WorkCast positions itself as a SaaS platform that enables marketers to deliver compelling, custom branded, high quality, engaging webinars, webcasts and virtual events to their chosen audiences. It was clear when we started that there was a market requirement for a complete, feature rich, browser based online event platform.
Marketers want to run webinars at many stages of the customer journey. Webinars have long been one the one top 3 best performing content types for lead conversion and so marketers want to run them.
However, they were increasingly frustrated by having different providers and tools for webinars, live streaming and virtual events, not to mention having to try and integrate these with their marketing automation or sales automation platforms such as HubSpot.
- Registration Experiences
- Email & Calendar Communications to promote and remind
- Presentation Tools that allow remote content producers to get creative with slides, demos, cameras and audio
- Broadcasting Capability that removes all the barriers of other webinar and webcasting tools
- A platform to deliver content as live, simulive and on demand video streams into compelling html audience viewer experiences
- Interactivity around the streams to allow audiences to interact and engage with presenters live
- Reporting Insight across everything, including attendance, viewing behavior, clicks, chats, polls and more
Those enlightened readers will say, “Why is this different to any other webinar vendor and what does it mean for me as a HubSpot customer?”
Like so many things, the devil is the detail and so we need a quick history lesson!
The History of Webinar Technology
The roots of most webinar technology come from workplace collaboration tools, which in turn evolved out of online meeting technology. Point to point technology was built to allow small groups of people to hold online meetings. Make no mistake, this technology has been wildly successful, used in nearly every enterprise and there are a huge range of options out there.
The vendors of these solution were smart. They quickly realized that this technology could also be used to reach and engage bigger audiences inside and outside the enterprise. Prospects, customers, partners and staff were all now potential online attendees. The extension of a meeting is a seminar. The extension of a web meeting became the webinar. And so it began.
The important point to note though is that ALL the enterprise meeting technologies engineered and built their technology the same way. Basically, using client-based software to allow presenters to share their screens to other attendees. WebEx, Microsoft Lync, Goto, Adobe, Zoom. They are all the same.
Given that they were built this way, every presenter and every attendee gets the same experience. Brilliant for the software vendor to maintain at scale and brilliant for enterprises to deploy internally. But not so brilliant for marketers and their increasing demands for differentiation and integration.
So, What Changed for Marketers and Webinars?
Well for many it doesn’t seem anything has changed. These vendors have tens of thousands of customers, and tens of thousands of marketers are producing webinars that all look and behave the same way. But, and there is a but (in fact there are quite a few) and they are driving marketers to change. The reason so many marketers have to deliver webinars exactly the same way is that the big vendors have not innovated in this space, and are still focused on their core market - meetings - so it is only the frustrated or enlightened marketers making the move now.
Let me focus on 3 key areas that are driving change:
- The technology landscape has changed
- Viewer behavior has changed
- Marketers’ requirements have changed (or are changing fast)
Guess what? The internet sped up! Online video has now emerged big style in our lives. It’s the fastest growing user of capacity on the internet, the most engaging form of content and is now mainstream in the B2B content mix.
Web meeting tools were just not developed to deal with video as a source or as the delivery mechanism. Anyone who has tried to show a piece of video from their desktop or in their slides as part of a web meeting or webinar using a meeting tool will know exactly what I am talking about.
Audiences are fickle and they are everywhere and on all devices. Viewers EXPECT to be able to watch videos on their phones, pc’s, tablets, tv’s. Barriers that prevent this make them switch off. So, client based systems are just outdated for online broadcasting. They create so many technical barriers that it forces viewers not to tune in and presenters to compromise on their content. This is not what marketers, viewers or presenters want.
Marketers Requirements – Content and Tools
Original content is king. Digital marketers need this content to be creative, easy to produce, on brand and to be delivered live and on demand to the digital environments where their audiences are. Web meeting tools allow almost none of these options. They deliver an experience that is not on brand, not where the audiences are and make presenters compromise on the video content they can use.
Nobody needs to justify the effectiveness of webinars in content marketing - they are always in the top 5 content types B2B marketers use.
We can see it changing in the marketplace. Every social platform now is geared to video. Every MAP is developing video hosting capability, every video hosting company is trying to figure out how to do live video well (Vimeo acquiring Livestream), and people like us at WorkCast are figuring out how to provide tools to help marketers do it well in the platforms they already use.
The problem is that webinars and live streaming are now the only content type(s) that sit on their own production and publishing platforms, away from the platforms that marketers are now using to create, control and management ALL their other content. This has to change to help productivity and measuring ROI.
The Future of Webinars for HubSpot customers
So let’s fast forward to a new way to run webinars. Imagine a world where you can create your registration processes using the HubSpot tools you know and understand. They can be branded, in your own website, part of other landing pages, posted on social media and in ads. The confirmations and communications are all delivered as fully branded, creative emails, tweets and messages that are created and managed in HubSpot. You can A/B test, try different approaches, and all in the tool you use for all your other content.
Wow, you just got more sign ups than ever before! Oh, and by the way, all this is tracked without moving data anywhere. It’s all still in HubSpot and is tracked at every stage. Email performance, clicks, CTA’s, scoring, it’s all right there ready to trigger workflows, tasks and sequences all in real time.
No Hassle Presenting
How do you allow presenters to deliver the best and most engaging video content they can?
You want to have video in your slides, do a demo, flick on a camera or mix between these. You might even want to stream your in-person conference or meeting. You want to do this live and not require any special software or plugins or hire consultants and agencies to manage it. This is the WorkCast core intellectual property. The Workcast Studio allows presenters and organizers of webinars to deliver world class video webinar experiences from anywhere. We even allow it all to be rehearsed or recorded and then delivered simulive.
Driving Registration and attendance
So, how do you get the most eyeballs on these broadcasts? Well it’s pretty simple really, you deliver the content to the place your audiences are, and allow them to watch and interact on their devices of choice. And because we deliver our webinars as video streams, HubSpot users can embed them right into their website or other HubSpot pages. You might even want to broadcast it to FB Live or Twitter or YouTube(maybe even LinkedIn once they allow live video!).
The beauty of this is far reaching. Not only do you know who these people are and can gate them into the webinar, but also because we can analyze the streams, we know what they do, where they click, judge their engagement, score them appropriately... oh and that data never leaves HubSpot.
It’s here! Watch out web meeting tools, WorkCast is coming… Onward!
By Barney Brown
Barney Brown is WorkCast's Chief Commercial Officer. He co-founded WorkCast in 2008 alongside Chief Operating Officer, Stewart Kibby. WorkCast has grown rapidly since 2008 to become a first class, award winning Online Event Platform with many of the World's leading brands as customers. As a webinar and webcasting software pioneer, Barney has been instrumental in shaping the products over the years that users experience today. When he's not visiting WorkCast's valued customers and offices in the UK and overseas, he'll be found supporting his beloved Arsenal FC.