CMOs To Address Strategies To Add Personal Touch To Online Events At Webinar World

Published: March 6, 2018

Webinars have been firmly established as a go-to tactic to drive top-of-funnel leads over the past decade. The ability to present thought leaders on hot topics to a wide audience has been a successful format for many B2B brands. However, many marketers are now realizing they need to refresh that tried-and-true model with more creative applications that can effectively engage more targeted audiences at all stages of the funnel.

That trend is being examined at Webinar World this week, a three-day event at the Westin in San Francisco. The event, hosted by ON24, will feature a range of industry thought leaders and uses cases from B2B marketers who are now using webinars to support initiatives for ABM, sales enablement and customized demo experiences for single clients.

“What’s happened with marketing over the last three or four years is the human element of creating compelling content for real people seems to have fallen off,” said Joe Hyland, CMO at ON24. “The great thing about marketing automation platforms has been that they have allowed marketers to create campaigns at scale. However, unfortunately that push for scale and mass has also led to a lot of crappy marketing that is not engaging at all.”

Hyland pointed out that advanced brands are now moving beyond viewing webinars simply to drive large campaigns, and instead are utilizing webinar platforms to build more personal conversations with target audiences to support ABM and other initiatives. “Innovative marketers are having a conversation with their audience and engaging them [with unique] experiences,” he added. “With webinars that means incorporating things like videos, polls and surveys, and experimenting with different lengths and formats for online events. Marketers can use webinar platforms to broadcast a variety of content, which can be really customized and relevant down to the needs of a single account.”

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Content For The ABM Journey

In one of the general sessions at Webinar World, Karen Steele, CMO of LeanData, and David Lewis, Founder and CEO of DemandGen International, will address strategies for creating customized campaigns for accounts and buying teams.

“A lot of marketers have embraced that ABM is a good idea, but when it comes to implementation, they haven’t really figured out how to operationalize it,” said Steele. “Most B2B brands aren’t doing the kind of true, targeted one-to-one marketing that they should be doing with ABM because they haven’t embraced the fundamentals.”

Steele explained that the lagging fundamentals are largely around people, processes and data.

“There are fundamental limitations with CRM systems that don’t allow you to match your account list accurately and quickly to your accounts and contacts and see of all their activity and actions, which is really critical to make those personal connections you need for effective ABM.”

Once the data piece is addressed, Steele suggested the next key ingredient for effective account engagement is content. “Once you get the data right, you can take persona-based messages and offers and create more personalized experiences by driving someone to customized landing pages for their specific account, and really create a human face for your brand.”

Steele said LeanData is now testing a variety of new webinar offerings, which are focused on smaller targeted audiences, as opposed to the masses. “For us, it’s no longer that we want to get 1,000 people to every webinar. We have taken 100 key accounts. After doing all the lead-to-account routing and contact matching, we know we are getting the right message to the right person. We are then delivering a mix of physical direct mail offers to five key personas within those accounts and driving them to personalized landing pages that point to a mix of one-on-one meeting [requests] and customized webinars for specific accounts.”

LeanData is using the ON24 platform to broadcast a new weekly web show called “Revving Up Your Revenue,” which will be marketed only to target accounts, added Steele. The series will host a mix of invited guests, industry leaders, customers and partners.

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