ON24 – Anatomy of an Awesome Webinar

ON24, not unexpectedly, started its dissection of an Awesome Webinar from the objectives (stage of the buying cycle and target audience need to be understood and articulated in advance).

ON24 also uses Campaign Brief for promotional activities and maintains a year-long schedule of upcoming webinars.  The schedule can be adjusted based on the popularity of unexpected topics throughout the year, but the framework needs to be established in advance.

Similar to BrightTALK, ON24 emphasizes early promotion and recommends 4 dedicated promotional emails to get the maximum attendance for each event.

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ON24 changes email format (general HTML email and a personal TEXT email from the presenter) to get maximum visibility.  Interesting: the last email may be sent only to those who visited the registration page, but did not sign up for the webinar. 

 

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Webinar title is part of the creative ideation process, which can also be related to the promotion.  A good slide to consider during the preparation discussion is below.

 

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ON24 shared 2018 webinar benchmarks,  plus 10 Steps to Planning a Successful Webinar, and Driving Webinar Registrations Best Practices guide.

The data is somewhat different from 2018 benchmarks shared by BrightTALK, but the general idea is the same: planning, preparation, and promotion are needed to maximize the potential of a webinar program.

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BrightTALK – 2018 Benchmarks Report

Are the time when we knew the “secret sauce” of the “right” day of the week and the “right” time to promote the webinar over?  Maybe 🙂

One recommendation has not changed, however, over the years: BrightTALK still recommends three dedicated emails over three weeks before the webinar to generate the best results.  Reducing the number of emails will limit the webinar’s audience.

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Interesting: the day of the week to promote the webinar does not play a significant role in generating registrations (BrightTALK measures registrations for the webinars rather than CTR or open rate of the email – very reasonable approach).

“Live Tomorrow” in the subject line seems to generate needed urgency (good to test in the future).

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Another interesting point is the wide range of time to host the webinar to maximize live views.  BrightTALK recommends selecting time based on presenter availability (reasonably), as the difference is minimal.

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Financial industry – afternoon webinars might be more successful.

BrightTALK also did not see much difference in the day of the week when the webinar is scheduled.  In the past Tuesday through Thursday were considered more effective; the new data suggest that Monday – Friday is completely acceptable.  Mondays even showed a slight increase in the attendance compared to the rest of the week.

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Marketers need to define the objective of the webinar (awareness?  lead gen?) and collaborate with the wider team on the promotion of an upcoming event (social, etc.)

Regions: presentations in the local language will increase attendance (Latin America example – over 1,000 live attendees tuned in to watch a webinar about WonnaCry Ransomware).

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More interesting points from another BrightTALK webinar…  about webinars:

  • As the role of marketing is changing to influence the entire customer journey, many “awareness” tools used throughout the sales process and beyond.  Financial Services (as a target audience) are more likely emphasize customer marketing than a search of new logos.  Use of the webinars will depend on the objective of the marketing organization.
  • How to increase live attendance?  Ask to submit questions in advance.  Use social media buzz to generate the interest to questions and speakers.  Create a hashtag for the webinar, and promote it in advance.  Asking questions in advance increases live attendance.
  • Attracting attendees with a gift card – typically produces more registrants, but does not have a good conversion to pipeline – people are only interested in the gift card, rather than the topic of the event.
  • Creation of videos: understand first what are you trying to achieve and what audience are you targeting.  Then, reverse-engineer these objectives into an interesting topic and a story.
  • Measurement of webinar’s success also depends on the organizational objective.  BrightTALK ultimately measures bookings and also retention.  The objective of generating net new is measured by first touch and multitouch is used for the overall measurement of the program success.  Webinars can accelerate pipeline 30% (BrightTALK data).

ANA – Make Intent Data Actionable

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The event generated an enlightening discussion around intent data and its applications.

Definitions: “intent data” generally includes “first-party intent data” – site activity and marketing automation system activity, and “third-party data” – activity on other related sites.  I did not think about activity detected by company’s systems as “intent data,” though it does make sense.

Approaches that focus on organizational intent are better than relying on the actions of a single individual within the organization

The concept of TAM might be evolving (or “diverging” into two independently useful concepts):

  • Total Addressable Market
  • Total “In Market”

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“Predictive” and “Intent” are complementary concepts.  Predictive identifies “look-alikes” based on previous sales, with the need to periodically re-train the model.  Predictive is also limited to the “last year strategy:” a concentration on a specific vertical will influence “look-alike” pool, for example.  However, “look-alike” list of companies which are currently “in market” would be the most useful.

Marketing fads: last year was “predictive” and this year it is “intent.”  Ardent supporters of intent ate convinced intent is more useful: “give me the actual behavior rather than a theoretical one.”

Interesting use cases for intent data:

  • Last year closed lost with “no decision;” are they in market now?  Should we call them and check?
  • An intent data user: “I don’t need new clients!  I just need renewals!  But, if my customers are expected to renew in about 6 months, and it looks like they are in market, I want my reps to call them now!”
  • Trend: account activity spikes with a change in creative.  Brands might want to change creative 2-3 times per quarter
  • Intent data use in nurturing: JustMedia re-thought its nurturing approach and created two different nurturing categories.  The first category of content is used for “surging” accounts (more product-focused information), and the second category of high-level brand content is used for the rest of accounts, which are most likely not yet “in-market.”

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Interesting: the panel discussed a personalized video approach, which generates significantly more engagement (including IT organizations).  I received an email from a campaign discussed during the event just a few hours earlier.  Yes, I diligently watched this entertaining video, shared it with a coworker, and saved it in the folder of “great examples” for later 🙂

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BMA – GDPR

GDPR.PNGMost marketers in the room knew exactly when GDPR will take effect, but was not exactly sure what will it mean for the industry.

GDPR concerns the entire industry, not only companies selling product and services to the European Union (“…if you have a form on your website, somebody from EU can fill it out…”).  Though most marketers in the audience were marketing to EU and, sometimes, were operating under stricter guidelines in US also.

Some of the actions marketers took in preparation for GDPR:

  • Legal re-wrote privacy policy “… if you give us your information, this is what we will do…”
  • Removed inactive contacts from the database
  • Formed data quality cross-functional task force (demand, ops, sales ops)
  • Verified subscription management (option: add a “snooze” button to stop receiving communications for a specified period of time)

Questions discussed:

  • What to do with the data entered by sales?  All data has the same requirements.
  • What to do with database contacts, which do not have explicit permission?  You can ask for the permission now.
  • Meeting attendees thought that a part of GDPR was pushed to 2019
  • How to handle the requirement to keep data on European soil in the age of Cloud?
  • Can you rely on IP for “Country” form filed?  No.

Concerns and speculations:

  • Is the regulation “more bark than bite?”
  • “I am a demand gen guy; the regulation is not after me – they are after spammers…”
  • There are two aspects:
    • GDPR: legality of collecting the data
    • ePrivacy: how do I use the data
  • BRIC countries might follow GDPR…
  • Are the same rules coming to US?  The public is concerned about the recent Facebook issue…  Would California be the first state to entertain stricter rules?
    • Europe is traditionally more concerned about privacy, and US is more lenient.  Most likely US won’t follow GDPR quickly, if ever.
  • “We are a global company, we are following stricter guidelines across the board already…”
  • Some known companies are following double opt-in even in US
    • Double opt-in would generate more engagement…
    • Google (business accounts) is more likely to deliver emails to inbox if engagement is better
  • Legitimate Interests Assessment (LIA) was also a concern
  • Marketers need to have “consent,” but how often do you need to get consent?  We probably have a couple of years…
  • EU US Privacy Shield is a related regulation

“Now you can not receive a concent in exchange for an eBook..”  European community now is inundated with opt-in emails… What to do?  We need to have compelling, interesting materials… and possibly combined concent seeking online effort with a phone-based approach.

“We need to just play by the rules…”

“It could be a blessing – conversion rates will go up!”

Check any third-party vendor to make sure they are GDPR compliant

Event sponsors were also interesting:

hh.PNGHushly is able to “reclaim” a portion of site visitors who typically abandon the site with an innovative approach.  Leads generated are “human-verified” and GDPR/CASL compliant.  Hushly website has an interesting comparison of different vendors from the compliance perspective.

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Activate specializes in demand generation.  Activate site features a useful infographic indicating that opportunities and SQLs seem to be the measure of marketing success (replacing MQLs), what was already common in the industry.

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Direction #1: Lead quality: The target gets even smaller
While lead quality will continue to grow in priority for sales and marketing leadership (the days of lead quantity are officially dead), the threshold for meeting lead-quality expectations will go ever higher and include ALL of the following:

  • Interaction across multiple channels (at least 2 among web, social, telephone)
  • Engagement with various forms of content
  • Clear visibility into BANT criteria, especially buying timeframe, as well as willingness to get on the phone with sales in the near term

Yummly

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Though I do not cook and typically avoid trying exotic foods as much as I can do it politely, a friend invited me to an industry event at Yummly.  Wow – meeting a friend was a pleasure, but learning about a popular food app at the edge of IoT and a blend of potential b-to-c and b-to-b marketing was a treat.  The food was also fantastic!  Even for picky eaters 🙂

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Interesting: Yummly is piloting an app, which can recognize food items available and potentially recommend recipes including these items.  The ultimate objective is the connection of a refrigerator content, stove operation, and a desire to prepare a meal as easy as possible.  A scan of the foods available can generate a recommended recipe (based on highly customizable preferences), a selection of the recipe can potentially pre-heat an oven… and a text message can remind a novice “cook” that a forgotten dish is ready.

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As Yummly’s audience is wide and geographically diverse, the company has a fantastic source of data based on the usage of its apps: what is the most common meal to cook for Valentine’s day?  Or, what is the most popular side dish in the fall in South Dakota?  Yummy has not shared the data with potential partners yet, but it might be an interesting opportunity in the future.  Yummly already has partnerships in food delivery areas.

Future of cooking seems to be wonderful!  Leaving an event, the attendees were delighted with a very useful shopping bag – my husband loved it.  He is the cook in the family 🙂

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BMA – Fixing the Mid-Funnel

funnel.pngThe discussion focused on the mid-funnel – the “new problem child” for many marketing organizations.

Our environment:

  • 50% of marketers are compensated on generating pipeline
  • If prospects engage beyond MQL, they are more likely to become SQL
  • Natural resistance to engage with the company

How do most marketing organizations solve mid-funnel problem?  At this point, most organizations are either:

  • not doing anything at all or
  • not doing it very well
    • It is challenging to engage prospects; some marketers do it with low productivity, many struggling to accomplish anything

But..   how do we know that we have a mid-funnel problem?  We can look at how mid-funnel is working now: What is conversion rate?  What is sales process?

There is a small segment of marketers, who are unaware about their challenge – still concentrating on the top of the funnel.

“I can just crank out an e-book and drive engagement…”  What is important for mid-funnel?  Connection with sales.  Both speakers suggested integrated programs where general marketing tactics (email, webinars, etc.) are integrated with outbound calling. 

Example: start with the objective, then send an email and call to those who responded.

Example: target mid-funnel with an appointment-setting campaign.

New term (for me): multi-match – getting more responses out of a single lead.

How many touches are needed overall (email, etc. phone) – usually 7 – 13+

Which marketing tactics are effective in mid-funnel:

  • webinars
  • seminars
  • email
  • outbound calling

Product information is useful at this stage: “These guys love speeds and feeds…”  “I would send a copy to sales people to check what will resonate with the customer…”

Any specific recommendations for compressed sales cycles?  Outbound calling!

sales-marketing.PNGConnection with sales is critical.  How do you engage sales team?

“If I can get sales rep to accelerators (a level of revenue when the rep receives an increased commission), I am speaking to their wallet, which is next to their heart.”

Understand what sales priorities are.

“First, get prospects ‘on the buss,’ then, entertain them by marketing to their pain points…  make sure to speak in the customer language, so they are more likely to get to the next stop.”

Example: one rep wanted to connect with CIO of a major bank.  “Do you know that your CIO is on the board for boys and girls club of NYC?”  Rep sent one tailored email based on this information and received the reply.

“Up-level your marketing team to be more strategic!”  When you are talking with sales, talk in strategic way.

Valuable tip: “We do pre-recorded webinars…   we also pre-record Q&A at the end of the webinar, as it is much easier to manage – result is the same 🙂