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In the marketing cannon, webinars are an interesting proposition. On face value, it’s a great medium for a crash course on a subject which combines demos, expert opinion and commentary, coupled with the traditional PowerPoint slideware. What’s not to like? Most of us would rather voyeur at our screens for an hour than trawl the internet or read white paper after white paper in an effort to uncover the gems of information that we can otherwise be spoon-fed via a webinar.

With so much potential, it’s not surprising to see that marketing departments are keen to take advantage of our webinar expectations.

Gone in 60 minutes

It’s almost a given that once you decide to produce a webinar (regardless of subject matter) that it will last an hour. After the initial introductions, house rules and agenda (which if marketed correctly should already be obvious in the lead generation part of the campaign), you’ve already burnt through the first 10 minutes. Add the traditional, and very choregraphed Q&A’s at the end and that’s 20 minutes of the hour that could have be shaved from the length.

In an era where time is precious and ‘productivity’ is the watchword on many boardroom agendas, surely keeping things to the point and getting the important information across as succinctly as possible should be the goal.

Case study cop out

Another staple of the webinar is the good old case study. The chance for the webinar owner to showboat customers that have bought and benefited from their technology. In theory, this section should provide real insight which can include watchouts and potential added audience interest and value.

The reality though is that these examples are often over-sanitised and thus offer very limited value to the webinar participant. Devoid of budget allocations, lead times, tangible monetary savings or quantitative productivity gains, case studies merely become a beauty parade of brand names and or an exercise in customer ego stroking.

All mouth, no trousers

The final, and probably the most infuriating tactic webinar marketers use to attract both volume and quality of audience, is the topic headline. Employing the mantra that ‘every day is a school day’, participants register for these online events with the expectation that they will discover something fresh. Razzamatazz headlines, high-calibre speakers and stellar brand case studies all help to convince the participant that the subject matter is going to be innovative, revelationary and… new. Alas, many webinars promise a lot but deliver little – dusty content is repackaged and rolled out, case studies are devoid of actual insight and thought leadership material is revealed as thinly disguised sales pitches.

Take a look at our quick guide to discover how content can be more ‘killer’ and less ‘filler’.

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