The Three Webinars That Rocked 2018

Looking for great webinar guidance? Get the freshest webinar tactics and strategies at Webinar World 2019.

We sit down at the end of every year to take stock of the webinars that were bigger, better and more engaging than the rest and compile them into one comprehensive, end-of-year smorgasbord of webinar goodness. We call it “Webinars That Rocked,” and we just held this year’s edition on December 12 (you can watch it on demand here).

While the Webinars That Rocked broadcast is over, the analysis isn’t. We thought it’d be a great idea to highlight why our top three winners, chosen by viewers like you, won. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the top three webinars that rocked 2018.


AutoTrader is no stranger to producing excellent webinars. So it makes sense that it ranked high in Webinars That Rocked 2018. As evidence of its webinar abilities, the company submitted its “New Car Webinar” for review, as it fills a unique space in the automotive industry. This one webinar helps retailers, manufacturers and internal staff to familiarize themselves with trends and insights in the automotive industry. It’s a webinar designed to inform everyone  — from junior retailers to senior manufacturers — in the industry, which means it gets a lot of viewers.


Each webinar needs a purpose, so AutoTrader uses its webinars to push for social change within its industry. The company asked a panel of its female experts to lead its webinars, respond to live attendee questions, share insights and much more. It’s one way the company is pushing for change within its industry and it’s seeing great success.


AutoTrader made expert use of its webinars, making use of nearly every interactive widget, capability and more. One of its best webinars, ”New Car Webinar,” started with a live host who introduced attendees to the webinar’s topics and promoted social discourse before cutting to a pre-recorded panel discussion. But AutoTrader’s webinar ingenuity didn’t end with a pre-recorded panel. After the recorded video ended, the company cut — live — to the same panel for questions and answers with attendees.

Great Console

Finally, AutoTrader makes excellent use of its webinar console. It integrates its calls-to-action right into its console banners and toolbar, allowing attendees to register to register for the next webinar, subscribe to AutoTrader events, and book time with the company and more.

Octopus Investments

Octopus Investments is our second-place winner for Webinars That Rocked 2018. The company, based out the United Kingdom, helps investors make the right decisions for a variety of financial issues. For its submission, Octopus Investments shared one of its live webinars, “Grow Your Estate Planning Business.”

This webinar had two aims. First, to help Octopus Investments grow its roster of inheritance clients. Second, to make a topic as seemingly plain as inheritance planning, engaging.

The Broadcast

Octopus Investments made this happen with a combination of live and pre-recorded video. For its first section, the company gave a live introduction and primed viewers for the event. Then, the company cut to a pre-recorded, or simulive, panel filled with in-depth, but entertaining, discussions on estate planning. Finally, Octopus Investments cut back to its hosts, live, who’d give more guidance on estate planning and answer questions attendees may have.

Great Slides

Octopus Investments also made great use of something typically overlooked: its slides. Instead of presenting attendees with information-dense, wordy slide, Octopus Investments created clean slides that gave speakers the opportunity to tell a story that connects with viewers.

The company also gave its attendees a variety of opportunities to continue learning about estate planning through its resources, console links and more. The webinar always provided viewers with an easy-to-understand next step. They could explore the company’s website, review guides or even collect a certificate for watching the webinar, should they need one for continuing education purposes.

Asking The Important Questions

Last but not least, Octopus Investments did something exceedingly rare, but essential, in its webinars. It asked its attendees for feedback. At the end of the webinar, Octopus Investments pushed a survey to viewers, asking them what was explained well, what wasn’t and what topics they’d like to see covered in future events.


Promega, a global biotechnology manufacturer, is our first-place winner for Webinars That Rocked 2018.  The company serves life scientists at every level, meaning it needs to ensure everyone — including scientists and lab technicians learning basic techniques — are on the same page. For scientists using is PCR products, Promega created a webinar entitled, “Ask The Experts: Ensuring a Successful PCR Every Time.” (PCR stands for polymerase chain reaction, which you can read about here.)

Making Use of What Its Resources

Promega’s webinar ticked all the right boxes. It broadcast its panel event live and simulive and made use of a variety of interactive tools, including real-time social interactions over Twitter, to Q&A chat and a veritable library of content listed in its resources window.

Innovative Use of Slides

Promega stood apart by using its slides to push out questions and polls. A great tactic, but it asked, from a marketing perspective, a risky question right at the start: “How likely are you to contact Promega Technical Services?” Attendees could all say, “not at all,” which would be a bad look. But the company had faith in its presentation, from its experts and console design to the resources attendees would review. At the end of its webinar, the company pushed the same poll again. This time, it saw a tremendous boost to the number of people who’d like to contact the company about its services. It clearly delivered on what its viewers wanted.

Because Promega took risks, on top of doing everything else so well — from clean slides to helpful resources — it made our top spot as the webinar that rocked 2018. Congrats Promega!

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 here.

6 Steps to Integrating ON24 Webinar Emails with NetLine

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

Integrations today are a critical part of the marketing stack puzzle. But getting applications to talk to each other — whether an integration runs directly from app-to-app or uses a third-party solution, like Zapier — isn’t always easy. Recently, we’ve partnered with NetLine, a scalable lead-generation solution, to help drive ON24 webinar syndication through its powerful tool. Netline’s solution allows us to build an offsite content hub enabling a continual lead flow from third-party sources.

Often, third-party syndication can result in a disconnected experience for registrations. For example, registering for a webinar on another website can cause delays between the time a potential attendee registered and the time a confirmation email is sent. This creates a small window of opportunity to either get the registrant to add the live event to their business calendar or to access the on-demand recording. It should be no surprise that when you introduce delays in the handover process, your attendance rates suffer.

To make this partnership better, we created a Marketo integration to seamlessly receive webinar registrants from NetLine directly into ON24’s webinars. We have to say that we’re quite satisfied with the integration and wanted to share our little recipe with you.

The Setup

There are two ways you can get NetLine and ON24 to talk to one another. The first is the easiest: use our direct integration with Netline that brings NetLine registrants to our native Webcast Elite form. The second way is to map Netline to a marketing automation platform, like Marketo, that then maps back to ON24 for faster email communications.

The setup for option number two is easy: We start by creating a Marketo form to be used for the NetLine registrations. NetLine recommends a unique form for each campaign, but we opted to use just one form and to distinguish traffic using hidden fields (if you’ve ever had to make urgent updates on all your Marketo forms, you will appreciate the importance of keeping the number of forms to a minimum).

Once we had our form, we went to NetLine and set up the field mapping at the account level. We set the post URL and map each of the NetLine standard fields to the fields we are using on the webinar registration form:

In this account-level configuration, we also indicated our unique form; this is a “constant” that will show up with each new campaign:

That’s it for the account-level form setup. On to specific campaigns.


The NetLine campaigns are where we add custom fields to the form. We have just one non-standard field, so we add that here, along with its picklist values:

Then the final step of the form setup is to set the campaign-level “Constants” – that is where we add the identifiers for the specific webinar. For this example, we’ll use “Webinars that Rocked 2018.”

We are using our “utm_source” and “utm_campaign” fields as the identifiers here. Our Marketo program for the webinar listens for form-fills with this form ID as well as this utm_campaign.

Leads flow in and the Marketo program takes it from there: the lead is registered for the event in Elite, and the confirmation email containing all the needed webinar information goes out to the registrant.

In Conclusion

Integrating with the NetLine platform gives us seamless registration. The handover from Netline to Marketo to ON24 Elite is working well. We’re able to capture registrant attention while interest is high and deliver an ON24-branded email inviting the registrant into the on-demand recording. As a result, we’re able to drive higher conversions from registration to attendee rates, ultimately improving our on-demand attendance while drastically cutting the time it takes to upload leads.

It’s the Webinerd Ugly Sweater Extravaganza!

Seasons greetings! Today is National Ugly Holiday Sweater Day, and to celebrate, we designed our own festive sweater (big thanks to Sketchdeck and Roody Originals) to share with the webinerd community. To earn one of these beauties, we asked folks to share what it means to be a webinerd, and we LOVED the responses we received.

Below were some of our favorites:

[tribulant_slideshow gallery_id=1]

We felt like Santa sending these out around the globe and can’t believe how snazzy our customers look in them.

We wouldn’t be here without our amazing community of savvy webinerds. Thanks for your commitment to building beautiful webinar experiences and for being good sports and donning our 2018 edition of the webinerd ugly sweater. And remember, just because your sweater is ugly, doesn’t mean your webinars have to be!

We have a few more great #UglySweater posts for you take a look at below (even a dance we’re going to steal). We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season. See you at Webinar World in 2019!


Webinars: The New News

Whatever your politics are, I think that we can all agree that how and where we get our news is dramatically changing. We don’t know who to trust, we don’t know where to turn and increasingly we are turning away from conventional choices and moving towards non-traditional channels to get information that we feel is more tailored to our needs.

This behavior in our personal lives is beginning to spill into our professional lives as well. In a digital landscape where we are constantly being bombarded with an endless stream of messages, most aimed at selling us something, we need to work harder to uncover the practical information that we need to get our jobs done.

The New News in B2B

In the business world, webinars have really stepped up to become the “new news” source. Companies from every industry, are beginning to create serialized webinar programming to deliver updates on changing market conditions, to interoperate and analyze current events, provide guidance on hot topics or simply deliver regular best practices and training.

This programming establishes companies as the trusted source or advisor, the thought leaders in their specific area of expertise. And yes, establishing that kind of trust means that prospects will come back often and ultimately be more likely to convert into customers.

These webinars often look different than your standard talking-powerpoint presentations. They often feature presenters, on camera, that become “personalities” for their companies. They may broadcast from a nice studio set, but in many cases, they may simply use webcams to quickly and easily, “get on the air” to deliver the latest updates.

Real-Time Feedback on Breaking News

This type of webinar is often very interactive as well. One well-known financial services company delivers a weekly webinar that begins with a market update, followed by a few polls to gauge audience reaction to the latest news, then they have an entire section dedicated to simply taking questions from attendees so that they can have a conversation about the events at hand. People love this type of engagement; the webinars are informative and the interactivity makes it more authentic, more human.

It is my prediction, that in 2019, we will see “news style” webinars being to appear across every major industry and many sub-industries as well. Where there is a need for information, there will be a webinar series to help people figure it all out. The question is who will get there first?

If you would like to get a deeper look into the future of webinar marketing in 2019, join me for “Webinar Marketing Predictions for 2019.” Looking to get more out of your webinar program? Join us at Webinar World 2019 for in-depth tips and tricks for webinar success. 

The Secret to Engaging Stories? Ask NPR’s Scott Simon at Webinar World 2019

Looking for great webinar guidance? Get the freshest webinar tactics and strategies at Webinar World 2019.

The best way to grab an audience’s attention is to tell an engaging story. It helps, too, if you have a wealth of experience to draw on for inspiration. Scott Simon, war reporter, world traveler, best-selling author, renowned journalist, Peabody award-winner and host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” has both plenty of experience and the know-how to tell a gripping narrative.

That’s why we’re happy to announce that Simon will share his storytelling secrets with attendees at Webinar World 2019. Webinar World 2019, which centers on the theme “Engage for Action,” runs from March 11 to 13, at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco, California. The three-day conference brings together digital engagement experts, marketing, training and communications leaders, webinar practitioners and, yes, storytellers to share strategies, best practices and tactics for audience engagement and business growth.

In addition to Simon, Webinar World 2019 will feature several keynote speakers, including:

Webinar World 2019 also features a robust, hands-on series of breakout sessions guided by companies on the frontier of digital engagement, such as Oracle Netsuite, Salesforce, Box, SAP, Merrill and many more.

Ready to take your marketing and storytelling to the next level? Register for Webinar World 2019 today and prepare to engage for action!

What Webinars Rocked 2018? Discover on Dec. 12

It’s the end of the year and everyone is ready for the big holiday break and a fresh start to 2019. So, take the time to wind down from work at work on Dec. 12 and join us as we take a look at the Webinars That Rocked 2018.

Webinars That Rocked — taking place at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) — is our most popular webinar of the year and is a great opportunity to sit back, relax and grab some inspiration for 2019.

During this webinar, we’ll go over this year’s standout events, examine fantastic webinar uses from top brands, explore new webinar formats and reveal the webinars that rocked 2018. Best of all, you get to decide 2018’s best webinars! Tune in and vote for who you think should take home the grand prize of “Webinar of the Year” and maybe take home a few great ideas to implement as well. All you have to do is register here.

Interested in more amazing webinars? Come meet the designers and get some webinar inspiration at Webinar World 2019! Click here for more details.

Clarksons Takes Charity Day Digital, Doubling Funds Raised

It’s Thanksgiving for most of us here at ON24 and we wanted to share what we’re most grateful for — our growing webinerd family. It’s incredible, and humbling, to see what all of you do to wow your audiences and further your business goals with our webinar software. Thank you for letting us be a part of your team day after day.

This time of year, we’re especially excited to see how companies use webinars to do good for others. And Clarksons, the world’s leading provider of integrated shipping services, raised the bar for corporate-giving webinars this past year by taking their annual Charity Giving Day digital.

So what is Charity Giving Day exactly? Across Clarksons’ eight major offices, employees form teams to compete in a series of fitness challenges on behalf of a chosen charity, including the ALS Association, Plastic Oceans, and Cancer Research UK. Each team works together to complete the most circuits of specific high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises, and the team to complete the greatest number of circuits wins the most funds for its chosen charity.

After a successful 2017 Charity Giving Day, the Clarksons team wanted to make an even bigger impact in 2018. Clarksons decided to build on their base of 2017 participants and extend the competition to remote employees, friends, family and the community. ON24 webinars proved to be the perfect fit — Clarksons brought together all of the different fitness competitions from their eight offices into one live webinar, mega charity event.

But, Clarksons knew simply letting more people watch Charity Giving Day wasn’t enough. They needed a way to scale the number of people who could take action and donate during the event. Clarksons integrated dynamic interactivity into the webinar that allowed for anyone attending to make a donation, get live leaderboard updates and even post and share the activity on social channels.

By taking the power of charitable giving to digital scale, Clarksons nearly doubled donations made in 2018, totaling over £80,000 ($104,000).

Thank you, Clarksons, and we hope everyone in our webinerd family has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Lorem Ipsum Oops-um: What To Do When Email Mistakes Strikes

Sending out the wrong email is an email marketer’s worse nightmare! As a Marketing Programs Manager at ON24, I manage a variety of campaigns and the various moving parts that make a campaign successful. With every email that goes out, there is an extensive building, revising and quality-assurance process involved. There are many iterations made to email copy, styles, subject lines and more. When all pieces are finalized, the email is constructed, put into the automation flow and sent out to the designated audience.

MOST of the time, this executes successfully. But then there are the times where the wrong email is sent and your whole world flips upside down? Seamlessly handling how to deal with an email error or mistake is the beauty of being a marketer! When something does not go as expected, you don’t have time to sit and point out mistakes or faults. Instead, you collaborate with your team and determine an action plan!

A few months ago, we had an email fiasco where the incorrect email went out promoting our popular Webinar Best Practices Series. Everything looked great upon setup and QA, but the automation failed to save the email and reverted back to its template – the dreaded Lorem Ipsum. I woke up to a flurry of email and social messages from our prospects and customers pointing out the issue. I knew I had to take action as soon as possible to repair the situation and continue investigating the issue after. If an email disaster ever comes your way, here are some tips based on my experience for a strong action plan:

  • Transparency: Send an email out to your manager and involved stakeholders pointing out the issue, discussing what went wrong so they are aware before they hear from someone else
  • Start the investigation: submit a support ticket or communicate with your operations team or person to investigate the issue
  • Write an effective follow-up: Work with your content team or copywriter to craft an effective follow-up email-slash-apology response
  • Communication is key: Send the apology email out the same day to those that received the wrong email as quickly as possible
  • Follow-up: Send an email out to stakeholders involved noting the apology email is scheduled and provide any status updates from the investigation

Email marketing can be tedious, but your audience will understand that mistakes happen if you accept the mistake and communicate it effectively! We are lucky that we market to marketers, therefore our audience understood and responded positively to our apology. The apology email that we sent out was witty, admitted our mistake, and addressed the situation in a humorous manner. Your audience is human too and everyone makes mistakes! It’s what you do and how you build and execute your come back strategy that truly matters! All’s well that ends well!

CMO Confessions Ep. 12: Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB

Hello and welcome to another episode of CMO Confessions, a bi-weekly podcast featuring the best and the brightest minds that sales and marketing have to offer. This week, we have Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB, Electrification Product.

Monique made her mark at General Electric, where she started as a Commercial Excellence Manager and worked her way up to CMO of GE Industrial Solutions. Today, she focuses on driving digital customer experiences and driving new innovations to bridge the in-person and digital gap.

In this episode, Monique discusses how she approaches today’s buzzword du jour, digital transformation, what that means for the industrial space and how she and her marketing team are re-inventing digital customer experience by divvying responsibilities up. It’s a great episode for any organization or marketing lead concerning themselves with driving better customer experiences.

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 B2B sales and marketing podcast that explores what it really means to be a marketing leader in today’s business world. I’m Joe Hyland, CMO here at ON24 and joining me this week from the Greater New York area, I think I’m using that somewhat liberally, is Monique Elliott, CMO of ABB. Monique, how you doing?


Monique Elliott:           

I’m doing well. Thanks for the invitation today.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, so excited that you’re here. I really appreciate it. All right, well, let’s just jump right in. So before running global marketing at ABB, which I think you’ve been doing for about the past half year, you’ve held a pretty wide range of marketing leadership roles previously at GE. And I would love to hear you talk about, I guess we’ll go positive, but we’ll start on what might be some, some frustrations. I’d love to hear about what is driving you crazy as a B2B marketer today.


Monique Elliott:            

Sure, absolutely. And just to kind of give some context too, for my role. So I currently lead marketing for one of the divisions of ABB, it’s called the electrification products, the industrial solutions BU, which to your point, was the division that was purchased recently from GE by ABB. So I now find myself in the ABB family, but have been in the marketing space for quite some time, pretty much my entire 18 years or so, 19 years. In business, the last 15 being with GE, and in a variety of different marketing. So, on the strategic side, I’m on the tactical side, on the digital marketing space and I think, you know, to kind of get to your question, what has frustrated me the most or what’s been the most challenging is that being in a B2B space, I think us as marketers like to make it more complicated than it needs to be. And you’ll often hear people say, well, we’re in B2B, so it’s harder or it’s different if only we were in the B2C space. If only this was retail, all of this would be a lot easier and I sometimes I think it really, that’s a little bit of we do it to ourselves and that’s a challenge and that’s really difficult to operate in that space where you’re constantly thinking, you’re waking up every day thinking this is so much harder than it really needs to be.


Joe Hyland:                   

I think that’s a great point. So I hear the same thing by the way that B2B is so much different than on the consumer side. Obviously, it’s true, we’re going after a different buyer, the business buyer. But I’m at the end of the day, great marketing is persuasion, right? And, and hopefully delivering a solution for some sort of a problem or challenge someone has. That doesn’t change. I mean, I think whether you’re marketing a consumer packaged goods or you’re selling… By the way, I wasn’t even going to attempt to pronounce or describe your area of expertise at ABB and previously at GE. But at the end of the day, I mean, what we’re marketing to people, right? That doesn’t, these aren’t buildings that we’re marketing to.


Monique Elliott:            

I absolutely agree and I think we find ourselves saying that a lot that we might be in a B2B space, but we’re still marketing to B2C people are at the end of the day and I think that the tenets of marketing, the sub-functions, the pillars of marketing are applicable across industry, applicable across market and it’s maybe, it certainly is different with how you implement and how you may go after. I’m the type of marketing that you’re looking to embed into an organization. But I think as marketers, the basic tenets still stay the same. And if you stay true to that and you understand the problems that you’re solving for your customer whoever your customer may be, it doesn’t have to be complicated. That is different, right? Things can be hard, but it shouldn’t be complicated.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. No, you’re right. Yeah, that’s a great topic. You over-complication of marketing. I think we perhaps make it more complex than it needs to be. It’s a, I get every once a while I’ll get asked what your, you just made me think of this, “what’s your marketing strategy?” As if there’s a one size fits all solution for someone’s marketing strategy. And I said, well, it’s marketing is problem solving, right? Like it even might be a might be a formula or a process through which you adhere to or you follow, but at the end of the day, your marketing strategy needs to be unique given the market that you’re in. My marketing strategy is probably pretty wildly different than, than yours because our markets are so different, right? Um, but you’re right, there’s still the same marketing principles or tenets.


Monique Elliott:            

You know, and I also find that you bring up kind of what’s your marketing strategy, I think sometimes us as marketers, we also get caught up that that strategy needs to be different every year. Because that really goes through the normal budgeting process, the whole cycle around, “So what are our goals and objectives for the year?” And I find that really great companies and really great marketers, they don’t vary year to year necessarily on their strategy. Now, how you execute within that strategy and the tactics that you take can certainly change. But having a strategy that changes every 12 months, can lead to a very erratic company culture. And so oftentimes if you have to, and we do this for ourselves, you have to stop yourself and say, am I really changing my strategy or am I simply changing the way that I’m going about executing that strategy? So that’s kind of another, maybe that’s another way to answer, you know, what, what can be frustrating about B2B marketing or just marketing in general? You don’t necessarily have to change that strategy every 12 months.


Joe Hyland:                   

I have to say it’s even worse out here in the bay area because I think the new tactic is really technology, meaning that we’ve all had those conversations where you talk to someone about their marketing, you know, hey, what’s your strategy? What are you trying to accomplish? And they list out a whole bunch of tactics. They do, I’m updating my website, we’re going to send this many emails, we’re going to have this many webinars. It’s like, no, like, what’s your, what’s your strategy? I’m finding that the marketing tech stack is, is almost like the new list of tactics. So I have so many conversations with marketers that just list out the 15 or 20 pieces of technology that they put into place and that they know that this grouping of technology will be their marketing strategy and execution all bundled up into one.


Monique Elliott:            

It’s interesting that you bring that up. I was having a conversation last week with some of the sales leaders for the business and one of the things that we were talking about, and this is kind of in the, in the area of customer experience, especially with online selling and bringing that, you know, kind of like that ecommerce lens to the B2B space that we’re in. And I said we do have to caution ourselves that the conversations don’t automatically go to technology because there’s the processes and the people are actually what make and break a really winning solution when it comes to online and the ecommerce space. Because technology cannot change a broken process and it certainly can’t win over someone’s hearts and minds if they don’t understand what you’re trying to do. And so what I was talking to the team about is we need to make sure before we embark on any of these journeys that we understand the underlying processes and that we make sure that we have the people on board and that change management process is just as critical, if not more than the technology itself. Because technology is not going to fix that broken process for you gotta fix that first. So it’s interesting and I agree with you because it’s so cool. All the technology that’s coming out in marketing and in the space, it’s very cool. And you want to gravitate to it as, that’s your strategy, but the reality is that’s only a portion of it and you got to remember the people in the process part as well.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, I love that you said winning hearts and minds because, I don’t know, I feel like at the end of the day, great marketing is inspiring and people if you’re doing it right, people have a good feeling when they’re engaging with your company and your marketing. And yeah, it is certainly not all — and this comes from a technologist — but it is not all about the technology. You’ll fail if you…or certainly be very frustrated if you just, you know, try to take on a ton of new tech and that will in no way solve all your problems. Um, because you’re right, it’s all about having the right process and having the right infrastructure so that you can actually scale your marketing strategy, right? You know, just throwing in four or five pieces of technology will not, will not solve it for, for anyone. Least. That’s my experience.


Joe Hyland:                   

The other thing, I think the other thing I think is interesting is, um, , in, , what’s old is new., So everyone, everyone’s talking about ABM and, of course, account based marketing and there’s, there’s technology, some of which we’ll use that, that can help with that going to help scale it at least. But at the end of the day, I find this somewhat humorous, because account-based marketing is not new. I remember. So I’ve been in marketing for almost 20 years. It sounds like just about the same amount of time you’ve been in it. And you know, personalized marketing is the holy Grail, right? It’s what we’re, this is what we’ve been trying to do that well for, for two decades. And I haven’t necessarily done it well, but I’m scaling. That can be difficult. But that is the challenge that we have as marketers is “how do we deliver a highly customized, personalized message?” And yeah, it’s hard to do it to, you know, thousands or millions of people, but that’s not like this is a new construct.


Monique Elliott:            

So this makes me chuckle a little bit. So it was at a conference last week. I was chairing a digital marketing conference and , the one of the topics that we had, one of the sessions that I lead with all around buzzwords and it was really, it was a really fun session and it was all marketers. You know, senior executives in the room, marketing executives. And the construct of this session was not that buzzwords are bad because sometimes you tend to use, oh, that’s a buzzword and you get a negative connotation. But what it was about was kind of like dissecting the top 10 buzzwords for marketing right now and just almost playing a game around the cable. Does. Everyone at this table had the same definition of this buzzword? And it’s not like your, what is your designation? And what it really did is it highlighted, first of all, we have fun with it because it’s sometimes it’s okay to be self deprecating as marketers, but it highlighted that, you know, sometimes you may be talking to someone and you may be saying account based marketing and they’re saying account based marketing, but at the end of the day you’re actually talking about two different things and they were the top 10 were the ones that you would expect for personalization, customer journey, digital transformation, which is my absolute favorite.


Monique Elliott:            

Again, they’re not Bad, right? But it was just this concept of, you know, these words have been around for awhile and they kind of cycle through and maybe every time to your point, what’s old is new when they cycle through though they don’t necessarily need the same thing anymore. And how do you just make sure that when you’re a marketer and you’re talking to someone particularly Someone who’s not a marketer but you’re clearly articulating and you have the same definition. Because that goes back to getting that buy in, in order to be successful. And in order for marketing to really give marketing the credibility that it deserves. So we had a fun time with abm was one of the ones that came up by the way.


Joe Hyland:                   

That sounds fun. I, I love that. It doesn’t surprise me by the way that the definitions were kind of ran the gamut and were so different. I think a lot of people, not necessarily just marketers, think these are things are completely new things that marketers haven’t ever been doing, even though some of the technology might be new, but, you know, marketing having a specific message or a personalized message is not like that just came about in 2015 or something.


Monique Elliott:            



Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, so that happened too. That happened to us, I don’t know, maybe a year and a half ago, one of our sales directors, came to me and could just come from, I don’t know if he was at Marketos conference — that it was at a marketing technology conference and said, “Joe, there’s this new hot thing called ABM. I think we need an ABM strategy.” And I said, “Well, we, we had one for the last two years and maybe maybe it’s not working as well as we’d like, but this is not as easy as just implementing a piece of technology.”


Monique Elliott:            

Right, right. Well, I got a little chuckle out of you too with the digital transformation one because that’s my personal favorite and I’m guilty as anyone because everyone’s going through a digital transformation, but I always joke, I’m like, “So when do you start transforming and just start doing? Yeah, so that we had a, we had a good laugh with that one as well, especially if, you know, the speaker after me, I’m pretty sure her abstract was how to digitally transform your business. No disrespect really.


Joe Hyland:                   

That’s really funny. Well, probably everyone after the buzzword roundtable, probably every session, the speaker felt guilty of using some sort of a buzzword in their presentation.


Monique Elliott:            

Well, they’re not bad.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. No, I mean it buzzwords not as we do need terms for this. Right. Well, let’s talk. Let’s talk digital transformation because I feel like this one’s kind of jumped the shark. Particularly in your space, or spaces that are well established. Is this the hottest thing, or the hottest topic or Buzzword in your space? Because you’re in more of a, you have more of a technical audience, right? This is not a technology that just came out five years ago, right? I mean this is a pretty established space, which is exciting. But as digital transformation, all anyone talks about.


Monique Elliott:           

It is certainly top of mind. And this is where, you know, the definition is important because you can, you can talk about digital in a variety of different ways, especially in B2B space with a more mature manufacturing history and customer base. So there’s one aspect of it that has to do with digital solutions. So think of it more of software solutions or its solution. So how do you couple your technology, your hardware technology with also a digital offering.


So that is more of a digital as it relates to product, a digital product development, then there’s the other side of digital, where I play, and that’s more on the digital customer experience. So how are you now digitally touching customers that you would have touched before and more an analog manner or kind of a brick and mortar go to market strategy. So this is, you started touching upon things like digital marketing and ecommerce, you know, not only can I touch my customer digitally now with communication and demand generation, but can I also encourage them to buy some of these products online? So I think when you use the word digital, it kind of depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re talking about it from a product solution offering or are you talking about it more from a customer experience lens? I can tell you in my world today, it’s both, it’s equally important, but it is two different animals. At the end of the day requires different skill sets for how you develop this offering.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, this is fascinating. So, my interpretation of what you just said, because obviously, we’re in, as I said, we’re in wildly different fields even though we’re both marketers, is the first category is GE used to produce the light bulb, just the light bulb, not as if that’s a bad thing, And they wanted to aspire to produce the software that could control the lighting system, right? Is that, is that what you mean for the digital product development?


Monique Elliott:            

Right, right. So lightbulbs are a good example. You can also say like, so now in the world of ABB, so you have circuit breakers or other types of electrical distribution equipment and how are you making them more intelligent and you’re connecting them like the whole Internet of things and you know, can you have planned outages and how do you make that piece of equipment more predictive, understand its maintenance cycles, how do you make that piece of hardware smarter and more connected to everything around it? So you’re right, it could be a light bulb, it could be a Ketogenic, it could be a piece of electrical equipment. No.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, that’s cool and then the second example is probably a little more easy to understand for our audience, you know, just taking a traditional brick and mortar experiencing and turning it into a digital experience.


Monique Elliott:            

That was it for me too, right? I mean that’s where I live from a marketing standpoint is how do you make that experience now more alive? More like you would expect if you are a consumer.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah. Well, let’s, let’s talk about that because I think this is fascinating. What are you, I guess, how is that, how’s that going? What’s, do you have — without entering the buzzword game ourselves — do you have particular things that are, are working quite well? I mean, how is, how are you transforming the digital experience for your marketers and marketing?


Monique Elliott:            

So, one of the things that we did to help us evolve that traditional marketing strategy or that traditional marketing team even is to organize ourselves a little bit different than we had done in the past. And so, the way that my team is structured today is there’s a digital marketing arm. So this, this arm is responsible for the actual, um, the technology stack, right? So the marketing automation around it, you know, how are we going to put campaigns out, what is that, what, how does the website content also marrying up with what we have in our digital campaign. So I have a digital marketing team and then we have something that’s really different around customer experience and it’s different for us. It’s, this kind of goes back to, you know, you, you’ve seen this structure and other organizations that are a little bit more mature in digital customer experience, but recently, earlier this year we stood up a team that was customer engagement and this team is really now thinking about how we used to engage with our customers at trade shows or at company hosted events and how are we now trying to touch them all digital. So whether that’s partnerships with some of the magazines that we work with to create these digital culdesac and we’re trying to create these communities of our customers to bring them more online. How are we also offering things like print on demand, not only for our sales people but for customers as well. So we have this digital engagement team now that’s looking at new and creative ways to engage with our customers online. And then we have our ecommerce pillar which has been looking at that kind of, that lower funnel part of the journey around how do you then purchase from us.


Monique Elliott:            

And so, and these are these three pillars that really make up the digital customer experience part of the team. Of course, there’s the traditional part of the team around strategic marketing and market intelligence. And, and that field marketing, but we have these other three pillars now that are really trying to evolve the way that we, that we are looking at marketing. I have one other piece that’s worth mentioning. That is all around the Demand Generation, and this is a really interesting part of the team, and what they’re responsible for is creating that demand generation engine. So whether it’s the campaign or it’s the trade sho but there then tracking the way that these activities flow through the point to see what’s the, what’s the result? So can we show the ROI now on all of these marketing activities that are going on. So it’s really great and, I have to say, it’s certainly not my team. It has truly, this was like a team, a team of teams in order to be successful in this space


Joe Hyland:                   

Well, when you’re talking about customer experience to subcategories that digital called the digital cul-de-sacs. I’ve actually never heard that. I love that. And the other thing that jumps out to me, which is kind of interesting at our team, is obviously it’s been more wildly different companies and you guys are a little bit bigger than ON24. Actually. The team structure is not wildly different. It’s pretty similar. I was, I wasn’t sure if you had demand gen broken out separately for that was underneath the digital marketing arm. So it was interesting that, it’s actually its own group within the larger team.


Monique Elliott:           

Yeah, it is and, from a legacy perspective, that team historically was referred to as sales marketing. They did, what they were responsible for was kind of more what I would say demand generation locally and we turn it on its head a little bit and started referring to it as demand generation. Which, to be honest, you know, we needed to do some education, too, around kind of when you, when you change the name of that, what does that mean? You know, does the scope really change and how do you get people’s heads around that?


Joe Hyland:

Yeah, you went right to where I was about to go. Do your field events, or traditionally more, in-person events, are these integrated with your digital experiences? Or do you look at them as very separate campaigns and objectives?


Monique Elliott:           

It’s a good question and certainly, they need to all be considered one experience. And so what we’re trying to do a better job at, and this is truly, this is a newer journey for us, but as you, let’s say you have an in person event coming up, we want to make sure that that digital experience leading up to the event is harmonized. And so whether it’s a campaign that goes out that invites people or you’re trying to drum up that activity all the way to reminders leading up to the event and then when you’re at the event. If it is an event where you could have a digital experience. So maybe it’s you’re showcasing a product and you want to have a video present or some kind of user experience digitally at the event, we would love to do that.


Monique Elliott:            

And then of course, the follow up after that, making sure that you have the digital campaigns following the event to make sure that you’re doing follow ups and here’s the information you requested. It should all be considered, and it is considered, what I would say one campaign, but you may have different activities leading up to that and you have to be able to connect them and track them. And that’s that responsibility of the demand generation team to attribute to say that, you know, this campaign is linked to this particular event and so that you can have that total wing to wing metric around how well did we do with this particular campaign.


Joe Hyland:                   

And you described that pretty succinctly and quite well the infrastructure and operations required to do that. Well, are pretty complicated.


Monique Elliott:           

It really is. It really is. And, you know, we’re trying to integrate some different technologies to help us with that. Of course, you know, CRM system being the backbone of all of that, but it’s not easy. And I mean, we started down this whole journey a couple years ago and it was really just this year where we’re able to now see the benefit of having it connected, where you can say, you know, this particular event that we did, we had campaigns leading up to it and then post, you know, here’s what we saw come out of that. Whether that’s a lead, an order, an actual book deal that is, it’s very difficult to get that wing to wing. I’ll be the first one to say it’s, are not perfect at it. And it’s hard.


Joe Hyland:                   

Yeah, you and anyone else? I mean, obviously the more complex the marketing engine, the harder it is attribution and multi touch attribution is. And there’s, there’s no perfect formula. It’s like any model really, a lot of the results can be manipulated by how you kind of assume or what assumptions you make are what credit you give to things. Right. That is a bit of a messy spiderweb. I like what you were talking about with customer experience. I think this is an area for is an area I’m excited about. I think this is an area that I think most marketers can, can get excited about or should be excited about, is trying to produce a real world class cohesive customer experience.


Joe Hyland:                   

So all the way through from before someone’s your customer through those early touchpoints, whether it’s your website or a campaign or a physical event all the way through to being your customer for a decade or longer. And I think, I guess the reason I find this exciting, and I’d love to get your take on it, I think a lot of marketers have left much of that journey to other groups and said, “Hey, once someone becomes a customer and I’ll, you know, our job is done and that’s over to, you know, the client services team or a in, you know, we, we don’t need to control that.” And I think more and more, at least in the software world, I think it’s really important to not have that mindset and say, “No, this is, if we were going to be with them for a very long time and we want it to be a cohesive journey and it shouldn’t feel like you’re leaving one part of our company and entering another.” And I don’t know if you have a similar viewpoint in your space or if it becomes much trickier given, given the audience and the and the products you guys deliver.


Monique Elliott:           

I’m passionate about it as well. And I really like where I see marketing heading in the whole evolution of the function. And I think what you’re hitting on is why we’re seeing the rise of these customer experience teams and the chief customer experience officer or the global head of customer experience is because I believe that there is now kind of an awakening around, it’s not good enough to have your, you know, kind of like your upper funnel marketing team then handed off to sales, then handing it off to operations then, you know, to customer service and post sale service. And what you’ll have is because when it’s siloed you very well could have very different experiences, right? Or really strong marketing team and maybe not such strong customer service ‚ or vice versa. And so I think this is why we’re now seeing the rise of these customer experience organizations.


And it’s not that one team has to do it all because that’s absolutely not what I’m saying And I think that that’s the wrong approach. But what it is, is to have an awareness to have at least a group of people who are now looking at the experience across those silos and across the different functions and ensuring that the connection is there and ensuring that the experience is the same to your point if it’s relevant and it’s harmonized. And so it’s often a debate that I get into, into some marketers with, well is it about all of a sudden these massive customer experience teams taking on all this work? And I said no, but it’s about having now some governance in an organization or a body of people that can just look across to make sure that there aren’t breakdowns and to make sure that you, that you do have that same feel across any point of your customer’s journey. And that excites me because I do think that that isn’t an area where marketing can evolve. So you can, you can evolve as a marketer into more of a customer experience organization. And I think that’s great.


Joe Hyland:

Yeah, I couldn’t agree any more. The one, the one entity or group that suffers if you put your company first and you have a disjointed experience from going from one group to another is the customer. And at the end of the day, that’s kind of the one thing that we should make sure that we hold sacred and dear. I think you’re right, I think that’s a brilliant point. It’s not that marketers the shouldn’t be a land grab, it’s not that marketing needs to own that or it needs to. And let’s face it that that’s kind of an impossible task for one group to own the whole thing, but you’re right, there does need to be some sort of a corporate governance for what that experience is like. And, and if so, I think that’s a, isn’t that a wonderful thing for the customer experience, which is what this is all about.


Monique Elliott:           

Yeah, I love it. I’m excited to see more companies and I’m excited to see more marketers really embrace this whole notion of really customer experience. And you know, maybe this will also help marketing as a function because oftentimes marketers a little bit of a bad rap and spend a lot of money and always looking for more budget. And what do you kind of get out of it? I mean, I know that as a marketer that’s what we face into every day and so this whole evolution to customer experience I think is really good for the function.


Joe Hyland:  

Yeah, I agree. And I’ll just add that if marketers can tie themselves to the customer and, in some parts to, to revenue, I think that is how you shake the old stigma of marketing, just being the, you know, the people that make it look pretty, right? So, well I said half an hour would fly by. It has. This was fantastic. Thank you. Thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate the time.


Monique Elliott:

Oh my pleasure. I had a great time. I really enjoyed the conversation and anything we can do to help our fellow marketers and to help all be successful in this space, I’m always happy to take the time