Webinars are given a bad reputation because if at first they don’t succeed for lead generation, marketers give up rather than trying again.

However Sara Gonzalez, General Manager — Digital Events at Redback Connect, says if they are considered an extension to a marketing strategy and treated as more than just simple ‘add-ons’ then people might have a different approach.

Redback Connect and ON24 have worked together to write the State of Webinar Marketing 2019 report which will be released during Webinar World in May.

Gonzales says, “My gut feel was right about how people are measuring the success of their programs. Twenty-four per cent of respondents are running webinars as part of their lead generation campaigns, yet only 13 per cent said their webinar programs were successful.

“A huge part of this is due to the fact that the majority of respondents measure the success of their webinars by number of registrations (68 per cent) and number of attendees (74 per cent). There seems to be more of a focus on platform features rather than nurturing leads through the funnel and using the amazing data that is available.”

What the market gets wrong

The majority of webinar users do not consider the format or style of the event, with 63 per cent of people still using basic audio and slides to present, according to Gonzalez.

“No wonder average attendance rates are dropping and people aren’t seeing success.

“I think we are wasting amazing speakers, content and opportunities and need to lift our game,” she says.

Gonzalez suggests marketers should be using the platform to host panel discussions and broadcast quality events that encourage conversations rather than one-way presentations.

“The webinar market is becoming quite saturated, so I think people really need to think about how they can stand out from the crowd,” she adds.

Why webinars excel

Webinars need to compliment other marketing tools, according to Gonzalez. Whatever is written can be converted to digital and vice versa.

For the report the researchers asked respondents what they love about webinars, and the consistent theme is around saving time and money and increasing accessibility.

“Think about the reach — what other tool allows you to remove geographical barriers like a webinar?

“People are working differently now and think that is why webinars are excelling — they accommodate the modern marketer and, if done properly, can be the most effective lead generation tool available,” she says.

Maximising returns

Gonzalez says the best webinars are those that are consistent.

She explains that this requires webinars to be “planned around strategic initiatives and become an extension of a content plan.”

She says, “Organisations also need to resource more effectively. We found that it takes three to four weeks on average to plan a webinar and get it to market, and that can take anywhere from two to eight people involved in the planning and delivery process – creating the marketing material, assets, campaign, delivering the event . That’s because successful webinar organisers know that they can’t plan in silos.”

About this author

Athina Mallis is the editor of the Which-50 Digital Intelligence Unit of which On24 is a corporate member. Our members provide their insights and expertise for the benefit of the Which-50 community. Membership fees apply. 

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