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ServiceNow’s Approach to Webinar Program Innovation (Part I)

August 15th, 2018 Kees Henniphof

This is part one in a two-part series on how organizations can extract more results from their ServiceNow webinar programs. You can read part two here

Digital Transformation of the marketing function is rapidly changing how we invest, measure and manage work. As marketers, we are on a journey towards agile, data-driven, value-based demand generation.

In this 2-part series, I review our webinar program to demonstrate the impact of change and share some of the best practices ServiceNow’s EMEA Marketing team has generated since the webinar program’s inception in 2012.

For starters, here’s the list of KPI’s we track for our webinar program, with YoY trending:

                                                                                                            18H1 vs 17H1            

·      Number of webinars                                                              +22%

·      Number of registrations:                                                        +66%

·     Number of attendees:                                                            +52%

·     Number of on-demand attendees:                                        +62%

·     Pipeline influenced                                                                 +144%

As a result of ServiceNow’s focus on webinar excellence, the webinar program’s pipeline influence in 18H1 was 538 percent higher than the next most effective campaign type.

A well-run webinar program does a number of things for enterprise marketing teams. It will:

1. Drive quality audience engagement at low cost

At ServiceNow in EMEA, we host about 40 webinars per quarter, at an infrastructure cost of $20 – so about $500 per webinar, which is low in comparison to other activity types, like seminars, event sponsorships, and even paid media. CPC leads may be cheaper, but usually produce significantly lower conversation rates. Needless to say, it takes time from well-paid experts to deliver a good webinar – but that’s true for most other activities, too.

Figure 1 –ServiceNow-branded ON24 console

2. Create premium assets for content marketing programs

We run webinars in English, German, French, and from time to time in Spanish, Italian and Dutch. The content of the webinars is tightly aligned to our demand generation programs, including digital display, outbound email, roadshows, telemarketing et cetera. We use our best speakers, often have customers join to share their best practices, and spend ample time on quality presentation slides, technology demonstrations and pre-recorded videos.

By recording all broadcasts, we establish a library of on-demand webinars to go into local websites, online communities, as well as our outbound email and email nurturing programs.

At the end of 2017, we introduced the ON24 Content Gateway to better market on-demand webinars. Within the first 5 months of 2018 alone, on-demand webinar consumption went up 90 percent.

Figure 2 –  Long-tail engagement with our on-demand webinars

3. Support Account-Based Marketing initiatives

As an extension of the previous point, digital marketing and targeted marketing go hand-in-hand. The superior control of data and content that comes with a modern webinar program, allows marketers to tailor an engagement strategy into highly-targeted database segments based on industry, job level, or account grade or name. As part of an offline touch plan consisting of Direct Mail, Industry Events, Seminars and Outbound calling, the webinar program keeps the target audience engaged by offering relevant, highly-personalized content.

ServiceNow recently adopted ON24 Target, a way to populate a landing page with on-demand webinars and other video assets hosted on our content gateway, the digital asset management system at the heart of the ON24 platform. Although still early days, we have started experimenting with co-branded landing pages for target accounts in Financial Services – and first feedback and results are quite positive.

4. Provide strong behavioural analytics of the audience

The unique quality of webinars: they offer an extensive content experience and are digital from start to finish. Therefore, from the minute the target contact opens the email invite or engages a promotional tweet to the moment they download the slides from the follow-up message and all that’s in between; everything is recorded, tracked, scored, reported and followed up.

We integrated our webinar platform with our website – the ON24 content gateway displays in an iFrame, so that both upcoming and on-demand webinars automatically drive engagement online –, with our marketing automation platform (scoring, nurturing), which in turn is connected to our CRM platform, where marketing qualified leads are handed off to sales teams. So, any engagement with the webinar program, be it live or on-demand, via email, the website or forwarded by a colleague, we track in order to continually improve the program, tailor content to the audience’s expectations, and deliver ever better MQL’s to our outbound callers and sales teams.

5. Create an online platform for customer and ServiceNow speakers

Although not a primary goal of the webinar program, it did help establish a strong speaker pool for other ServiceNow events large and small. Because of the solid reputation and continuity of the program, our internal speakers are eager to contribute. It’s a high-quality podium on which to showcase their expertise. Customers usually join webinar panels before presenting at large ServiceNow events, like Now Forum or Knowledge.

In 2018, our webinar program is an indispensable part of ServiceNow’s growth engine and the single largest lead generating program in EMEA. In Part II, I will review our first experience adopting ON24’s Target module as part of our Account-Based Marketing Program.