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Life Before ON24 Marketing Integration: The Bad Old Days

September 14th, 2017 Amanda Duquette

This is a guest post from Amanda Duquette, Marketing Manager at athenahealth.

One sign of a good tool is how quickly it becomes a permanent part of your life. Whether it’s a subtle improvement in marketing technology or a completely new webinar platform, if you love it today you won’t be able to live without it tomorrow, and you’ll forget what life was like without it by the weekend. But sometimes the biggest changes aren’t in the tools themselves, but the way they fit together in your technology stack.

At athenahealth, webinar marketing is a big part of how we connect with clients. We offer a range of products to help healthcare organizations manage patient communication, electronic health records (EHR), medical billing and other aspects of healthcare. It’s a substantial investment for the client, and it requires the right marketing technology to nurture those leads — sometimes over years.

The ON24 webinar platform has always been a great source of data for us, but marketing integration is what let us really harness its full potential. Before we hooked our technology stack together, we’d have to feed data manually through the pipeline, which really limited what we could do. For example, before automation, just making sure registrants didn’t get a second email invitation was complicated and time-consuming. We’d have to manually go into the webinar platform, pull the names of registrants, send them to our email platform, and exclude them from follow up invitations.

If you wanted to do something more complicated like, say, excluding recipients who had already seen a webinar from emails about the on-demand version, you might have to manually dig through lists from months ago. It was enough to make you think very hard about whether a rule was too much time and effort — and in an industry where lead time might be two years, that lack of granular control could have real consequences for your lead maturation strategy.

With marketing integration, all that extra work is gone. Want to avoid pestering leads with webinars they’re not interested in? Make a rule that unopened emails get no follow-ups. Need to make sure you don’t send on-demand requests when the recipient saw the first viewing? You can make the rule once and never worry about it again. With an integrated marketing stack, we can choose rules based on whether they make sense for our marketing strategy — not whether they’re worth the hours of pushing data around.

Integrating the ON24 webinar platform helped even more with post-webinar follow-up. Before marketing integration, the day after the webinar was set aside for bonding with Excel. It was not a healthy relationship. Each time, I’d waste a couple hours making spreadsheets on attendance for marketing — a couple hours I could have spent doing, well, anything but making spreadsheets. And spreadsheets wasted time for the marketing ops team, the sales reps — everyone. By the time there was any follow-up, it was 24 hours later, and the lead had noticeably cooled. And we’d have to stagger out lower-priority leads after that to avoid swamping our sales team with data.

Integrated marketing technology eliminates that busy work and lets me spend time doing something that matters: getting value from those leads. I have all the analytics in my automation tool as soon as the webinar ends, automatically sorted by the ON24 analytics I need. Users who requested a demo go right to sales, along with high-engagement users. Lower engagement users become marketing leads. No shows get nurtured. And our integrated marketing stack lets us get as granular as we want, throughout their sales journey. We can look at who raised their hand, who took a meeting, who asked questions and use all that data to make meaningful sales and marketing decisions.

Integrated webinar marketing makes life easier for sales too. Instead of massive spreadsheets, they have neatly-sorted data in their automation tool. Instead of 2,000+ attendees to follow up on, they have a stream of data, automatically scored and prioritized. And with lower delays and less chance of leads falling through the crack, you can bet that leads to ROI!

Marketing is about connecting with people, not pushing data around. With ON24 marketing integration, you can use your data for actionable insights, not Excel spreadsheets.