2016 is right around the corner (can you believe it?!) and marketers have one thing on their mind….what programs can I run to drive more leads for my sales force and look like an all-star in my CEO’s eyes? In today’s marketing environment, the options are endless. Webinars, email marketing, SEO, SEM, PPC, digital advertising, 3rd party lead generation partners… and events. What events can we either attend or host that will get us in front of our target audience, strengthen our relationships with current customers and prospects, and drive greater pipeline value?

If you’re like the majority of the marketers out there, you’re most likely going to attend or host the same events that you always have. In most cases, these events are going to yield the same results as in years past. But if these events aren’t driving the results you want, why do you keep attending/sponsoring/hosting them year after year? If any other lead generation tactic doesn’t work, do you keep doing it the same way year after year? Of course not. Then why are you taking that same approach with your event strategy when there’s another option out there?

Virtual Events Have Been an Option for a Long Time

We all know the challenges of in-person events. Travel expenses can be a killer; you feel like the time away from the office puts you too far behind the 8 ball (the #1 reason people don’t attend in-person events isn’t because they’re not interested…it’s because they can’t justify the cost and time away from the office) and it can be incredibly hard to measure their effectiveness. So if you attend/host an in-person event, spend a boat load of money, and either don’t have a lot of leads to show for it or can’t effectively measure how engaged your end users are, that doesn’t seem like something worth repeating, now does it?

Enter virtual events. They’ve been around for a while, but marketers have been slow to adopt them. But why, especially when you look at the mainstream adoption of other online events such as webinars/webcasts? There’s really no clear cut answer. The only thing I can think of is organizations don’t think their audience is ready for them, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. If your target audience is consuming your content through webinars, they’ll consume it through virtual events as well. If your audience is digitally savvy – and in today’s world if they’re not, they’re watching the parade pass them by – they’ll attend your virtual event.

We did a study at the end of 2014 on B2B Demand Generation Effectiveness. Of the marketers profiled, 56% had not attended or hosted a virtual event. Of the 44% of marketers that had leveraged virtual events in some capacity, 88% said they would make them a part of their lead-generation plan moving forward. What this tells us is that marketers have been slow to adopt virtual events, but when they do use them as part of their lead generation plan, they’re VERY likely to use them again. The reason being? They see the benefits

• It’s a fresh, outside-the-box way to engage your audience and drive ‘sales ready’ leads for your sales force

• They’re more cost-effective than an in-person event, reducing event costs by as much as 75%

• They knock down the walls of geography and allow you to reach a broader audience. It’s a global economy, so why aren’t your structuring your events with that in mind?

• They’re a great tool to extend the shelf-life of a physical conference. Virtual doesn’t have to wipe out in-person events. Instead, they can act as a complement or extension to an existing show. How do you get engaged with all of those people that couldn’t justify the cost/time away from the office to attend in-person? Give them a virtual option to consume your content and thought leadership, and your pipeline will reap the benefits

• Virtual events are more measurable, plain and simple. They can measure everything a person does – how long they attended; rooms they visited; booths they entered and how long they stayed there; content they viewed/downloaded; links they clicked; presentations they attended and for how long; interactions they had with peers, sponsors and product experts, etc. The options are limitless. Don’t you think your sales team would rather have all of these engagement metrics at their disposal, as opposed to just knowing that Joe Schmo stopped by the booth? Of course they would, because it makes their job that much easier!

Bottom line – if you’re looking for a new way to execute events, extend your reach, and drive more qualified leads in the process, give virtual a try. The data shows that if you try them once, they’ll be a part of your lead-gen arsenal moving forward.

If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon

Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @


Nearly everything is digital – “Google” is now used as a verb; communication is primarily through texts and emails more than phone calls and in-person meetings; we’ll check YouTube for instructions before calling a manufacturer for help. The advancement of the digital world is fascinating and opens an infinite number of doors for businesses if leveraged the right way.

Webcasts are no exception! They’re time-efficient, budget-friendly, and present numerous opportunities that produce results down the pipeline… if properly executed. I’m sure you’ve attended a webcast that was ‘less than intriguing’ (okay, it was a total flop). As a platform provider we do everything in our power to make sure that this doesn’t happen, but we’ve seen our fair share of ‘flops’ as well; but we’ve also seen webcasts with extraordinary execution and outstanding results (a real WOW experience).

Here are 6 reasons why webcasts get stuck in the mud and how to get them rolling uphill:

Underdeveloped content


It’s great to focus on the content and avoid becoming ‘slide centric’. We encourage it! However, having underdeveloped slides is essentially sabotaging yourself by disregarding your visual support. There shouldn’t be a focus on strictly slides or strictly spoken content, but a comfortable balance.

The fix: One or two graphs relating to your topic, along with some bullets and images, can be a life-saver for webcasts! It doesn’t have to be intricate or fancy, but it does need to be relevant and insightful.

Inexperienced speakers


While it’s impressive to have particular individuals involved in your webcast, their contribution could potentially hurt your efforts if they are inexperienced or unenthusiastic about the topic. Keep in mind that the audience has taken the time out of their day to visit your webcast. If the presenter is monotone, speaks for a long period of time, or is reading directly from a script or slides, you run the risk of losing attendees who have lost interest.

The fix: Practice, practice, practice! Go over the information and have a rehearsal with your presenters. This provides an opportunity to give tips and opinions. It’s also a good time to make sure that your presenters stay on track and stick to their predetermined time frame.

Insufficient promotional period and content


It’s true that most registrants signup during the week leading up to the webcast, but that doesn’t mean that you should only do one week of promotions. The golden number is 3; AT LEAST 3 weeks of promotions. Think about it – most advertisements only have about 3 seconds to make an impression and emails have about 7 seconds, that’s just how the human attention span works.

The fix: begin promotions at least 3 weeks before your webcast, focusing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays around 9 AM and noon. These are shown to be the peak times to generate the best response from an audience. Also, try switching up the wording and visuals of your content to keep it fresh!

Lack of preparation


‘Winging it’ isn’t the best approach to events, and let’s face it, most of us aren’t usually good at it. If this is your style, bravo! But as a best practice and reassurance, preparation is key. Nothing is worse than stumbling and forgetting your part. You get flustered and embarrassed while the audience gets confused and impatient.

The fix: As a rule of thumb, have your content finalized and ready at least 3 days prior to the event. Also, always do a dry-run with your team and platform provider. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and there are no last minute confusions.

Low audience engagement


Talk about short attention spans – Yikes! Keep your attendees in the moment with your webcast, not looking at the clock. This happens when one or a combination of the above reasons is exhibited in a webcast without two-way communication between the presenters and attendees.

The fix: Use polls, chats, and Q&A sessions to give your audience a voice and a reference as a way of building a relationship.

No escape route


We’re all human and we make mistakes. Sometimes we’ll stumble or forget to change the slide, but it’s not the end of the world. You have to roll with the punches!

The fix: Make light of the situation and correct it. The audience won’t scrutinize you for a simple mistake and will be forgotten momentarily. Maintain confidence and focus and you will be fine!


If you’re compelled, please share your feedback below. Talk soon!
Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him at