It’s Time to Kill the Webinar

I know this is sacrilege but I hate webinars. I hate that they start five minutes after their scheduled start time. I hate that we have to sit through ten minutes of “housekeeping” slides. I hate that they save the only interactivity until the last ten minutes. I hate that they are used selfishly by too many marketing teams. I even hate the term ‘webinar’ from a purely linguistic standpoint.

Webinars are a favorite tactic of marketing teams to generate new leads or move leads through the funnel. They’re easy to measure and easy to execute. We’ve modeled them after seminars which are sales pitches disguised at educational content. We can record them and re-purpose them as videos for YouTube. There is no incentive to attend live as the session will be recorded and they only take a few questions right at the end. Marketers will be able to say who attended and who didn’t but will not be able to say who was truly engaged during the webinar. We spend most of our time talking at potential customers and this is a huge mistake.

I suggest that instead of webinars we create forums. Forums let you know that interaction is expected. We will present information but we expect that you will ask questions along the way. They won’t be recorded as each one is unique. Perhaps I would even charge for them. No housekeeping slides – we’re getting right into the meat of the discussion. You can learn about our company and presenters though emails or visiting our website if you’re interested. Having a conversation is so easy with today’s tools that it’s time marketing teams started harnessing them.

I have the opportunity to lead demo calls and one thing that I love is getting interrupted with questions. I encourage it. This shows me what they are most interested in and allows me to add more detail that I may not have thought of when putting together the presentation. There is an added benefit to this too as people may bring up things you had not thought about before and there are chances others on the call have that question too. This is critical information that should be invaluable to brands. Drift changed how we think of lead generation and gated content by creating conversations instead. It’s time we do the same with the webinar.

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