ON24 put out a press release today announcing a new competitive marketing promotion. Taking a page from the mobile carrier wars, ON24 says they will pay the remainder of your contract with a competitive web conferencing vendor if you switch to ON24.
The press release gives a link to a web page saying "full details on the offer can be found here." But when you go to that page, you don't get many details. The sum total of the explanation is:
Switch to the ON24 webinar marketing platform today and we’ll buy you out of your old contract. Offer valid until October, 31 2015. Maximum savings of $5,000. 2 year contract required. Offer subject to verification of eligibility. Additional terms and conditions apply. Talk to an ON24 sales representative to learn more.
That's not really enough to qualify as "full details on the offer." I think it's interesting that ON24 is requiring a two year commitment to their platform… Just about every vendor in the industry has settled on a one-year commitment period for customers who don't want single-event or month-to-month pricing. This could push commitment discounts out to two years as a new standard if other vendors follow suit.
Another thing I find fascinating is that ON24 is directly targeting customers of Cisco WebEx and Citrix GoToWebinar. This is part of ON24's ongoing strategy to expand their sweet spot from the old days when they were known primarily for giant webcasts (often focused on publishing events or investor relations calls). They used to compete with giant-audience webcasters such as TalkPoint and Thomson Reuters. Now they want to position themselves as appropriate for more frequent, smaller-audience webinars where WebEx and GoToWebinar have established strong marketplace brand recognition.
The repositioning is explicitly referenced in the press release with a quote from Chief Marketing Officer Joe Hyland: "Previously, technology of this caliber was only available to large enterprises: we are democratizing the industry's best webinar marketing platform for companies of all sizes."
The strategy of going after a larger cut of the marketplace seems to be paying off, according to the press release. They point to 90% revenue growth for their Webcast Elite product in 2014, with more than 40,000 webinars hosted that year.
Feel free to post in the comments section whether you would be tempted to take a vendor up on a contract buyout offer as a way to facilitate switching your web conferencing provider mid-contract. I think it's an interesting idea.