• Webinars are a mainstay in a B2B digital marketer’s toolbox
  • However, there is a gap between how buyers are consuming webinars and where marketers are deploying them
  • By better monitoring webinar usage, marketers can improve alignment between tactics and the appropriate buying stages

Demand marketers spend a lot of time crafting that perfect webinar – from finding the perfect spokesperson or guest presenter to fretting over the slideware. They have more tools at their disposal than ever before, as webinar technologies are also evolving (you can read more about the category in a recent blog post I did here). Webinars allow marketers to engage buyers and customers with interactive elements and video – unlike many other tactics. Additionally, the information gathered from webinars about buyers can be leveraged by sales and marketing teams to inform decisions and next actions.

But there continues to be a major gap in the way that marketers are deploying webinars and how buyers are consuming them. At the highest level, it looks like we’re doing well. The SiriusDecisions 2017 Buying Study showed that webinars were the highest rated interaction type in the orchestrated category – showing that human interaction with a high level of reciprocity was considered the most valuable in the buying process to survey respondents.

However, if we look deeper into this data, we see major misalignment between buyers and marketers when we evaluate this information by buying stage.

Notice that marketers are deploying webinars fairly consistently across all stages of the buyer’s journey, with no great variance as to what was being produced. But in green we have what buyers say they consumed, showing significant changes in preference by stage.

Spreading webinars evenly across the buyer’s journey could result in time and budget wasted on tactics that aren’t being consumed by buyers. We see good alignment in the education phase, as buyers are reporting they consumed webinars in line with how marketers are deploying them.

If we look at the solution and selection phases – the solution phase in particular – it appears buyers aren’t consuming the webinar as a tactic. Furthermore, different buying roles could be behaving differently in these phases as well. Is it because the webinars don’t have the appropriate solution or selection messaging? Or are buyers just finding value in other tactics in these phases?

With this insight in mind, I encourage all of you to evaluate the webinars you’re deploying to better integrate webinars into your campaigns. What has worked or not worked in the past? What content has resonated? Which webinars got the highest level of engagement? Without better alignment to buyer needs, marketers will continue to create webinars as random acts of marketing.