Using Web Conferencing to Improve Marketing and Boost Sales

By Melanie Turek, Industry Director, Frost & Sullivan

Recently I was speaking with Karen Gwynne, Director of Sponsorship at the American Marketing Association, about how the AMA is using web casts to increase membership in the organization. Gwynne says that if a prospect attends three or more web casts, he or she is far more likely to join the organization as a dues-paying member, and stay loyal to the AMA in the months and years to come. Not surprisingly, the AMA is taking advantage of web conferencing to boost its brand, increase member loyalty and, ultimately, improve the bottom line.

In February, I wrote about how good web conferencing is for internal corporate and customer training. This month, I want to emphasize its value as a marketing tool. Today’s marketing professionals are faced with multiple challenges as they try to generate leads in an increasingly global and dispersed business environment. They must also develop a strong brand identity among a multitude of messages and imaging, much of which crosses the Internet; qualify leads and deliver contextual information about them to the sales team; and justify any expense with a clear ROI calculation. Web conferencing—which let’s marketers deliver interactive presentations via the Internet, easily and cost-effectively—can help with all these mandates.

Online events deliver global reach
Reaching a variety of customers and prospects can be difficult, time consuming and costly, especially as businesses extend their global footprint. With web conferencing, organizations can deliver marketing information and online training to small and large groups located anywhere in the world, with specific content designed just for them. This will help improve product and brand awareness, drive usage rates and satisfaction levels, and generate more new sales as well as cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Pre-registering attendees and gathering feedback delivers more qualified leads
Using web conferencing, marketers can increase the number, frequency, reach and quality of their marketing events, and they can expand those events to cover niche areas and target special interest groups. By using the software’s interactive features, speakers can create marketing sessions that offer valuable educational information, which in turn will increase brand awareness and loyalty, and deliver warm leads. Using conferencing’s Q&A and polling capabilities, presenters can better qualify those leads and help sales teams boost their conversion rates. Finally, sales people can use web conferencing to follow up with interested customers and prospects in a more targeted, intimate and interactive way.

Collaboration capabilities let marketing, sales and line-of-business work together to drive revenues.
Web conferencing cost-effectively enables internal communications among dispersed teams, so that sales and marketing staff can work together at every level—from research and planning to content development and account management. They can also tap the resources and expertise of line-of-business employees, to ensure marketing efforts map to broader business goals and product capabilities.

For more on how web conferencing can positively impact your marketing efforts, and your company’s bottom line, please join me for the webinar “Generate More Qualified Leads with Webinars” on the topic on April 27 at 2pm ET.

Frost and Sullivan Analyst Melanie TurekMelanie is a renowned expert in unified communications, collaboration, social networking and content-management technologies in the enterprise. For 15 years, Ms. Turek has worked closely with hundreds of vendors and senior IT executives across a range of industries to track and capture the changes and growth in the fast-moving unified communications market. Melanie writes often on the business value and cultural challenges surrounding real-time communications, collaboration and Voice over IP, and she speaks frequently at leading customer and industry events.

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