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Matching Webinar Content to the Buying Cycle

Editor's Note: Today's post comes courtesy of Tom Masotto, VP Product Marketing & Business Development at ON24, a cloud-based webinar platform. This post is Part 1 of a 2-part series.

Webinars are one of the most important tools for marketers to drive demand and nurture new leads. As prospects increasingly self-educate through the buying cycle, webinars have become a primary source of information that buyers turn to before making a purchase decision.  And the effectiveness of webinars spans the entire sales and marketing process, from driving awareness to lead generation and lead nurturing and cross-selling and upselling.

To be most effective, your webinar content must be tailored to the specific objectives of each stage of the buying cycle. Marketers’ primary goal is to progress prospects and opportunities from one stage of the buying process to the next. The key to achieving this goal is to deliver the right type of webinar content at the right time.

In this post, I will describe prospects’ attitudes and interests in the “Awareness” and “Consideration” stages of the buying cycle, and how your webinar content should be tailored to best influence their journey towards the purchasing of your solutions. 

Awareness Stage

Prospects in the “Awareness” stage are just learning about your company. They've identified a need and are now doing research to evaluate their options. 

Webinars in this stage should be focused on your industry and your company’s unique approach and value proposition. It’s important to introduce your prospects to the important industry trends and describe the business value of making a change. Your webinar content should also demonstrate that your company is a thought leader and an expert in the prospect’s area of need.

Webinar topic recommendations include:

  • Thought leadership
  • Industry trends
  • Benchmarks
  • Analyst perspectives
  • Basic “101” education

Awareness Stage:  Example of a “Thought Leadership” Webinar

Consideration Stage

When prospects are in the “Consideration” stage, they’re gathering research and data to solidify their business case.  At this point, your potential customers know what’s wrong and believe they know how to fix it, but they might not be completely sure of the best solution. Prospects in this stage want content that educates them and helps move them closer to making a decision.

Consideration-stage webinars should focus on vendor-neutral, solution-based themes. Your content should describe your prospects’ general problem and discuss potential options to solve them (not, however, the specifics of your solution). You should also illustrate the business value of solving the problem considering the prospect’s current challenges.

Webinar topic recommendations include:

  • Typical challenges
  • Vendor-neutral applications
  • Benefits
  • Pitfalls to avoid

Consideration Stage: Example of a “Vendor-Neutral Application” Webinar

If designed with the buying cycle in mind, webinars can be an extremely effective method for moving prospects from one stage of the buying cycle to the next.  The second post in this series will describe buyers’ views and the webinar content recommendations for the latter buying cycle stages – “Evaluation” and “Purchase”.

For more information, download the ON24 white paper – “The Role of Webinars in the Buying Cycle,” which discusses how ON24 webinars can help you to accelerate the buying cycle and produce sales-ready leads.

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