How Webinars Bring Personal Back Into Marketing

This Q&A with Matt Heinz was originally published on MarTechSeries.com. For more information on Webinar World 2018, please visit our landing page

Webinar World’18 is almost upon us. On the agenda is the question that is foremost on every marketer’s mind -‘How to put the personal back in marketing,’ – with a focus on how to build context-based campaigns and deliver events that put the customer first and foster authentic engagement between the audience and the brand. In the run-up to the event, we spoke to martech thought leaders speaking at the event. Matt Heinz, President, Heinz Marketing is one of them! And, Matt spoke to us about content and how marketers could leverage context to drive ROI.

 What do you believe should be the top priority for marketers today?

Two words: Revenue responsibility.

It’s critical that marketers think of their primary objective as revenue-producing metrics – sales pipeline creation, closed deals, renewals and customer lifetime value. This doesn’t change what marketers do, but it certainly helps them prioritize the right strategies and tactics.

You’re speaking on the topic, content that converts. What do you think are the biggest missed opportunities for content to impact revenue? 

Too often, content is created to earn clicks and likes without focusing on your target buyer’s journey.

Simply focusing on content that earns their attention, helps them loosen their status quos and ultimately commit to change based on their outcomes – that content will mobilize and catalyze your prospects into active buying cycles. That is content that converts.

How tech-savvy are your own Marketing, Sales, and Branding teams? How do you rate them on a scale of 1-10? How do you inspire them to work with technology?

I often tell people I’m not just the president of the Hair Club for Men, I’m also a client (for the millennials reading this, that was an infamous line in a hair restoration TV ad and I’m… oh, nevermind). I’d say our marketing and sales teams are quite tech savvy, but like most companies, we have tons of room to improve.

I’d give our marketing an 8, our sales a 7 and our branding a 5. We focus a ton on our sales pipeline and a bit less on our branding.

Technology is in our DNA so there’s less we need to do internally to inspire its use to achieve our goals.

How do you think young Marketing and Sales professionals should train themselves to master MarTech skills?

Know that technology is not your strategy. It’s one of the last things you should think about after knowing your objectives, audience, and strategy.

Technology supports, automates and accelerates your strategy when implemented well. That said, you simply won’t be able to create a consistent, predictable and scalable marketing and sales pipeline without mastering the ever-increasingly complex marketing technology landscape moving forward as a B2B marketer.

Are contemporary marketing technologies pushing the boundaries of present-day brand engagement and customer experience?

I see it as the other way around. In an increasingly distracted and skeptical world, we need to focus on better and more unique customer experiences. When our channels are even more diversified, a consistent and integrated brand experience stands out and becomes a competitive advantage. I think those needs are pushing the boundaries of what’s needed from the technology to keep up and implement.

What are the dynamic elements driving your B2B content engagement model? What tools and strategies do you use to create effective B2B content for events and webinars? 

We have a complex martech stack that supports our content efforts – everything from content creation to curation, amplification, influencer leverage, as well as ensuring the right content gets to prospects and customers at each stage of the buying journey.

Our content strategy is increasingly channel-diverse – including Sales Pipeline Radio, regular webinars, and videos, as well as daily social engagement and reciprocation.

Do you see Sales and Marketing Technologies unifying or evolving together to deliver higher ROI?

Yes absolutely.

It’s critical that Sales Technology and Marketing Technology completely integrate moving forward. One team, one budget, one strategy. Anything less and you’re leaving room for your competitors to bypass you sooner vs later.

What webinar best practices would you recommend for 2018?

Focus on engagement, personality, interactivity, and frequency. Perfect is the enemy of the good.

Create more content, shorter content, more “imperfect’ content that’s easier to watch, listen to and share.

Thanks for chatting with us, Matt.

Up Your B2B Game With People-to-People Marketing

Marketers don’t market to businesses, they market to people. But most marketers don’t know how to establish the trust they need to build to market to people.

To edify our growing and increasingly automated field, Joe Hyland, CMO of ON24, sat down to chat with Justin Gray, Founder and CEO of LeadMD, to discuss new marketing trends and their expectations for 2018.

And there’s a lot to expect! For example, Hyland anticipates a movement towards personalized, almost one-to-one marketing at scale in response to the industry swing to automation. The fuel for this movement? Engagement, data and the art of persuasion. Check out the video below, or head on over to LeadMD, to learn more:

Interested in hearing more? Great! Come hear Joe Hyland and other world-class marketers speak at Webinar World 2018. But hurry, we’re only two weeks away! Click here for more information.

Webinar World 2018: Plotting Out a Superior B2B Buyer’s Journey with Cheri Keith

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

Marketers talk a good game about customer-centricity, but can they actually live up to it in a digital era? Of course, they can. All they have to do is know what makes their personas tick.

Easy, right? Well, the digital world has a way of making things difficult.

To help you to refine your personas and map out your buyer’s journey, Cheri Keith, Senior Research Analyst at SiriusDecisions, is going to deliver her General Session discussion, Engaging Modern B-to-B Buyers: Creating a Marketing Mix that Resonates, at Webinar World 2018 on Tuesday, March 6.

With more than a decade of marketing experience at her fingertips, Cheri Keith knows how to pin down the elements of an effective marketing campaign. She’ll share what the critical drivers are for business-to-business purchase decisions, how you can refine buyer’s journey maps and how you can identify and verify the factors that impact these decisions.

So how can you attend? Simple. Register for Webinar World 2018 today and make your way to the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, California, from March 5-7. Not registered? All you have to do is click here.

What’s behind marketing’s transformation? More engagement, better insights, greater impact.

All of us marketers know by now: data is the most important thing to have but the most difficult thing to get right.

Why so important? Because data is what’s enabling marketers to find the leads ready for a sales conversation, give sales an understanding of what that prospect wants to talk about and help marketers tie their actions to revenue.

Why so challenging? Because most data comes from superficial, automated interactions, and doesn’t help sales do anything other than have a phone number to cold call.

At ON24, we’ve built our platform to solve this problem — provide marketers with a tool to engage their prospects and customers, and then turn that engagement into insights their sales team can use. Every webinar generates more than 40 data points per attendee… multiply that over a webinar series or over a lifetime, and you’ve got a much better picture of the human behind the screen.

This past year, over 13 million people logged onto the ON24 network to watch, listen and interact with the 2,000 businesses we’re proud to call customers. That engagement adds up to a pretty jaw-dropping number — one billion minutes. When you think about the average time spent with an email (3 seconds) or on a website (3 minutes), it’s clear people value webinar experiences and are willing to spend a significant amount of time engaging with them.

What were attendees doing for a billion minutes? Well, they were constantly interacting to the tune of 17 million resources downloaded, 12 million polls answered, 1.5 million questions asked and 1.3 million surveys completed. More than 70 percent of marketers prioritizing lead quality over quantity, and these are the kinds of data points that help meet that goal.

Marketers’ insatiable need for more engaging experiences and better insights is why we believe 2017 was ON24’s best performing year yet. After all, our own marketing team is relying on a webinar-driven marketing strategy to solve the data problem. With those insights, we’ve doubled our pipeline, expanded deals and improved customer retention. This year, we’ll lean even more into our webinar strategy to keep getting the personal insights that are accelerating deals.

If you want to learn more about how to take your webinar campaigns to the next level, join us and hundreds of other marketers at Webinar World in San Francisco on March 5 – 7. Hope to see you there!

Marketing Playbook Recap: How Asset Managers Can Up Their Digital Game

Last week, I hosted a  little webinar called Marketing Playbook: How Asset Managers Can Up their Digital Game. In it, I outlined how asset management teams can deliver engaging, almost one-to-one conversations with their prospects and investors through scalable digital channels — all while staying compliant. I wanted to take the time today to recap a few of the major talking points for asset management marketing today and to let you know that you can re-watch the whole webinar on-demand right here.

Without further ado, let’s review a few key points.   

Digital transformation

To point out the obvious, the asset management space has changed in the past few years thanks to digital transformation. The biggest change has been to how clients interact with portfolio managers and sales teams. To summarize: they don’t. Today’s clients prefer to self-educate with on-demand and easily accessible resources online. This movement towards self-education and research means fund managers need to equip clients and prospects with relevant, timely content when and where they want it.

Still, digital transformation hasn’t changed the core objectives — fostering relationships, establishing trust and imparting knowledge. Instead, it’s shifted those objectives into overdrive, requiring sales teams to learn and adapt to new digital distribution models and work more closely with their marketing teams to get data on which advisors to target.

Knowing your advisors

Part of that adaptation means knowing your advisor base. This is an issue for most asset management marketers. According to a recent Merkel survey, only 15 percent of leading asset management marketers say they communicate with their advisor base through personalized, engagement-driven messages. Exactly zero percent of respondents say feel they’re doing an “excellent” job of using data to improve the advisor experience.

Those numbers hide a more troubling trend. What they suggest is that asset management marketers aren’t collecting data on their advisors, clients and more. In the new digital marketplace, data is king and must inform every aspect of marketing communications. You simply can’t craft personalized experiences today without knowing your audience base. You can’t know your audience base without data.

Making the webinar connection

So here’s where webinars fit into all this. Webinars, and especially webinar platforms like ON24, are powerful tools marketers can use to disseminate a range of content in a personal manner. Depending on the platform, you can gather actionable insights on your audience, so your team can gather assets easier.

It’s one of the few technologies that can disseminate compliant and personalized data quickly and on a digital scale. Executed well, a webinar program can create active environments for guided content consumption that audiences can consume live, on-demand or both. Additionally, webinars can simplify compliance with centralized, gated messages and muted lines.

Now, simplifying content access is great, especially for areas, like asset management, that depend on a lot of information to capture clients. At ON24, however, we’ve found that leading marketers at asset management companies go beyond simply delivering content — they engage their audience with interactive polls, knowledgeable hosts and subject matter experts, live Q&A forums and a whole lot more.  We’ve even seen customers use data from surveys, polls, and Q&As can to improve product offerings.

There’s a reason for this. The more engaging and interactive you make your content, the more connections you can make to raise your AUM. What’s more is the fact that your organization can gain insights into high-value and interested prospects as they consume your content. You can also boost investor trust through thought leadership events, or build a knowledge center for financial advisors to earn CE credits. We’ve found that companies like Fidelity, State Street and Capital Group are moving to webinars for these reasons and more.

The days of having sales doing the heavy lifting to win business on its own, from awareness and education to investment and purchase, are over. With webinars, marketing can now play a sizable role in informing and guiding the customer, prospect, investor and advisor’s journey. And they can do this while gathering data on what interests an audience. ‘

Digital transformation has changed a lot of things and not always for the better. Quality webinars, however, can deliver a lot of value with relatively little effort. In fact, if you’d like to see one in action, simply click on this link and watch last week’s discussion at your leisure.

Webinar World 2018: Captivate your audience with Alex Blumberg

Marketers crave engagement. Not only that, but they crave engagement they can measure, reproduce and build on. The reason for this impulse is easy to understand. Once you engage someone, you capture their attention and, provided you have a good story to tell, you continue a conversation with them as time wears on and, hopefully, persuade them to become customers.

Alex Blumberg knows engagement. It’s not because he’s a co-founder of Gimlet Media (which recently raised an astounding $15 million in funds), or its CEO, but because producing engaging content is simply in his nature. After all, he’s spent his career talking to people as a radio journalist for National Public Radio’s award-winning series, This American Life. His work at NPR eventually earned him the George Polk Award in Radio Reporting for his production, The Giant Pool of Money, which covered the lead-up to the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008. He’s been busy ever since.

So what’s the secret to his success? Well, beyond hard work, it’s knowing what sticks with listeners, readers, viewers and the whole range of media consumers. For Blumberg, the theory is that audio sticks and engages. That theory has proven to be especially true, as recent analytics have found that podcasts, one of the most popular mediums today, keeps listeners engaged for roughly “90 percent of a given episode,” according to WIRED. Not only that, but those engagements can last upwards of an hour — ads included.

So how can marketers tap into this level of engagement? Thankfully, come early March, Alex will share what he knows about making things stick at Webinar World 2018: Engagement in the Digital World.

That’s right, Alex Blumberg will explain how B2B marketers can engage and convert modern buyers with powerful storytelling and engaging content. It’s a boundless opportunity to learn the art of captivation from one of its modern masters.

So how can you tune in? Simple. Register for Webinar World 2018 today and make your way to the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, California, from March 5-7 to catch him. And, while there, check out our whole curriculum on how to deliver, measure and perfect engaging webinars for your marketing efforts and boost your customer satisfaction. All you have to do is click here.

Webinar Strategy: What Marketing Personalization Can Do

What are you more likely to respond to? A marketing webinar invitation with a title like “How to Accelerate Your Pipeline,” or an invite that speaks to your segment and your particular problems, like “How to Cure Pipeline Bottlenecks in Tech Marketing” or “Lead Maturation Secrets For Financial Marketers?”

Most of us respond to marketing personalization, but as marketers, it’s hard for us to deliver. The problem isn’t lack of data — we’re swimming in data. We can record everything from what lists your leads signed up for to how long they spent looking at a particular page. We can test different messages, designs, webinar formats and content down to the word and get hard data about who our customers are and what they want. The problem is, most of us are focusing on content without taking the time to target our content and webinar strategy.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (LMS) faced a more daunting marketing personalization challenge than most. We’re the marketing and advertising side of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional platform. Our job is to help LinkedIn marketers connect with their customers.

The benefits of our product are obvious, but our customers are difficult to target because they come from so many industries with so many different targets. There are higher education companies targeting aspirational professionals, B2B tech providers, and nonprofits looking to sway key influencers and decision-makers. Figuring out who’s a webinar marketing prospect, who might be interested in our ebook, and who’s just there for connections itself requires some sophisticated modeling. Segmenting and targeting all those different groups is even harder.

How do you target so many different segments? Throwing a lot of content at them is part of the answer. We have an always-on marketing strategy across every channel available to us — sponsored content and dynamic ads, InMail and email, social feeds and blogging, live webinars and other webcasts. But throwing content was pretty much all of it. We’d get suggestions, run a webinar and see how well it worked. We were running a decent webinar cadence, with 4–6 per month, but we didn’t have a cohesive strategy behind our content and webinar marketing. No matter how good our content was, it wasn’t connecting quite like we wanted it to.

Marketing personalization starts with analytics

Our first task was getting our content on target — defining our audience so we could deliver the right content in the right form. The first thing was to figure out who was reading white papers, downloading ebooks or signing up and attending our marketing webinars. We brought in our business analytics team to work with us to score members for propensity, so we could see where our members were in the marketing funnel.

That helped us group the targets, but we still needed to know who they were. Fortunately, as a professional network, we had plenty of data to figure that out, including job titles, skills and previous experience as clients. Not only did that help us identify the hot leads, but it also gave us a sustainable model for lead maturation. But the breakthrough was the other information we learned about our targets. That let us do what we couldn’t do with good ideas alone: personalize the marketing content.

The personalization imperative

Our webinar marketing strategy got pretty intricate later on, but basic personalization was very simple. The content was already good, even where it was just targeted towards marketers in general. The key was tweaking the messaging. Just by making simple changes to address it to the industry of the member, we received a 184 percent boost in clickthrough. That’s a change anyone can make — you just have to take the time to learn who you’re talking to. And once you get the basics of marketing personalization down, there’s no limits to what you can accomplish.

Webinar World 2018: Building Empathy in a Digital World with Laura Ramos

The future of marketing is, largely, automated. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and other software solutions will help marketers reach more people faster than before. This is good, but the push to scale may come at the cost of the professional’s most critical asset: being empathetic. For tomorrow’s marketers to truly stand out, they’ll need to know how to be personable on a digital scale. After all, it takes a human touch to engage in the digital world.

Today, that means marketers have to do two things: be a technologist and be empathetic with others at every point of engagement. But how can you be empathetic while maintaining a digital scale?

Thankfully, there is a lot of research on how B2B marketers can connect with their audiences and customers to drive empathetic communications. In fact, it’s a subject we’re going to dive deep into at our upcoming conference, Webinar World 2018: Engagement in the Digital World.

To help facilitate this conversation, we’re thrilled to announce Laura Ramos, Forrester’s VP and principal analyst for B2B marketing will discuss empathy and its importance in marketing today during the General Session on Wednesday, March 7. It’s a critical session no B2B marketer — webinar or not — can afford to miss.

Register for Webinar World 2018 today to learn how your organization can develop an empathetic streak in its marketing programs and boost customer satisfaction.

Webinar Best Practices Series: 5 Trends to Look Forward to in 2018

Looking for 2018’s webinar predictions? You can catch the on-demand version of the event right here. Happy webinerding. 

Hi there, folks! I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday season and are getting back into the swing of things at work (I know it’s taking me some time).

Since it’s the beginning of the new year, and since we just produced a webinar on the subject, I figured it’s a worthwhile endeavor to take a quick look at what I think 2018 will have in store for webinars (hint: a lot of great developments).

But, just before we begin, a few house-keeping items. First, if you want to get the full webinar experience, head on over to our on-demand section to watch the very event this post is based on.

Second — and a bit more fun — I wanted to let you know our annual conference, Webinar World, is right around the corner! We’re hosting our second conference from March 5-7 at the Westin Saint Francis in downtown San Francisco. It’ll be here sooner than you realize, so head on over to our landing page to learn about who’ll be speaking (including yours truly) and to book your tickets. Can’t wait to see you there!

So, without further ado, here’s what’s in store for webinars in 2018:

Webinar success will be judged on lead quality

The original lead process for webinars was simple: collect as many names as possible and reach out for more. Effective, but this method is burdensome on SDRs. In 2018, marketers are going to use the engagement metrics they have to identifying better leads for sales and — hopefully — conversions. When executed with evaluation models, personas and easily accessible conversion forms, marketers can easily identify the low-hanging fruits for targeting.

Emerging marketing technologies will enhance webinar success

There are a lot of MarTech solutions out there and few ways to get them to talk to one another. In fact, a lot of marketers think of MarTech as independent spheres; They’re kinda related, but don’t always work with each other in mind. Webinars change that equation. Webinars can unite a great deal of MarTech capabilities around the webinar. For example, marketers can use predictive analytics to drive additional attendees or inform you of which nurture stream an attendee should be guided towards while they’re actively participating in a webinar. Expect to see a boost in trying different technologies and methods to the content around webinars.

Webinars will go Netflix

One of the best things about Netflix is binging. One of the best things about webinars is enabling on-demand. There’s no reason why marketers can’t build their own binge-worthy webinar libraries. This customer-centric approach helps marketers share content with their audience on their audience’s terms. Better yet, just like Netflix, webinars and related content can easily be sorted by topic and skill level, letting viewers sit back, relax and enjoy the webinars they want to consume in one sitting without the need to constantly search for relevant broadcasts. Think “webinars and binge” in 2018.

Demo webinars will replace static demos

The experience we deliver at the bottom of the funnel needs to change. Canned, static demos where viewers sit passively will no longer be enough to get people over the finish line. Instead, static demos will be phased out in favor of dynamic webinars where broadcasters can show their product off. In fact, they can demonstrate how customers use it, respond to questions in real-time and show how their product responds to customer cases on the fly. It’s time for demos that show, don’t tell.

Webinars will drive ABM success

Everyone does ABM, but not everyone does it well. Often, ABM goes off the rails towards the end of the process, where campaigns need to deliver actual engagement. Landing pages don’t deliver like they used to, but webinars — oh boy. I think 2018 will be the year of account-specific webinars, where easy-to-scale and easy-to-adapt presentations are used in a highly-interactive and highly-targeted method for driving prospects to specific locations. It’s a great way to bring together the prospects and the content they’re interested in one place.

Now, of course, these are only predictions. We’re going to have to wait a whole year to see what’s right and what’s a little off-base. If you have any predictions, sound-out in the comments below or tweet at us at @ON24 on Twitter.

Don’t forget to tune into our next webinar, An SMB Marketer’s Confession: Why I Blew My Budget On Webinars (And How I’m Still Employed).