B&T was in attendance at Webinar World in Sydney yesterday, where we were able to pull ON24 chief marketing officer Joe Hyland aside for a quick one-on-one about all things webinar marketing.
Why should brands engage in webinar marketing?
Great marketing is about finding a way to engage with your audience. However, we’ve had an influx of technology and automation over the last 10 years, which is great, and we’ve now scaled like never before. So, to me, marketing is about finding a way to engage with folks, but doing it in a cost effective way.
What’s happening is marketers are kind of binary – “this will be an event that is engaging”, or “this will scale” – and they don’t do both very well. The problem with automation and scale is it’s impersonal – it’s not what great marketing is. The pendulum has swung way too far in the direction of scale and it’s causing problems for marketers.
Webinars exist because it is an engaging way to interact with folks upwards of an hour. It’s very flexible technology, and its effective for any content you want to disseminate. There’s nothing wrong with whitepapers or heavier subject matter, but you kind of don’t know what happens when someone reads it – it’s very binary. With a webinar, you can track everything that’s occurring the entire time, send out pulse checks, have questions and bi-directional engagement, and do it in a manner where you can reach thousands of people without spending thousands of dollars.
What are some brands doing wrong when it comes to webinar marketing?
They make it all about them. Any avenue of marketing or tactic is a mirocosm of marketing, and if you run an event and you’re self-serving with the content, it won’t be a good event. That happens a lot, and it happens even more with webinars because it’s easier to host one. The basic principle of marketing is that it is always about your audience and never about you, and it’s very easy to violate because companies have such great things to say about themselves.
Also, a lot of companies run webinars just for the sake of it and don’t put enough thought in to the event, which results in failure.
What makes a great webinar?
It’s immersive, it’s interactive, it’s all about the attendee. You should let them decide what you talk about. Say you were hosting a webinar on compliance, for example. Right at the start of the webinar, put up a poll and say “there’s three ways we could take this presentation”. So, right from the start, you make it all about the attendee.
Making sure it’s on brand is also important. You can pull in videos so it doesn’t just have to be one or two people talking. We’ve got a lot of customers who use 30-second soundbites from their customers so their webinars have another voice and another perspective.
Marketers just need to put a bit of thought into their webinars, and when they do, amazing things can happen. When they don’t, they’re going to get what they put in.
How do you rate Australia’s adoption of webinar marketing compared to the rest of the world?
I hear a lot of people shit on Australian marketers. It’s really weird – I don’t get it. I’ve heard people say they’re super low adopters of technology and are really far behind, but that’s not my experience. ON24 grew 400 per cent in Australia last year, and I’ve met with a few clients in Sydney this week who are doing really innovative things with webinars. I’m seeing marketers who are just as sophisticated here as they are in Silicon Valley where I live – the difference is they don’t have the big budgets we have in North America.
Where do you see the future of webinar marketing headed?
I feel the next step in not just webinar marketing, but marketing in general, is personalisation that is easy to execute for really big accounts. For example, what if you could do account-based marketing and a personalised webinar for each of your top-tier clients? If you could do that in a way that’s easy to stand them up and convenient, the future of ON24 will be very bright. If it takes a lot of work and multiple hours to set up these things, marketers won’t do it.