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How To Virtualize Co-Marketing Events and Enhance Partnerships

Playbook Overview

If you’re thinking about a co-marketed virtual event, you’re likely planning either a single webinar or a large event with multiple webinars taking place within it. While partner webinars and summits different on a surface level, the way marketers prepare and organize for them is strikingly similar — especially when co-marketing is thrown into the mix.

This playbook will provide you with a scalable process for planning and organizing virtual co-marketing events.

 

Why You Need This Playbook

To Encourage Partner Participation

Involve all partners from beginning to end, even with larger summits where it is harder to ensure everyone pulls their weight.

To Stay Organized

Whether you are managing two partners for a single webinar or 50 partners across a two day event, being organized will help drive ensure success.

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE THIS PLAYBOOK?

Whether this is your first or 100th virtual event, this playbook will provide you with, expert tips and best practices for navigating the co-marketing waters and executing a virtual partner event from start to finish.

STAKEHOLDERS AND ROLES

  • Marketing Team — Manages promotion schedule with partners, pre- and post-event, as well as distributing post-event analytics to everyone involved.
  • Project Manager — Responsible for ensuring everyone stays on task and deadlines are met. This person has the final say and can make in-the-moment decisions for the full team.
  • Design Team — Creates cohesive, branded promotional assets for all speakers and marketing.
  • Events Partners Support in co-marketing and promotion of the event. Attend all planning calls and hold individual roles specific to each event.

TIPS FOR VIRTUALIZING CO-MARKETING EVENTS

Kick off Call – Start on the right foot by ensuring your speakers, themes and dates are defined and agreed upon during an initial kickoff call. Here is what the meeting should discuss:

  1. For Partner Webinars
    • Make introductions for speakers amongst the team.
    • Determine how each person will contribute to the conversation.
    • Confirm webinar times, dates, titles and abstracts.
    • Schedule a dry-run (for live) or recording date (for simulive).
    • Identify core team — take roles and align them internally focus on the following:
      • Platform Host – Hosts webinar (either you or one of your partners).
      • Moderator – Facilitates the webinar day of the event.
      • Promotion Lead – Sets up UTMs and ensures the speakers and partners are sending out promotions with the correct UTMs.
      • Content Lead – Works with speakers on presentations and messaging.
      • Creative Lead – Creates branded slide decks and promotional assets.
      • Project Manager – Keeps all tasks and all team members on track.
  • Get organized
    • Create a document template for partner webinars (a one-stop-shop for that webinar) where you house all the information anyone would need. Share and review this document with all partners during your call. Document should contain: 
      • Reg page info, UTMs, email copy and, abstract copy.
      • A place for partners to drop in links and assets that they want to include in the console experience.
      • Notes section for during the prep call.

Kick off Call – Start on the right foot by ensuring your speakers, themes and dates are defined and agreed upon during an initial kickoff call. Here is what the meeting should discuss:

  1. For Partner Webinars
    • Make introductions for speakers amongst the team.
    • Determine how each person will contribute to the conversation.
    • Confirm webinar times, dates, titles and abstracts.
    • Schedule a dry-run (for live) or recording date (for simulive).
    • Identify core team — take roles and align them internally focus on the following:
      • Platform Host – Hosts webinar (either you or one of your partners).
      • Moderator – Facilitates the webinar day of the event.
      • Promotion Lead – Sets up UTMs and ensures the speakers and partners are sending out promotions with the correct UTMs.
      • Content Lead – Works with speakers on presentations and messaging.
      • Creative Lead – Creates branded slide decks and promotional assets.
      • Project Manager – Keeps all tasks and all team members on track.
  • Get organized
    • Create a document template for partner webinars (a one-stop-shop for that webinar) where you house all the information anyone would need. Share and review this document with all partners during your call. Document should contain: 
      • Reg page info, UTMs, email copy and, abstract copy.
      • A place for partners to drop in links and assets that they want to include in the console experience.
      • Notes section for during the prep call.

2. For Partner Summits:

  • Align on summit theme, title and dates.
  • Choose speakers, partners and sponsors.

If pivoting from an in-person event, decide if dates still work for everyone involved and that there is enough time to pull off the transition to virtual.

  • Identify core team based on strengths:
    • Keep each role dedicated to one person to better manage all the moving pieces without confusion. Roles to consider: 
      • Project manager.
      • Promotion and registration lead.
      • Program and speaker lead.
      • Sponsor lead.
      • Production and technology host.
      • Creative lead.
      • Ultimate decision maker.
    •  If you don’t have enough roles to go around:
      • Identifying the strengths of each partner to figure out how you can leverage their skills across your planning. Not everyone needs to “own” a project but can always contribute.
    • Acknowledge that it’s okay to have silent partners who can focus solely on event promotion. 
  • Get organized
    • Utilize tools for summit organization and planning.
      • Set up a board within a project management tool like Monday.com — spec out all of the planning for the event across the different stages that it goes through versus trying to manage individual documents and deadlines for each session.
      • Create Slack groups for partner communication. 
        • Set a channel only for communication with the core team you’ve identified.
        • Set up a different channel for all the partners involved — one for high level planning and broader info and one for the nitty-gritty.

Pre-Event Planning — Prior to your event, dive into the specifics of your registration, promotion and content with all partners and team members. Here is what you need to cover: 

 

1. Registration and Promotion — Give your partners consistent updates on registrations statuses and how all partners involved are performing using the following forms of communication:

For Partner Webinars 

    • Create Smartlists — These will enable you to do pulse checks with your partners leading up to the live webinar and share important promotional information such as:
          • Pre-set registration pages and UTMs.
          • Cohesive creative assets and promotional copy.
          • Promotional email send dates.
          • Registration status and schedule.
        • Be A Support System —  Throughout the pre-event phase, always ask your partners if there is anything you can do to help fuel their registration. Ask what other marketing needs they have, email copy, social copy, different specs for promo assets, etc. 

For Partner Summits 

      • Set Registration Thresholds — Encourage your partners to promote more heavily by giving them thresholds they need to meet to receive the full lead list at the end of the event. For example, requiring partners to drive 300 registrations to get the list.
      • Provide Promotional Assets — Give partners all promotional copy and creative assets needed to market the event. Providing assets will also ensure messaging and branding for your event are consistent across the board. More specifically: 
        • For Sponsors — If you have sponsors, give them assets that include their logos in a prominent way. 
        • For Speakers — Share assets they can use to promote their individual sessions.
      • Set A Marketing Schedule — Give visibility into internal marketing email schedules so they can decide when they want to send their own marketing emails. This will help limit spamming the same person with multiple promotional emails too close together.
      • Set A Status Update Schedule — Let partners know when they are going to get updated so that there are less inbound questions for your internal team to manage.

 

2. Content Development and Prepping Speakers

For Partner Webinars

        • Host a speaker prep call

Pre-Event Planning — Prior to your event, dive into the specifics of your registration, promotion and content with all partners and team members. Here is what you need to cover: 

 

1. Registration and Promotion — Give your partners consistent updates on registrations statuses and how all partners involved are performing using the following forms of communication:

For Partner Webinars 

    • Create Smartlists — These will enable you to do pulse checks with your partners leading up to the live webinar and share important promotional information such as:
          • Pre-set registration pages and UTMs.
          • Cohesive creative assets and promotional copy.
          • Promotional email send dates.
          • Registration status and schedule.
        • Be A Support System —  Throughout the pre-event phase, always ask your partners if there is anything you can do to help fuel their registration. Ask what other marketing needs they have, email copy, social copy, different specs for promo assets, etc. 

For Partner Summits 

      • Set Registration Thresholds — Encourage your partners to promote more heavily by giving them thresholds they need to meet to receive the full lead list at the end of the event. For example, requiring partners to drive 300 registrations to get the list.
      • Provide Promotional Assets — Give partners all promotional copy and creative assets needed to market the event. Providing assets will also ensure messaging and branding for your event are consistent across the board. More specifically: 
        • For Sponsors — If you have sponsors, give them assets that include their logos in a prominent way. 
        • For Speakers — Share assets they can use to promote their individual sessions.
      • Set A Marketing Schedule — Give visibility into internal marketing email schedules so they can decide when they want to send their own marketing emails. This will help limit spamming the same person with multiple promotional emails too close together.
      • Set A Status Update Schedule — Let partners know when they are going to get updated so that there are less inbound questions for your internal team to manage.

 

2. Content Development and Prepping Speakers

For Partner Webinars

        • Host a speaker prep call
    • Leverage tools like Google Slides or SharePoint to review and edit presentation slides. These types of tools allow speakers to collaborate and easily view, edit or add comments to content where they see fit.
    • Schedule a follow up call to review speaker decks and share final feedback on all content prior to the event.
  • For Partner Summits — Allow yourself to be less involved in the planning and development of each session. Keep it simple when reviewing speaker content. Here is the bare minimum to do: 
        1. Provide your speakers with PowerPoint templates for their sessions to keep the event’s branding cohesive. 
        2. Make sure titles and abstracts align with your summit theme. 
        3. Work with your speakers to make sure content is in line with the goal of your event

 

3. Final Planning and Approval 

    • For Partner Webinars — As your event’s launch date approaches, make sure your partners are either prepared for the live event or are ready to record it for a simulive broadcast. 
      • For Live — Go through the dry run you scheduled with your speakers during the initial kickoff call, which should have already been scheduled during your kick off call. Hold the practice session one to two days before the actual live event and request resources from your speakers prior to this dry run date. 
      • For Simulive — If you’re hosting a simulive event, schedule your date for pre-recording several days in advance of the launch date. This allows time for rerecording if needed, depending on how comfortable your speaker is on camera.
    • For Partner Summits
      • For Live Sessions:
        • Avoid having multiple live webinars running back-to-back. This can create chaos at your event both behind the scenes and on-camera.
        • Consider a live keynote and then rolling into simulive sessions.
      • Simulive Sessions:
        • Easily schedule multiple pre-recording sessions with multiple speakers using scheduling tools like Calendly. Create a dedicated link and send it out to your presenters to choose a time best for them.
        • Use a project management tool like Monday.com to allow speakers to submit final slides and assets in one place for approval. This is also where you can house all communication and feedback relating to the individual events so that it doesn’t get lost in Slack or email. 

Day Of Event – Your main concern for the big day will be threefold: trouble-shooting any technical issues that pop up, empowering your partners and ensuring attendees feel supported during the event.

1. For Partner Webinars

      • Give yourself a 30 minute buffer before and after each webinar — regardless of live or simulive. During this 30 minute buffer, plan to spend your time as follows:
        1. 15 minutes to check audio, video and connectivity.
        2. 15 minutes for a quick dry run of the flow and realign on predetermined roles:
          1. Who is changing slides
          2. Who is moderating
          3. Who is starting and end the webcast
          4. Who is respond to questions 
      • For simulive webinars, send the Q&A link to the speakers in advance so that they can answer questions as they come in live. 

2. For Partner Summits

    • Just as with a single webinar, send speakers the Q&A links for each individual session ahead of the event so that they can respond to questions live.
    • Send your speakers an FAQ sheet that contains canned answers for tech-related questions so that they can confidently answer in the absence of another team member.
    • Assign one person to field questions from partners day-of. This person takes incoming questions and then finds the right people to respond if they can’t answer them.

Day Of Event – Your main concern for the big day will be threefold: trouble-shooting any technical issues that pop up, empowering your partners and ensuring attendees feel supported during the event.

1. For Partner Webinars

      • Give yourself a 30 minute buffer before and after each webinar — regardless of live or simulive. During this 30 minute buffer, plan to spend your time as follows:
        1. 15 minutes to check audio, video and connectivity.
        2. 15 minutes for a quick dry run of the flow and realign on predetermined roles:
          1. Who is changing slides
          2. Who is moderating
          3. Who is starting and end the webcast
          4. Who is respond to questions 
      • For simulive webinars, send the Q&A link to the speakers in advance so that they can answer questions as they come in live. 

2. For Partner Summits

    • Just as with a single webinar, send speakers the Q&A links for each individual session ahead of the event so that they can respond to questions live.
    • Send your speakers an FAQ sheet that contains canned answers for tech-related questions so that they can confidently answer in the absence of another team member.
    • Assign one person to field questions from partners day-of. This person takes incoming questions and then finds the right people to respond if they can’t answer them.

Post Event Analytics — Use ON24 analytics and insights to keep the momentum from your event going and to involve all partners in this process. 

 

1. For Partner Webinars

      • Check engagement data including:
        • Number of registrants.
        • Number of attendees.
        • Engagement on polls and resources.
      • Utilize pre-set Smartlists — Pull reports for registrants by UTM and populate them into a Google sheet. Determine: 
        • Who drove each specific registrant.
        • Registrant status — whether they attended or not.
      • Send first follow-up email 24 hours post-event. 
        • Host sends the first email followed by partners one week later to applicable leads.
      • Share a full ON24 Engagement Report with partners so they have access to updated and on-demand data in real-time. 

2. For Partner Summits

    • Share leads by session — Pull leads for the full event, looking at anyone who attended at least one session. Then,  break the event out by each session and share the leads share with the relevant speakers, sponsors and partners. 
    • Share link to engagement report — Give this link to event contacts and all speakers for individual sessions so they can see what questions were asked and where they can follow up.
    • For on-demand — Set up a schedule for how you will share these leads with your partners.