Chief Marketing Officer

VP of Content Marketing at ON24 Discusses the Value of Webinars in Engagement-Based Marketing

Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing at ON24, talked about webinars as proven and effective tools for achieving real “human” engagement.

Bornstein began his thought leadership presentation at the 2018 Leadership in Digital Marketing Forum held on February 8 in Boston by stating, “We need to rethink engagement as we move into this digital realm. To this end, I’m going to talk about webinars and how what was once very tactical has become very strategic.” He then related a story about how Microsoft came to realize the impact its webinars were having. Microsoft discovered that 7.2% of its webinar attendees were being converted into paying customers. “That’s a staggering number,” noted Bornstein. “Even half that would be incredible. This was a revelation to Microsoft, because they realized this was a real point of human engagement,” he emphasized.

“There’s a world of self-educating people out there who don’t want to talk to a salesperson unless absolutely necessary,” Bornstein pointed out. “So, we have all these tools to leave trails of bread crumbs to try to get their attention. However, very few of these technologies allow us to have human, meaningful engagements. They only give us tiny, bite-sized signals. There’s a difference between the two, and we have to understand how we measure engagement. Measuring engagement as four seconds of a customer reading an email or a tweet is a little crazy.”

“Very few technologies allow us to have human, meaningful engagements. Measuring engagement as four seconds of a customer reading an email or a tweet is a little crazy.”

“One of the main technologies that’s engagement-driven is the webinar. Webinars are claiming a new role for us as strategic marketers in this digital age. I want to challenge you to rethink what a webinar is. You may think it’s a talking PowerPoint—and kinda boring. Today’s engagement-based webinar is interactive. It’s a multimedia and multi-touch content experience. People aren’t just watching a presentation. They’re downloading content and experiencing it in different ways. Most importantly, they’re having real, human engagements. A presenter is talking to an audience, but the audience is also talking back to the presenter via Q&A or polling. Members of the audience are talking to one another through chat. As a result, average webinar viewing time has increased from about half an hour to 56 minutes. Why? Because webinars are now engagement-driven. They’re becoming more like daytime talk shows—no slides, just conversation,” noted Bornstein.

Multi-touch webinars offer audio; content to download; appointment-setting in the webinar; and links to other pages, an on-demand portal, demos, free trials, and upcoming physical events. “If you can have these immersive, engagement-driven experiences, the magic happens,” he stated.

“If you can have these immersive, engagement-driven experiences, the magic happens.”

“We want to be data-driven marketers, but we think that to be data-driven, we need to do all these digital things—predictive analytics, AI, or whatever. Real data comes from engagement. We want people to take actions—sharing, downloading, tweeting, asking questions. If we can get them to do that, we have a new measurement. We need to measure behavior—time in a webinar, questions asked, polls answered, surveys submitted, and resources viewed, all of which contribute to the engagement score,” he explained.

The old webinar goals were leads, leads, leads. The new webinar goals are marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and attendees filling out conversion forms and setting appointments.

“How are people deploying this in their strategy?” Bornstein asked. “With traditional webinars, the focus was high-level thought leadership to generate leads. There’s nothing wrong with this,” he said, but now webinars are used to:

• Position services or products
• Bring case studies to life by having a customer talk about their experience
• Replace product demos with content that’s sometimes driven by the audience and available on demand
• Allow the ability to binge on content with on-demand viewing. “This is where the real growth is happening,” said Bornstein.
• Drive nurtures through active content engagement

“We’re all trying to figure out ABM (account-based marketing) and how we’re going to deploy it. Webinars provide the ultimate ABM via account-specific events, easy-to-scale presentations, and targeted content.”

“We’re all trying to figure out ABM (account-based marketing) and how we’re going to deploy it. Webinars provide the ultimate ABM via account-specific events, easy-to-scale presentations, and targeted content.”

In conclusion, Bornstein stated, “Engagement equals insights (data), and data equals qualified leads. When designing your marketing strategies, think about how you’re engaging.”

ABOUT MARK BORNSTEIN:

As Vice President of Content Marketing for ON24, Mark manages content strategy and marketing communications in support of webcasting and virtual-event solutions. Mark brings over 20 years of content marketing, account management, and communications experience with leading technology firms including Cisco, GE Access, and Compatible Systems.

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 Marketing Leadership Forum: The New CMO, Where Performance and Brand Intersect in New York, NY on Sep 30, 2019

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