Sunday, May 30, 2010


Vendor Webinar Worst Practices

The trend of software vendors doing webinars in conjunction with industry analysts is on the rise. While analysts do a great job in presenting, many software vendors make fatal mistakes in retaining the attention of end customers...

Let's first agree that a marketing department's job is to make content appeal to the masses and to add polish. Likewise, they will keep track of metrics such as the number of people who have registered for a webinar, demographics of the attendees and so on. What they never consider is whether their actions cause us to not pay attention to their value proposition while attending.

Many times, an idea for a webinar is seeded by some industry expert within a given subject area. The message is then massaged often to the point where the true topic gets lost in translation. Other times, marketing chooses topics based on presumed popularity and frequently attempts to over sell their product before end customers have even heard the basic message. At some level, this violates the adage of underselling and overdelivering.

Have you considered making your webinar shorter than one hour? The attention spam of society at large is becoming increasingly short where people prefer twitter over a great novel or a one-page PowerPoint over comprehensive in-depth research. Consider making future webinars no longer than 1/2 hour.

Have you also noticed that folks at large are tired of being shot at via PowerPoint bullets? A webinar should not feel like standing in the middle of a drive-by. Many great conference presenters have moved away from PowerPoint towards more modern presentation formats such as Prezi which works equally well in webinar format.

I like the fact that many vendors choose platforms which allow for me to add the webinar to my calendar. Likewise, it is natural for me to want to share interesting events with others. Intuitively, I will forward calendar invites to others. The challenge becomes for those vendors who believe it makes sense to include a webinar code that is unique to me vs being more generic. On way too many occasions, I have attempted to access a webinar only to be told that someone is using the code and I had to spend time registering. Sometimes I do register, but usually this comes at the expense of me missing the first five minutes of your presentation and not having full context. At other times, I simply don't bother to re-register and move on to the next task. Tracking is fine at some level, but it should come via putting up impediments for your end-customers to hear your value proposition...

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