Shelby Britton at Adobe has let me know that a new report is available online. Titled "Webinars: They're not just for leads anymore" the report is available for immediate access without registration. How refreshing!
Adobe Connect sponsored the report and the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) performed a survey of marketers this February and summarized the results. The impetus came after an earlier CMI report on content marketing trends showed that webinars were ranked the third most effective content marketing tactic and that 62% of marketers were using webinars.
I particularly liked a short quote from Jay Baer: "Webinars are a means to an end, not an end unto themselves." This seems trivial, but is actually overlooked by too many marketers who simply have a checklist calling for "two webinars a month" or something similar. The CMI report found that webinars were deemed significantly more effective for companies that had a documented strategy for their webinar programs. If you are just cranking out webinars because "that's what we do" then you should step back and reevaluate your goals and measurements of success.
For me, the most telling statistic was the most confusing to grasp from the numbers CMI reported. It is very important and I hope they won't mind if I expand on their analysis. I have never seen this comparison studied or reported before and it contains a great insight. Look at the following graphic:
The percentages indicate the relative number of people who chose a given problem as their biggest challenge. The two columns segment the responses into those marketers who rated webinars high or low on a scale of being effective overall. So both groups had about the same percent picking "Getting registrants to actually attend" as their biggest problem. 16% for one group and 17% for the other. No big surprise… That is certainly a challenge.
Now look at the differences in how they rated the other two challenges: "Developing the content" vs. "Securing enough registrations." The group members who identified webinars as being an effective medium put more much more priority on their content. The group members who identified webinars as being ineffective? Their concentration was all about getting registrations. It was a numbers game for them, with good content a secondary concern.
I hope some of those companies in the second column take a serious stab at rearranging their priority of concentration. Get known for creating engaging content that has tangible business value for your target audience. Work on decoupling your informational value from your sales and marketing efforts. Spend some time on thought leadership and a perception of 'altruistically' giving benefit to your audiences. Once you start thinking about how your webinar can benefit attendees rather than the host, people start wanting to sign up again and your webinars magically become more effective.
There are other insights and resources highlighted in the report and I don't want to steal any more of its thunder. Go get it. You can't beat the price.