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 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.

Why Every Webinar Marketer Should Be in San Francisco This March

Last year we put together a pretty kick-ass event called Webinar World. It was the first of its kind and it brought webinar practitioners together from across the globe to discuss and perfect their craft.

It was so great, in fact, that we had to do it again. That’s right: Webinar World is BACK and bigger than before!

The premise is simple. You and your best webinerd friends show up at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, Calif., from March 5-7 and we provide you with the only place where you’ll find a line-up of webinar marketing experts focused on taking your campaigns to the next level.

But, of course, that’s not all. We’ve got networking sessions, keynotes and parties galore. (Okay, one party, but it’ll be great!) If there’s one place for webinerds to sit down and talk shop — from what works, what doesn’t and what insight you can deploy right away — it’s Webinar World 2018.

Still not sure? How about a little sampling of the sessions in store for you:

  • Oracle’s Karim Mokhnachi is going to discuss the role of webinars in a successful global digital marketing strategy.
  • SendGrid’s Kate Schmeisser is going to give you the low-down on designing a dapper deck for better visual storytelling.
  • Cloudera’s Julia Sommer will show you how her company increased webinar registrants by 280 percent!
  • RSM’s Allison Snyder will explain how an organization can integrate continuing education opportunities — from reporting to certification — with their webinars.
  • Guardian Life’s Gene Lanzoni will explain how the company put a pulse in their webinars when they mined the right subject matter experts at the right time.

Interested? Fantastic! Head over to our registration site to see the full agenda. Early bird pricing ends Jan. 31, 2018 so reserve your spot at Webinar World 2018 now!

Webinars 2.0: Increasing Renewals Through Engagement Marketing with ON24

In marketing, we talk a lot about customer engagement. Why? Because we inherently recognize the importance of engagement to the perceived value of our companies and products.

It’s not something we have to create complex algorithms to understand: We like Bob because when we talk to Bob we actually have a conversation—not a one-sided spiel. Our favorite teachers are ones who create a learning environment where assumptions are challenged and ideas are tossed back and forth like a ping pong ball.

That’s engagement: when we realize value from our interaction. But often we’re so busy trying to show value in our webinars that we’re not engaging customers or prospects and allowing them to extract value from a conversation.

We create amazing content, but then we basically just present a slide show for an hour. We’re not creating a digital discussion around value.

When it comes to renewals, it’s evident that customers who see value in our products are exponentially more likely to renew. So when I took over the BrightEdge webinar program about seven months ago, I wanted to shift our focus to community building, to becoming the go-to source of actionable information on SEO and content performance.

My hypothesis was that if we could become that thought partner for our customers, we would help them attain better adoption of our platform, boost brand loyalty, and ultimately, see an increase in our renewal rates.

Take just a second and re-read that last sentence. See what came first? Value to our webinar attendees—not results. One-sided slide show presentations and sales pitches disguised as webinars are self-serving. By replacing results with value as our number one objective, we can create the engagement necessary to actually achieve results. It’s a little counterintuitive, but let’s dive into our process and see what happened.

Step 1: Filling the Digital Seats

It doesn’t matter how amazing your webinar content is if people don’t see it. At BrightEdge, we were struggling with low webinar attendance. It wasn’t that we didn’t have valuable information; we just didn’t have a good vehicle to get people to attend.

When we looked into the numbers, we saw we were only getting about an 80 percent deliverability rate on our emails. The problem was in our email strategy. We were sending out mass emails to a large pool of customers and prospects. This wide-net approach can burn folks out on your communication, and more than that, it doesn’t take into consideration the value your recipients want.

We did some work in our marketing automation strategy and narrowed our target for each webinar. Now, our emails are relevant to the audience and delivered at specific times when the webinar content is most useful: onboarding, middle of the funnel, etc.

With just a few simple tweaks, we went from low email engagement and webinars with only 40 attendees to a 99.2 percent email deliverability rate and engagement marketing webinars packed with thousands of people. These numbers aren’t just for show, though. Because if your focus is on value, the attendees influence the direction of the webinars.

Step 2: Make It Relevant

One of the best webinars we’ve ever hosted, in terms of engagement, was from an agency speaker who walked through a case study of one of their customers. They had the customer on the webinar as well to provide additional insights and confirm results. It was an in-depth look behind the scenes of how the customer achieved success, and the audience absolutely loved it.

Why? Because it helped attendees learn how to be successful themselves. They got to hear a real use case rather than some generic sales pitch touting X% returns. Those types of webinars aren’t relevant, and the audience can’t extract any real value they can use to make their own organization successful.

By walking through the process, step by step, prospects can learn techniques, regardless of the method, and current customers gain a working knowledge of the product that they can then turn into tangible results.

Step 3: Listen

This is the most important step in a successful webinar engagement strategy. To be able to facilitate real-time engagement, a powerful, nimble webinar platform is a must. At BrightEdge, we use ON24 for all our webinars.

ON24 lets us derive an understanding of the customer needs—and market needs— with two invaluable in-webinar engagement features:

  • Q&A: This is where webinars turn into a true digital discussion. Attendees can submit questions at any time during the live webinar, and because we craft our content to be a conversation, these questions aren’t an interruption. They’re an opportunity to add value.
  • Polls: Every five to ten minutes, we poll attendees on the webinar topic. This allows us to get an understanding of the audience’s sophistication and knowledge of the topic. This information then drives the direction of the webinar in real time.

Step 4: Follow Up

Engagement doesn’t stop once the webinar ends. That’s why it’s important to have a solid follow-up strategy in place. If you’re listening and engaging attendees during the webinar, you’re also collecting tons of useful information: what questions were asked, what were the poll responses, and who attended the webinar.

If you’re using ON24, you also gain additional insights from the attendee’s ON24 Engagement Score. This goes several steps further than traditional lead gen tracking—who registered versus who attended. ON24 tallies each participant’s engagement related to their level of activity within the webinar.

Through integration with SalesForce, our CS and Sales teams have that information and can tailor their messages to add even more value to the prospect or customer. Then, we’re not just pushing our agenda through customer communication; instead, engagement in our webinars is enabling 1:1 value-add conversations.

So… Does It Work?

Short answer: absolutely. We have seen that the higher engagement we have in webinars, the higher likelihood for a renewal. By combining webinars into an overall engagement model built around giving value to our prospects and customers—including live events, user groups, and CS outreach—our existing customers are more informed, engaged, and deriving more value from our product.

While I can’t share the exact renewal numbers publically, suffice it to say they are well above the industry standard. And all the credit goes to the value we’re providing the community through our omnichannel customer engagement strategy. So, if you’re tired of one-sided slide share webinars, low attendance, lackluster engagement, and high churn rates, perhaps it’s time to stop looking inward, and start looking out—to your customer community—for answers. By simply listening, you’ll have a better understanding of what they want, and with ON24, you’ll be ready to give it to them.

Originally published on Upshot stories

‘Twas The Fire Drill Before Christmas

‘Tis the season to be jolly… and stay up late launching your holiday campaigns and solidifying next year’s plans! We’ve all been there — those late nights at the office, long after others have left and are snugly tucked into bed, eagerly awaiting the arrival of fresh leads from your newest campaign that is so hot it practically melts the ice off of the Grinch’s heart! But sometimes problems happen, 404 errors occur, the UTM codes don’t work properly, and we marketers need a little help. What do you do when this happens? Luckily, for our marketing friend Mary Christmas, there is holiday magic in the air and the man in the big red suit is here to lend a helpful marketing hand.

Pour yourself a cup of holiday cheer and enjoy our brand new storybook, ‘Twas the Fire Drill Before Christmas.

Still looking for a little bit of marketing inspiration? Check out our list of the best webinars of the year in our latest edition of Webinars that Rocked. Happy Holidays from your friends at ON24!