Web seminars continue to be a mainstay B2B demand gen tactic, especially in the technology space. Up until now, Webinars have come in two flavors: the live event, broadcast at a specific date and time, and the archived event, hosted on the advertiser’s site or by a third party for on-demand viewing.
Now, it would seem, there’s a third. A growing number of Silicon Valley companies are promoting Webinar events broadcasting at a specific date and time, but that (unbeknownst to the attendees) aren’t broadcasting live. Companies just flip the proverbial switch at the appointed time and play the recorded event, even including a canned Q&A session at the end.
As one marketing manager told me recently, “We had hired a big name analyst as a featured speaker, but his travel schedule just wouldn’t mesh with our planned broadcast date. So we just recorded the event one day at his convenience, and then broadcast the Webinar at the advertised day and time.”
What about Q&A? “We wrote our own questions and the moderator selected a couple to address during the session. Attendees could still post their own questions; we just responded to those individuals after the event.”
So does this new strategy set your moral compass quivering? Consider this: attendees get precisely the content they registered for. They won’t get their questions answered live, but that’s the case for most live Webinars anyway, when the number of questions almost always exceeds the time available to answer them.
The advantages to the marketer are obvious. As noted, the event can be recorded when most convenient for the participants. Technical issues or speaker flubs are a thing of the past: just hit pause, rewind, and start again (or edit the event after the fact).
Is promoting Webinars in this fashion misleading? This non-lawyer says no, providing you’re not using the term “live” in your invitation or registration copy. In the meantime, your event retains the cachet of a live event, with considerably less hassle.
What you do think?
For further advice on successful Webinar promotion, see our free white paper: “How to Choose Your Carrot: Effective Lead Generation Offers for High-Technology Marketers.”