Confronted with the growing challenge of generating high-quality leads in an overcrowded and highly skeptical marketplace, many companies are turning to live Webinars as a way to meet their objectives.

But not all Webinars are created equal.

What makes the difference between a Webinar that enjoys high attendance and audience participation—and nets quality leads—and a glorified infomercial whose participants simply tolerate the presentation and click away to never come back?

Are Webinars just another way to recycle a white paper or salvage an investment in vanity marketing copy? Is there more to this form of interaction than grandstanding sales egos looking for another turn in the spotlight? The answer is, emphatically, Yes. But as this marketing form becomes mainstream, there are pitfalls to beware of. This dilemma asks: How do you go from glorified infomercial to high-quality lead generation?

Consider yourself Webinar-challenged? Let us know what keeps you up at night. What dilemma do you take with you when you leave the office? Your peers would love to help. Write to us and ask our SWOT Team about your dilemma. Tap into the collective strength, wisdom and experience of this group. It works, and you could win a free copy of our book, A Marketer's Guide to e-Newsletter Publishing.

Revisit our previous dilemma—read below for your peers' best advice on how to launch a product in several markets simultaneously.

Unite and make a difference!

This Issue's Dilemma

SWOT Category: Internal Strength

How can we develop successful Webinars that generate high-quality leads?

We are considering adding Webinars to our marketing mix. I've attended quite a few of them and have seen a range, from “infomercial-style” to high-profile “celebrity” events, with most landing somewhere in the middle as product information sessions.

I'm not sure which is the best approach and am interested in what approaches SWOT Team members have tried. Please share your experiences both as attendees and as hosts. Which format did you find most appealing? Which brought in the greatest volume and/or the highest quality leads for your company? What was the overall response from attendees?

—Anonymous, VP of Marketing

Previous Dilemma

SWOT Category: External Opportunity

One product, three markets, how can we launch it at the same time for different audiences? We have a product that we'd like to position and launch into several markets. What advice can SWOT Team members provide for staging a successful product roll out to three separate target markets simultaneously?

—Anonymous, Product Marketing

Summary of Advice Received

Anonymous, your dilemma is an exceptional challenge. It's tough enough launching a new product into a new market, but your plan is to launch into three markets simultaneously!

Your dilemma was brief, and therefore raised a few interesting questions with SWOT Team members. Is yours a new company with new products entering new markets? Do you have an established and loyal customer base already purchasing your existing products?

SWOT Team members provided their best advice for how you might go about managing your upcoming launches:

1. Consider the product from the end users' perspective.

2. Take your resources into account.

3. Be careful not to send mixed messages.

1. Consider the product from the end users' perspective

Whether you're launching in one market or several, it's always important to take the customers' perspectives into account. How do they see the product? How does the product compare to alternative offerings already available in each market?

Aaron Mushoriwa of PFT Consulting believes that you can triumph in three markets and offers the following factors for your consideration:

I believe you can do this successfully, when the following conditions exist:

  1. The product has no existing superior alternative on the market.

  2. The product is essential to sustaining life or holds significant importance in the market.

  3. End users are clearly distinct and separate in their application of the product.

It is interesting to note that this question is really testing the key tools used for positioning.

2. Take your resources into account

Product launches take time and money. It will be important for you, as a new entrant into the market, to keep your finger on the pulse of exactly what's happening—up to the finest detail. How is the product being received by each of the markets? If the response is less than expected, where do you need to adjust? If the response is greater than expected, how quickly can you ramp up? Now, multiply those efforts by three.

Cynthia Rodzen gives consideration to the importance of making sure your internal resources are primed and ready to withstand the launch period:

I think the answer depends on several things:

  1. Are you trying to break into new markets, or markets in which you already have a foothold with another product? If you will be selling to customers who already know and trust you, it will be easier than trying to crack entirely new target markets.

  2. How stable is the product? Is it just coming out of beta testing, or has it already been used successfully in another market? Discovering product problems after release will be easier to handle if only one market is involved. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing face in several markets simultaneously.

  3. You also have to consider whether you possess the people and the marketing dollars to promote the product fully and effectively in all areas. A half-hearted marketing attempt spread over several areas will just waste time and money.

3. Be careful not to send mixed messages

If any potential for crossover exists between the three markets, your message may become confusing to the buyer, particularly if you use online marketing.

Cynthia Rodzen asks, “Will your launch create a mixed marketing message, so that end-users are confused about who should be using the product?” She reminds us that the message itself is a vital part of product positioning.

An anonymous SWOT Team member notes the increased potential for mixed messages if you market your products online:

Make sure site visitors from each market have a clear path to follow through your site. Spend a little extra time and money developing unique landing pages. Make sure any search engine and email marketing you do is targeted, customized and points to the appropriate page. Develop the copy and content specifically for each market so that site visitors know exactly how your product applies to them.

Great three-fold work, SWOT Team—thanks again!

We did our best to provide a thorough overview of your responses to this timely topic. All of the advice we received was insightful. Thanks for your participation. We appreciate it!

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Hank Stroll ( is publisher at InternetVIZ, a custom publisher of 24 B2B e-newsletters reaching 490,000 business executives.

Yvonne is a “customer engagement coach” and President of EVE Consulting, helping companies achieve sustainable market leadership through the power of customer engagement.