Why Webinar Marketing Fuels Demand Generation in 2019

B2B marketers are in a strange place. There’s more money going into marketing than ever before, but marketers are more uncertain than they’ve ever been. Marketing budgets, according to a recent report by Demand Gen Report, are going up by 20 percent or more. But a joint ON24, Heinz Marketing report found that 67 percent of marketers consider their content strategy somewhat or not at all effective.

So what is effective? Demand Gen Report examines what works in “What’s Working in Demand Generation In 2019?” The report found that marketers can effectively balance their approach to new strategies, like account-based management and peer-to-peer review sites, with traditional tactics like direct mail and webinars.

Webinars, in particular, are an effective way to connect with prospects across all stages of the marketing funnel. According to Demand Gen Report’s “2019 Demand Generation Benchmark Report,” 58 percent of demand gen marketers say webinars are the most successful tactic for top-of-funnel engagement. Nearly half, 48 percent, say webinars move prospects through the rest of the marketing funnel — from mid to bottom and closed — effectively.

How Webinar Marketing Empowers Digital Results

Why are webinars an effective digital approach? It may be because marketers are using webinars in more conversational and personalized formats. Jon Russo, CMO and Founder of B2B Fusion, says webinars are becoming a “must do” channel.

Our own Mark Bornstein offers his own theory as to why webinars are a useful tool:

One of the biggest changes we have seen in webinar marketing is the move to more conversational formats, such as panel discussions. [Buyers] don’t want to be lectured to; they want to participate in conversations where panelists are talking to each other but also including the audience in the discussion. This type of conversational marketing increases audience participation and content retention. It’s for your audience but also good for you as the more you interact with your prospects, the more you learn about them.

With engaging, conversational content, marketers can gather the data they need to refine messaging for targeted audiences and accounts, enabling popular strategies like account-based marketing.

Learn more about webinars

Webinars Formats That Drive Conversations

Panels

A panel of knowledgeable experts provides an excellent opportunity for attendees to interact and learn from industry thought leaders. Depending on the audience, panels can be as casual or as formal as necessary. Just know what panel webinars entail — they can require a lot of organization.

Presentation webinars

Presentation webinars may seem like a one-sided affair, but modern webinar suites offer a range of interactive tools like polls, surveys, Q&As and chat rooms. It’s very easy to put an in-house expert, or spokesperson, on a webinar to showcase updates, introduce new products and answer questions from attendees.

Interviews

Some attendees want to learn from experts. So, conduct an interview. Interviews are a great format allowing organizations to sit down with an industry leader and draw out a better understanding of an industry trend. Audiences, too, can ask questions through the chat tool or collectively decide on a theme with polls.

Live Case Study

Case studies allow prospects to fully evaluate product and solutions based on how other organizations use a given service. Webinars provide an excellent medium to share case studies, especially when a satisfied customer shares their experience and interacts with an audience.

Webinars provide a range of opportunities for marketers to engage with prospects (and customers) at every stage of the funnel.

Applying the Power of Webinars to Global Campaigns

This post was originally published on MarTechSeries.com. For more information about Webinar World 2018, please click here

Tell us about your role at Hortonworks and the automation tools you use for demand-gen campaigns?

I lead Global Demand Generation for Hortonworks. For all Global Campaigns, I work with different leaders on identifying the top campaign themes, set specific and measurable goals, identify existing assets, plan new assets, strategize on net new lead acquisition plans from target accounts, work on engagement and conversion programs including email nurture streams, help with call down programs working closely with the BDRs, eventually with the overall goal of moving the needle on pipeline and revenue numbers! I also act as the Demand Gen SME for the company and consult other individuals and teams on multiple programs. I also lead the global webinar strategy for the company and work closely with operations teams in recommending and testing new operational and process improvement initiatives including account scoring, lead scoring, lead flows, nurture track feeders, sales alerts etc.

We use Mintigo, Allocadia, Asana, Google Suite, Marketo, Salesforce, Engagio, BrightFunnel, LookBookHQ, Salesloft, and LeanData among others.

What is the most exciting part about attending the ON24 Webinar World 2018?

Besides presenting and being on the ON24 CAB, looking forward to learning directly from folks similar to us.

What are your expectations and likely key takeaways from the ON24 Webinar World 2018?

New tools and techniques around demand gen especially around ABM maturity. What’s new on other folks webinar programs – content strategy, webinar ops, innovative promotion and of course some metrics and benchmarks!

On a scale of 1-10, how tech-savvy are your marketing and sales teams? How do you train your demand-gen pros to leverage automation and analytics tools?

Our Digital and demand gen teams are very tech savvy – I’d rate ourselves at a high 9! As far as training and using the right tools to the full potential for the demand gen pros, at the very beginning, we make every effort to hire the right people – people who show tremendous passion and interest in not only Marketing but also on what Tech could do for Marketers besides automating workflows. There is so much tech out there, only passionate and interested people would succeed because they not only help select right tools, they find innovative uses cases out of those toolsets. Besides, we have plenty of customized training materials including recording sessions and documents to help folks get started and succeed with our tech and our processes. We also have plenty of recurring weekly calls including a demand gen/ campaigns weekly, ops weekly, demand gen/ ops with BDRs weekly etc.

How often do you re-evaluate your content marketing strategies for demand-gen campaigns?

Regularly! We have built a central inventory of content ground up, listing all content and categorizing them by content type, target persona, industry focus, stage of buyer journey, campaign/ theme focus, date last updated, keywords, link to gated pages, direct links to the content just to name a few. We experiment with newer content types, try repurposing existing content and frequently leverage new tools.

What are the webinar best practices you would recommend for better demand-gen ROI?

Focus most of your energies on building a robust strategy for the webinar program. Content balancing has really helped us elevate our program – we try and regularly balance content by webinar type (demo vs thought leadership vs how to. Best practices), by target personas and get the webinars to fit into our big Global campaigns so that there is solid touch cadence for engaged folks post the webinar. Templatize EVERYTHING – webinar request capture, webinars ops, webinar promos, post-webinar touches etc.

What are your predictions for the adoption of marketing technologies for events and webinars?

Webinars have and will continue to be a vital part of the marketing mix. As marketers, we have a big role to play to keep this channel sacred and genuine – the key thing to remember is that folks attend webinars to learn something, period – so helping keep this channel clear of product pitches and product features etc is critical. Focusing instead on customer problems, benefits of a product/ solution and delivering knowledge is the way to go. I see technology playing a big part in webinars – modernizing the webinar platforms – look and feel, overall functionality, newer engagement features, richer analytics and an easy out of the box compatibility with the marketers’ unique MarTech stack.

Which technology startups are you keenly following?

BrightFunnel (now a part of Terminus), Engagio, LookBookHQ, Tesla (still a startup in some shape or form),  to name a few.

Are you keen on AI/ML technologies? How do you see these new-age technologies impacting marketing ROI by 2020?

Absolutely – there is no getting away from this tech for anyone! From a marketing PoV, I see AI/ ML tech helping connect the right products /solutions to the right buyers at the right time and for the right reasons! I also see AI/ ML forcing marketers to work way harder on pinpointing target audience, messaging, offers and touch cadences because of the hypercompetitive environment this modern tech would create – after all we are all in the attention economy.

This Is How I Work

One word that best describes how you work.

Smart.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Email, task management tools like Asana, love Google Drive (slides, sheets, docs) for collaboration, excel (it can still do things in a way many modern tools cant), attribution tool like BrightFunnel, to name a few.

What’s your smartest work related shortcut or productivity hack?

Learning shortcuts on your operating system and browser always work wonders in terms of productivity e.g. ‘cmd’ + ‘+­’/ ‘-‘ – zooms in or out. Saving quick note over an ‘new email’ and saving as a draft is a quick productivity hack. Bonus tip – save an email draft as ‘Ideas’ to capture quick ideas.

What are you currently reading?

Not a voracious book reader but frequently consume digital content across social media and industry publications

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Ask the right questions and over communicate on what you do – things that might see trivial to you might be worth its weight in gold for others.

Thank you Sudeep! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.