Chief Marketing Officer

Sr. Director of Marketing at ON24 Describes How to Break through the Noise

Tessa Barron, Senior Director of Marketing at ON24, discussed how to address the digital marketing dilemma—is it about you, or is it about your audience?

Barron began her thought leadership presentation at the 2019 Growth Forum: Becoming a Digital First Company, held on April 3 in New York City, with the observation that marketing is digital now, and it isn’t possible to separate demand generation from digital from social from brand, because it’s all integrated. “What you say and how you present and promote it doesn’t always match what the experience is like,” she said.

Barron presented the digital marketing dilemma—is it about you, or is it about your audience? “There’s a lot of tech out there, but it’s only as good as what you put into it. It’s great for executing tactics, but that only gets you so far. Digital tactics create a lot of noise, and we’re seeing the rise of tech to stop the tech—ad blocker, spam filters, etc. The result is, our message often falls on deaf ears. Even worse, they’re coming after us. GDPR is real, and it’s a big deal. Although it’s a year out, we can’t ignore it,” advised Barron.

“So, how do we break through? Digital experiences that just get someone to a destination but don’t offer our audience anything to engage with or give us any of the data we need are worthless. There is no journey, and the funnel is broken. If you want to give your customer a great experience, you have to deliver the right content to them at the right time at the level and stage they’re receptive to and that’s actionable for you,” she said.

“Thinking about the acquisition phase, at ON24, we realized we needed to create a high-touch, tailored, high-value content opportunity that offers the audience something they want to opt in to. At the first touch, we need to understand what they’re ready for—are they on a nurture track, or are they on an acceleration track?”

Surveys in 2017 and 2018 showed that webinars are the top-rated human touchpoint for buyers and the top-producing touchpoint for marketers. “This is the win-win situation where you’re no longer facing that digital dilemma,” said Barron. “We can create an awesome experience that the audience wants and get the data we need in return. Webinars can offer live experiences for acquisition, or they can be on-demand, which allows audiences to access webinars any time. This enhances conversion.

Another option is always-on experiences directed to audiences in need of nurturing. This can be a self-serve nurture that offers content by category, by industry, or whatever. We see what content they’re binging on, and we set up a trigger based on the type of content they’re consuming and move them into an acceleration phase. Triggers can be included in the webinar that allow viewers to leapfrog ahead and learn more, talk to sales, or opt in,” she explained.

“Lastly, we can offer personalized experiences for acceleration. If you have someone in a product demo, you can share a curated content experience that’s personalized for the consumer’s account that can be delivered internally to a buying committee to help make sure those questions are answered for prospects you may not even have in your database. Included in this type of webinar are Q&A triggers that allow for any last-minute doubts to surface.”

An audience member asked Barron, “What are the biggest business challenges your clients are facing?”

“It’s not technology. The biggest things are people, process, and operationalizing content to be delivered in a way that it reaches its intended audience. The biggest challenge with traditional content creation is that it’s old once you publish it. Content needs to be fresh and it needs to stand out.”

Visit Argyle Executive Forum's 2019 CMO Think Tank: Driving Greater Business Impact in the Digital Age in Boston, MA on May 15, 2019

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