The 7 Sessions That’ll Give Your Webinar Program Staying Power

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

How does one create a webinar program from scratch? How do you gather guests, build a content library, set up webinar consoles and still have enough time to think? Well, you can find the answers at Webinar World 2019.

At Webinar World 2019, we’ll explore the basic elements and advanced strategies that go into creating a world-class webinar program in the Build Programs track. In the Build Programs track, you’ll learn how you can perfect your webinar emails, build trust with your audience, craft a binge-worthy webinar series and much more.

Check out the Build Programs track and plot out your visit to Webinar World 2019:

Tuesday, March 12

From Experimentation to Optimization: Hitting the Email Sweet Spot with Box

In the fast-changing tech industry, experimentation is critical to staying ahead of the competition. That’s especially true when it comes to figuring out the right mix of email promotions. Join Box‘s Kendall Carreher, Sr. Email Marketing Manager and Ryan Wong, Marketing Operations Manager, to get the results from their year’s worth of testing everything from email subject lines to layouts to audience segmentation, and then ways to apply those insights to your webinar promotion emails.

You’ll learn how to:

• Optimize your emails

• Increase webinar registration

• Run your own email tests

From Pitching to Enlightenment: Financial Engines’ Techniques for Boosting Client Trust with Webinars

As buyers become increasingly wary of giving their contact information away, the pressure is on for marketers to deliver high-value, educational experiences that offer audiences meaningful knowledge they can’t get elsewhere. Join Jocelyn Robertson, Webinar Producer at Financial Engines, to hear how to increase the informational value of your webinars so that prospects trust you with their name, and eventually, their business.

You’ll learn how to:

• Create mutually beneficial webinar experiences

• Increase the value of information presented in a webinar

• Deliver impactful webinars without a sales pitch

From One-off to Always-on: G3’s Blueprint for Building a Binge-Worthy Webcast Series

When was the last time you watched just one episode of anything? We’re clearly living in the Netflix era, and B2B marketers must seize the opportunity to feed their audience’s desire for binging. That sounds daunting, but, luckily, webcast series offers an engaging and efficient way to serve up a quick fix. Join G3 Communications’ Sheri Butts, marketing manager, who will share how brands like Demand Gen Report, Retail TouchPoints and Channel Marketer Report are creating webinar series to educate attendees, generate thousands of leads for their partners and satisfy their audience’s appetite for continuous, on-demand content.

You’ll learn how to:

• Plan and program a webinar series, from thematic messaging and branding to templates and timelines

• Promote multiple webinars, presenters and topics across channels

• Keep driving leads with an on-demand webinar strategy

From Zero to Hero: Atlassian’s Formula for a Repeatable, Data-driven Webinar Process

There are many roads to webinar glory, some easier to travel than others. So, how do you pick the path of least resistance? Join Atlassian‘s Blane Barker, Global Webinar Program Manager, to hear how she works smarter with a focused, results-driven approach that gives her the efficiency to single-handedly runs more than 250 webinars per year.

You’ll learn how to:

• Use webinar engagement data for smarter decisions

• Best practices for global scale

• Hone the most important elements of your webinar program

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

From Awareness to Action: Workfront’s Full-Funnel, Multichannel Marketing Campaign Strategy

Webinars are more than just a single event, they are a powerful mechanism for a full-funnel marketing campaign. Join Workfront’s Marc Hansen to hear how to use webinars as a driving force for a tentpole campaign, ” Transform Your Work,” that engaged prospects and customers across every stage of the lifecycle.

You’ll learn how to:

• Attract new leads with a top-of-funnel webinar series

• Accelerate mid-funnel pipeline with webinars featuring products and case studies

• Close deals and upsell customers with hands-on demos

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

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

From Ad Hoc to Centralized: PTC’s Method for Creating a Webinar Center of Excellence

Webinars are an important channel in a multitouch campaign, and it’s just as important to build an infrastructure to efficiently turn that channel’s volume up or down in a turnkey way. Join PTC’s Mike Marshall, Digital Experience Optimization team for a walk-through of their centralized method for dialing up the webinars, and the leads, for hundreds of marketers worldwide.

You’ll learn how to:

• Centralize the execution and integration of webinars

• Support large marketing and sales teams worldwide

• Institute global best practices for using webinars to drive demand

The 7 Sessions That’ll Turn You Into a Webimaster at Webinar World 2019 

It’s a long way to the top if you want to get the most out of your webinar program. But shortcuts are available. Discover the quickest way to becoming a webimaster in San Francisco from March 11-13 at Webinar World 2019. Especially when you attend the Mastering ON24 track. 

The Mastering ON24 track will arm you with the insights, playbooks and tactics you need to craft quality digital experiences that drive audience engagement and deliver actionable data. Attend this track’s sessions to learn how Oracle operationalizes its webinars for the best results, how Jackson Systems uses videos to captivate its audience and how you can run a successful webinar program all by yourself. 

Check out the tracks below to learn more: 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Integration Deep-dive with Oracle Netsuite: How to Operationalize Webinars for Optimal Results

For demand gen marketers, what happens after the webinar is just as important as promoting and holding the webinar itself. Join Oracle NetSuite’s Deniz Dondero, Director of Digital & Marketing Campaigns and Bekkah Lyman, Sr. Marketing Operations Manager, for a deep-dive into using webinars to nurture leads and convert them into opportunities. Get a glimpse into the infrastructure they built that facilitates and enables it all.

You’ll come away knowing how to:

• Integrate ON24 with marketing automation platforms

• Use webinars to convert leads to opportunity

• Seamlessly operationalize the process

Time-Saving Tutorial with Joe Oliva: How to Automate Webinar Workflows through Zapier

Ever wish you had a virtual assistant to help run your professional webinerd life? Combining the power of the ON24 Platform with workflow automation software Zapier brings producing webinars a little further into our AI-driven future by automating common tasks with “Zaps,” such as sending a calendar invite when a webinar is scheduled, or sending an email alert with registration updates. Join webinar expert Joe Oliva to get hands-on with Zapier and start saving time.

You’ll learn:

• How and when to use Zaps

• Set up basic Zaps

• What Zaps are coming from ON24

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 13

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

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

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

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

Scaling Fast with Fitbit: How to Run a Successful Webinar Program Solo

Starting anything new is tough… going at it alone is even tougher. Join Fitbit’s Rachel Yarnold, Associate Digital Marketing Manager, to hear how she quickly got the tech company’s B2B webinar program up and running, from defining the content to determining the audience acquisition strategy to owning the results.

You’ll learn how to:

• Develop a webinar strategy that scales

• Set boundaries

• Establish realistic goals and measure success

Three Lead Gen and Pipeline Trends To Look Out For in 2019

Next week, ON24 will run its latest Insight50 session – where we provide you with 50 minutes of expert insight and answer the questions that are important to you.

As it’s the start of the year, January’s session will focus on lead generation and pipeline success and feature experts from SiriusDecisions, Oracle and Genesys, so register for the session here.

2018 was a busy year for marketers and the ON24 team. Privacy regulations such as GDPR have changed the way we have to market – for the better – and the number of technology solutions on the market has continued to soar.

That being said, businesses still have to keep their eyes firmly on generating revenue, which means optimising their lead generation efforts and strengthening their pipeline. So what do we think will be important in the months to come? Here are a few trends we’ve seen emerge.

Lead generation focuses on quality over quantity

Marketers have continued to list lead generation and traffic as one of their top priorities, with 63% citing it as such in a recent HubSpot study.

But buyers are increasingly switching off from automated spam and endless emails asking for a “15-minute call”.

On top of that, privacy regulations means that only engaged prospects that have given consent for marketing should be the ones receiving communications. The good news for marketers is that these are the prospects that will be more likely to convert.

Account-based approaches become more important as buying decisions become more complex

Research from CEB has shown that the average number of people involved in buying decision has grown from an average of 5.4 people to 6.8 in just the space of two years.

Increasingly, this means that generating opportunities requires more than just one contact. Instead, marketing will have to generate multiple leads and engagement from a single account in order to support consensus-driven buying.

Predictive insights and artificial intelligence take a role across the entire pipeline

It’s always been best practice for marketing and sales to work closely together, but new technologies will place an increased emphasis on such an approach.

Signals captured from marketing automation will proactively inform sales reps into what messages might resonate with their active opportunities. Cognitive technology will provide marketers with the ability to send new communications to prospects while they are researching solutions, while buyers have the most relevant information surfaced automatically.

What will you be doing for lead generation and pipeline success in 2019?

Come and ask our experts your questions and share your views at the next Insight50 webinar on January 30. We would love to hear your views.

How Infopro Digital Rocks its Webinars

Some companies work in industries that require a polished, professional presentation every time they talk to a client or potential customer. The insurance industry, not one for taking risks, is one of them. For Infopro Digital, keeping its audience informed means crafting a professional experience every time. So the publisher, through its UK-based magazine, Insurance Age, took the time to craft a better webinar. And did they ever rock it.

The Why Behind the Webinar

Insurance practices change fast. So to keep its audience up-to-speed on the latest developments, Insurance Age needs its experts to update and inform its audience as soon as news break. In 2018, that news pretty much revolved around Europe’s new privacy law, the General Data Privacy Regulation, or GDPR.

To keep its audience up-to-date on the latest interpretations of the law, and to let its broker-centric audience know what they need to do, Infopro Digital, in association with Applied Systems, produced the webinar, “GDPR — What Brokers Need to Know.

The Expert Panel

But Infopro Digital’s audience is looking for expert content, not good console layout. At first glance, the publisher’s webinar seems shockingly devoid of typical webinar content. There’s no resource list, no direct links to Insurance Age’s website and no slides to speak of. In short, the webinar is perfect for what it needs to do: draw attention to its five panelists and Insurance Age’s expertise.

Less, for this webinar, is a lot more.

Here’s why. Adding additional content to its panel — which featured experts from several brokers firms and associations — would’ve detracted from the overall presentation by offering its audience the opportunity to distract themselves, tune the panel out and avoid participating in the webinar through its Q&A panel. By removing the temptation for distraction — at least through the webinar console — Infopro Digital did its audience a service by providing focus.

What Infopro Digital did — restraint in service of its subject and audience — is hard. The publisher could’ve easily put in a dozen resources or given viewers a massive slide deck to download. And you should offer educational content — but only if the event calls for it and doesn’t distract from your main message.

The Presentation

First, and this is a recurring theme across all of 2018’s Webinars That Rocked, Infopro Digital uses a clean, well-designed console. Insurance Age’s brand colors and name are prominent and consistent across its background image, engagement tool screens and buttons. Infopro Digital’s attention to detail here pays dividends in presenting a unified professional brand.

Its console layout, too, is worth noting. From left to right, it offers its Speaker bios, the media player and the Q&A console, its subject (more on this later) and a refer-a-colleague form, a survey and a social “share this” engagement tool. Why does this matter? Because the essential content windows — the Media Player and the Q&A engagement tool — take the center of the console — where it belongs.

But these mission-critical windows are also surrounded by contextual information. Audience members can take a look to the left and find Speaker Bios, where they can find information on the webinar’s panelists. To the right, is one slide stating the title and subject of the webinar and the Refer a Colleague engagement tool. Extraneous windows, like its survey and social share engagement tool, are to the far right, tucked away from the webinar’s main content.

Quick, Easy Sharing

Infopro Digital published its webinar in early April, a month before GDPR took effect. Professionals were crunched for time to comply with the law and not everyone knew of the Insurance Age  So, to promote expert-led panel as it was going on, Infopro Digital offered two ways to share the webinar.

The first method Infopro Digital offered to share the webinar is through the Refer a Colleague engagement tool, located right below its title slide. It’s a handy means of direct messaging someone individually to put the event on their radar. For Infopro Digital, it’s also a convenient way of promoting its event to its target audience through a trusted source — a fellow broker.

Next, it gave its audience the opportunity to share the webinar with a broader audience through the Share This engagement tool. The engagement tool allows attendees to share the event over social channels, allowing Infopro Digital to reach a wider audience that may have a general interest in how GDPR impacts insurance.

By providing both options, the publisher can easily expand the event’s reach give it a longer life cycle — allowing brokers to reference it during the days and weeks before GDPR took effect.

And that’s it. Infopro Digital did a great job of crafting a restrained, informative webinar on one of 2018’s hottest topics of the year. It gave a clean presentation, knew when to hold back on content and made it easy to share with like-minded attendees.

Keep an eye on the ON24 blog for more insights and inspiration from the Webinars That Rocked 2018. Curious to see what a great webinar can do for you? Check out Webinars That Rocked on demand.

How Plante Moran Rocks Webinars

Plante Moran knows its taxes. After all, it is one of the largest certified public accounting and professional services in the United States with more than 3,100 staff members. As a leader in the accounting industry, Plante Moran is under constant pressure to prove its expertise and insights, expand its client roster and inform its audience of the near-constant changes and adjustments to American tax codes.

To cement itself as a leader in the accounting industry, engage its accounting audience and educate at scale, Plante Moran makes expert use of the ON24 Platform for its webinars. The firm is so skillful in its webinar use, that it submitted a webinar to the 2018 Webinars That Rocked contest. And we have to say — Plante Moran knows how to put together a tightly-crafted event.

The Why Behind the Webinar

Plante Moran’s typical webinars needed to serve the dual purpose of impressing attendees while educating them at the same time. So, the company created a webinar, “Tax Reform: 2018 Year-end Tax Planning for Businesses” in the hope it would help craft a great brand experience highlighting the organization’s professionalism, its breadth of knowledge — through both its presenters and its resources — and recruit attendees to future webinars. The company also offered certifications through ON24’s certification widget, allowing finance professionals to acquire continuing professional education credits should they need them to maintain a license.

How It Rocked

Clean Console and Consistent Branding

First thing’s first: just take a look at its console! The main image is an even grey/black combo and is featured in its media player, its slide widget and its main background. This consistency allows the color to pop where it counts; take a look at Plante Moran’s brand name, its squiggle logo and the widget bar at the bottom of the console — each share the company’s logo and a similar color scheme. Even the Q&A button matches the firm’s style.

Next, take a quick look at the top. Plante Moran’s official logo and motto are featured prominently, tying the brand’s imagery to the event. One quick look at Plante Moran’s logo and you’ll begin to see it everywhere. We already mentioned its slides and media player, but the firm went the extra step and inserted its logo in its resource list (next to relevant tax guides) and a widget button. Its rare to see such a well thought-out and consistent style and you can see the subtle, but significant, differences when you compare this new console to their previous one:

To be fair, this is not a bad console. It’s clean-cut and has good branding itself. But it lacks the unified presentation of its new console and doesn’t let the webinar’s interactive features, like its widgets, pop out to the audience.

Continuing Professional Education for its Audience

Accountants need to know of new developments within their field and are often required to maintain a certain number of CPE credits to maintain a license to practice. For Plante Moran, this one-two combination of needs means the firm can identify accountants, see where their concerns are (via CPE-earning polls) and better cater content to address the needs of its audience.

Plante Moran places its CPEs offer front and center, highlighting the “Certification” widget and clearly detailing the requirements for accreditation in a slide and during its live broadcast. For example, the company clearly states that participants must respond to 75 percent of all questions and accrue a viewing time of 50 minutes. The firm also gives clear breaks allowing attendees to respond to polls. Plante Moran also takes the time at the end of the webinar to remind attendees to collect their certificate by clicking on the “Certification” widget.

Built-in Interactivity

Finally, Plante Moran ensured attendees could interact with the webinar and its panel. In addition to CPE credits, encouraged attendees to ask questions of its four-person panel via the Q&A widget, connect with panelists via email through the Speaker Bio widget and to download its many available resources. The panel also took breaks to answer questions from the Q&A chat, highlight polls and, at the very end, to ask its audience to fill out a survey assessing the webinar’s usefulness as an educational tool.

Overall, Plante Moran produced an excellent webinar and a great webinar console template it can use going forward. A fantastic example of a webinar that rocks.

Keep an eye on the ON24 blog for more insights and inspiration from the Webinars That Rocked 2018. Curious to see what a great webinar can do for you? Check out Webinars That Rocked on demand.

5 Tips for Better Panel Webinars

This article was originally published on JD Supra. Shared with permission.

Done right, panel discussions bringing together several experts are an excellent way to make your webinars stand out: they provide your audience with multiple perspectives on a single problem, they generate lively, in-depth dialog amongst peers and, with leading business and industry speakers on the slate, they enhance your credibility and authority.

But panels come with their own set of challenges. Here are five do’s and don’ts for ensuring the success of your panel discussion webinar.

1. Do: Organize a Practice Run

It’s always a good idea to do a dry run when you’re leading a panel discussion. With webinars it’s critical.

…participants should know each other and what to expect from the discussion

Of course participants should know each other and what to expect from the discussion: questions, answers, timing, speaking order, etc. But they also need to become comfortable with the webinar technology – like speaking to an invisible audience, identifying and eliminating noise issues, and changing slides.

Organize a practice run ahead of the event to make sure everyone’s up to speed and ready to go once the webinar starts.

2. Don’t: Ignore Diversity

Putting together the right panel can be at times more art than science. You want skills, experience, and personalities that complement each other, not cancel each other out.

You want skills, experience, and personalities that complement each other…

A panel that’s diverse – crossing gender, culture, race, or age lines, for example – makes for a better webinar, with richer discussions highlighting a wider range of experience and appealing to a broader audience. It may require you to cast a wider net when you’re looking for speakers, but your audience – and your speakers – will be glad you made the extra effort.

3. Do: Focus on Expertise

The most successful – and the most memorable – webinars are built around true experts who share their knowledge and experience with participants.

Your audience relies on you to bring them valid insight, credible expertise, and a meaningful perspective on the topics being discussed. And to ensure their satisfaction, as well as the success of future webinars, you need to deliver.

…include speakers with backgrounds that resonate with your intended audience.

Spend time getting speakers with backgrounds that resonate with your intended audience. If your webinar targets corporate counsel, for example, include an in-house lawyer who’s resolved the issues you’re discussing. If you’re aiming for attendees in a specific industry, bring in a thought leader from that sector. If you’re discussing government oversight, a federal or state regulator adds valuable authority.

4. Don’t: Offer Panelists a “Speaking Opportunity”

You may have experienced this yourself (I know I have): a conference organizer or discussion leader reaches out to you with a “great opportunity” to present at his event.

Don’t be that person. You’re asking an expert to participate on your panel. You’re asking them to share their knowledge with your audience. You’re not doing them a favor: they’re doing you one, and your request should make that clear.

There are several ways to say that – “we hope to bring together a group of leading experts, and hope that you can join us,” and “it would be an incredible honor if you were to speak on our webinar” come to mind – and none of them include the words “speaking opportunity.”

5. Do: Have a Contingency Plan

The best way to ensure that your webinars go off without a hitch? Expect the unexpected.

I encourage all of my clients to have a contingency plan that works in place before every webinar. This is particularly important when you’re leading a panel discussion with multiple presenters.

Expect the unexpected.

What could go wrong? Dropped calls, lost internet connections, power outages, computer crashes, missing panelists, etc. Chances are you’ll never need it, but if you do, a contingency plan will help you avoid an awkward and unpleasant webinar if anything should go wrong.

CMO Confessions Ep. 15: Rob Pinkerton of Morningstar

Hi folks and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly-ish podcast discussing all thing sales and marketing related. This week, we have Rob Pinkerton, CMO of Morningstar. I hope everyone had a restful holiday break and are ready to take on the new year.

Rob’s marketing career started in law as a U.S. Senate counsel. There, the technology side of policy and politics piqued Rob’s interest, and quickly moved on to a variety of technology companies (Siebel Systems, Lexis Nexis, Adobe) before moving onto a start up, HelloWallet, where he took on the role of CMO. Since then, Rob has seized the CMO title at Morningstar, a global investment research and management firm.

In this episode, Rob and I talk about the many paths one can take into B2B marketing along with what’s changed over the years and why acquiring and running technologies on the marketing side can be just so difficult.

If you’re interested in reading up on Rob’s career, you can find his LinkedIn profile here. If you’re interested in his insights and expertise, you can find his Twitter here.

Finally, as usual, 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.


Joe Hyland:

Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of CMO Confessions, a weekly sales and marketing podcast where we explore what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. This week, we’re fortunate to have Rob Pinkerton, CMO of Morningstar and joining from the DC area. Rob, how you doing?

Rob Pinkerton:

Great. Thanks so much for having me.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, this is fantastic. I think your background is particularly interesting because you serve both consumer and business space and we’ll talk more about that. But you came into Morningstar through an acquisition in 2014 Morningstar acquired HelloWallet, where you had the same role. I’d love to get your take on what it was like, what I assume, running marketing at a smaller, scrappier organization to then going to running marketing on a global well-established, large enterprise company.

Rob Pinkerton:

Sure. Well, you don’t really appreciate how many resources you have in a big company until you’ve gone to work for a really small company and you have almost nothing. So, I’d say the first thing is that it made me appreciate for sure you just the wealth of opportunity and resources marketers have in larger companies. But at the same time and at that point in time, which was 2014, which, some things have changed — or 2015 — some things changed a bunch since then. I mean marketing is, it’s a pretty transformational role. It’s a role that’s just had more change in the last five years than the previous 50. So it doesn’t really matter if you’re working for a company with 50 people or 5,000 people or 50,000 people. Some of the challenges are very much the same. I mean we’re required to be a much more technically fluent. We have a lot more jobs than we did before this sort of explosion of mobile marketing technologies and our obligation to represent the customer is just considerably higher. And that didn’t change, to be honest, you just ended up having more resources to go to go deal with it.

Joe Hyland:

What was that a given? Give us a sense of scale, what was the size of the team at HelloWallet and what is the size of the team now?

Rob Pinkerton:

At HelloWallet, when we got acquired, it was a little over 20, it was small, but we’d also integrated a lot of different groups into marketing because we were, we had a very strong marketing approach to strategy. So, I mean it had UX and customer support or customer success all within the team, not just your kind of traditional marketing roles. At Morningstar, it’s about 140 plus globally.

Joe Hyland:

And resources certainly help with scale, don’t they?

Rob Pinkerton:

Yeah, I mean they also come with more expectations and there’s usually a reason you have them. Right. There’s more things you have to do some for sure.

Joe Hyland:

Okay, let’s dive into, to the path. One, you have more degrees than most folks I speak with. So I’m to know if you had a master plan when you were going through school. And, I guess, how’d you, how’d you wind up in marketing?

Rob Pinkerton:

Yeah, I mean, a law degree is not something you typically find with someone in marketing. But it sometimes feels that it really comes in handy these days with the level of a level of parties you have to negotiate with and the amount of complexity that we have to sort through as marketers. But no, my master plan changed, to be honest, I had intended to go work in politics and work in and be a public servant, which was great. But along that journey, I got involved with some of the technology, right. And some of the ones was this Microsoft antitrust case where the Netscape and explorer things … in the late nineties were sort of thrown into question in terms of monopoly power. And I spent a lot of time with those companies and started to realize the real opportunity in our lifetime to I thought to change, to do big things was going to be more through technology. So I did make a career change, got some training, went back to Carnegie Mellon and went out to California, which is really what led me more into product development and marketing.

Joe Hyland:

I remember Bill Gates having to go and in front of Congress and essentially explain what, explain what the Internet was. So yeah, I remember those days

Rob Pinkerton:

If you look closely at those pictures, I’m one of those young faces sitting in the center. That’s cool.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I would like to, we’ll talk about what’s changed — because I think you’re right, in the last five years we’ve seen a massive shift in terms of marketing — but it’s interesting to go back to Bill explaining the Internet to Congress. It Didn’t feel that different than when Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of Congress and it felt like a different discussion, but the same level of knowledge and understanding from senators and congressmen.

Rob Pinkerton:

Yeah. It’s the pace of change of technology. And then, you know, in particular in marketing, which was more what Mark was talking about than Bill. But it’s just phenomenal if you think about just changed year on year and not everyone can keep up. It’s not easy to do.

Joe Hyland:

It’s true. And that’s probably a kind explanation of the level of understanding by many people, but that’s not their jobs. Right. So that’s okay. Okay. So, a lot’s changed in the last, as you said, in the last five years. I got into marketing coming up on 20 years ago. So, and I think somewhat similar for you. Let’s have a discussion on what it was like to be a marketer then versus now. I mean, how do you think that the role of marketing has changed in the last 20 years, said differently.

Rob Pinkerton:

I’ll say 20 years ago I wasn’t a marketer, I was building software products for sales, marketing support, right? I was working more like enterprise software development and really back when I was at Adobe, which, and you see Adobe now is a dominant player, we’d figure it out there that the CMO is sort of this next huge wave of change. We’re really, I mean, you’d seen this with the sale was sales support, CEOs, CFOs, heads of HR, they’d really been transformed with technology and we thought that one was coming for the CMO and for marketing departments would just be even at a greater scale. And so because back then what marketers cared about was especially on the B2B side, it was events, it was advertising responding to RFPs. It was content development, all those sorts of things, but it wasn’t managing an experience.

Rob Pinkerton:

Right? And so what, I mean, so back then it seems sort of more of a tactical role that had a lot of creative potentials, right? If depending on if you were in the right industry or not, to one, that evolved to sort of this immersive customer experience driver. Where marketers had to both be creative, they had to be operational, they had to be, basically, today marketers are going to be software developers, right? I mean we don’t necessarily tell them that when they’re getting recruited, but that is what they are. I mean, you have to know how to measure, manage, develop all user experiences and you have to be very close to a strategy. So, for me, it’s become just a much more strategic role. It’s become a driver of the business and enabler of customers. And that’s partially why I switched over to it because it looked like that’s where all the action was.

Joe Hyland:

So when, when did the switch occur then?

Rob Pinkerton:

Oh, when I went to the startup at HelloWallet from Adobe. I mean, from Adobe to HelloWallet, there was an opportunity so — I wanted to go be a CMO, right? That’s all we talked about at Adobe how we go empower the next generation CMO? I was like, all right, well I’ll try to be one of those, which is also then what we’ve tried to do at Morningstar and it’s what everyone listening to this podcast is trying to do also, right? You got into the role because you want to go do something that you believe is bigger than what you know, it maybe once was.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, that’s right. Something impactful. Well, there’s no better way to understand a persona than to actually take on the persona role. Right? So, good on you. I want to touch on customer experience a little later because I agree with everything you said. I think this is the future of marketing. It’s the present as well, but I mean, I think we’re only gonna lean deeper and deeper into this. I’m Morningstar is such a unique company because I think most marketers feel I’m in B2B I’m in consumer marketing, right? I’m one or the other and sometimes it’s easy to get pigeonholed, which I personally think is quite silly. But you guys serve two markets. I have my retirement account in Fidelity and my investments in Fidelity. So, I consume a lot of Morningstar research reports and make investments based off of it. But there’s also the business side where your marketing and selling, I think to financial advisors. So I’d love to hear about how you think of those two worlds and how your brain works and each of them.

Rob Pinkerton:

Yeah. And I think I would say that those two worlds are dramatically converging because of the expectations of B2B buyer. Historically B2B marketing didn’t have anything to do with using software products. Or using whatever they were buying — not just software products but whatever they’re buying, right? But now everyone’s a user. And so they’ve integrated — it used to be back in the day you just needed to get to the decision maker, procurement all the parties or go buy something and then a whole bunch of other people use it. But now everyone’s a user because of consumer marketing and consumer technology. They can do their own independent research. They want to know what the experience is like. So a lot of the discipline from B2C marketing is required in B2B marketing. But I think the bigger difference still remains the same, right? I mean consumer marketing is a volume based endeavor, but you need large scale numbers and fast throughput to reach so many different users. Whereas B2B, it’s a complex system, right? I mean it’s multi-buyer multi-product. You have to reach you have to navigate a complex system which appeals to different disciplines, and that still remains the same. But there’s a lot that folks were learning both ways because the funnel has basically blown up and people navigate the experience they want to and user experience drives everything.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, that’s an interesting topic too, in and of itself as is the traditional marketing funnel I get. There’s different views on it. It sounds like you and I might share a similar view. I believe it’s a thing of the past and people consume information when they want to consume it. It might be completely out of order. We’re more of a traditional B2B model, a product demonstration online, for example, used to be, you know, final stage. Sometimes that’s the first thing people consume, right? I don’t think you can control it and I think a lot of people still hold to it. So, there’s different views there.

Rob Pinkerton:

Well, I think the funnel is still extremely useful for internal communications with stakeholders, with business partners, with the CFO and CEO and whoever you’re working with because marketers are always at risk of just seeming so flaky because they always want to say everything’s changing. Right? Here’s our interpreting the world this week, which has a negative effect on your ability to get things done in the business. The funnel still proves true in certain regards, right? I mean, awareness. You can’t, no one can buy your product if they don’t know it exists.

Rob Pinkerton:

You know, you still have to engage for impact. People still have to engage seven to nine times before they’re going to buy something. Like regardless of what order they do it in, and then you also have to transact and you have to do so in a way that’s consistent with everything else that you’ve just done and you have to retain. Right? You can’t skip the steps. Right? How you bring on a new customer or upsell a new customer, but it’s not something you can control anymore. Right. And that’s the part that is sometimes hard to communicate how it’s internally done you just can’t control it anymore. You can’t broker the entire buying experience. The customer is in charge.

Joe Hyland:

I think that’s well said. It’s like trying to explain multitouch attribution to someone, which you have to, as a marketer, to someone who doesn’t understand attribution, to begin with. Right.

Rob Pinkerton:

It’s not fun. It’s not easy. And then once you explain it and people buy it, then you actually have to do it.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. That’s even worse. Well, okay. So it sounds like there’s a lot about today’s marketing world that you love and are passionate about, which is great. You shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing if you didn’t feel that way. What about things that are frustrating and are kind of overplayed? What bugs you about, about the role or the space of marketing in general?

Rob Pinkerton:

Well, I would say this is one where I’m going to kind of sell out my old crowd on the technology side. It’s a lot harder to run the marketing technologies, right? And, and there’s a huge emphasis on buying technology and a huge effort across the entire organization, right? Not just to marketers, I mean the marketing technology firms or they’re selling into every corner of the business with promises of wonderful outcomes and great experiences and growth. And it takes a lot of time to learn how to use these technologies. You really have to know what you’re auditing, you really have to spend the time to train people. It’s not, I mean, marketers coming up are much more technical, right? But not everyone is. You have to, you oftentimes you have to retrain staff that you’ve had for a long time.

Rob Pinkerton:

All of these technologies are just one degree of abstraction away from basic computer science. I mean, there you’re learning. You’re basically doing if-then statements and loops and concatenation and I mean it’s a totally new skill that people have to develop and the position in the market seems to be a bit more like, hey, this stuff just makes it easy in some regards it makes it harder. And so it’s a big responsibility for marketers and it’s one that I just don’t feel like people talk about enough because a lot of the — and obviously you’re a technology company and you’re hosting this — because the technology companies want to enable marketers. But I think there’s, you know, there’s a big part of this is just like, “Hey, let’s make sure we’re ready for it. We’re embracing it full on.” Which is also good for certain businesses because if you’ve thought it through, you guys will do better and it’ll help a lot.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. The explosion of Martech is interesting. I had Scott Brinker on the show a few months ago and I think when he did his first martech vendor landscape, there were under a thousand companies, well, under a thousand companies under 200 companies. The latest one had 7,200 or 7,300. It’s out of control, truthfully. And the other comment is one, I don’t think there’s a silver bullet — no technology will solve anyone’s marketing and unless you don’t have marketing automation, you have no ability to communicate with people that’s different I suppose — and I think a lot of people complicate their marketing an organization by bringing in too many pieces of technology and if these things don’t work together, you’re screwed. Change management can be significant. Yeah. So there’s no silver bullet for any piece of tech that you can put in and hope that it’s going to be your marketing strategy.

Rob Pinkerton:


Joe Hyland:

The other thing I find interesting is, speaking of the tech landscape, is five or six years ago you’d have conversations with some marketers and they list a whole bunch of tactics and kind of that together made up their marketing strategy, which I think was flawed. I’m seeing the same thing now with, with technology. So, I have conversations with peers who they’ll just start describing their tech stack is their strategy and your technology is not your strategy.

Rob Pinkerton:

No, it’s not. And it can be really distracting to that. However you’re, if you really know what your strategy is and you understand how technology can be used, it can have a step level impact. Like the application of marketing technology in the right way can have a multistep level impact. I mean, it is powerful. That’s why people are addicted to it.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. And they can help you hit an inflection point. It very, very, very much is required for scale. But yeah, you need to know what you’re doing. I’m actually scale’s an interesting one. How are you guys balancing scaling and increasing output with keeping an eye on quality and particularly with your brand? Your research is top notch. Your marketing needs to be. How do you, how do you look at those two paradigms?

Rob Pinkerton:

Yeah, I mean it’s not easy. It’s a perpetual tension because once you get something working everyone wants to do it. Right? So it takes focus and discipline to really know: do this, do this, get to a milestone and make sure it works, don’t no-scope creep before you go onto whatever the next one is. And I think the way that I’ve found, the only way to approach that as good hiring of leadership. Leadership is the number one quality I look for in marketers today because they have so many cross-functional responsibilities, so much prioritization that they have to do and they really have to be able to handle an organizational dynamic to communicate priorities, communicate what they’re not doing and to do so in a positive, progressive sort of way.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. I think the word no is important too, right? I think it’s equally as important to say what you’re not going to do as it is to say what you’re going to do. Focus is a beautiful thing in life. And um, I am. Marketers are central to so many parts of the organization now is a good thing. There’s a lotta, there’s a lot of inbound and you need to be careful that you’re not just trying to handle everything and, and execute on every tactic. Well you talked a lot about how marketers are changing the persona and the skill requirements are much more technical, but then you, you talked about leadership and being able to communicate and internally with many different stakeholders. The role of marketing has changed. Has the marketer itself changed in the last 10 years? Meaning, are you looking for a totally different set of skills now then perhaps you were a decade ago?

Rob Pinkerton:

I think it depends on the industry. You certainly can look across certain industries and see where marketers — I mean there are just more attractive industries for marketers. And certain industries have an adopted Martech and kind of new marketing skills, modern marketing skills more quickly. And I really think it depends on which industry you’re looking at because some don’t have — marketing is not as strong. And within those certain industries, every industry is required to make the change. So in certain parts of the investing industry marketing just hasn’t been a huge focus. And I see a lot of change in terms of skillsets. In fact, you look at the asset management industry right now and you’ll see new people and outside influences coming in. People from Pepsi or Buzzfeed or whatever are coming in to go run these big marketing operations, whereas before they just never were interested. So I think in certain industries there’s considerable change, but then in others, just more game on, right? They just more of the same and you have these sort of dynamic general manager type marketers playing multifunctional strategic roles.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah. Uh, and that goes back to your point on the BTC and B2B worlds kind of converging. I would say my comment would be five or 10 years ago, they were huge disparities in the quality of marketing from sector to sector and some are still ahead. Your example of asset management I think is a good one. Those laggards have caught up and you’re seeing a sophisticated marketing segment to segment. Which for me is really exciting.

Rob Pinkerton:

I think it’s good. Brings more customers in.

Joe Hyland:

Yeah, it does. And it’s also — I feel like it requires marketers to just up their game, vertical to vertical.

Alright, Rob, well, listen, this was fantastic. We touched on a ton of really interesting points. I think the theme for me is really these converging worlds and think of how we act in the consumer space like ourselves and I feel like that’s changed our expectations of technology and just marketing in general. So net-net, it is an exciting time to be a marketer.

Rob Pinkerton:

Well, thanks for having me enjoyed it. Also enjoyed the product experience. It’s very user-friendly.

Joe Hyland:

Oh, cool. Thanks for saying that. This is fantastic, Rob. Thanks so much and thanks to everyone for tuning in.

Why Sage Intacct Turns to ON24 for Webinars

Nick Ezzo, Vice President of Demand Generation at Sage Intacct, brings ON24 wherever he goes. And we’re not kidding — Nick has, so far, brought ON24 to four different companies in his role as a demand generation expert. That’s four different products, countless audiences and a whole lot of webinars.

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He’s not kidding. Nick has perfected the art of scaling webinars so well that he’s led a class on account-based marketing with webinars called, “How Sage Intacct Makes Webinars the Secret Sauce at their ABM BBQ.” He’s also provided fellow webinerds with his tips and tricks at Webinar World 2018 — showing attendees how webinars can add to their overall marketing capabilities.

To learn more about why Sage Intacct trusts ON24 with its webinars, watch this video. To learn more about how the ON24 Platform can boost your marketing efforts, click here.

Why Dickinson Wright Turns to ON24 for webinars

Dickinson Wright is a national law firm providing businesses with the legal guidance needed to navigate international property, litigation and more than 40 other practice areas. To educate its clients and prospects on the wealth of legal expertise at its fingertips, Dickinson Wright uses ON24 webinars.

With ON24, Dickinson Wright has a powerful tool that educates its audience on a variety of issues ranging from proposed legislation to new trends in the law. The ON24 Platform also helps the firm’s 400-plus attorneys by guiding them to highly-engaged attendees interested in the service Dickinson Wright has to offer.

For Christine Kloka, Senior Manager, Business Development at Dickinson Wright, ON24 ease of use is crucial, as almost every attorney at the firm uses the platform to connect with and expand the firm’s client portfolio. With ON24, Dickinson Wright’s attorneys have the tools to both deliver a clean, informative and engaging webinar and follow up with interested prospects thanks to the ON24 Platform’s deep analytics and actionable insights.

For Christine, ON24’s “bulletproof” platform makes her job much easier and provide a powerful way to keep attendees coming back for more. The firm regularly sees repeat attendees coming back to Dickinson Wright webinars for the latest information, resources and expert opinion and the latest trends in the law.

Watch this video to learn why Dickinson Wright fell in love with the ON24 Platform. To learn how ON24 can boost your brand and thought leadership efforts, click here.

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