Do webinars work for B2B marketing?

What kinds of digital events are most effective for online marketing campaigns? The answer ultimately depends on which point in the marketing funnel a customer is at. Once a buyer has discovered a brand's products and services, he or she will likely want to get more information about them through multiple channels. Online marketing is a convenient route for many B2B customers because they're able to access content on their terms, meaning whenever and wherever they have time.

One of the most common tools that companies use engage buyers who are further along in the marketing funnel is a webinar. These virtual events are a way for companies to introduce a specific product or service feature, usually with a great deal of detail. This leads to a big differentiator between a webinar and other kinds of downloadable content like a white paper: Webinars frequently require a significant time investment on the part of the prospective buyer (1).

Multifunctional
A top benefit of webinars is that they can be used at multiple points in the marketing funnel. For instance, buyers who are just discovering they're having an issue with their current workflows can learn about the problem through a third-party webinar. At the same time, a B2B buyer who clearly understands the issues facing his or her company can view a virtual event to get an insightful look at a potential solution. This is helpful if the service or product is especially technical in nature and requires more explanation. 

While most webinars are originally "live" events that invite attendees to interact and give their responses, recording them is also a necessary step to make certain they have a longer life. As much as 500 percent more people watch a recorded webinar compared to the original event.

Measuring outcomes
Generally, marketers track the return on investment of a webinar and other kinds of virtual events based on the number of participants, but this may not be very accurate (2). Beyond mere attendance, it's important for businesses to take a close look at behavior. Are prospective customers asking questions? Do they respond to real-time surveys during event? Because marketers typically use webinars for lead generation and nurturing, tracking behavior can help them see which attendees may be further along in the funnel, closer to being sales-ready.

1. "Webinars: Are they worth it?"
2. "Four Metrics to Track During Your Next Virtual Event"

Sheila Kloefkorn (1031 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.