Ask Alex Bender about product launches and he’ll tell you that the traditional way of doing things is history. “We’re in a new age, which requires new thinking,” said Bender, Director, SMC Marketing at RSA, a division of EMC.
Bender was responsible for the high-profile launch of RSA Security Analytics, a set of data analytics tools from the security vendor. Under the tagline of “Big Data Transforms Security,” Bender and team sought to achieve ubiquity in RSA’s target market, as well as generate awareness within RSA and EMC. In addition, Bender’s team needed to attract net new sales leads and convert them into opportunities in the sales pipeline.
Product Launch 2.0
For Bender, the entire process of launching a product needs to be re-evaluated. In this age of social media and mobile computing, product marketers need to think outside of the proverbial box and develop a launch campaign that reaches the target audience wherever they happen to be.
As the foundation for his product launch, Bender selected the Online Events platform from INXPO. Bender required a solution that enabled RSA to be both ubiquitous (in their target market) and global (across all geographies).
An online events platform fit the bill perfectly and INXPO’s platform was attractive for its registration integration, social media integration, social gaming features and scalability. “We wanted to be everywhere, from Kansas City to Rome to Moscow. And we needed to show innovation. The INXPO online events platform enabled us to do all of that,” said Bender.
How to Generate Sales Pipeline from a Product Launch
The early results are in: RSA’s product launch generated 9,500 registrations and 2,300 attendees. Over 35 sales appointments (with new prospects) were secured. Let’s look further at how Bender’s team used an online product launch to dollars to RSA’s sales pipeline.
Leverage Mobile for Promotion and Registration
As marketers, Bender and team knew that the surge of mobile devices in the market was an opportunity to engage their target audience with content to drive registration. Along the theme of “thinking outside the box” Bender partnered with Trepoint to create a mobile marketing strategy that included mobile banner ads and more importantly a streamlined registration process with calendaring functionality.
The promotions included a call-to-action to register for the online product launch, right from the same device. “We wanted to use mobile advertising as a means to effectively lower the industry average cost per acquisition (CPA) to an acceptable range,” said Bender.
Ads and registration were optimized for delivery on mobile devices. It worked: 5,500 (nearly 60%) of the 9,500 registrations came from mobile devices, proving Bender’s research about his target market. In addition, Bender derived a lower CPA on mobile registrations compared to conventional web-based CPA programs (e.g. syndication, e-mail blasts, etc.).
Integrated Marketing Plan for Audience Generation
"There's a really good chance that you knew about our product launch."
To generate registrations for the online product launch, Bender and team left no stone unturned. To be ubiquitous in their market, they needed to be everywhere online. In addition to the mobile registration initiative, Bender’s team used a communiation strategy with emails, Facebook posts, Facebook ads, tweets, Twitter ads, YouTube videos, YouTube ads, LinkedIn posts, LinkedIn ads, blog postings and promotions within RSA and EMC-managed online communities, public facing websites and employee intranets. According to Bender, “If you’re in the security space or within EMC/RSA, there’s a really good chance that you knew about our product launch.”
Online Event Engagement Drives Sales Opportunities
Bender’s team utilized interactive features of INXPO’s online events platform to drive real-time engagement with RSA sales prospects. One tool they used was a “Request an Appointment” button that was conveniently placed in the event. The button allowed prospects to fill out a short form and schedule an appointment with an RSA sales representative. The result? Scheduled appointments for the RSA sales team.
Chat transcripts can yield signals for buying interest.
Bender also enabled a Trivia Challenge game available on the INXPO platform. Bender’s team provided the questions and answers for the game, which were tied directly to the theme of the product launch. The game’s leaderboard and chat area enabled security professionals to compete with one another for placement on the board.
The online event generated a high volume of chat activity, both in group chats, as well as private chats. After the event, Bender’s team reviewed the chat transcripts for clues on prospects’ sales readiness. “We looked for questions about pricing and other clues,” said Bender. His team compiled a list of “middle of the funnel” prospects and had sales representatives follow up.
To date, the 2,300+ attendees have led to 30+ sales appointments. In addition, the online launch event helped move existing accounts into new sales opportunities.
Said one RSA account executive, “I have one account we have pretty much given up on. What this event has led to is a webcast next week and a follow-on meeting the following week to see a full demonstration of the technology and do some architectural conversations.”
In addition, Bender has kept the online event open, during a 3-month on-demand archive period. Already, 5+ additional sales opportunities have resulted from on-demand visitors. If “Big Data transforms security,” then it must be said that “online events transform the product launch."
Online Product Launches
Interested in doing your own online product launch? Feel free to contact us: contactsales@INXPO.com or 312.962.3708.
Looking to accelerate your sales pipeline? Consider these steps:
- Begin content marketing using video.
- Create an editorial calendar that matches other lead and demand generation activities.
- Use rich media for lead generation, lead nurturing and thought leadership.
- Make live presentations a key part of your marketing automation program.
- Use the customer intelligence generated for lead scoring and sales qualification.
Check out our infographic below for more information.
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From recruiting and training, to lead gen, product launches and thought leadership, webcasting technologies can be used internally and externally for a variety of communications purposes. I am commonly asked about the shift we are seeing in content consumption, and what may happen to webcasting and popular online video and presentation services.
My response is these services need to adapt to the way that users consume content, and shift away from broadcasting static messages without two-way dialogue. We live in an age where video and social interaction are king, and the future of webcasting lies in incorporating those tools directly into platforms so that constituents can engage with content and each other effectively. In short, interaction has replaced consumption.
An Overview of the Market
Let’s take a look at some popular tools for webcasting and video streaming.
GoToMeeting and WebEx
Online meeting technologies such as GoToMeeting and WebEx are great for small audiences to gather and participate in moment-in-time discussions. But what about when you want your audience to participate live in a non-disruptive way, or need to facilitate an ongoing discussion through multiple meetings?
With these tools, there is no way to coalesce a series of presentations as part of a continuing program and publish them in a single location, host large numbers of multiple participants effectively, or engage with the audience before or after a particular meeting. The future of webcasting lies in reinventing online meetings by providing a single and branded destination to socialize and engage with audiences and program content before, during and after a presentation.
While many companies are creating YouTube channels for business, broadcasts on this social medium rarely consist of live content and are most frequently used for external communications. YouTube is public and not secure, you cannot brand it and you cannot measure it. Because it is based on an on-demand viewing structure, there is no ability to have live dialogue between the broadcaster and the audience. You’re limited to static comments.
The future of webcasting will couple the power to broadcast with live social elements, providing the opportunity to host a live chat between audience members, ask a question of the program host, or participate in surveys and polls during the broadcast, all within a single, branded, and private online destination.
LiveStream and UStream
Sites such as LiveStream and UStream are event-focused and suffer from limited branding and measurement capabilities. They also lack the ability to encourage interactive dialogue. These tools are used primarily for streaming video, are difficult to secure, and lack custom branding options.
Just as with YouTube, the future of webcasting services like these will couple video with live social elements, encouraging secure interaction through live chats between audience members, the ability to ask a question of the program host, or participate in surveys and polls, all within a single, branded Web presence.
Let me let you in on a little secret: The future of webcasting is already here, and it lies in Social Business Software. By combining the benefits of traditional video broadcasting and webcasting mediums with the power of social media tools, brands of all sizes can interact with prospects, employees, customers and partners in a social environment that creates two-way dialogue and measures the impact of the communication.
Social Business Broadcasting couples the power of broadcast and webcasting with social business, enabling new forms of two-way business interaction with target audiences. The old school days of webcasting are over, and it’s time to get into the new school ways of broadcasting business messages effectively.
What are your thoughts on the future of webcasting? Do you agree that we’ve arrived?
75% of employees don't know your strategy. How can you address this? Two words: social business. Browse our infographic below for insights related to your social business strategy.
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75% of employees don't know your strategy. How can you address this? Two words: social business. Browse our infographic below for insights related to your social business strategy.
The following is a tweet summary (powered by Storify) from the INXPO TV program in our Thought Leadership channel. To view the program on-demand, visit INXPOTV.com, register, then navigate to the Thought Leadership channel.
Recently, Andrew Konoff (@andrewkonoff) published a piece titled “Five Ways that Video Matters for Customer Experience.” As the title implies, Andrew’s article presented reasons video matters for the customers of a business. After reading Andrew’s article, it occurred to me that his points also apply for content directed at those “one step removed” from customers: a business’ prospects.
[Side note: for more content from Andrew, visit the GoInstant blog.]
In other words, you could just as easily adapt Andrew’s piece to be “Five Ways that Video Matters for Content Marketing.” So let’s explore ways in which online video can power your content marketing to fuel your sales pipeline.
Online Video: Benefits for Content Marketing
People want video.
Item number 5 in Andrew’s “Five Ways” said it quite well: “Videos Are No Longer Optional.” This is true for customer-oriented videos and it’s even more true for video aimed at your sales prospects. Compare the tried and true product sheet (PDF) to a 90 second video in which a customer uses your product. As the prospect, which would you prefer to consume? I thought so.
People want video. So give it to them. There are a multitude of formats that work well, from the video presentation, to the video demo, to the video session in which you share your desktop (i.e. to interact and “show” your product in action).
Video leads to more opportunities to engage.
Especially when complemented by real-time engagement tools (e.g. interactive polls, Q&A, group chat, etc.), live video is an experience that engages prospects. To date “web analytics” (i.e. for your corporate web site) has focused on static measures, such as page views, bounce rate, “time on site” and “pages viewed per session.”
“Interaction has replaced consumption.”
With interactive experiences built around video, we’ve moved up the value chain. Now, we can analyze answers to polling questions, percent of program viewed, questions submitted to the presenter and chat messages contributed to the conversation.
Interaction has replaced consumption. With web analytics, you decipher “what they consumed.” With a video-based online platform, you know what they consumed, but more importantly, you now know what they said and how they feel.
And as a marketer, isn’t that a great thing to know?
Video leads to more effective lead qualification.
From the increased level of interaction, think about the wealth of engagement data that we can now feed into our CRM and marketing automation systems. Marketing automation systems, in fact, live for this sort of data!
Armed with this additional data, you’re now able to segment your prospects effectively. Inside Sales can follow up with the most engaged prospects, while the less engaged prospects can be placed into a lead nurturing program.
Online Video: Considerations
Plan an editorial calendar around consistent communications.
To keep your sales pipeline filled on a consistent basis, be sure you’re producing content continuously. No, this doesn’t have to be every day or every other day. But, it should be regular enough that prospects are keeping you “top of mind” – and, they’re finding a rich library of on-demand video content (from your prior, live-streamed programs).
Video shouldn’t be “hard.”
While it’s fine to broadcast out of your corporate studios (if you have such a thing), it doesn’t have to be so fancy. Instead, look to tools that everyone already has access to, such as a webcam and the microphone that’s built into your computer. If you check out the on-demand programs at INXPO TV, you’ll see that the majority of our speakers present via their computer’s webcam. In addition to the video logistics, use a video publishing/presentation system that’s intuitive and easy to set up.
Be seen on mobile devices.
Video is no longer option. And neither is mobile. Your audience wants video. And your audience is on mobile. So be sure that your online videos can be experienced on mobile devices. And, ensure that the rich engagement features (mentioned earlier) can be experienced on mobile as well. If mobile users cannot interact, then your mobile-based video experience “degrades” from two-way interaction to one-way viewing.
Ready to get started on a pipeline acceleration program based around online video? We have a solution called Social Business TV (SBTV). It’s easy to use, takes virtually no time to get started, supports rich engagement tools and is viewable on mobile devices. Visit our SBTV product page for more information or, get in touch: contactsales@INXPO.com or 312.962.3708.
View our Social Business TV video:
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization, particularly when communicating information that is critical to educating, training and recruiting employees, as well as attracting and maintaining customers and partners.
Internal communications are typically handled by email, company newsletters, or a portal that’s part of a company’s intranet. These forms of communication are static and outdated, and not consistent with today’s sea change from consumption to interaction and conversation.
Study: Best Intranets of 2013
In a recent study by Nielsen Norman Group, Jakob Nielsen took a look at the best intranets of 2013 and shared the attributes that make them relevant to the ways that we are communicating today. Amongst other things, these characteristics include video, personalization, social features and mobile optimization.
Our Take: Internal Communications Trends
We wanted to break down some of the features mentioned within the report and take a closer look at the trends that we find most important in developing an effective intranet.
There is a huge importance in the greater use of video within intranets. Video is how millennials and the new interactive workforce obtains and retains content. Uniting updated video capabilities with next generation webcasting and interactive social-casting tools is pivotal to maximize dialogue with target audiences and increase information sharing within a company’s intranet.
INXPO’s Social Business TV (SBTV) is based on video content housed in a single, branded online destination, so there's no better way to make what may have traditionally been boring news content more interesting, engaging and diverse than using video to deliver it.
Giving the end-user the ability to personalize program recommendations, create a group of connections to follow, and decide which discussions to keep track of is vital to enabling employees to engage and interact freely. This, along with the ability to create branded, topic-specific channels of content that are completely customized, are what makes SBTV so groundbreaking for internal communications.
Employees and customers of businesses large and small are seeking a new level of interactivity while engaging with content. Interactive audience chat boxes, moderated Q&A, live polls and surveys, slide presentations, desktop sharing, activity streams, and other social-casting tools are key in maximizing dialogue within intranet systems. And SBTV’s new Social Sharing functionality enables easy and convenient sharing of the content inside intranet environments.
We live in an age where 46 million people worldwide work remotely and where your employees, customers and partners are just as likely to be across the country as they are to be right next door. This makes mobile optimization of a company intranet essential, and no longer just an option. With SBTV, audiences can access and engage with intranet content from their smartphone devices or tablets.
Quick access to work resources
Access to important resources within any intranet is critical. SBTV’s new Daily Digest provides regular updates on new content, new comments in followed discussions, recommended programs and updates on connection activity. This is especially true when you factor in the simple navigation and intuitive channels of topical programming.
Making it easy for constituents to log-on to any environment is important, as is making it even easier to sign into multiple accounts directly from one environment. Our SBTV tool works with single sign-on, including with existing company intranets, social business media deployments (like Jive) and with external social media sites (like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook) where applicable.
Traditionally, employee portals and intranets become lightly used and irrelevant quickly, but the future proves to be optimistic with new video-based technologies. At INXPO, we believe that updating internal communications tools is necessary to allow these audiences to interact with content, provide instant and continuous feedback on the programming, and to ensure everything relevant is measurable and actionable.
What are your thoughts on the traditional “intranet” and where it is headed?
Use the Comments section below and let me know.
To kick off 2013, Jeff Hurt (@JeffHurt) published an insightful blog posting titled “Five Top 2013 Conference Trends To Watch.” Reading Jeff’s post made me realize that conferences have a lot of similarities with B2B webcasts. Nothing drives this point home more than the quote Jeff includes: “participation is the new consumption.” For me, this quote defines what webcasting is all about in 2013.
Let’s consider this trend, along with two more from Jeff’s post.
Participation is the new consumption.
As Jeff writes in his post, conference attendees don’t want “to attend your event and then sit passively for four to six hours a day. It goes against what they normally do. Instead, they want to participate.” This is true for webcasts, too (although one hopes that most webcasts are shorter than 4-6 hours!).
In the Webcasting 1.0 days, the webcasting experience was defined by the presentation. In 2013, the presentation (subject matter) is still important, but it’s augmented by audience participation. While webcast presenters are subject matter experts, audience members have lots of valuable insights to share.
In the past, we placed a large “mute button” on the webcast audience. In 2013, we’re going to give them a voice. They’ll provide nuggets of knowledge to other audience members. And, they’ll provide input and counterpoints to the presenters to help them guide their programs.
Some webcasts provide internal communications and are meant to be consumed within an organization. In those instances, social sharing may be permitted within private social networks (e.g. Chatter, Jive, Yammer, etc.), but not on public social networks.
Webcasts providing external communications, however, should provide convenient social sharing capabilities, to services such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The social integration should provide for “read/write” access to social networks: read/monitor social media posts related to the webcasts and allow posts, tweets, Likes, etc. directly from the webcast console.
The mobile web.
For 2013, I insist that you make your webcasts available on mobile devices. Why? Because it’s such a win/win scenario. For you, it extends your audience reach to viewers who are not near their laptop or desktop computer. For viewers, it means they can view informative webcasts wherever they happen to be.
Of course, the mobile experience must be fully functional – it needs to support all (or at least most) of the features available on the desktop experience. At a minimum, ensure that the mobile experience supports a high quality viewing experience, along with participation and social sharing.
We’re looking forward to a great 2013 in webcasting, online events and social business television. If this webcasting post interested you, we invite you to check out the Webcasting Overview page on our web site.
Recently on INXPO TV, we produced a four-part series called “Webcasting 101.” We wanted to provide practical and actionable information to webcasting managers to help drive engagement and participation in high quality webcasts.
We provide complimentary access (with registration) to INXPO TV – in fact, you can register and login right now, to view all of the Webcasting 101 programs on-demand. You can also continue reading and get a re-cap of the entire series.
Webcasting 101 Outline
Our four programs were:
- Part 1: How to Select a Webcasting Vendor
- Part 2: Tips for Planning and Executing Your Webcast
- Part 3: Presentation Tips for Your Webcasts
- Part 4: How to Analyze Engagement Data from Your Webcast
How to Select a Webcasting Vendor
First-time webcasting managers tend to hone in on feature and function when selecting a webcasting vendor. And don’t get me wrong: those are both critical. However, once you’re up and running with your selected vendor, you’ll usually discover that the combination of “technology and team” are most important.
In other words, the webcasting technology needs to provide the right features, but without the right service and support (from the vendor’s team), the partnership can fall flat. Matt Goodwin, an Account Executive with INXPO, was our presenter for Part 1.
Matt outlined the following feature/function criteria for selecting your webcasting vendor:
- Device compatability
- Social engagement
For vendor services and support, Matt outlined these key criteria:
- Strategic understanding
- Best practices and webcasting expertise
- Multi-language capabilities, along with global coverage
- Supports both full-service and self-service models
- The right customer service philosophy
View Matt's program now:
Tips for Planning and Executing Your Webcast
Jenn Gibson, a Sales Engineer at INXPO, was our presenter for Part 2. Jenn suggests that you get the basics of your webcast nailed down up front:
- The date and time of the presentation (including time zone)
- What time you’re expected to be available on the live day
- The date and time of the dry run (including time zone)
- Deadlines for abstract, bio, presentation materials, handouts, etc.
- Determine how long the presentation is set to run
Jenn then urged webcast presenters to analyze the “who” and “where” of their audience. For instance, if presenting to users on mobile devices, consider:
- Smaller screens mean text and images are harder to see/read, so keep slide content minimal
- Not all functions that are supported by a PC are supported by mobile devices, so know what can/can’t be used
- The mobile experience may not match the PC experience, so know what the attendees will see. This is important when discussing how users can ask questions or interact with the session
When assembling your presentation, Jenn recommends the following:
- Every webcast platform has different features and functionality, make sure you understand what your options are. Webcasts are more engaging when the content types are changed ever 2-4 minutes so take advantage of the options that work best for you session
- Get the historical information from the show host; find out what their attendees have had the most/least success with in the past and take that into account when creating content
- Don’t use features that you aren’t comfortable with; it will only add anxiety to the live day
- Don’t add features just for the sake of “having more stuff”; add what feels organic and
enhances the presentation
With regard to preparation and live broadcast procedures, Jenn provided these valuable tips:
- Rehearse your content
- Have notes
- Plant seed questions
- Do a full dry run
- Test your equipment
- Hardwire your network connection
- Know the support procedures
- Practice back-up plans
View Jenn's program now:
Presentation Tips for Your Webcasts
In Part 3, Carmen Taran of Rexi Media challenged presenters with this captivating question: “Are you better than a handout?” Carmen urged webcasting presenters to ensure the answer is always an astounding “yes.”
For audience participation, Carmen’s program outlined the following tactics:
- Give them something to think about
- Give them the joy of getting it
- Give them something to do
- Summon the collective
Then, to ensure that her own program was better than a hand-out, Carmen provided hands-on engagement tactics to keep her audience on their toes. Examples:
- Challenging viewers to a “mind puzzle” (challenge)
- Showing “partial” heads/faces of celebrities and challenging viewers to identify them
- Asking viewers to send her a photo of their favorite brands (and then showing the photos to viewers by holding her tablet up to the camera)
- Asking whom wanted a pizza delivered to them – and then using survey questions to have the audience decide size, amount of cheese and toppings
How to Analyze Engagement Data from Your Webcasts
Part 4 was presented by Danielle Belmont of BNP Media. To summarize Danielle’s program in a single sentence: “Engagement = Action.” Specifically, Danielle shared the engagement ranking that she uses in all of her webcasts. Listed in order of importance, they are:
- Average View Time
- Invites (to Others)
In addition, Danielle recommended that presenters cross-tabulate individual reports, to identify the most engaged users.
In Danielle’s slide (above), she identified 22 attendees who asked questions and downloaded a document. These attendees had a level of engagement that suggested an immediate follow-up by Sales.
Hosting a successful webcasting program is a year-round (rather than “one and done”) initiative: it requires a vendor that meets your technology and service needs, a planning process and timeline that ensures preparation and quality assurance and a specific strategy to generate (and measure!) engagement. Feel free to visit our webcasting overview page for more information.