Who Said The Live Webseminar Is Dead? Oh Wait, I Think That Was Me

Yesterday I listened to a very informative webseminar hosted by Hubspot on the Science of Timing marketing communications.

Not long before attending the session I was munching on a croissant, sipping hot chocolate and lamenting the death of “live” webseminar events. Lo and behold,two days later Hubspot proved me wrong by hosting a 20,000+ person live event. That doesn’t sound like a dead medium to me. (Picture me eating crow now)

How did they do it?

* They knew their audience – marketers love actionable, fact based research. It’s what they promised, and more importantly it’s what they delivered.

* They practiced, what they preached – embracing targeted communications, a clearly articulated value proposition and leading with a credible speaker

* They actively promoted a Twitter hash tag encouraging community involvement, even running a little “give away” to the best idea

* They staffed for the event – with large registration numbers they geared up to have a flawless technical experience that engaged

Congrats to them for a great event! But it wasn’t perfect. I’m a huge fan of Twitter for engagement. But when 20,000+ people are all tweeting to the same hash tag it is impossible to have a meaningful dialog with the stream. It literally creates a flashing flow of tweets that fly by you with each new post. I felt like I was entering one of those amusement park rides with the strobe lights (those with a heart condition or seizure disorder should not ride). During the webseminar itself they only answered 3 or 4 questions verbally – sadly all them had been answered in the content delivered. It was a shame they couldn’t have extended the verbal Q&A to some of the more complex questions.

That all said – I humbly ask Hub Spot to take on some of the more intriguing of questions and host topic specific follow up webseminars with a limited audience appeal to encourage more intimate engagement. Then again…I smell a new book in the making.

Now, I know that most of us couldn’t attract 20,000 people to our events, nor would we want to. Our markets are focused. BUT, this event did make me take pause and rethink our online event strategy. In this “On Demand” world there’s still value in creating a sense of urgency around a compelling event. And I for one am not giving up on trying.