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Webinars – today’s efficient and effective marketing tool

by | Jun 22, 2011

I’ve just given a Webinar highlighting an aspect of my company’s technology and the practical uses therein, to about fifty people. It went very well – the audience was attentive, asked great in-depth questions and many followed-up personally immediately afterward. While I moderated and gave overview content, my colleague in sales support gave the real meat of the presentation, demonstrating our browser-based document viewer, VirtualViewer AJAX.

Webinars are a great way to get your message and offerings in front of an audience quickly, easily and cost-effectively. People attend from the comfort of their own offices (or possibly Starbucks for the mobile professionals among us), and an audience of almost any size may be addressed, although a message targeted to a specific group seems to work best in my experience. One thing I do question is the distraction factor since many attendees are at work, and (obviously) on their PCs – there are tendencies to have other windows open during webinars – checking email, other projects, maybe get a little online shopping in even…

Another great benefit to online presentations is the lack of travel and expense required over traditional meeting methods. It wasn’t all that long ago when if you wanted to present a proposal to an audience, you had to travel to meet with them in person (or they to you) – picture Mad Men’s Don Draper and his easel (below) – which I also used in my advertising agency days in the 90’s. I still remember making transparencies for meetings using overhead projectors – prior to today’s benchmark presentation tool PowerPoint.

(Mad Men’s Don Draper (Jon Hamm) presents a new cereal name above)

While I sign up for many webinars, I rarely seem to have the time to attend. It’s not that I don’t find the topics interesting or the information beneficial, it just seems that project deadlines and other distractions often get in the way. Obviously this happens to a lot of business professionals as generally 50% of those who register actually end up attending webinars.

I’ve even started to get my father onboard the webinar train – recently speaking with him about a way to present some of his financial services offerings to new prospects en masse. His firm gives online presentations frequently from their corporate office, but the financial planners in the field are generally ‘old school’, using the phone to get face-to-face meetings. My dad wants to add webinars early in the process for prospecting, and then turn to the tried and true – calls and meetings. I’ve been saying ‘old dog new tricks’ to him, but then he reminds me that he’s the one with the iPhone (as opposed to my old flip-phone) and HD television when I don’t even have a flat screen. Maybe we can both learn and adapt technology – I hope his webinar experience goes well…

I still miss my easel though…