very different feeling from something from just a revenue goal, let’s say.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. And I think it’s important that is in the ethos of a company. I think it’s, it’s easy for the executive management to say, “No, no, no, this is just about profits. That’s why business exists.” And that is that, that will not resonate with the masses at the employee level.

SurveyMonkey Becomes EnterpriseMonkey

Joe Hyland:

So anyway, that’s super interesting research. So let’s go back to brand and brand perception. I think you referenced this just a few moments ago, there are so many B2B organizations who have typically played quite well and successfully in the enterprise space who are trying to become more approachable and relatable and humanize their brand. Then there are brands like Slack and SurveyMonkey and Zendesk who I think have kind of always been cool and pretty relatable. How do you see this evolution going specifically at SurveyMonkey and what you’re trying to do given that? I bet you serve the enterprise market pretty well. There’s probably a lot of growth there for you. You’re now a publicly traded company, so how do you balance relate-ability and likability with “We’re serious trusted brand that you should rely on.”?

Leela S.:

Yeah, it’s a work in progress. So I don’t have perfect answer just yet. And it’s sort of like, how do you make sure you don’t throw out all the goodness, right? Because we really are tremendously blessed to have a brand with the strength of SurveyMonkey as our foundation. But I think this comes back to customer storytelling in some ways, right? So, I mentioned earlier, 60 million active users. You said somebody in the hallway, “Oh, I love SurveyMonkey,” that’s all great. But the stories that you’ll see us surfacing more and more frequently will look more like the story of Box.

Leela S.:

So Box is an enterprise client of SurveyMonkey. They leverage SurveyMonkey’s enterprise platform along with our integrations to key systems of record, like Salesforce. And when you think about what we enable for a company like Salesforce, you know they have pockets of customer — sorry, I’m sorry, for Box, rather — they’re customer obsessed, right? They care deeply about the customer experience. And for them what we were able to provide was being able to pipe that real time survey information from their customers directly into the systems where their front lines are interfacing with customers.

How to Build a Better Customer Story

Leela S.:        

So, I’m sure you, along with other marketing leaders, our inboxes are bombarded by requests from BDRs who are selling data enrichment tools of some shape or form. And typically that means they’re providing a data around firmographic information or something like that. I’ve come to think of survey information as the ultimate form of data enrichment in some ways because if you stop and think about, if you ask — and we do this with our integration with Marketo actually — after somebody filled out a lead-gen form, there are auto response email goes back to them and asks them a few more questions so that we can be more prepared for the demo. So it’s almost like we’ve always wished that we knew what was on our customers’ minds…

Joe Hyland:

But with a survey…

Leela S.:        

You can ask what’s on their minds and then you can funnel that information into the systems where your teams are interfacing with them. And what it leads to is just that tighter connection, a much more personalized experience and hopefully a better resolution, which I think is just a win for everyone involved. And so we’re basically powering that across Box as they get really serious about customer experience. Customer Journey, how can they help their front lines be as effective as possible in helping their customers to be successful? So you’ll hear us start to tell more of those stories where it surveys… It’s almost like when we were talking before the show about how a webinar feels constraining, right? Surveys always feels a little constraining, right? Because really what we’re talking about is this feed of immensely valuable data that you’re able to connect to your operational data and deliver better decisions at the end point.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I think that’s brilliant. And that kind of goes back to the versatility of the offering, which is tremendous strength. But if you’re not careful, you’re right, like a webinar, like a survey, that can kind of be commoditized and if you’re not talking about the why and why you’re doing this and how powerful it is and it’s just the what, it’s like, “Oh, it’s a survey and we can do that. Like, right, who cares how the data is structured is like.” That actually matters quite a bit if you’re really doing it at massive scale. We have this thing on our team in some ways it’s a bit of a running joke because I talk about it with such passion and I think I get made fun of it. Its codename is the grid, which is every, it’s the intersection of personas and use cases and ultimately how our customers use our product — use webinars and the stories that we want told. And so the grid kind of utopia, what are all the permutations that we want there in the market. And, as you said, the Box story is really powerful one for you. Well, how can we have two or three customers in each kind of, in each Box, if you will?

Leela S.:        

Yes. I call that case study bingo is how I refer to it. Because you have to overlay geographies and industries and company size. And it’s this sort of never-ending grid, right?

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah, hence the grid nickname here. And it can get a little overwhelming, too. Going back to what we said about focus. Okay. So you guys have a similar method at SurveyMonkey?

Leela S.:

Yeah. I think it’s definitely how we’re thinking about the world going forward is: if you put yourself in the shoes of a customer who’s evaluating solutions, at some point in that journey, you’re probably thinking, does anyone like me use this? Or you know, what are the stories that relate back to my business model that I can take to the c-suite to get sign off on this new investment that maybe I hadn’t quite thought about at the beginning of the year? And so the more that we can help to eliminate for potential customers, how we can specifically help them — and that often comes in the shape of exposing them to different stories that might resonate — then I think the more, the more successful we’ll be in getting that message across. So you can’t cover — and you know this as well when you have virtually limitless problems that you solve are virtually limitless use cases — you have to be specific and you have to prioritize. So we can of course use our own data in doing that and understanding how our current users use survey technology to ask and answer the biggest questions in their minds. So we can use that as I said, to just sort of steer our team and make sure that we are going down the stack ranked list of opportunities and finding customers that can really tell the stories.

Data Rich and Insight Poor

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. I love that you just mentioned data there. I’d love to get a few minutes of your perspective on what it’s like being a marketer today and, speaking of problems that are good problems to have, and all this data that we have coming in versus 15 or 20 years ago when you and I were beginning in this.

Leela S.:        

Yeah. Good Lord. Will the data ever end? I mean, it’s just, to your point, it just comes at you from all sides. And in some ways we’ve potentially created some of this problem ourselves in that. I think back in 2012, it was Gartner — blame Gartner for this — Gartner said that by 2017, the CMO would be outspending the CIO in technology.

Joe Hyland:        

I was just referencing this yesterday to someone.

Leela S.:

I don’t think we ever quite got there, but we sure as heck did buy a lot of tools in that five year period. And some of them talked to each other, but many of them didn’t. And therein lies the problem, right? You’ve got these disconnected, disparate data silos and so the result is, I find, many organizations are data rich, but insight is poor. They have more access to more data than they’ve ever had before, but can they make sense out of that data? Probably not.

Leela S.:

And in fact, I was reading another study by IDC that says that by the end of 2025, only 50 percent, sorry, 15 percent of global data will be tagged. Of that only 20 percent will be analyzed and only 6 percent will be useful. So we’ve created a 94 percent problem for ourselves in some ways. And so I think that’s sort of the reality of the world that we face. And this is not unique to marketing. Many parts of the organization are drowning in data. They’re data rich and insight poor, as I said. And you have to be thinking about how your tools talk to one another. I recently was talking to a journalist about and they were looking for a prediction for tools for 2019. Like, “What’s the one tool you’re thinking about? And the answer is no, that’s the wrong way.” We don’t need more tools. We need more connectivity between our tools so that we can make sense of that data. And whether we do that in one of those tools, we funnel everything into tableau. Whatever the story is, we have to begin to focus on creative insight from that data rather than just having it languish in these silos.

Joe Hyland:

I think that that was very, very, very well said I love this phrase, “Data rich and insight poor.” I had a conference, this was maybe six or seven months ago. I didn’t think that this would be super controversial. Onstage, I said that marketers don’t need more data. We have, we’re swimming in too much data and it’s problematic. So anything that gives marketers more data without insights is actually defeating the purpose. And the next speaker got up on stage and really challenged me. I’m a data driven marketer and I love data. And I was like, perhaps the point was lost or it wasn’t well articulated, but…

Leela S.:

I think you need the right data. Data for data’s sake is definitely not the answer. I’m with you, Joe. I’m with you.

The MarTech Stack Conundrum

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And your other point that you touched upon — I couldn’t agree with you anymore — and this is nowhere worse than were you and I live out in the Bay Area now, there’s so many technologists and specifically marketing technology, that assuming you’re having a marketing tech stack of 20, 30, 40 pieces of technology will solve your problems is really silly. And so many of these technologies don’t speak to one another.

And if you’re going to, you’re going to have either a) unstructured data or b) siloed data, then you have no data. So what’s the point?

Leela S.:

Our team here at SurveyMonkey has been focusing on that for quite some time. So I think we have 100 or more integrations into virtually all the systems I use. And so we never set out to be the system of record. I think we’re losing conscious for a long time that people don’t need another system of record. But they do want to bring that data to the place where they’re working so that they can have that insight and make those better decisions.

Joe Hyland:        

Yeah. No, I couldn’t agree any more. And for most marketers, that’s within, you mentioned Marketo before. That’s, that’s very likely within their marketing automation system, within sales, within the CRM. But yeah, if you’re fighting for screen time with your user persona, you’re probably violating the principle that you and I talked about at the start, that it’s all about them and should never be about you, right?

Leela’s Path to CMO

Joe Hyland:        

Okay. Well, let’s close on this. So, a lot of our listeners are not in fact heads of marketing or chief marketing officers. They’re aspiring to, one day, get there and no one comes out of the womb or comes right out of university and is heading an organization. You’ve had an interesting path where you’ve done a lot of things. I did a little research on you before you started in sales. You went over to management consulting, which I always find fascinating. And then you get into marketing. So, spend a few moments, if you will, on your path and if this can be replicated or if it was dumb luck and had nothing to do with the master plan that you hatched up 20 years ago.

Leela S.:        

There was no master plan. Oh, actually the master plan was very different, let’s just say. I’m not sure if it’s a path that … I love my path. I’m not sure it’s a path which you should purposely set out to emulate. But what I will say is I didn’t expect to be in sales. I took my first. Really the only sales job I had was five years at a company called BusinessWire, which is commercial newswire service, a part of Berkshire Hathaway.

Joe Hyland:        

And I became a sales BusinessWire because I had my very first job in the states after I moved over was this is not an oxymoron, a fast-growing startup in Jacksonville, Florida. And I started on reception actually for six weeks. And then they — because they didn’t know where … they couldn’t find Edinburgh on the map and that’s where I grew up in Scotland. I was just pleased that I got interviewed six weeks in I moved actually into a marketing coordinator role and then I did some special projects stuff and then I was the PR manager for six or eight months. So I had four different jobs in my first job in the year and a half. And when I was in that PR manager stint, I used Businesswire and it got so much volume at the time.

Leela S.:        

And they just seem to — meaning the organization. So they asked me if I wanted to come over to the quote unquote dark side and be a sales rep and I would never have thought of saying yes to a sales job in my early twenties. But I just really liked the organization and the value they deliver to their customers. And, true enough, I actually ended up being a pretty decent sales rep for them. And then I ended up being a sales manager because I had walked in — I’d been the customer. I knew their challenges, their pain points. You see we’re coming full circle here. And I worked out really well for me. When I became a sales manager actually moved up to Boston to run their New England region and at that point I realized that I was thirsting for more knowledge.

Leela S.:        

So if SurveyMonkey’s mission is to power the curious and SurveyMonkey’s where the curious come to grow back in the early two thousands — I needed to, I realized I was curious. I needed to grow. So I went to business school at Dartmouth. I came that in management consulting, as you said, which I think was the best place to extend and practice skill I might use. I know there’s a lot of debates out in the world about whether MBAs are worth it or not. I’m here in San Mateo running marketing at SurveyMonkey if not for my MBA. And I went to Tuck Business School at Dartmouth and it was transformational for me. It really changed my trajectory and just the course of my career. So did three years in management consulting with Bain and Company. Really fantastic learnings, but I actually missed going deep on a subject, having subject matter expertise as opposed to being a generalist and flying by the seat of my pants on a regular basis.

Leela S.:        

Didn’t realize I’d be flying by the seat of my pants on the other side as well, but a different way. And a connection — a former Bain colleague who moved LinkedIn, who as to this day, runs their talent solutions business globally. We stayed in touch when he moved over and every few months he pinged me and say, “Are you’re ready to leave Bain yet this things come up. I know you like LinkedIn.” And this continued over the months. And I finally, he put an opportunity in front of me and I said, “Well, it looks fantastic but I don’t think I’m qualified to be a senior product marketer.” And then it turns out I didn’t actually know what product marketing was at the time. And Lo and behold find that a lot of the management consulting skills were directly applicable to product marketing.

Leela S.:        

So that was my start at LinkedIn and I joined when it was 500 people was there for four and a half years, got to do a bunch of different things. It was a huge privilege left to join open table as a VP and that was also different and valuable experience. But after that ended up at Lever and a CMO role. And I think what I’ve done over the course of that, that sort of journey before coming to SurveyMonkey and that and now as well is I realize I do my best work when I am very passionate about the problems that we solve for our customers. And that was true at LinkedIn. It was true to some degree OpenTable, but it wasn’t true enough. Which is actually why I moved on more quickly than I otherwise thought I would. It was true at Lever and it is absolutely true at SurveyMonkey today. So for me that’s been a sort of a north star is finding the thing that gets me passionate because of the problems that we’re solving for our customers. And, like I said, we’ve come full circle, I think, in this conversation.

Joe Hyland:

I think that’s one: that’s brilliant to hear and two: I just love it and couldn’t agree with it anymore. There’s nothing more boring and mundane in life than not being challenged and not being passionate. It’s just personal life work life, that is, for me, that is what life is all about and I often get asked about work kind of work home balance, which I think is very important, but it becomes much easier if you love what you do and if you can be passionate about the company you belong to and the problem is you’re solving. I think that’s what we’re doing as marketers is where problem solving and it’s probably why management consulting was a great training ground for you for product marketing and you didn’t even know what product marketing was.

Leela S.:

I can say that now of course, but at the time I was doing my best.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, hindsight is always helpful. Well, listen, this has just been wonderful. I appreciate the time. I hope people the audience has really enjoyed this. And again, thank you. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule for this.

Leela S.:        

Of course. And before I go, I was not kidding about that open casting call. So one more time. You have a fantastic SurveyMonkey story. Please hit me up on social. I would love to hear more. I really would.

Joe Hyland:

Okay, we’ll get that in the description. Leela, thank you so much.

Leela S.:

Thank you, Joe. Pleasure’s all mine.

Joe Hyland:        

Okay. Alright, thanks.

New at ON24: New Content Journeys and Post-Event Engagement

From design tools to actionable reporting, ON24’s unique features help organizations create engaging, digital content experiences. In case you missed it, we recently announced post-live content journeys, an industry first! Here’s a quick download of what we have been working on and what you can do with your updated digital experience toolkit.  

Extend the Content Journey

Engagement shouldn’t end with the webcast. Users can now invite live webcast viewers to continue to connect with the new post-live console and call-to-action engagement tool, driving ongoing engagement and moving audiences through an ongoing content journey:

  • Invite audiences to register for upcoming webcasts automatically, avoiding the registration page.
  • Lead viewers directly to the Engagement Hub for more content or to sales or product staff for follow-up.

Stream on Facebook

Leverage another channel by streaming on Facebook Live:

  • Connect all brand channels for a consistent experience.
  • Further engage by being where your viewers already are.

Obtain Feedback in Real TIme

Viewers can now engage with content in a richer way. The new Ratings and Comment feature enables audiences to like, dislike, as well as provide comments on each content piece.

Ensure Brand Consistency

We believe in easily-managed content, without the burden of confusing processes, so we always aim to make content experience creation easier. Users can lock registration fields so others can’t edit those locked fields, ensuring a consistent brand experience for audiences and data collected across programs.

Take Action with Flexible Data

As the saying goes, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” That’s why ON24 focuses on delivering the best analytics and reporting so you can always advance engagement:

  • Review Content Insights in Engagement Hub to better understand content performance and optimize the delivered content.
  • Easily assess program performance with refreshed and robust platform-level dashboards and Webcast Reports.

Integrate with Salesforce

The new ON24 Salesforce Connector is a native connector that enables sales teams to drive results:

  • Embed ON24 engagement profiles within Salesforce instances.
  • Move ON24 engagement data to lead and contact records so sales teams stay informed and win.

That’s not all! We’re always getting better. Be sure to check out our latest on ON24 Engagement Hub and ON24 Target, here.

 

ON24 Empowers Marketers to Implement the Rising Trend, GSD

B2B Marketers have a variety of strategies to deploy when it comes to connecting and converting prospects. Account-based management, the current industry standard and golden child of marketing, is a fine example. But a new strategy shows even greater potential in acquiring leads, closing deals and nurturing prospective clients throughout the funnel: Get Sh*t Done (GSD).

That’s why today ON24 is proud to announce that its entire platform is built to help marketers execute a GSD strategy. Through data-rich webinars and interactive content solutions, ON24 gives marketers the essential tools they need to get sh*t done so they can move onto the next project.

“We’re on a mission to help marketers get sh*t done. The more shi*t gets done, the more MQLs, higher engagement, better conversion rates, increased revenue you’ll see,” says Joe Hyland, CMO, ON24. “While account-based marketing bridges the gap between sales and marketing, GSD goes a step further: bridging the gap between sh*t and done. We’re proud to empower marketers to actually Get Sh*t Done.”

Unlike its ABM brethren, GSD is not about acquiring the right set of technology solutions. It’s about using the proven tactics you already have at your fingertips and executing on them. For example, webinars have been proven to connect and convert prospects throughout the entire marketing funnel. So, instead of chasing after the latest chatbot or pop-up feed to reach top-of-funnel, marketers can turn to a proven solution to actually get shit done.

Best of all, the GSD model doesn’t depend on a large team. In fact, the marketing structure required to execute GDS can be a single person and their tool. Blane Barker, Global Webinar Program Manager, Atlassian for example, hones in on webinar tactics that work to single-handedly run more than 250 webinars a year.  Cassandra Clark, Senior Manager Webinar Programs, NVIDIA, also produces a prodigious amount of content that scales globally with a small team. The common denominator? Get Sh*t Done.

There are five fundamental principles to a modern GSD strategy:

  1. Execute
  2. Evaluate
  3. Improve
  4. Keep doing what works
  5. Repeat

Of course, GSD is not a category on the MarTech stack because it isn’t about technology at all. It’s about having a scrappy mentality and realizing that no tech is a solve for execution.

So, on this April Fools’ Day, take a step back, assess your situation and actually use the methods and tools that help you to get sh*t done and build your own GSD program. Learn how ON24 can help here.

Why Webinars Are Great for Research and New Content

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

Before diving in, be sure to read our previous posts on Panel Webinars, Webinar Operations, Internal Alignment, and ABM! Now, for our fifth entry into this blog series, let’s talk about how you can use webinars as a means of gathering new data to fuel your content strategy. By utilizing polls, questions, and other interactive assets in your webinars, you’re able to capture more data on your attendee’s level of intent and interest areas while simultaneously gaining insights for new research, content, and messaging.

Why should you use webinars for research and new content?

To Easily Conduct Research

With a captive audience and interactive tools on your webinar, you can conduct research to uncover new data trends, insights, or simply to fuel your content marketing strategy based on the responses you get back. This enables you to spend more of your time actually using your research rather than spending hours and hours conducting 1:1 calls, putting together surveys, or trying to schedule meetings.

To Produce Custom Content

By taking the pulse of attendees on your webinar through questions, polls, and downloadable assets, you’re able to better understand what content your audience actually wants to see. Use your findings to create custom research reports, share insights with your audience, and refine the relevance of your go-to-market in association with marketing campaigns, partner efforts, PR, analysts, as well as your customers.

To Gain Live Intelligence

When you ask questions or polls during your webinar, it makes it possible to tailor or shift the focus of your webinar on the fly to better align to what your audience wants to see or hear about. This can turn your webinar from one that just focuses on topics at a high-level to one that goes into more detail where the audience actually wants it to go.

When should you use this play?

Using your webinars to conduct research and fuel new content initiatives can be an effort spurred by a number of reasons. It may be time to reinvigorate your content, messaging, and persona strategies, or maybe you want to generate better engagement in your marketing campaigns overall. Or, there may be a need or want to discover new insights and trends, but you don’t have the resources or means to conduct more formal, survey-driven research

Stakeholders and roles

While utilizing webinars to gain better insights into trends and content themes may seem like a simple enough tactic, there are still a specific set of roles to consider. To ensure that you’re capturing data in the most efficient, natural way possible, a successful team should be made up of the following roles:

  • Webinar Presenter: to lead the conversations, ask the right questions, and guide and prompt the audience to respond to questions and polls
  • Webinar Producer or Technician: to set up surveys & polls and show questions and answers on screen in real-time
  • Marketing: to apply the insights gained in the webinar into their different campaigns, strategies, and tactics around content development and demand generation

Want more?

Stay tuned! In the next few weeks, we’ll revisit this topic to dive into the specifics and how-tos of using webinars to conduct research for your content strategy.

 

 

Growth, Engagement and Webinars: How Today’s Top Marketers Make it All Work

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.com by Sydni Craig-Hart. Syndicated with author’s permission. To learn more about Smart Simple Marketing, follow this link.

This week, I was a first-time attendee at Webinar World, a user conference hosted by ON24, in San Francisco, CA. ON24 is an enterprise-level technology company that, per the comments on their website, “is on a mission to redefine how organizations engage with their audiences, powering interactive, data-rich webinars and content experiences that help people connect on a more human level and make smarter business decisions.”

(By the way, many thanks to ON24 for hosting such a great event right in my backyard… I love the no-plane 10-minute commute and sleeping in my own bed! 🙂 )

Table of Contents

At Smart Simple Marketing, we’ve been producing high-quality webinars since 2008, and I have personally delivered hundreds of live webinars. They are one of my favorite platforms for teaching. Webinars have been an integral piece of our marketing strategy, and we’ve consistently used a variety of webinar formats to build our 29,000+ email list, build relationships with industry influencers, train small business owners how to attract more clients and increase their revenue and so much more. Webinars have also been an integral piece of the work we do for our enterprise clients, helping them to drive engagement, deepen loyalty, and gain market share with small, minority-owned and women-owned businesses.

Hosting compelling webinars continues to be one of the top three strategies we recommend to our corporate clients, as highlighted in our insights paper, Successfully Selling to Small Businesses. In fact, our very first project with a corporate client was producing, marketing, and re-purposing a five-part webinar series for Verizon Wireless, called “The Entrepreneurs Guide to Business Success”, and we hosted that series using ON24.

As such, I’ve been looking forward to Webinar World 2019 and hearing ON24’s take on the latest success strategies for leveraging the power of webinars as a marketing tool. Since it is my first time attending the event, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thoroughly enjoyed three of the sessions I attended yesterday. One of those was a panel discussion entitled “Keynote Conversation: Living Your Best #Webinerd Life.” Check out the description of the session:

“The life of a webinerd can get pretty crazy. From great successes to epic fails, there’s never a dull moment when you’re at the helm of your company’s webinar channel. Join ON24 Chief Webinerd Mark Bornstein in a panel of webinerds who will share their stories of webinar disasters and recoveries, getting big wins and internal recognition and their most valuable lessons learned.”

The session was moderated by Mark Bornstein, Vice President of Marketing and Chief Webinerd at ON24 and the panel included:

To provide a bit of context, Deanna, Josh, and Nina describe their work this way:

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “My team oversees all the marketing and strategy for three of Clarivate Analytics business units. Webinars have become critical to our demand strategy approach at every stage of the life cycle. Right now, we’re running about sixty webinars globally. We also support the field by repackaging and repurposing our webinar content.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We’re a tour operator, and we travel to all seven continents. We do B2B and B2C as well. On average, we do 500 webinars a year. Our goal is to educate travel agents, educate group leaders on our products, and then educate members of those different groups to get them to purchase different tours. We provide webinars throughout the entire life cycle.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “For all of our different products and industry segments, my team handles all the executional programmatic approach to our webinars and overall strategy.

Following are my favorite takeaways from the panel discussion along with suggestions for how to implement the insights shared into your own marketing programs.

How Have Your Webinar Programs Evolved?

Mark (ON24) – “How have your webinar programs evolved; are they still talking PowerPoints, or where are you guys with that now?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “For us, it’s all about engagement. We recognize that industrywide, people are willing to pay more for a premium experience. So, we are really implementing that as part of our webinar strategy. It provides us with an opportunity to not just have engagement, but to give all our prospects and customers experience, and so, for that, it causes us to evolve and look at everything differently.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “If you look at where we were seven years ago to where we are now, it’s completely different. We’ve definitely grown and come up with real strategies for the year and try to plan things out for the following year. We take all the surveys we get and listen to our consumers and our travel agents. We really plan things that are interactive; we do series. We try to do value-added webinars as well; it’s not just about selling for us; it’s about, for example, ‘how to use Facebook’ or ‘how to take the best photography’, so we try to really add that into our strategy.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “One of the biggest changes is how much traction our webinars have gotten over the years; we continue to see increased numbers of webinars that we’re doing every single year. We do still have our PowerPoints and audio, but we’ve done a lot more with video recently. We have a studio that we will pre-record in or stream live in, so people are sitting just like this in a panel discussion, talking about things that are interesting to them or product launches or things like that; so, we’ve gotten a lot more innovative that way over the years. We’re not just PowerPoint and audio.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Focus on creating TRUE engagement—meaning allowing your audience to share their thoughts, ideas, and struggles with you (all of which is far more important than what you have to say to them.)
  • Plan your content in advance, and don’t fly by the seat of your pants. You’ll be less stressed and create a better experience for your audience.
  • Design webinars that make life easier for your audience. Focus on helping them solve the problems that cause them to waste time, money, and effort. If you do, they’ll come back for more (which means lower customer acquisition costs for you).
  • Look for ways to incorporate video in your webinars. Including short videos will help keep your audience’s attention and provide more context for the point you’re trying to make.

How Do You Approach Webinar Management and Planning?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you manage so many webinars? What does planning look like when you’re trying to support so many events?”

  • Nina (Salesforce) – “It was definitely chaotic in the past. We’ve dialed it back, so now, people can only book webinars for the next coming quarter. We have a steering committee where we work together functionally, so we’re not just operating in silos. Also, we have a webinar brief that all of our campaign managers and product marketers fill out and turn in at least four to five weeks in advance of their webinar. That is our working point for our team, to make sure we’re taking care of everything that goes into a webinar. We’ve created stricter guidelines for the process, so we’re not getting a brief two weeks before a live event and people expect us to produce a successful webinar off of that.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Create a written process document to organize all the details of your webinar production and execution. Insist that every team (or team member) follow this process religiously. Doing so will save you time, money, and effort.
  • Create related forms (i.e., the brief mentioned by Nina) to help your colleagues think through the details of the experience they want to create. Not only will your form collect the information you need to produce a successful webinar, but it can also serve as a strategic asset that helps your team(s) collaborate. Your form can also be a strategic asset that can keep your team(s) focused on their goals.
  • Be intentional about knowledge-sharing between teams to help break down silos. This encourages greater collaboration and, ultimately, will create a more positive brand experience for your audience.

How Are You Evolving Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “Are you thinking about creating webinars beyond simple high-level thought leadership webinars? Are you thinking about building webinars for each state in the funnel?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Absolutely. It’s not just about the thought leadership piece. It’s about engagement and helping the audience really understand what they’re going to get from connecting with the company. So, we’re absolutely building out webinars that are a value add. ON24 allows us to provide our audience with content pieces that will help them with their decision-making at the end of the buying cycle as well. The calendar of how we’re building out webinars, and how many webinars, where they are in the year, and what the buying cycle looks like—we take all of that into account.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “With travel, we’re trying to not only get people to go on a tour; we’re trying to get them to buy. We’re also trying to educate our travel agents on the value of booking travel with Collette so they know exactly what their clients are going to get when they book with us. When it comes to the full year, we do have a strategy where we sit down in the summer and we talk about what we’re going to do for the following year.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We have a lot of your basic product-focused webinars, since we have a lot of different products to serve. We also have webinars that are more sales driven, so you’ll see a lot of buy-in from the sales team on those. These sessions are going to be a lot more targeted to a smaller niche area. We have our thought leadership and “trailblazers” type webinars, and these are going to be your industry topics. So, we do have webinars that fit into all these different levels, and it’s really important to us that we are tailoring the content differently in all of those areas.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Many companies make the mistake of using webinars as only a top-of-funnel strategy. Don’t be one of them. Leverage webinars to support prospects at ALL stages of the buying cycle. After they buy, you can continue using webinars to help your customers get the ROI they are looking for from your product.
  • Create content for different learning preferences. The same content you produce for a live webinar can become a series of checklists, worksheets, resource guides, templates, audio tutorials, etc., that support your attendees in implementing what you taught them. Distribute the additional resources during or immediately after the webinar to keep your audience engaged.
  • Developing a strategy is key to your success, but do allow space in your plan for flexibility. You want to be able to respond to a new trend, a hot news topic, a customer need, or a request from your sales team. Build in space for these sessions so they don’t throw off your editorial calendar.

How Do You Drive Webinar Registration?

Mark (ON24) – “Let’s talk about something that everyone cares a lot about when it comes to webinars. It’s the thing I hear again and again and again, which is driving registration, one of the hardest things to do with a webinar. You all have completely different types of audiences, what are you doing to try to get people to attend your webinar?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We are taking advantage of social. We have some folks that are really targeting and finding the right groups on Linkedin. And we have our partner groups making an appeal because these are their peers, and they are very respected by our audience. So, we give our partners “enablement packs,” where all they have to do is copy and paste into the respective Linkedin groups. This allows us to drive registration in addition to building out the typical paid and organic social and email channels that we are also using.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We do the basic e-mail that we always send out to get them to join. We have certain Facebook groups that we utilize with our agent network. We just started using Facebook groups over the past three months, and they have actually been working really well. When we’re on our webinar, we talk about what’s coming up next and get them to register right away; that way, we’re already touching that touch point with them.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Email is still our biggest driver of registration, so that’s what we put a lot of focus behind. Each of our teams that are actually running the webinars will do their own social and digital promotions. We have seen a lot of success when we do a blog post about an upcoming webinar too; so, second to email, that’s been our second highest driver of registration.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • A multichannel strategy is necessary to meet your registration goals. Take stock of ALL of your channels, the various features available on each channel, and create content specific to the culture of that channel. Feel free to repurpose content across channels, but do so strategically.
  • Use your marketing communications to give attendees a preview of the webinar event. Show them exactly why taking time out of their day will help them address a pressing problem or meet a current goal.
  • Once people have registered for the event, keep them engaged. Encourage them to invite a friend, learn about their needs by way of a brief survey, and give them additional previews of the content. You need to keep reminding them of the value you’ll be presenting to encourage them to attend live.

What Are Your Tactics for Webinar Engagement?

Mark (ON24) – “How are you getting your audience involved in the webinars? What are you doing to get more engagement in those experiences?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We’re absolutely taking advantage of the widgets on the ON24 platform, which, for example, gives us the ability to share white papers. The other thing we’ve done is enable our audience to use social media widgets. We have our social media manager paying attention so that if someone tweets or writes a post about the live webinar, they’re getting a response in real time, so that it becomes more of a conversation. That’s really important when you’re trying to create conversations versus campaigns and building more than engagement.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We utilize the ability to have resource links, polls and surveys built into the session on ON24. We try to have polls in every webinar, and we also try to ask questions to break up the webinar.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We do a lot of polls and share links to resources. Our other route is we bring video into the webinars so that people feel like they’re connecting with someone on a more personal level then just hearing a voice on a slide.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Take another look at the tool you’re using to host your webinars. Make sure you’re aware of ALL of the features and benefits available to you so you’re getting the greatest return on your investment.
  • If your tool happens to not have the interactive features of ON24, look to third-party resources to help create engagement during your presentation. For example, tools like PollsEverywhere, Slidio, ClickMeeting, and SlideDog are inexpensive, easy to use, and help create an interactive experience with your attendees.
  • Just because your webinar ends doesn’t mean engagement with your brand should end. While you have your audience’s attention, give them options to continue the conversation in a way that feels comfortable for them. This could include immediately scheduling a follow-up call, directing them to watch another webinar, or giving them a piece of relevant content that helps them implement what they learned.

Do You Integrate Video into Your Webinars?

Mark (ON24) – “How have you begun to integrate video into your webinars?”

  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “We decided we wanted to try something different than just the PowerPoint. So we thought, ‘let’s just try to go live and do an actual interview,’ so we did. It wasn’t in a studio, and we didn’t have lots of equipment. We had a small little Nikon camera, a little microphone attached to it, and a little tiny light, and it was sitting on a kitchen table. It just shows what you can do with a small budget. You don’t need tens of thousands of dollars. We spent $1,000 to buy all the equipment and created a great polished video.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • Hubspot reports, “87% of consumers say they’d like to see more video from brands in 2019.” As such, video is a MUST-have in your content marketing toolbox. The question is not “is video a fit for us?” The question is “how are we using video to connect with our audience?”
  • An easy, fun and inexpensive way to create great video content AND engage with your audience is going LIVE on a platform like Facebook or LinkedIn. Minimal setup is required to create a great video, and your audience will love the opportunity to have a conversation with you.
  • Video is ripe for repurposing! You can use a single piece of content in your webinars, your marketing promotions, and product tutorials. Get creative and start putting your ideas into action!

How Do You Cope with Bad Speakers?

Mark (ON24) – “How do you deal with bad speakers? There’s nothing worse on a webinar than a terrible speaker.”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “We have some speakers who are deeply intellectual and very verbose, or they have slides that have 30 bullets on them, which can be very dense. So, in addition to helping with slide coaching, we run a practice session for our webinars. If we hear they’re not as engaging, we plan ahead to ask questions on certain slides to break up the sound of the voice. We let the speaker know in advance that the webinar manager is going to interrupt them on a certain slide, and this really helps.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “We really try to make the speaker as comfortable as possible. Our team makes sure that everything is covered so that the speaker doesn’t have anything to worry about besides speaking. We try to make it so they just have to focus on their expertise for the webinar.”

BIG TAKEAWAYS (aka Smart Simple Marketing Implementation Advice)

  • It’s all too easy for a speaker to go off on an unrelated tangent or turn their presentation into a pitch about their company. In order to avoid alienating your audience, clearly communicate with your speakers your expectations about the focus of their presentation. Make sure they understand that they are there to create value for your audience, not “toot their own horn” or sell their product.
  • Keep your content simple. We’ve seen time and again that our clients try to cram too much information into a session and end up overwhelming their audience. Choose ONE topic for your webinar and design your content to focus on that one topic. You want your audience to walk away feeling refreshed and inspired, not overwhelmed and confused.

How can Webinerds Reach the Next Level?

Mark (ON24) – “For all of our future and current #webinerds, any one piece of advice that you would give our audience today to take their webinerdship to the next level?”

  • Deanna (Clarivate Analytics) – “Use the best practices that ON24 provides you with; they’re critical. View your webinars as engagement, not just a tactic.”
  • Josh (Collette Travel) – “Don’t be afraid to try something new and try something different. Take what you learned here and try it. That’s what I’ve done (this is my third year) and every year we go back with at least one or two things that we’re going to try this year that has really impacted us.”
  • Nina (Salesforce) – “Be really passionate about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Really push the envelope because who knows, maybe one thing, the next thing, will be a huge win for your company.”

As you can see, this was a rich session, filled with practical insights from three very different companies. Whether you sell B2B or B2C, whether you sell a product or service, whether your new to producing webinars or a seasoned veteran, there is always an opportunity to cross-appropriate strategies that are working in companies that look different from yours. I challenge you, as you think about what you learned in this article, not to think “yeah, but…,” and instead think “how can…”

Take “can’t” out of your vocabulary. Focus on what you CAN do. Commit to truly serving your audience. That is a guaranteed strategy that leads to success.

This is just one recap from the many insights we gained at Webinar World that we’ll be sharing in detail with our clients.

If you’d like to schedule a no-obligation brainstorming session about how to implement a results-focused webinar strategy, you can reach Sydni at sydni@smartsimplemarketing.com.

The Basics of Building an ABM Program with Webinars

This post was originally published on heinzmarketing.com. Syndicated with permission.

We’re now four weeks into the Road to Webinar Success! After having covered Panel Webinars, Webinar Operations, and Internal Alignment, it’s time we shift our focus to using webinars to build an ABM program. With webinars driving your ABM program, you can create scalable, highly-personalized, highly-targeted, and engaging experiences for your target accounts. And all while thoughtfully measuring performance, qualifying leads and pushing those leads closer towards a purchase decision.

Why should you use webinars to build your ABM program?

Webinars are, potentially, one of the most engaging tools both sales and marketing have at their disposal. They can present high-value offers, be personalized to different personas across all stages of the sales cycle, are highly-interactive, and they allow you to easily gauge the level of interest and intent from those who attend.

With webinars in your ABM program, you have an opportunity to reach the entire buying center and tailor content for decision makers and influencers in a much more scalable way. Plus, they are an excellent way to spread your marketing messages to a large number of prospects, both on the day and with the on-demand version, making it possible to continue to share your content, ideas, and messages well-beyond the live webinar.

Give Your Audience a Highly-Personalized Experience At-Scale

Successful ABM relies on your ability to be highly relevant and highly personalized with each of your target accounts. With webinars, you have the ability to personalize your content in ways other formats just don’t support, and you can do so at scale. This is especially true for on-demand recordings where you can re-record or edit certain sections to align with your specific audience.

Get More Content to Your Target Accounts

Getting tailored content to prospects at the perfect time within their buyer’s journey is difficult enough. Adding in factors like email responsiveness, messaging points, and channel preference makes this task even harder. With a webinar platform, however, you can provide access to your downloadable assets like whitepapers, guides, product information, or case studies right within the webinar console itself.

You don’t have to deal with a handful of other factors that come into play when balancing email sends, targeted ads, and overall timing because now, the assets are right there in front of the prospect. All you need to worry about is getting them to watch.

Drive More Meaningful, Direct Engagement Among Target Accounts

Webinars provide a channel for two-way engagement, setting them apart from other mediums where communication is either one-way (videos and podcasts) or completely non-existent (whitepapers and their counterparts). Through webinars, presenters, moderators, salespeople, and consultants are enabled to make one-to-one connections on a far more efficient, authentic, and meaningful way, at-scale

Your webinars give attendees the ability to ask questions, respond to questions, or take polls, and they give your team the ability to engage back. The engagement is also immediate, unlike social media where comments and questions aren’t always responded to in a timely manner.

Gain Enhanced Engagement Metrics

While it’s nice seeing metrics like views, clicks, and downloads, those don’t do a great job of showcasing actual buyer intent. Webinar engagement metrics, on the other hand, show these as well as time spent watching, responses to questions asked, questions asked themselves, and surveys taken. Advanced webinar platforms also provide algorithmic engagement scores that summarize all activity into one, easy-to-understand number. These metrics can then be viewed on an individual contact level or can be aggregated for account-level views making it much easier to know where prospects are in the sales cycle

Stakeholders and roles

ABM, in general, is a cross-functional effort across your sales and marketing teams, so it’s important to ensure that both teams are aligned and working towards similar goals. Remember: Webinars aren’t just a marketing activity.

It’s especially helpful for at least one representative from sales to either act as a presenter or at least be available to answer any questions participants may have because sales teams are often grouped around verticals and industry segments.

Having such an approach allows a more seamless transition from a webinar to a sales conversation, as the person presenting can pick up the conversation directly with the customer.

More specifically, consider these roles and responsibilities as you conduct your ABM program with webinars:

  • Marketing:
  • Program Director: ABM Strategy and Approach, Target Account Alignment with Sales
  • Webinar Manager: Webinar Strategy, Webinar Production, Tracking and Reporting
  • Program Execution: Content Creation, Webinar Promotion
  • Operations: Webinar Set-Up, Webinar Tracking
  • Sales: Target Account Alignment with Marketing, Promotion, Follow-Up

Want more?

There’s so much more to learn about a webinar program’s role in an ABM strategy. Stay tuned, because in the next few weeks, we’ll revisit this topic to better understand the ins and outs of how to implement this kind of initiative in your own ABM efforts.