(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, has posted their latest on-demand webinar – Decide, Plan, Execute: A Guide to Successful Virtual Eventsand it’s ideal for event marketers and producers that are looking for virtual event best practices.

The webinar, hosted by Elastic Solutions Founder & President, Jason Stegent, takes a holistic approach to virtual events from registration page creation to event archive. Among other things, on-demand attendees will learn:

  • How to build a requirements list for your virtual event and pick the right technology vendor that fits your needs
  • Why setting goals for what you want your virtual event to be is crucial, and the steps you need to take to reach those goals
  • How to properly promote your virtual event to get the numbers and quality attendance you’re looking for. Think webinar promotions on steroids
  • What a typical virtual event project plan entails, the best way to deliver against that plan and how to build the ideal project management team
  • What can and needs to be executed ahead of the virtual event; live day execution and everything that entails; and how to properly extend the shelf-life of your event with the perfect on-demand plan

The session ended with a fast-paced, informative Q&A session.  Click here to register for this awesome on-demand webinar!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic lead generation services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

Oh my, how B2B lead generation has changed. And guess what? It has changed forever. The organizations that have been willing to pivot and adapt during COVID have seen success, while the ones that have been resistant to change are struggling big time. Moving forward, here is what it will take to win the day when it comes to B2B lead generation:

A Digital Event Plan

Webinars and virtual events have been here for a long time, but due to COVID they have obviously seen mass adoption over the last 13 months. In-person conferences and events will come back – they are starting to in certain parts of the world – but the in-person event experience won’t be the same for the foreseeable future. They will be less frequent and smaller in size for the most part, so it will be extremely important for businesses to continue to reach their audiences virtually. This will be done through virtual events, hybrid events (a mix of in-person and online, aka physical events with digital extensions), and webinars. We have a number of clients that have told us their user group conferences, symposiums, partner summits, products launches/showcases and roadshows will be done virtually moving forward because that is how their audience now prefers to engage and they’ve seen better event ROI by going the virtual route. We’re also seeing a significant increase in the number of webinars that businesses are executing on a monthly and yearly basis. Webinars simply offer a more cost-effective and measurable way to reach and engage your audience on a consistent basis. The key is producing webinars that actually bring value to your audience and not letting them become ‘just another webinar.’ If you’re wondering what it takes to execute world class virtual events of all kinds, watch our latest on-demand webinar – Decide, Plan, Execute: A Guide to Successful Virtual Events.

ABM and a More Targeted Approach

The lockdown has taught organizations that ABM and a more targeted approach isn’t just for large organizations anymore. It’s for businesses of all shapes and sizes. The spray and pray model is out and targeting industries, key accounts and specific personas is in. To effectively penetrate these accounts and get in front of your ideal buyer, competitive differentiation will be key and the best way to do that will be through persona-specific messaging and compelling content that speaks to where your prospects are in their buying journey. Think of content formats like webinars, targeted virtual events, videos, benchmark reports and eBooks that drive better engagement and provide more buyer intent data on the backend. Content is no longer king…QUALITY content is.

Enhanced Reliance on Outsourced Demand and Lead Generation Experts

Many B2B companies have relied on traditional sales-centric lead generation models for too long. Need to generate more leads and close more business? Just hire more salespeople. The pandemic has forced businesses to work remote and many of these businesses have plans to stay remote moving forward. Executives are finding that ramping up and expanding remote, internal inside sales and lead generation teams isn’t easy. They’ve had challenges with properly training new hires and, as a result, the time to value hasn’t been there and their pipeline has suffered (virtual training and onboarding environments are a great way to solve this challenge, but that’s a different blog for another day). Due to this, there has been an enhanced reliance on outsourced demand and lead generation partners that have industry expertise and teams that can be ramped up in weeks, compared to 6 months or longer for internal teams, and business leaders are seeing the value (and cost savings) that outsourced lead generation brings to the table. If this sounds like you, look for partners that can take a multi-pronged approach to lead generation and can engage your prospects a number of different ways – outbound, inbound and everything in between.

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

About to come out with a new product, or showcase existing ones, that the market needs to know about? Looking for the most cost-effective way to reach a wider audience and get better engagement data on the backend, leading to increased sales of your product? Enter virtual product launches and showcases. If this type of virtual event is on your radar, here are some best practices to follow:

Make it Shine.

You have plenty of options now in the virtual event space, so go with a virtual partner that can make your product AND brand shine. At Elastic Solutions, we offer 3D and 2D experiences, but we’ve found more immersive 3D environments get audiences more excited about the event and lead to more engagement. Think of building an environment that enables your audience to go to multiple event spaces where they can learn about your product(s), watch presentations, interact and network with industry experts and peers, etc. Think about rooms like lobbies, auditoriums, networking café’s and product rooms. Make sure that you can have banners and displays that match your brand and can drive your attendees to certain areas of the event (or outside the event if you choose to). Your virtual event partner should have a strategy team that can help you build out an experience that entices your audience to dig in and participate.

Put an Emphasis on Engagement.

You will hear us say this a lot and for good reason – audience engagement is one of the best ways to measure virtual event success. It will also provide your sales force with a wealth of data to use in their follow-ups and will enable them to make smarter, more effective outreach. Remember, your audience is used to doing most of these events in-person and talking with peers and networking with them face-to-face. When you are thinking about audience engagement for your virtual product launch/showcase, look at the following pieces:

  • Presentations – if you are going to have presentations as a part of your launch/showcase, which you should, look for presenters that are truly engaging. They can make a world of difference. Also, within your presentations you should have the ability for live Q&A, polls, surveys, resource handouts and peer-to-peer audience connection. Anything you can do within your presentations to get your audience touching their keyboards, do it!
  • Networking – what does the networking experience look like? Your attendees should have the ability to chat with your company and other attendees (text and/or video chat), exchange virtual business cards, connect socially, email each other from the platform, etc. Put the myth that you can’t effectively network in virtual events to bed.
  • Make engagement fun – including gamification options like leaderboard, industry trivia and scavenger hunts can make a drastic difference in meaningful audience engagement.  And be sure to have nice giveaways in place for your most active attendees. We’ve seen many of our clients effectively execute virtual happy hours, enabling attendees to connect with one another in a relaxed setting post event. It does not have to be all business all the time.

Put a Priority on Appointment Setting and Product Interaction.

For product launches and showcases, we really like the idea of having booths dedicated to your products. Within these spaces, attendees can download content, view videos and on-demand presentations related to your product(s) and interact with booth reps, among other things. Regarding interacting with booth representatives, a few important notes:

  • Staff your booth with true product experts that know the product inside and out.
  • Attendees should have the ability to see available calendars and schedule time on the booth rep’s calendar.
  • Having the ability for attendees to interact with your product experts multiple ways – text chat, 1:1 video chat and group chat – can make it more compelling for folks to enter your product booths. It can also provide them with more education on your product offerings and get them familiar with your team.

Extend the Shelf Life of Your Event.

Remember that one of the main advantages of a virtual event is that you can extend the shelf life of the content through on-demand archiving. You can essentially turn your product launch or showcase into a virtual resource center specifically for your product(s). As new content becomes available and as new releases of the product come out, you can add them to the environment and continue to drive folks to it. Very similar to webinars, we live in a Netflix culture and many of your prospects want to view presentations and download content on their own time. Keeping your event on-demand for a certain amount of time (all events on the Elastic Solutions virtual events platform come stock with 90 days of on-demand access) means it can continue to act as a marketing and lead generation channel for months to come. With that in mind, it is important to have a plan for how you are going to market the on-demand version of your event.

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

There are three things we know about webinars:

  1. As of mid 2020, more than 65% of B2B marketers were using webinars to generate leads and drive pipeline. This number will only continue to grow as digital events are the new normal.
  2. Webinars (and virtual events) are THE most effective content marketing tool to educate, engage and generate qualified leads.
  3. Poor attendance is the #1 reason why companies give up on webinars. How can this be fixed???

To fix the webinar attendance problem, we first need to understand what causes poor webinar attendance. Considering that executing webinars and helping our clients drive pipeline everyday is what we do, here is what we know:

  • Most webinars simply are not properly planned.
  • There is a lack of an audience and/or the audience is not the right one. Webinar campaigns, many times, are not going after the right targets.
  • The market is flooded with webinar topics and registration pages that are untimely, repetitive, and boring.
  • Promotional schedules are inadequate with no creativity.
  • There are not enough tools being used during the webinar to get the audience engaged.
  • There is no on-demand plan and organizations are only putting an emphasis on the live webinar.
  • The wrong tools for the job and previous webinar disasters are having a significant impact on overall webinar campaign success.

With that said, what needs to be done to generate more webinar traffic and better leads at the end of the day?

A 6-8 week project plan is crucial – we recommend four weeks of promotions for webinars, so you need to tack on at least two weeks in front of that to plan out the topic and messaging and put the registration page together. Watch this on-demand webinar, The Ideal 8-Week Webinar Project Plan, for an in-depth look at what your plan should entail.

Hit your target – ensure that your webinar message is going to the right people. I cannot tell you how many folks we speak with that say their webinar registration and attendance reports are littered with targets that don’t make sense for their business. List integrity is crucial for any content marketing campaign and webinars are no different.

A registration page’s purpose? To get registrations – your registration pages need to be highly customizable; tell a compelling story and let folks know the value what they will get out of attending your webinar; be optimized so people can save them to their calendars and share them through social media channels; only request the information you need. The more fields your audience needs to fill out, the more likely they are to jump ship and not register at all.

A multi-pronged promotional approach – we recommend a 4-week promotional schedule. Email is still the best and most efficient way to generate webinar registrants and we suggest sending as many as four dedicated email blasts promoting your webinar. It should be front and center on your website and you should send out at least one press release to whatever industry you are targeting. If you have partners that have access to the audience you are looking to penetrate, leverage them. If you have budget to advertise with industry publications and think tanks that make sense, put together a promotional plan with them. Leverage every social channel where you have a targeted presence and make posts on a weekly basis leading up to your webinar. Finally, offer a giveaway of some kind that compels the first 50 or so folks to register and attend. Amazon gift cards and things of that nature typically work well.

Your webinar’s over, but not really – let’s face it: the overwhelming majority of organizations don’t give their on-demand webinars the attention they deserve and that needs to change. We live in a Netflix culture and there’s been a tremendous upward shift in on-demand consumption of webinars. Your customers and prospects want to watch webinars and video content at a time that is convenient for them and having a post-event promotional plan is important to overall webinar success. Do not judge your webinars on the live day attendance only, but rather judge how much traction each of your webinars get over a 6, 9 or 12-month period. Great content will be relevant for a long time. That is why we recommend promoting your on-demand webinars with the same tenacity that you promote your live webinars with. Finally, your on-demand webinar is an awesome piece of content that can be used to create other pieces of content. You can pick out the best parts of the webinar and put together a brief, 5-7 minute highlight reel that is easier and more efficient to consume for many folks. You can take the message from the webinar and re-purpose into a blog, white paper, or eBook. You can also use the engagement metrics your received from your webinar – questions asked, responses to polls and surveys, content downloaded, chat transcripts, etc. – to help dictate the focus of your next webinar that will be timely and important to your target audience. The possibilities are endless.

Are you using the right tool for the job? – at the beginning of any webinar strategy, it is imperative that you pick the right webinar vendor. A poor webinar experience at the beginning could doom your webinar campaign for a long time to come. Ensure that your webinar solution is browser-based and does not require downloads or plugins that have been known to impact attendance by as much as 25%. You need to be able to have the ability to customize your registration page and webinar interface so it reflects your brand and makes your audience want to engage. Speaking of engaging, make sure your platform offers plenty of ways for you to drive and measure audience engagement – live Q&A, live chat, social sharing, resource downloads, surveys, polling, the ability to schedule appointments. Finally, be comfortable that you have a support team that can get you up and running immediately should a technical difficulty arise. With any piece of software, eventually something will go wrong (it is unavoidable) so it’s crucial to have a vendor that places a huge emphasis on customer and technical support.

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

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, hosted a webinar in late January – Demand Generation Megatrends for 2021 – that had tremendous attendance and is now available on-demand.

The webinar, hosted by Elastic Solutions Founder & President, Jason Stegent, explores the top B2B demand generation trends that will generate quality leads, drive pipeline and close more business in 2021. The following four megatrends were covered in-depth:

  • Mass adoption of virtual events, hybrid events and webinars as a way to generate more meaningful digital engagement
  • The continued ascent of ABM
  • Quality content will be king and will accelerate competitive differentiation
  • More personalized outreach, based on better data and insights, will win the day for B2B sales and marketing teams

The 35-minute webinar ends with a fast-paced Q&A. Click here to view it on-demand.

If you have any questions about this on-demand webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a challenging year, but at the same time it has taught us how to adapt and find new ways to drive results both personally and professionally. The same holds true for B2B marketers. Many of their plans were turned upside down around mid-March and they had to find new ways to stay on plan and still hit their goals. Watching the marketing community pivot, and pivot quickly, has been an impressive thing to see. As we look into 2021, how are B2B marketers planning out their year? Where is their budget going and why? We believe these three big ticket items are going to be top of mind for them in 2021:

1) Looking at events through a different lens

We all know that events have changed, most likely forever. Yes, in-person events will eventually come back, but even when they do the event game has changed and because of that the way marketing departments plan out their event budgets is going to be drastically different in 2021. Their budget will drop into the following buckets:

  • Virtual Events – for the last nine months of 2020, virtual events have seen a resurgence. They haven’t been this in demand since the recession of 2008 when travel and event budgets were slashed across the board. The main difference is this time virtual events are here to stay. In our recent webinar – 2021 Lead Generation: Virtual Event Domination – we talk about all things virtual, including how the overwhelming percentage of event budgets will go to virtual events in 2021. The technology and the ability to connect more effectively with your peers in a virtual environment has greatly improved, and because marketers have been forced to leverage virtual events with in-person not being an option, they’re seeing the benefits firsthand – they’re safer, more cost effective, more measurable, have longer term lead generation impact and generate better ROI than in-person events. Virtual events will see even greater adoption with B2B marketers taking a ‘digital first’ event strategy next year.
  • Hybrid Events – when in-person events eventually come back with some level of consistency, most likely in the 2nd half of the year, the smart organizations will have digital extensions of those events. Hybrid events cater to both crowds – the folks that will be attending in-person and the folks that are staying at home. A large portion of professionals are going to shy away from in-person events for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean they’re not buyers. Putting together a hybrid event format enables them to still engage and consume your content from the comfort of their home, office or wherever they might be. As you look at potential virtual event platforms for 2021, but you know you want to execute some physical events as well, make sure the providers you’re speaking with have the ability to help you execute hybrid events. Like virtual only events, hybrid will see mass adoption next year
  • Smaller scale in-person events – when they do come back, in-person events will be at a much smaller scale initially. It is hard to believe that folks will jump right into physical events that have 5,000, 10,000 or more people in 2021. The events will be smaller scale and more personal, but that could be a very good thing for many organizations. Some of the complaints about large scale physical events is that they are difficult to navigate and organizations/brands can get lost in the shuffle. Because of that, many marketers have felt for a long time that they weren’t generating enough awareness and quality leads from physical events which led to poor ROI. These smaller scale events will be safer and enable organizations to connect with their customers and prospects on a more personal level, leading to better pipeline and revenue growth as a result.

2) ABM will be a force to be reckoned with

ABM (account-based marketing) has been around for a good while, but just recently have companies started to do it right. In 2021, we believe ABM will become one of the dominate strategies for leading B2B marketers. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Marketers are revenue generators now – the days of marketers generating large amounts of soft leads and saying, “look at me, I’m killing it!”, are gone. Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are a thing of the past. B2B marketers are heavily tied to revenue now and thus their focus must be on strategies that drive qualified pipeline and revenue growth. The economic impacts of COVID have forced companies to tighten budgets and focus on campaigns that are targeted, more personalized and generate higher quality conversions.
  • Better customer retention – ABM isn’t just for acquiring new customers, it’s also a way to improve the customer experience and retain existing customers. It’s a lot more costly to bring on new customers than it is to keep existing ones. ABM offers a more personalized touch that keeps your customers engaged and turns them into brand ambassadors.

3) Quality content will be king

We’ve all heard the saying ‘Content is King.’ In our eyes, quality content is king and that’s true now more than ever. In the current environment it’s more difficult to catch the attention of buyers, so B2B marketers have to be savvy about the content they create (think buyer-centric content that educates) and how they promote it and deliver it. Here are the vehicles that will get your message and quality content to your targeted audience the right way:

  • Email marketing – it looks like the remote workforce might be the new normal, with many organizations finding out they can be just as efficient working from home. Because of that, smart email marketing strategies will be a must. However, these emails will only be effective if they are offering prospects and customers something of value…
  • Videos, webinars and virtual events – organizations will move away from static content and instead lean on content that is more engaging and provides better insight into buyer behavior. Short-form videos that tell a story and educate will continue to be huge in 2021. Webinars and virtual events, as highlighted earlier in this blog, will see even more adoption in 2021. They are content hubs that enable B2B marketers to interact with their customers and prospects a number of different ways, and they offer more insight into buyer needs/wants than any other form of content marketing. This insight will lead to more personalized/smarter outreach, better conversions and significant revenue growth.

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

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers generate better leads and drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – 2021 Lead Generation: Virtual Event Domination – on Thursday, November 19th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central.

“For obvious reasons, the event marketing landscape has changed and this has had a drastic impact on lead generation as a whole,” said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “COVID-19 has forced organizations to pivot away from in-person events, which historically have taken up a huge chunk of their marketing budget, to virtual events and webinars to get in front of their customers and prospects. What they have found is that virtual events generate greater traffic and more measurable engagement than in-person events, resulting in better event ROI. Because of this, we believe virtual events are going to dominate lead generation in 2021. They’re not a flash in the pan”

Among other things, webinar attendees will learn:

  • Why virtual events generate more ROI than traditional in-person events
  • How you should plan for your 2021 online events based on size and scope
  • Best practices to drive significant engagement for virtual events, resulting in higher quality leads and more revenue
  • Why going the HYBRID route has to be a part of your 2021 event plan. Think digital extensions

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar and virtual event-based marketing solutions that help marketers extend their reach, generate better leads and drive more pipeline.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

Virtual events have made a tremendous rebound in 2020 for obvious reasons, and guess what? They’re not going anywhere. Faced with no other option for the last 7 months, organizations have been forced to take their events online (or cancel them altogether) and are clearly seeing the benefits that virtual event providers have touted all along – they’re more cost effective; they can drive more traffic; they’re more measurable and allow for better post-event follow-up; and in this day and age, they’re a heck of a lot safer. With that said, virtual event success doesn’t come easy. Certain items must be in place and steps have to be followed to realize the event ROI you’re looking for. Now let’s dig into the 5 Keys to Virtual Event Success.

  1. Plan, Plan, Plan – for whatever reason, there’s a tendency for folks to think that just because an event is online it doesn’t need a proper project plan. That couldn’t be further from the truth. At minimum, we believe there should be an 8-week project plan for virtual events, but that can change based on the size of your event. If you have a larger scale event with more rooms/spaces and more content, you should look at 10-12 weeks. We’re coming off of a sizeable virtual event a few weeks ago that had a 14-week project plan against it. At the end of the day, virtual events are events and need to be treated as such.
  2. Determine the experience, and vendor, that fit your needs – I know this sounds incredibly obvious, but it’s a very large piece of the equation. Do you want a truly immersive experience that offers a ton of different ways for your audience to engage and connect? Or are you looking for a series of Zoom meetings over the course of 4-5 hours? In our opinion, a virtual event is not a series of Zoom meetings or GoToMeeting sessions. It IS an environment where your attendees can experience different event spaces, watch sessions, download content, engage with experts and network with their peers. Also, think about the support you want the day(s) of your event. Do you want your internal team to manage all of the technical details, or do you want your vendor to handle the technical aspects of your event to ensure everybody is able to attend and view the event with no issues? These are very important decisions that will have a direct impact on your attendee experience.
  3. When possible, pre-record your sessions – pre-recorded and simu-live webinars are becoming the new norm…and that’s just for one-off presentations. When you look at a virtual event that could have a lot of sessions, you want to limit the amount of 100% live webinars. Pre-recording your sessions limits the amount of live day streaming, which in turn decreases live day stress. It also gives you peace of mind that your presentations will be perfectly executed and gives your attendees the value they signed up for. Of course, there are instances where live sessions are completely unavoidable and that’s okay. We’re not saying your sessions can’t have live components – we want them to be as engaging/interactive as they can be and some form of live element (see live Q&A, polls, surveys, chat) will increase audience engagement. We’re just saying pre-recording whenever possible is going to give you a better end result.
  4. Think outside-the-box – virtual events are the perfect forum to get creative. They are the ultimate content marketing tool. Think about how you want to make your content available – through webinars, booths, resource centers, networking café’s, product showcases, etc. Additionally, think about how you want to enable peer-to-peer networking. Can they network within booths, within sessions or anywhere within your virtual event? The right virtual event provider will not only provide you with a lot of these options, but also be willing to customize event spaces and functionality to fit your needs.
  5. Have an on-demand plan – yes, you want to drive large numbers to your live virtual event. You want live day engagement and interaction. However, unlike in-person/physical events, you can extend the shelf-life of your virtual event through on-demand archiving. It’s very important to have an on-demand plan ahead of time. Do NOT wait until the event is on-demand to put your plan together. If you promote it and position it the right way, your event can become an on-demand virtual resource center that will continue to educate and engage your audience, while increasing your overall event ROI. This is something that you simply can’t do effectively with in-person events, so be sure to take advantage of it.

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

The last thing I want to do here is beat a dead horse, but let’s face it – the Coronavirus is having a massive effect on B2B events and B2B event marketers. SXSW just cancelled their March event last week. Facebook cancelled their event. Google cancelled their developer conference. Oracle, SAP, RedHat and many others have either cancelled or postponed what many see as industry critical events. Side note – even the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) was cancelled on Sunday and I’m a huge tennis fan! You get the picture, it’s a mess out there. If you want to see the lineup of B2B tech events that are being cancelled or postponed, here is a good resource for it.

With all this event hysteria, virtual/online events have come to the forefront again. Organizations are scrambling to put a digital event structure in place because, regardless of the coronavirus or any other pandemic, they still have an audience and they need to be able to give their audience what they want. With physical, in-person events not being an option right now, they’re turning to virtual events, online events and webinars as the main way to meet and engage their prospects and customers. All of this reminds me of two prior events that forced B2B marketers to look at physical event alternatives – the 2008 financial crash and the 2014 oil bust. In 2008, the first items that were slashed from the budget were travel, entertainment and thus, events. I would argue at that time virtual events had the biggest surge they ever experienced. In 2014, oil and gas marketers had to find alternative ways to meet with their audience. The good ole’ boy way of shaking hands at conferences and racking up big expense reports was no longer an option. We then started to see more oil and gas companies leverage virtual events, webinars, webcasts and all sorts of online events to market to their base.

It shouldn’t take a time of crises, however, to put an online event strategy in place. Too many companies dedicate most of their budgets to physical events and too often the ROI is just not there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked an event marketer how their physical events are working out for them and I get the response of “they’re okay.” When I proceed to ask why they keep investing so heavily in something that is just ‘okay’, I typically get the following:

  • “If we don’t show up or exhibit, people are going to wonder why we’re not there.”
  • “If we don’t have a presence, our competitors are going to get all of the leads.”

I call complete and total BS on both. The main reason most companies continue to invest in physical events more than anything else is because it’s what they’ve always done. There’s a resistance to digitally transform their event structure. They don’t want to step outside of their comfort zone and change the event narrative. I’m not saying to scrap physical events. I get that they need to be a part of the mix, but they need to be scaled back to make room for alternatives that have less barriers, are more measurable and more often than not give you more bang for your buck. Enter online/digital events.

When you think about planning your next event and all the money it’s going to cost, ask yourself if it would be better for you, your company and your customers/prospects if you did it via an online event or webinar. Is it really necessary to rent that space for $20k, pay for everyone to get there and pay for everyone to eat/drink, when you could’ve done it all online? Couldn’t that lunch and learn at the Marriott (with that brutal banquet food) have been a two-part webinar series? Again, I get that physical events need to be a part of the marketing plan. However, the smart marketers are going to ensure that every physical event has a digital element (see hybrid events, on-demand event webinars, on-demand virtual events) and are going to ramp up their webinar and online event game significantly moving forward. Online events are for everyone, regardless of industry, and there’s never been a better time to look at them as your go-to event option.

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

It’s no longer a buzzword, but rather a necessity for B2B organizations that want to get and stay ahead of the competition. Once thought of as a tactic for only large enterprises, companies of all sizes are starting to play the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) game. Spray and pray is out and a targeted, more personalized multi-pronged approach is the way forward (see Elastic’s Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success).

Here are 10 stats that prove ABM is more than ready for the big stage:

Higher ROI – Research by ITSMA found that 87%of marketers that measure ROI say that ABM outperforms every other marketing investment.

Pipeline Impact – Marketing leaders are more tied to revenue than ever before, and because of that their main goal with any new marketing initiative is to generate revenue. In a study by Demand Gen Report and LeadData, 54% of marketers cite “influence pipeline” as their primary ABM metric.

Deal Size Increases – in a study by SiriusDecisions, 91% of companies using ABM were able to increase their average deal size, with 25% of respondents stating the increase being over 50% or larger.

ABM Maturity – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, 24% of companies reported having ABM programs that were well underway or advanced. Another 45% said they just started. Only 7% said they have no plans to start an ABM initiative

ABM Budget – According to Pardot’s State of ABM, the average percentage of the marketing budget that would be dedicated to ABM was 29%

Better ROI than Other Marketing Initiatives – 97% of marketers say ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing initiatives, according to SiriusDecisions

ABM=Revenue – Companies using ABM generate 208% more revenue from their marketing efforts

More Opportunities Created – According to Gartner, ABM programs show a 70% increase in the number of opportunities created

ABM Aligns Sales & Marketing – According to Demandbase, 83% of marketers say ABM increases engagement with target accounts, making the marketing and sales process more efficient overall

Marketers Want Better Leads; Enter ABM – ABM’s rise has largely been attributed to B2B marketers who were not satisfied with their more traditional lead-gen programs. According to Crowd Research Partners, improving the quality of leads remains the top priority for a majority (68%) of B2B marketers. Only 16% of these folks are actually happy with the effectiveness of their lead-gen programs

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

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar-based marketing solutions and strategic lead generation services that help B2B marketers drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – The Ideal 8-Week Webinar Project Plan – on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central.

“We believe webinars are the ultimate marketing tool to educate, engage audiences and drive more pipeline for B2B organizations,” said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “However, too often webinars aren’t given the respect they deserve from a planning perspective, and because of that a lot of marketers we’re speaking with have been disappointed with their webinar ROI. From concept creation to event archive, this webinar will review what an ideal 8-week webinar project plan looks like and outline what organizations can do to dramatically improve their webinar programs moving forward.”

Attend this 45-minute webinar if you’re looking to:

  • Understand how to more effectively project manage your webinars from A-Z
  • Drive more registrants, attendees and on-demand viewers
  • Make your webinars more engaging for your viewers, resulting in better leads to hand off to sales
  • Launch a webinar strategy and you want to understand what it takes to do it the right way

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar-based marketing solutions and lead generation services that increase target audience engagement, generate more qualified leads and drive greater pipeline results.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.

Marketers know the power of webinars. When done well, they can engage, generate better leads and drive more pipeline than any other form of content marketing. With that said, the webinar game has changed and organizations need to be aware of the different ways webinars can be used and the different formats they can leverage to truly maximize webinar ROI. They need to look at webinars through a different lens and below are some ways they can do that.

Webinars aren’t only for lead generation – it used to be that webinars were only used as a top-of-funnel lead generation tool, but that’s no longer the case. Yes, most companies mainly use them as a way to build awareness and initial interest, but savvy marketers are using webinars for every stage of the funnel. And the approach of your webinars should be different for every stage. There are webinars that can be used to further qualify existing leads; webinars that can be used to build a business case and take an opportunity to the proposal stage; and there are ways you can use webinars to be the final push to close those hard-to-win prospects. Don’t stop there, though. Today everything is about customer experience and you must earn your customer’s business every single day. Webinars are a great way to continually educate and engage your customers, ensuring they’re happy and up to speed on everything you can do for them. They’re a great way to upsell and establish a larger footprint within your current customer base.

Your webinars don’t have to be live – I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I would venture to say that 5 years ago at least 85% of the webinars being executed were 100% live. That number might even be short. Your webinars don’t have to be live anymore. Yes, a live webinar still makes sense depending on the type of webinar and the kind of audience you might have, but there are options. Here are the different formats and when you should use them:

  • Live – go live when you want webinars that are collaborative and have a lot of audience interaction. For example, going 100% live is ideal for town hall-type webinars or any webinar where you want to answer questions from the audience while they’re coming in. Additionally, if you’re big on polling (if you’re not, you should be) and want to immediately publish the results for the audience, a live environment might be what you’re looking for (you can still do polling in other formats as well). If you have a sizeable database that is engaged, familiar with the type of quality content you put out, and you’re not concerned about poor live numbers, then going 100% live would be a fit for you as well.
  • Simu-live – there has been a sizeable shift in simu-live webinars (pre-record the presentation and broadcast it as a ‘live’ webinar with live elements) over the past 2-3 years. More and more marketers are going this route for a number of reasons. First of all, they’re sick of getting burned by live day webinars – the technology craps out on them; the audio isn’t working; they can’t move their slides; their speakers do a crummy job; or worse yet, something comes up at the last minute and they have to postpone or cancel the webinar altogether which is a terrible look. None of these are issues when you run simu-live webinars. Second of all, going the simu-live route enables you to get the presentation exactly how you like it and ensure that it’s going to be top-notch and well received on the day of the broadcast. There are a host of other reasons that simu-live makes sense, but ultimately it provides more peach of mind which is priceless.
  • On-Demand – no, I’m not talking about archiving it on-demand after the live or simu-live event. I’m talking about doing it on-demand from the get-go. Organizations large and small are taking this approach. If you’re a small company and don’t have a big enough database where a live webinar of any sort make sense, create an on-demand webinar. You can then use that on-demand webinar to build up your audience and generate leads at the same time. If you’re a company of any size and don’t want to deal with promoting a webinar, going through everything that a live/simu-live webinar entails, but you still want to create a piece of content that’s a lot more engaging than static forms of content (see whitepapers, eBooks, etc.), than an on-demand webinar is your answer.

Extend their shelf-life and re-purpose – almost all companies that are executing webinars are eventually getting them on-demand. However, most companies do a poor job of promoting the on-demand version. They archive it somewhere on their site, maybe send an email or two to their audience, and then they let it die on the vine. It’s a waste of a great piece of engaging content. You should promote your on-demand webinars the same way you promote your live webinars. Additionally, on-demand webinars offer a treasure trove of goodies from a re-purposing perspective. They can be used to create whitepapers, eBooks, case studies and blogs. The feedback you get from them can be used to create additional webinars. One of the things we’re doing for a lot of our clients right now is creating highlight reels of their webinars. So as opposed to only having the on-demand version and making people sit through 45 minutes of presentation, a highlight reel is a condensed 4-5 minute mini-webinar that highlights the most important pieces of the webinar that will deliver the most value to the audience. It’s easier to promote through social channels, gets higher response via email than promoting the entire on-demand version, and it’s a great tool for your sales force to leverage when they want an exciting, outside-the-box piece of content to send to their prospects. This approach has really taken off for our clients.

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

With all the tools, tricks and tips available, B2B lead generation should be easy, right? Not so fast. It’s harder than ever before because there are more people vying for your prospects’ attention, your prospects have more data at their disposal and thus are more educated about what they want and why, and it has become increasingly difficult to rise about the noise. With that said, there are certain elements that are essential to consistently generate leads and drive pipeline in 2020 and beyond. Here are the 6 Must Haves for Lead Generation Success:

  1. Picking the Right Targets – who’s your target audience? Sounds simple, but it consistently gets butchered. An effective lead-gen campaign is impossible without nailing this first step. You need to select the right companies and ensure that you’re dealing with contacts that can actually move the needle and make decisions. One of the main downfalls of lead generation campaigns is that they’re going after companies that don’t need their product/service and focusing on contacts that don’t have decision making authority. Don’t let this be you!
  2. You Have to Actually Budget for it – a few questions to ask yourself here:
    • Are we paying for quantity or quality? MQLs (which we believe are dead and is a blog for another day) or SQLs? What about what we like to call CRLs (conversation ready leads)?
    • What tools, products, partners and services are we going to use to generate these leads? Which channels get X amount of budget and what are we expecting from each channel?
  3. There Must be an End Goal – and that end goal should come down to pipeline and revenue. How much truly qualified pipeline do you need to hit/exceed your revenue goals? Unfortunately, many marketers (and even business owners) can’t answer this because they’ve been tied to MQLs as a measure of success for as long as they can remember. As stated above, we believe the MQL is dead because marketers are more tied to revenue than ever before. You need to look at how many truly qualified leads and opportunities you need to generate to hit your revenue targets. In our opinion, there’s really no other way to look at it.
  4. A Multi-Pronged Approach is Necessary – you must take a multi-pronged approach to prospect engagement, leveraging different tactics at every stage of the funnel, to create competitive differentiation, generate qualified leads and close more business in today’s B2B landscape. This includes the methods (such as inbound and outbound) and the tools you use to engage your target audience (webinars, videos, blogs, literature, events, etc.).
  5. ABM is Now for All…Big & Small – it was once thought that only the big boys could leverage ABM, but that’s no longer the case. If you have key-account initiatives and the bandwidth and/or partners to support that approach, ABM is for everyone. The concept has been around for a while, but better technology and access to more/better data have simply made it more effective. In a recent report, SiriusDecisions said that “92% of B2B marketers worldwide consider ABM extremely or very important to their overall marketing efforts.” That’s an incredible number. Learn more about the Elastic Solutions Four-Pronged Approach to ABM Success
  6. You Need an Inside Sales Team Filled with Killers – In-House, Hybrid or Outsourced – Whether you keep it in-house, completely outsource it, or take a hybrid approach (you have your own inside team but bring on third parties to add more horsepower to your efforts), you need a team of inside sales killers. Some questions to think about when it comes to building an inside sales presence:
    • Do I have the bandwidth to effectively train and manage an inside sales team?
    • Do I have the bandwidth to hire the right inside sales team?
    • Are there partners out there that have expertise in the industries I’m focusing on, and if so, can they ramp up quickly?
    • What does my call and email cadence need to look like? How fanatical do we have to be in our outreach efforts and how will the handoff process work?
    • Taking all the above into consideration, what can I actually afford to do and what kind of impact do I expect inside sales to have on revenue?

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

(Houston, TX) – Elastic Solutions, a leading provider of webinar-based marketing solutions and strategic lead generation services that help B2B marketers drive more pipeline, is hosting a webinar – Lead Generation Megatrends for 2020– on Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 at 1:00 PM Central.

“Lead generation is the lifeblood of any B2B organization, but there are still significant challenges that are preventing marketers and demand-gen practitioners from hitting their lead generation and pipeline goals”, said Jason Stegent, Founder and President of Elastic Solutions. “This webinar is going to cover what worked and what didn’t in 2019, the tactics and trends that will shape B2B lead generation in 2020, and what organizations can do moving forward to generate better leads that result in more customers.”

In 45 minutes or less, attendees will learn (among other things):

  • An easy way to put an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) plan in place. ABM adoption was at an all-time high in 2019 and will only continue to grow in 2020 with companies of all sizes adopting the tactic
  • The many different ways you can repurpose your content to increase audience engagement and generate better leads
  • How a strategic webinar strategy can help you not only generate leads, but close more business as well.
  • Why smart outbound calling, backed by data, needs to be a part of your plan. Think warm (not cold) calls. Yes folks, the phone still works
  • Why you need to stop messing around with Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) and only focus on Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). MQLs are dead.

The webinar will end with a live Q&A. Click here to Register Now!

If you have any questions about this webinar or anything related to Elastic Solutions, please email sales@elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We hope you can join us.

About Elastic Solutions

Elastic Solutions provides webinar-based marketing solutions and lead generation services that increase target audience engagement, generate more qualified leads and drive greater pipeline results.

From cloud-based webcasting and virtual event solutions that enhance demand generation and accelerate opportunities through the sales funnel, to strategic marketing services that get businesses in front of the right decision makers and generate more ‘sales ready’ leads in the process, Elastic Solutions improves the way companies engage their target audience.

The company is headquartered in Houston, TX at 3100 South Gessner Road, Suite 135. To learn more, please visit www.elasticroi.com and/or call 832.831.5844. We look forward to working with you.