February 14, 2019 Tessa Barron
This post was originally published on dmnews.com, shared with the author’s permission.
It’s a virtual event, it’s a physical event, it’s a worldwide webinar. Webinar World, hosted by the leading webinar and virtual event platform ON24 will be drawing Webinerds to San Francisco again for three days of education and networking, March 11-13. DMN will be there, and we’ll be looking out for two characteristic elements of ON24’s annual event: granular instruction on the ways to do webinars right, and input not just from ON24 customers, but from other technology vendors — a sign of the respect ON24’s offerings command among the company’s peers.
The world a webinar
“A whole conference devoted to webinars?” That’s the kind of question which might be asked by anyone who still views webinars and comparable virtual events as optional add-ons to their strategies for engaging with customers, partners, and even employees. Central to ON24’s proffer is that virtual events can, and should, be at the core of such strategies — not just because they’re effective as live events, but because of what might be called “long tail” benefits. Webinars can engage an audience in real-time, of course, especially with Q&A and polling features, but can also have a productive after-life as on-demand content for anyone unable to attend the original event. They’re also great tools for capturing data about engagement right when the engagement happens.
Mark Bornstein, ON24’s VP of content marketing and official Chief Webinerd, lays out the benefits of webinars as follows:
- Ease of deployment and persistence of content
- Tote bags are great for picking up pieces of paper, but people now expect to consume content digitally
- Product demonstrations can happen right away; no scheduling
- You capture every conversation, every single action: poll responses, responses to CTAs, the chat log, etc.
- Much faster marketing to sale hand-off; instant CRM.
The relevance of the above to Webinar World is that it puts these theories into practice. It goes without saying that attendees get to witness live content, and engage with speakers and panels directly, as well as networking with their peers. But the conference also re-invents itself — on the fly, as it were — as virtual content for on-demand consumption. Here’s last year’s Webinar World, still packaged for consumption by many more people than actually attended the event. We’ll see a repeat of this strategy in 2019, demonstrating the practical long-tail value of a virtual content strategy.
Doing webinars right
It wouldn’t be Webinar World without strong educational themes for webinerds of all levels. The first day of the conference features introductory sessions, for “webinewbies” new to the ON24 offering, right down to the nuts, bolts, and widgets of the platform. But it also offers deep-dive training for habitual users, not least how to use data derived from webinars to drive other actions and campaigns.
Bornstein, of course, will be sharing his latest tips on pushing webinars to the next level, and other members of the ON24 team will be presenting a blueprint for putting webinars at the heart of ABM. But at Webinar World, it’s not just about ON24’s best practices. The audience will be hearing from a range of partners about solutions which complement ON24’s offering: for example, how it fits into an Oracle infrastructure, how to utilize SketchDeck’s design solution in a webinar context, how Box can help with email promotion for webinars, and how to use Zapier to automate webinar workflows.
Customer success stories also occupy the stage, with presentations from Merrill, Financial Engines, Splunk, SAP HANA, and others. We can’t mention all the sessions here: check out the full agenda.
Keynotes and craziness
Let’s not overlook stimulation for the mind and the senses. In the former category, we’re particularly looking forward to the keynote from Mika Yamamoto, a DMN Marketing Hall of Femme inductee, whose amazing career trajectory has taken her from Microsoft, to Amazon, to SAP, and now to Marketo as VP and GM. Among others on the keynote stage, Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, and David Nihill, author of Do You Talk Funny?
In the latter category, and speaking of funny, the one thing better than the Webinerds in the Wild after-party will be the re-cap next morning from Bornstein and CMO Joe Hyland. With or without dance move videos.
DMN will be covering the event, speaking to ON24 executives and other guests, and presenting the highlights right here. Maybe we’ll see you there.