Behind the Scenes of Hosting a Webinar
- It can take field marketers 30-plus steps and 15-plus applications to fully execute a webinar program
- When point solutions are not integrated, it’s marketers who act as the glue that holds the marketing tech stack together
- When evaluating potential technology solutions, organizations should define a list of real-life use cases
As analysts, my colleagues and I regularly present webinars on behalf of SiriusDecisions and our clients. For us, webinars are a simple and powerful way to reach people across Europe. However, for field marketers, the long list of steps and applications they must string together to execute a successful webinar program is anything but simple.
To illustrate my point, let me walk you through a typical example of the steps that many field marketers run through when hosting a webinar. While your marketing team may not follow these pre-event, during-event and post-event steps in this exact order, I suspect many marketers will read this list with wry smiles of acknowledgement.
- Post an announcement about the webinar on the corporate site via the web content management tool.
- Post an announcement on the company intranet with additional supporting material to help sales promote it.
- Create a campaign in the marketing automation platform (MAP).
- Create a campaign in the sales force automation (SFA) system.
- Create the invitation, confirmation and reminder emails either via the MAP or SFA.
- Create an iCalendar file for the calendar invite; insert in confirmation email.
- Test emails by sending to one or more email clients.
- Link emails to campaign created in step 3.
- Define a report in the SFA based on the segment criteria you want to target with the webinar. Run it to obtain the list of names to mail.
- Export the list into a spreadsheet-compatible format.
- Import the list into the MAP. Link to campaign created in step 3.
- Create a webinar and webinar registration form in your webinar service provider’s online platform.
- Create a landing page. Insert landing page link in invitation email created in step 5. Link/associate to webinar form created as part of step 12 and campaign created in step 4.
- Create feedback survey in survey tool.
- Create presentation materials. Upload presentation materials to webinar created in step 12.
- The day before the event, send an internal email to remind sales of the webinar.
- On the day of the webinar, log on to the webinar console and record the webinar.
- Export list of webinar attendees from webinar created in step 12.
- Export list of registrants from SFA campaign created in step 4.
- Reconcile lists from steps 18 and 19 and update status to attended or did not attend.
- Upload reconciled list to SFA and associate with campaign created in step 4.
- Download webinar recording from service provider.
- Using video editor, trim file as needed and upload.
- Change status of webinar to on-demand replay. Associate to campaign created in step 4.
- Create replay links, one for prospects and one for clients (potentially using separate platforms).
- If replays will be gated, a separate process is followed to set up the associated form, landing page and confirmation email.
- Create replay email and send to those on the list created in step 21.
- Export webinar survey responses from the online survey tool. Analyze the results.
- Email sales with results of webinar, links to content and links to attendee list created in step 21.
- Store all materials and recordings on internal marketing drive.
An amazing 30 steps and 15 applications are listed – there may potentially more, as I excluded or abbreviated some steps! The message here is this: The explosion of marketing technology and tactics comes at a price for many marketers. As organizations mix and match applications and build their own mini tech stacks, marketers become the glue who hold the stack together, manually porting content, data, links, etc. This glue is invisible to all but the field marketers who are working feverishly behind the scenes to ensure everything comes together.
To keep time-consuming activities to a minimum, it’s critical that organizations consider everyday use cases such as the one described when evaluating a technology purchase or subscription. SiriusDecisions offers marketing leaders support in this area via briefs such as “Webinar Technology: Questions to Ask Vendors.” These “Questions to Ask” briefs define sets of differentiation criteria, considerations and questions to ask vendors when evaluating a technology offering. Clients can use these to clearly define their must-have use cases to ensure prospective vendors are able to support both technical and end-to-end process needs.
The next time you join a webinar from your desk or watch a replay on the train home from work, be sure to spare a thought for the field marketer behind the scenes.