Tag Archives: future of work

State of the Webinar in 2017: It’s Time to Shake Things Up

Webinars have been a trusted tool for marketers and lead gen pros for quite some time, but we find ourselves at a crossroads this year. Research gives us every indication that marketers are using webinars in full force and to great effect. But that may not be the case for much longer if we don’t take an in-depth look at where webinars stand and how they can be improved, rather than exhausted. Through our work with customers and prospects, we’ve observed and distilled five key trends that constitute the “State of the Webinar in 2017.”

 

Engagement is imperative.

 

We spent a week at Marketo Summit (read our full set of learnings here), where there was a clear theme: Customer engagement needs to replace marketing. Nowhere is that more true than in webinars. Audiences are no longer willing to sit through a sales pitch to get to the meat of the presentation. Even presentations are evolving radically, and are moving away from static slides (no matter how beautifully designed) accompanying speakers droning on for 50-60 minutes. Framing the webinar as a conversation rather than a presentation, with 30 minutes (or less) of speaking followed by a balanced amount of Q&A time, is an emerging trend. We’ve even seen experiments that mix live and pre-recorded segments so the presenter can engage real-time with the audience via chat or social, providing additional value during the event.

 

Video makes its way into webinars.

 

This probably isn’t a shock, but video is showing up in webinars more frequently than ever, just like any other online channel. Making a webinar video-centric goes a long way toward making it more intellectually and visually engaging. It modernizes the look and feel of the content far beyond the capabilities of traditional slides. Don’t be surprised when you start seeing more “fireside chats” or one-on-one interviews when you join webinars. Now that video streaming technology (both live and pre-recorded) has achieved more reliable quality and scale, video is undoubtedly going to reign supreme in the webinar realm.

 

Everything’s gone mobile; webinars are no exception.

 

As part of the Future of Work Movement, webinar attendees aren’t always consuming content in a standard office setting on a desktop, and often aren’t tuning in to the webinar at the scheduled time. This will be the year that mobile support for on-the-go webinar consumption becomes absolutely critical for vendors. We’re predicting that mobile browser-friendly dashboards and content will prevail over forcing people to download yet another app to attend or re-watch a webinar on their mobile devices. Because the end goal is always to make the interface and experience as simple and frictionless as possible for the end user, expect to see more integrations with single sign-on (SSO) providers, as they work particularly well across mobile platforms.

 

Not all industries are created equal.

 

We’ve primarily talked about trends on the cutting edge of webinars, but the reality is that not every company or industry has utilized webinars for as long as others. Even in 2017, there’s a broad spectrum of use cases and experience, ranging from companies just kicking off a webinar program to those embracing a video-first mindset. The hospitality, legal, healthcare and public sectors tend to be more fledgling in their familiarity with webinars and are still navigating their way through strategies and decisions that other industries (like high tech) faced three to five years ago.

Advancing analytics will always be a top priority.

 

The years go by, but marketers and lead gen experts still crave the same thing: the latest and greatest way to measure a webinar’s effectiveness and extended ROI as part of the sales funnel. Basic metrics (like attendance duration, chat questions asked and link clicks) have been available for a while, but as webinars and content enter the era of engagement, analytics must evolve too. This is the year of connecting the dots and reaching real webinar insights, rather than making assumptions based on discrete . Try ReadyTalk, and see how webinars can help you reach your marketing goals.

Are You Helping Your Employees Perform Their Best?

Here at ReadyTalk, we’re big fans of Jacob Morgan and his book (and philosophy) The Future of Work. Jacob identifies the changes we’re seeing unfold in the modern workplace, specifically related to how to get the most out of your employees by giving them the environment and tools with which they can best thrive.

So what are these future of work principles?

7_principles_of_the_future_employee1311

That is,

  1. Has a flexible work environment
  2. Can customize own work
  3. Shares information
  4. Uses new ways to communicate and collaborate
  5. Can become a leader
  6. Shifts from knowledge worker to learning worker
  7. Learns and teaches at will

Change and unified communication isn’t so scary; it’s happening now

Any change can be scary, but some of the trends are especially concerning for management and information technology (IT) professionals. These trends shift control to the employees, which can be a nightmare to manage. Until recently, we had our own little break in internal communication, where certain teams were using one messaging platform, and others were using something completely different. So before you could connect with someone, you had to stop to think about how you could reach them. Talk about technology getting in the way of communication!

There has to be a balance of personal preference and organizational efficiency. But I’m probably preaching to the choir, here.

Unified communications attempts to offset some of challenges of connecting and collaborating with your co-workers. When I want to call Dwight, I don’t have to worry about whether he’s in San Diego or Denver this week. I can just call his extension, and he can answer regardless of where he is.

Wait, a phone extension? This is the future of work? Yes, it is. See, the future isn’t so scary 🙂

Letting employees be accessible using a standard business phone number is a step in the right direction. I can get my calls (or my voicemails) without being in the physical office. Heck, some of my coworkers don’t even have a desk phone; their number rings on the softphone on their computers, and their mobile device.

Yes, mobile phones are a huge part of the future of work, too. Right now, people are using their personal mobile devices to get information about work anyway to be more productive and to have that flexibility. I can be at the doctor’s office waiting to be seen and still provide needed information. I don’t need to be tied to my office phone or computer. This has been huge for our team in terms of getting work done effectively and quickly. Some companies bring in meals so they can ensure their employees don’t wander off to eat at all hours of the day. Ah, the horror!

At ReadyTalk, go ahead and leave the office. And if a coworker needs your thoughts on something, he can just shoot you a quick IM or fire up a video call. Just because you’re not physically in the same spot doesn’t mean communication can’t take place.

Workers are more productive when they leave the office

A 2016 study by TINYPulse found that remote workers are not only happier, they also feel they’re significantly more productive than when they’re in the office. Imagine that: the important communication can still happen, but the distracting noise is cut out?

TINYPulse 2016 Study: What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers
From TINYPulse Report: What Leaders Need to Know About Remote Workers

 

So here’s the not-so secret truth: the Future of Work is already here. That’s especially true at ReadyTalk. Both in how we get things done, and in the tools we’re creating to help you work better, anywhere you wish.