Making the Business Case for Webinars
Webinar marketing brings in warm and qualified leads for sales.
Although marketing budgets and staff are recovering from their fairly significant cuts following the 2008 financial meltdown, expenditures continue to be carefully evaluated and scrutinized.
Traditional methods for educating prospects are changing. For example, StrongView published a survey in December 2013 that found planned net declines in print advertising and direct mail for 2014, as well as fairly modest net increases in trade show spending.
There has been a growing trend in the past decade to replace in-person meetings and events with online or remote events.
Marketers need to cost-effectively reach a larger or more expanded target audience and leverage popular online media and marketing.
Events of various types continue to be an excellent method for generating new sales leads but not all events are equally effective in terms of their ability to create new prospects and revenue opportunities. This means there are two important questions that must be addressed:
How can marketers and marketing departments create their event strategy within the marketing mix?
What are the major costs of different types of events and how does an organization calculate the ROI of individual events or their event program?
Many decision makers have not had quantitative guidance to help them direct scarce marketing dollars toward the venues and activities that will help them to generate leads in the most efficient and effective manner.
About this white paper
This is an update to an Osterman Research and Quantum Leap Marketing white paper, sponsored by GoToWebinar and originally published in November 2009. It discusses the results of a March-April 2014 survey of marketers using different types of events in the marketing mix, offers costs for running various types of events, and offers guidance for marketers and organizations to create an optimum event marketing strategy for their organization so they can achieve the greatest return from their marketing resources.
Osterman Research and Quantum Leap Marketing conducted a primary market research survey specifically for this white paper. The goal of the research was to determine how much organizations spend on four types of events designed primarily to generate marketing and sales leads: trade shows, in-person seminars, online conferences/ virtual trade shows and Webinars. We spoke with organizations in a variety of industries and with companies of various sizes. Moreover, in order to qualify for participation in this survey, respondents had to have generated leads from one or more of the four event types noted above.
Primary event types that organizations use
Not surprisingly, the survey found that in-person, one-on-one sales calls are the primary method used for generating leads, followed by Webcasts/Webinars, telemarketing activities, trade show speaking engagements, trade show exhibitions and conducting in-person seminars, as shown in Figure 1.
Events conducted during the past 12 months
Marketing decision makers report that their organizations exhibited at a mean of 8.6 trade shows, conducted 5.7 in-person seminars, held 6.4 Webinars, and held 1.8 online conferences/virtual trade shows during the past year. However, in-person, one-on-one sales calls were much more common than other methods for generating leads, far outweighing the number and frequency of other types of events.
Our research found that Webinars require significantly fewer investments of time and out-of-pocket expenses than trade shows, in-person seminars or online conferences/ virtual trade shows.
Investments by type of event
Time investments by type of lead-generation event can vary widely. For example, a trade show normally requires a median of 4.0 staff members and a median of 4.0 days out of the office for each person for the event itself, travel to and from the event, etc. By contrast, an in-person seminar requires a median of 2.0 staff members and only 2.0 days out of the office.
Moreover, the normal out-of-pocket expenses required for a trade show total a median of $8,000, whereas median out-of-pocket expenses for an in-person seminar total $1,900. These expenses include things like airfare, hotels, meals, venue fees and the like. A summary of the time investments and expenses for various types of events is shown in Figure 2.
Our research found that webinars require significantly fewer investments of time and out-of-pocket expenses than trade shows, in-person seminars or online conferences/virtual trade shows. For example, we found that the median investment of staff time for a typical webinar is 28 person-hours, which includes presenter and other staff preparation and participation in the event itself.