Midway through 2016, I had the great fortune to attend the SiriusDecisions Summit, which some have called the “Woodstock of B2B Marketing.” I’ve attended, served as a speaker, and covered some great conferences and events over the years, and this one is definitely near the top of my list. (You can see why by reading “10 Noteworthy Marketing Insights from a Firehose of Knowledge.”) After sharing some of my top 10 insights and aha moments from 2016, I thought it would be great to circle back on my findings and share my new learnings.
As a software and service marketer for close to 30 years, certain common elements have comprised the red thread of my marketing career. One of them is certainly Webcasts (also known as Webinars), which are an excellent example of how digital marketing has transformed and revolutionized the world of marketing. It feels like only yesterday when we applied the fundamental concepts of the Internet to pave the way for digital marketing and online events. Yes, millennials, there was a time when the only way to put on an event was a purely physical format. Marketers used to send hardcopy and postcard invitations to recruit their audience to attend an event that required travel and accommodation costs – all of which were potential barriers to success.
Although Webcasts have been taken for granted over the last 20 years, I do believe that the standard formula for such events has become somewhat repetitious and predictable. The typical combination of multiple speakers, audio applied to online PowerPoint slides, and interactive Q&A has, quite frankly, gotten a bit old and stale.
Luckily, recent innovations are proving that there is still untapped potential in this area. For example, making Webcasts more interactive by embracing panel discussions and adding social marketing and video can effectively improve and expand the customer experience. Plus, this approach can become another element of modern marketing, where digital marketing and social media converge to redefine the competitive landscape. And perhaps most important, Webcasts don’t have to be the end of the journey; rather, they can be a catalyst and gateway for other marketing and customer activities that can further assist the buyer journey. Our own use of Webcasts as key elements of “hubs” is a great best practice here.
Recently, I shared these insights with Joe Hyland, chief marketing officer of ON24, our partner and a leading provider and pioneer of online events and Webcasts. During our one-hour exchange, we discussed that a Webcast is not only a great live event, but it also provides intrinsic value as a marketing asset. The fact that on-demand replays can be shared anytime and anywhere is significantly advantageous to the needs of the modern marketer.
In that spirit, Joe and I recorded an on-demand Webcast, SAP’s “Perfect Storm” for Thought Leadership Webinars, to share my insights on these and additional issues.