Thinking Beyond the Webinar

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June 9, 2017 by Darcy Boerio

Maybe it’s just a knee-jerk reaction, but doesn’t it seem like the go-to thing for ERP resellers and ISVs who want to promote their solutions is the tried-and-true webinar?

A GoToWebinar or WebEx event is set up, co-branded content is created and distributed via email blast & newsletter, time is spent preparing a presentation. A handful of people register. Half of them show up. You decide it’s ok, and all is not lost because you can still make use of the recording.

Sound familiar?

I don’t want to romanticize the past here, but I can recall back in the heyday when people needed to do webinars because they just didn’t have the bandwidth to have the one-off conversations. Webinars could weed out tire-kickers so follow-ups could be focused on those who were still interested after seeing the pitch. I would argue that times have changed.

Having spoken with numerous mid-market ERP ISVs and resellers about this topic, the general consensus is that there’s been a downward trend in webinar attendance over the past several years, regardless of how educational the content is purported to be. Yet people continue to dedicate time, effort, and communications to them because it’s what they know.

I have several theories on why webinar attendance is declining:

  • We live in an on-demand culture (thanks, Netflix!). Go ahead, go to YouTube and search just about any ISV you can think of…

…Are you back? See what I mean? Customers know this. They can go watch the first five minutes of any one of your recordings and decide if they want to learn more.

If you’re an ISV, and your potential customers searched for your recordings on YouTube right now, what would they find?

  • The partners aren’t promoting it properly. Sorry, I love partners, and I’m going to put this delicately so as not to offend. They’ve gotten very good at the act of sending out an email blast (check!) and maybe putting a registration link in a newsletter (check!), then sitting back and waiting. And if they’ve been doing this a couple times a month for several years, chances their emails are not reaching their audience because they’ve become like white noise.

 

  • Some people just aren’t “webinar people”. Every partner has that one customer who signs up for every single webinar, regardless of whether the product being promoted is a fit for them. Conversely, there are also people who never sign up for webinars. Maybe they don’t even read the partner’s bulk emails. If all you’re doing is webinars, you’ll never reach these people.

 

I’m not suggesting that webinars can’t be an effective tool when properly promoted and executed. Some partners have found the right balance of good content (read: educational), frequency, and active promotion to keep their customers coming back, webinar after webinar.

If just one person shows up and buys, it’s probably well worth your time.  If nothing else, maybe someone will go out and look at your recordings on YouTube and decide they want to learn more. Or maybe someone will read the email and ask their partner for more information. There are certainly ways to make a webinar campaign effective beyond just the actual event itself.

The point is that before you default to webinars as your main form of co-marketing (“Webinar? Check!”), both sides should discuss past webinar results and expectations for the campaign efforts and decide if it’s the best use of your mutual time.

There are many other creative ways for ISVs to help their partners raise awareness about their solutions. Contact DAB Partners to learn more about how we can help you think beyond the webinar.

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