8 Ways Panel Webinars Provide Marketing Power

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

With a panel webinar in your tool belt, you can give your prospects, leads and customers an authentic experience while engaging them far more meaningfully than with traditional assets. And, all while demonstrating your organization’s thought leadership with the added bonus of third-party endorsements from your panelists.

So, why should you care about panel webinars?

To Stand Out

Webinars have been done the same way for a long, long time, essentially comprised of one-sided PowerPoints, linear presentations, and a feeling of being lectured at. With a panel webinar, however, you’re able to foster much more fluid conversations not just between your panelists, but with the audience as well.

To Drive Authenticity

With a panel webinar, you become more approachable, more interactive, and more conversational. And these, in turn, highlight the more human, the more authentic, side of your organization.

To Gain Actionable Insights

Panel webinars allow you to engage leads in a much more powerful way — to make them a part of the conversation. And the more you involve them, the better you’re able to qualify them based on questions they ask and polls they respond to.

Through their interaction on the webinar, you are able learn more about them and move them through the funnel more effectively. And with this data, you’ll also have an easier time handing these leads to sales.

To Save Time and Resources

Most experts find panel discussions much easier than presentations. They’re more conversational, require less prep, and aren’t nearly as demanding as more traditional webinars are. Because of this, it will likely be much easier to get speakers to participate.

When Should You Use Panel Webinars?

As Mark Bornstein, VP of Marketing at ON24 says, “No matter where a lead is in the buyer’s journey, a conversation can be just as effective as a presentation.”

Top of Funnel

At the top of funnel, panel webinars can be used in a number of ways:

  • To establish your organization as a thought leader and trusted adviser
  • To generate net new leads with value-added content
  • To generate demand for and awareness of your organization’s expertise and focus areas
  • To drive deeper, more meaningful engagement amongst top of funnel leads

Middle of Funnel

In the middle of the funnel, panel webinars should be used to further qualify lead intent with more technical, educational topics that work to differentiate your brand. You can also use them to address use cases and scenarios by hosting a panel of customers who speak about their experiences with your product.

Bottom of Funnel

And at the bottom of the funnel, panel webinars can be used to speak to your core product capabilities with a panel of engineers or product managers, up-sell or cross-sell by promoting new features and product launches, and validate your organization with customers speaking to your expertise.

How Much Time Do You Need to Prepare a Panel Webinar?

When planning a panel webinar, you should give yourself between 6-8 weeks to prepare. This will ensure you have your resources planned, promotions mapped out, and topics and speakers confirmed.

Like most webinars, a panel webinar should be between 30-60 minutes. This will help ensure the audience stays engaged the entire length of the session and reduces the possibility of drop-off.

Who Are the Key Stakeholders Involved in a Panel Webinar?

Who’s responsible for what in a panel webinar?  Here’s a quick view of the roles and responsibilities:

  • Marketing: Strategy, Planning, Production, Promotion
  • Sales: Promotion, Lead Engagement, Follow-Up
  • Moderator: Discussion Guide, Time Management, Audience Input Management
  • Panelists: Subject Matter Experts, Strong Speakers, Engaging Perspectives

How Do You Produce a Panel Webinar?

Now that you know the principles of producing a panel webinar, it’s time to put it all together. To learn how to do this and much, much more, join us at ON24’s Webinar World 2019 from March 11-13 in San Francisco, CA! PLUS save $500 and get free tickets using the code “Heinz_VIP” at checkout!

Watch keynote presentations, join breakout sessions, and participate in interactive labs all designed to help you utilize webinars and engage for action.

We’ll see you there!

Can’t make it to Webinar World? Join Matt Heinz and a panel of experts from ON24, Netline, Sketchdeck, and DemandBase for our panel webinar, “Cut Thorugh the B2B Noise: Drive Engagement, Action, Conversion, and Loyalty.”

Heinz Marketing On: The Road to Webinar World 2019

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

So much of what constitutes sales and marketing today is noise, and while noise may keep prospects busy sifting between what’s important and what’s not, it doesn’t do much to tip the marketing scales in your favor. Noise doesn’t stand out. It doesn’t get noticed. It doesn’t drive interest, engagement, urgency, or, most importantly, action.

But as we all know, creating content that resonates with one persona is hard enough. Doing so for multiple, across companies and industries? Well, that’s another story altogether. When today’s buying committee is made up of at least six people, and one in two consumers completely disregard content they deem irrelevant, what’s needed to drive meaningful, scalable engagement? How can you take into account your targets’ different roles, responsibilities, preferences, and concerns? How can you be sure what you’re sending prospects is actually valuable?

These are just a few of the questions we, as B2B sales and marketing professionals, must consider. But the answers are much harder to find. And while there may not be a silver bullet to solve all of our engagement woes, there is a tactic that can, at the very least, help to point us in the right direction — webinars.

With ON24’s Webinar World right around the corner (which you can get free tickets to using code “Heinz_VIP” at checkout!), we’ve been thinking a lot about the usage and effectiveness of webinars as a means to drive meaningful, scalable, and profitable engagement. In fact, according to ON24’s 2018 Webinar Benchmark Report, 95 percent of practitioners agree webinars represent a key part of their marketing and lead generation efforts, as well as:

  • 76% reporting webinars enable them to reach more leads
  • Over one-third (38%) considering webinars to be ‘critical’ to their digital communications
  • Half of those surveyed consider the quality of leads generated through their webinars to be above average
  • And eight in ten respondents report webinars help lower their cost-per-lead

Clearly, webinars possess a lot of value. The question now is: What are the different plays, tactics, and strategies around webinars you can utilize to uncover this value for yourself?

To help you get (and stay) on the right path to achieving webinar success, we’re excited to announce our new blog series — The Road to Webinar World 2019. Over the next eight weeks, we’ll share with you a new webinar tactic to help you do everything from planning, measuring success, and integrating a webinar program into your larger marketing strategy.

Here’s a calendar of what you can expect:

  • 2/20 The Power of Panel Webinars
  • 2/26 Streamlining Webinar Operations with Integrated Technologies
  • 3/05 Driving Webinar Success with Your Internal Teams
  • 3/12 Building an ABM Program with Webinars
  • 3/19 Using Webinar Data for Research and New Content
  • 3/26 Tracking Webinar Performance
  • 4/02 Extending the Life of Your In-Person Conferences
  • 4/09 Developing Webinars for Key Opinion Leaders (KOL)

Keep an eye on this space, the ON24 Blog, for these posts and more as we head into Webinar World 2019 and beyond.

3 Sessions We’re Looking Forward to at Webinar World 2019

How can you get more engagement from your webinars? Learn the tips, tricks and tactics that make webinars work at Webinar World 2019.

This is my second year attending ON24’s user conference, Webinar World. We’ve got a strong, loyal base of demand gen users in the tech industry and you’ll meet a lot of them at our event. But this year I’m excited to see customers outside of tech talk about using our platform in really cool ways.

For example, HVAC manufacturer Jacksons Systems will share their secret sauce for bringing product training to life – hint hint, they’ve added video to their webinars.

Using Video with Jackson Systems: How to Captivate Audiences with On-camera Presentations

TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2019 at 1:45 – 2:15 PM – BREAKOUT SESSIONS, ROUND 3

You’d think adorable puppies have no place in a webinar about HVAC controls, but the manufacturer Jackson Systems proves us all wrong by showing that making content fun and relatable through video makes a big impact, no matter the industry. Join Tyler Hershberger, Production Director at Jackson Systems, for a deep-dive into video-based webinars, from humanizing your content to mastering advanced video techniques to adding new technology.

You’ll learn how to:

• Add video to your webinar strategy

• Use video to bring content to life

• Build the right tech infrastructure for video

Morningstar, a giant in the financial services world, will give us a sneak peek into the complete reboot that they gave their webinar program. Find out where and how they use webinars to strengthen relationships with their existing customers and attract new ones.

Extreme Makeover: Learn Why Morningstar Overhauled their Webinar Program

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2019 at 11:00 – 11:30 AM – BREAKOUT SESSIONS, ROUND 1

For the investment research and software company, Morningstar, content truly is king. So, when their webinars proved unworthy, the team decided to make a regime change. Join Morningstar’s, Emilie Neumeier, Product Marketing Manager and Lisa Rafdal, Marketing Manager to hear how the fintech firm totally renovated their marketing strategy with a brand new webinar program that improved the audience experience and increased MQLs by 300%.

You’ll learn how to:

• Rebuild your webinar program from scratch

• Align your webinar program with your buyer

• Use webinars across the customer lifecycle

RSM, a provider of audit, tax and consulting services, built a continuing education webinar program using the ON24 platform’s capabilities to track, report, and issue certificates. What a great way to develop a loyal client base.

Making CPE Easy with RSM: How to Build a Painless Process for Continuing Education Webinars

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 13, 2019 at 11:35 AM – 12:05 PM – BREAKOUT SESSIONS, ROUND 2

With specific learning criteria to meet and thousands of certificates to issue, continuing education programs get complicated fast. Join RSM’s Allison Snyder, Senior Marketing Specialist, to learn how the ON24 Platform helps make it easy to run continuing education webinars across any industry, from reporting to tracking to self-service certificates.

You’ll learn how to:

• Build a webinar program with CE in mind

• Optimize the ON24 platform functionalities for CE

• Roll out a CE program at your own organization

These are just a few of the many sessions that will be going on over the two-day event so if you want to learn more check out the agenda here. Hope to see you there!

Webinar World 2019: Getting to Marketing Innovation with Cheri Keith and Joel Harrison

The rapid climb in social media spend, the advent of account-based marketing and the need to design everything for mobile — all of these changes to marketing took place within the past ten years. And while it feels like marketers are just starting to get a feel for the digital ground underneath their feet, the reality is that rapid change is going to keep coming.

Marketing’s evolution has gone into hyperdrive thanks to advances in technology, but good tech isn’t the only factor for innovation. Today’s game-changing marketers aren’t the ones adopting new technologies, but the ones who use tried and true marketing tactics to drive innovation.

To help marketers identify the elements of innovation, Joe Hyland, CMO at ON24, Cheri Keith, SiriusDecisions Senior Research Analyst and Joel Harrison, B2B Marketing Founder and Editor-in-Chief, will down together at Webinar World 2019 and discuss the differences between hype and reality and what makes for an innovative marketer.

Join us on Wednesday, March 13 at 9 a.m. at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, California to take part in this panel discussion and learn the elements of innovation.

What You Can Expect at Webinar World 2019

This post was originally published on dmnews.com, shared with the author’s permission.

It’s a virtual event, it’s a physical event, it’s a worldwide webinar. Webinar World, hosted by the leading webinar and virtual event platform ON24 will be drawing Webinerds to San Francisco again for three days of education and networking, March 11-13. DMN will be there, and we’ll be looking out for two characteristic elements of ON24’s annual event: granular instruction on the ways to do webinars right, and input not just from ON24 customers, but from other technology vendors — a sign of the respect ON24’s offerings command among the company’s peers.

The world a webinar

“A whole conference devoted to webinars?” That’s the kind of question which might be asked by anyone who still views webinars and comparable virtual events as optional add-ons to their strategies for engaging with customers, partners, and even employees. Central to ON24’s proffer is that virtual events can, and should, be at the core of such strategies — not just because they’re effective as live events, but because of what might be called “long tail” benefits. Webinars can engage an audience in real-time, of course, especially with Q&A and polling features, but can also have a productive after-life as on-demand content for anyone unable to attend the original event. They’re also great tools for capturing data about engagement right when the engagement happens.

Mark Bornstein, ON24’s VP of content marketing and official Chief Webinerd, lays out the benefits of webinars as follows:

  • Ease of deployment and persistence of content
  • Tote bags are great for picking up pieces of paper, but people now expect to consume content digitally
  • Product demonstrations can happen right away; no scheduling
  • You capture every conversation, every single action: poll responses, responses to CTAs, the chat log, etc.
  • Much faster marketing to sale hand-off; instant CRM.

The relevance of the above to Webinar World is that it puts these theories into practice. It goes without saying that attendees get to witness live content, and engage with speakers and panels directly, as well as networking with their peers. But the conference also re-invents itself — on the fly, as it were — as virtual content for on-demand consumption. Here’s last year’s Webinar World, still packaged for consumption by many more people than actually attended the event. We’ll see a repeat of this strategy in 2019, demonstrating the practical long-tail value of a virtual content strategy.

Doing webinars right

It wouldn’t be Webinar World without strong educational themes for webinerds of all levels. The first day of the conference features introductory sessions, for “webinewbies” new to the ON24 offering, right down to the nuts, bolts, and widgets of the platform. But it also offers deep-dive training for habitual users, not least how to use data derived from webinars to drive other actions and campaigns.

Bornstein, of course, will be sharing his latest tips on pushing webinars to the next level, and other members of the ON24 team will be presenting a blueprint for putting webinars at the heart of ABM. But at Webinar World, it’s not just about ON24’s best practices. The audience will be hearing from a range of partners about solutions which complement ON24’s offering: for example, how it fits into an Oracle infrastructure, how to utilize SketchDeck’s design solution in a webinar context, how Box can help with email promotion for webinars, and how to use Zapier to automate webinar workflows.

Customer success stories also occupy the stage, with presentations from Merrill, Financial Engines, Splunk, SAP HANA, and others. We can’t mention all the sessions here: check out the full agenda.

Keynotes and craziness

Let’s not overlook stimulation for the mind and the senses. In the former category, we’re particularly looking forward to the keynote from Mika Yamamoto, a DMN Marketing Hall of Femme inductee, whose amazing career trajectory has taken her from Microsoft, to Amazon, to SAP, and now to Marketo as VP and GM. Among others on the keynote stage, Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, and David Nihill, author of Do You Talk Funny?

In the latter category, and speaking of funny, the one thing better than the Webinerds in the Wild after-party will be the re-cap next morning from Bornstein and CMO Joe Hyland. With or without dance move videos.

DMN will be covering the event, speaking to ON24 executives and other guests, and presenting the highlights right here. Maybe we’ll see you there.

The 5 Webinar World 2019 Sessions to Up your Continuing Education and Training Game

Training and continuing education is an increasingly critical element for company success today. Employees demand it, clients crave it and some industries even require it. But producing a training or continuing education course is easier said than done — especially when you’re the one doing the producing.

To make education easier, and to help you learn a few things about the process, we’ve put together a few Webinar World 2019 sessions on digital training and continuing education. These breakout sessions will show you how you can give your training and continuing education webinars a long life, chapterize, integrate old material into your lessons and more.

Looking to improve your continuing education or training webinars? Check out these five sessions at Webinar World 2019:

Tuesday, March 11, 2019

Everlasting Webinars with S&P: How to Maximize your On Demand Strategy

2:20 – 2:50 p.m.

Live webinars or simul-live webinars for maximum training impact? According to S&P Market Intelligence, it doesn’t matter as long as you always make your webinars available on-demand. Join Laura Lopez, S&P’s Head of Client Education, to learn how to give your training webinars everlasting life through the right mix of interactivity features, curated playlists using ON24 Engagement Hub and constant promotion across touchpoints.

You’ll learn how to:

• Multiply attendees and engagement beyond the live webinar

• Encourage content binging using ON24 Engagement Hub

• Measure your on-demand webinar program performance

From Basic Training to Masterclass: CompTIA’s Approach to Virtual Learning

11:35 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

Virtualizing in-classroom training has more to offer than just convenience, it can supercharge the value of your audience’s learning experience by offering group interactivity, chapterization for self-paced content consumption and the ability to measure course effectiveness. Join CompTIA’s Tazneen Kasem, Director of Product Management & Instructor Network and Stephen Schneiter, Program Manager, to learn how to run impactful training programs, whether that’s increasing participation of association memberships or driving more awareness for your brand. This session is based on the industry driven standards included in the trainer certification, CompTIA CTT+.

You’ll learn how to:

• Plan for webinar course instruction

• Deliver engaging, interactive training experiences

• Evaluate program impact

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Repurposing your Webinars with Align Technology: How to Use a Single Webinar Multiple Ways

1:15 – 1:45 p.m.

It’s much easier to piece together a puzzle when you can see the whole picture. The same principle applies when it comes to webinar planning — once you know all the ways you want to use a webinar, then you can quickly create and assemble all the elements. Join Align Technology’s Sr. Professional Education Manager Patricia Torres to take a step back and see how to build a holistic webinar program that can be broken into several pieces of content that serve multiple use cases.

You’ll learn how to:

• Create modular content and stitch it together with simple tools

• Gain insights from content interactivity

• Integrate multiple touchpoints into a single experience

Rock-solid Core: Learn How IBM Cloud Maximized Marketing Performance with Webinars

1:15 – 1:45 p.m.

A strong, flexible core is important for physical fitness and digital marketing. After relentless webinar training and constant measurement, the IBM Cloud team discovered that webinars are their core for building an unshakeable foundation and maxing marketing campaign performance. Join IBM Cloud’s Jim Gianotti to hear how webinars became the heavyweight champion of their marketing mix.

You’ll learn how to:

• Implement a team-wide webinar regimen focused on making webinars a core tactic

• Make webinars do the heavy lifting, benefiting other campaign tactics and content distribution

• Prove why doing webinars will strengthen your marketing campaign core

Making CPE Easy with RSM: How to Build a Painless Process for Continuing Education Webinars

11:35 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.

With specific learning criteria to meet and thousands of certificates to issue, continuing education programs get complicated fast. Join RSM’s Allison Snyder, Senior Marketing Specialist, to learn how the ON24 Platform helps make it easy to run continuing education webinars across any industry, from reporting to tracking to self-service certificates.

You’ll learn how to:

• Build a webinar program with CE in mind

• Optimize the ON24 platform functionalities for CE

• Roll out a CE program at your own organization

Sharat Sharan on the Marketing Metrics That Matter

By: Sharat Sharan, CEO and Founder of ON24

This article was originally published on MarketingProfs.com 

How can you get more engagement from your webinars? Learn the tips, tricks and tactics that make webinars work at Webinar World 2019.

Over the past 20 years as CEO of ON24, we’ve pivoted several times, successfully navigated two of the worst downturns in recent memory, and become a sustainable, high-growth business.

I’m often asked what aspect contributed most to our long-term success. There are so many factors, but my answer is always the same: we became a sustainable business when we stopped looking at our marketing team as ‘nice to have’ team, but rather, as its own separate business department, one that impacts our bottomline. While I had previously thought of marketing as a softer department — one that made materials look slick — our business transformed when we transformed our marketing team from a cost-center to a revenue driver.

We did this through a range of measures, including conducting quarterly business reviews, and ensuring we hit our goals for marketing metrics that actually impact our revenue and bottomline. As we were changing the focus and goals of our marketing team, one of the struggles we found in the early going was determining what these metrics are that truly matter to our business and produce the highest ROI.

Entrepreneurs are inevitably focused on the product and sales, of course. But for CEOs looking to supercharge their growth, start measuring marketing by the metrics that will matter most to your organization’s bottom line.

Pipeline 

This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many marketers get this wrong. In fact, many get it wrong on purpose, in order to improve their numbers. If you’re undergoing a marketing team transformation, you should take the time to sit down with your sales team and understand which leads really are moving the needle for them and why.

With the help of your sales colleagues, you should create a more narrow description of a sales qualified lead (SQL), so your marketing team can focus on the right prospects and segments of the industry to go after. For example, if your business sells to VP-level roles primarily, and rarely closes a deal with those at the managerial level, a SQL should only include those at the VP-level or higher.

Yes, your pipeline will inevitably decline when you make this change. But if you have an honest conversation with your company about how this new description will help you engage the right prospects and produce more ROI, they’ll understand the dip and be on board with your long-term approach to pipeline.

Attribution

In the same vein of pipeline, marketers should have a firm grasp of which touchpoints are working for their business. Sure, if certain platforms like LinkedIn or Google Ads are most effective at converting customers, that’s where more of your budget should go.

But beyond that – marketers should understand what I call the ‘digital body language’ of your customers. What are the actions or touchpoints that indicate a prospect will become a customer? What indications show that you’re about to lose them? You should know the most important indicators — both good and bad – that your prospects give you. Then, you should engage accordingly based off these signals.

Of course, there may be some campaigns you need to run from a brand standpoint no matter what the attribution looks like. But you should have a clear idea of the initiatives that are driving the most dollars to your organization. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment with new marketing tactics, but those tactics should be informed and guided by past successes you’ve seen and the digital body language indicators.

Churn & Customer Lifetime Value

These are two separate metrics, but they’re so interwoven that marketers shouldn’t think of one without the other. Customer lifetime value is the net profit you can expect from acquiring a new customer – a number that increases whenever you reduce churn.

Seventy percent of companies say it’s easier to retain a customer than to acquire a new one. But many marketers aren’t necessarily thinking about marketing to existing customers, because they’re too focused on trying to acquire new ones and increase their pipeline. That’s a noble cause, but it might not be the most efficient way to see true ROI on your marketing. Read the digital body language of your existing customers, and see which ones are most likely to churn or which could be open to upselling to try to maximize your ROI.

As you transform your marketing metrics, be sure to come up with a way to measure retention and upselling. You may need to pull statistics to show your executive team how valuable retaining customers is, and why you should market not just to prospects but to existing customers as well.

Overall Engagement

Looking at impressions, website visitors, and reach is no longer enough for marketers. Heck, I don’t even care how many views you get on a video.

Smartphones and the ‘always on’ culture has changed things for marketers in several key ways: It’s easier to get clicks than ever before. But it’s also harder to keep viewers engaged. CNBC reported that ads have just 5 to 6 seconds to keep Millennials engaged. One way to combat these shrinking attention spans is to tailor your content on a personal level. McKinsey found that “personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend, and can lift sales by 10% or more.” Now that’s a metric we can all get behind.

Whether it’s a personalized email campaign, recommending relevant products or solutions, or engaging through chatbots, companies need to focus on how to engage with customers in a personalized fashion. And this will only become more important as Millennials and members of Generation Z join the workforce and make more purchase decisions.

Clearly, all of these numbers help marketers stand out not just as the people who make things look pretty, but as the ones who drive tangible value to their organization — and that makes marketers indispensable to any fast-growing business.