How To Use Webinars To Build Community

May 23, 2023

There’s a right and a wrong way to do webinars. With 70% of total pipeline generated from webinar, PhotoShelter is definitely doing them right.

In this interview, Alina Vandenberghe, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Chilipiper, interviews Scott, SVP Marketing at Photoshelter.

They discuss:

  • Building community around webinars
  • Funny mistakes (that turned into big success)
  • Why you need to take risks if you want to win big

Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Alina: I have Scott today from photo Shelter. He's SVP of marketing and he is changing, um, the way creatives and brand marketers think about how they manage their assets to tell a story that matter. See. All right, Scott, what got you into

[00:00:21] Scott: marketing? So, um, I studied marketing in college. Mm-hmm. . And, um, in my senior year in college, I got a, uh, the opportunity to have an internship, um, at Rolling Stone Magazine.

[00:00:32] Um, and fell in love with marketing. It was, uh, the 25th anniversary of the magazine. I got to work on Rolling Stone's 25th anniversary, and it was, you know, a huge party in New York. Every musician, every musician, every celebrity you could name was there. Um, and I was brought in to help, uh, run that program.

[00:00:53] Um, and I just knew right then and there, that marketing was my calling. Um, I love the drama and the excitement and the creativity of it, and it's carried me through to today. If you were to

[00:01:05] Alina: have a create, uh, your own, uh, advertising agency mm-hmm. , what clients would

[00:01:11] Scott: you pick? Gosh, I, um, I would always want to pick clients who were struggling with an identity, and I think that is a universal problem, whether you're a luxury brand or.

[00:01:25] A nonprofit brand. If you're trying to figure out how to uniquely tell your story in the marketplace, then that that's the space I want to work in. Brands that are going through transitions.

[00:01:37] Alina: Interesting. So you think that the identity is important of a brand? Yeah, for sure. And what's

[00:01:43] Scott: the core of it? Gosh, the, the core of it is the experience the customer has with.

[00:01:49] Hmm. Um, and if you can align your brand story and your brand DNA with the customer experience, and I think you have something pretty magical. And do you think

[00:01:58] Alina: it comes from the founder?

[00:02:00] Scott: Um, it can for sure. Yeah. I think founder led organizations that, that also care about brand and brand storytelling and, you know, keep a, keep a clear eye on the, the fact that ultimately whatever it is they're selling, whatever product they're.

[00:02:18] That there's a customer that's using it and, um, that customer needs to feel an alignment with the brand and, and feel, um, a relationship there. Then I think if the founder has that in their, their heart, um, then it, it can be done, you know, align with founder led organizations. Do

[00:02:38] Alina: you have a bonus structure for your marketing

[00:02:40] Scott: team?

[00:02:41] Um, we do, yes. Is it related

[00:02:44] Alina: to pipeline or something different? It's not. Okay. Yeah. Is it

[00:02:48] Scott: MQs? Um, it is performance based and then there, there are KPIs that, that folks are measured against, related to opportunities. Um, we're, we're, I am pushing to get it further aligned with, uh, pipeline generation. Mm-hmm.

[00:03:02] we're having a, uh, an extremely strong, um, pipeline story against marketing sourced leads. Mm-hmm. , um, for the, for, for years now, but especially over the last couple of. Um, generating about 70% of the pipeline is coming out of marketing sourced programming, um, events, paid media content. Um, so I want to, I want to get my folks, um,

[00:03:29] Alina: tied into that.

[00:03:30] Incentivized by it. Yeah. Yeah. So is your webinar one of your, uh, most important, motions

[00:03:36] Scott: It, it really is, Um, and, uh, I think, you know, the word webinar is kind of blah, but, um, we look at them as these. anchor Pieces of content that have, uh, pre-promotion. So you're, you're creating buzz about that program.

[00:03:53] Mm-hmm. , um, you're using, you know, your internal staffers to. Advocate, it's a great outreach tool for prospects to say, you know, you should attend this webinar. You're gonna hear about how x, y, or Z team or organization uses our product. So it's great from a, um, uh, an outreach standpoint before the event ever happens.

[00:04:13] Um, and we do a lot of social graphics around it that pre-pro promote the program. Then you have the day. So the experience of actually, you know, hearing from a, a creative expert about how it is that they do their job and create their campaign. So you have that piece and then the long tail is, you know, the post webinar viewership.

[00:04:31] It's how you chop up, um, you know, great quotes and, and great testimonials from that piece, and turn those into small, short bite size social video graphics. We tend to turn them into case studies. We turn them into blog posts, so there's. A long tail after the webinar too. So we, we tend to host about one a month.

[00:04:54] Um, and we turn that into a content experience. So the day of program is one small little piece of the webinar. It's all the engagement that happens pre post and after, or post is after. But um, you make the most of those. Yeah, we make the most out of it. Um, and then, you know, the beautiful part about it is it makes our customer the.

[00:05:16] star Um, they feel great about what they're doing. They're telling their story to their peers. Um, they let their organization know that they're doing this too, so they have, you know, their colleagues attending and hearing about it. Um, so it's just, it's a, it's, it's a bedrock program for, for our company.

[00:05:34] Alina: I've, uh, I'm fascinated by webinars because to some extent I'm, I see the potential of having virtual events.

[00:05:42] Mm. , especially with coffee, then people working from home on the other side, I see that the engagement is low. Mm-hmm. . Um, and the reason why it's engagement is low is because you are kind of like putting a webinar on and you're kind of eating or doing another thing in, in parallel. So you are, you're living it on.

[00:06:00] Um, how often do this event and how do you make sure that the

[00:06:04] Scott: engagement happens? So that's a great question. Um, , the way we run our, our webinars is that, um, I might have mentioned we have a Slack community that we've built, uh, amongst our clients too. Um, so all throughout the webinar there's call to actions, um, to ask questions in Slack, to comment In Slack, we share, you know, graphics from the webinar into Slack.

[00:06:28] So you've got, um, a way to kind of create, engage. , um, with peers while you're watching it. Mm-hmm. , so you might be sitting in your office or home watching it while you're eating a sandwich, but there's this slack community that is, you know, commenting it and liking and favoring, um, what they're hearing the speakers say.

[00:06:49] So we've, we've, we've used that to really kind of almost replicate like a networking like social. Um, by tying the slack piece into the, into the program, uh, makes a lot

[00:07:01] Alina: of sense. Yeah. I am also curious, um, in your path so far, you've grown a lot in marketing. You've climbed the corporate players, so to say, you're now a marketing executive.

[00:07:15] Um, um, I would imagine that you want to give hope to people who want to be like you. Mm-hmm. . and make them feel it's okay to make mistakes. Mm-hmm. , what's your biggest marketing mistakes mistake you've ever made? Oh

[00:07:32] Scott: my, um, gosh. I mean, the easiest way back when with email marketing was, you know, not checking the box that.

[00:07:44] Something shouldn't be a reply all and, and having it go out to tens of thousands of people with responses happen. This was way back when, um, that was a big one. Yeah. Um, I think, you know, I ran a, uh, a program in, in New York City with a, um, a million dollar putt, um, that looked like it could have been a mistake, but turned out to not be a mistake.

[00:08:11] So we had a. a million dollar putt, um, in Central Park and somebody actually hit the million dollar putt. Um, and we had insurance for it, which was great. So you ensure contests like that. But when the putt dropped, you know, everybody thought, oh God, we're gonna have to write a million dollar check for that winner.

[00:08:31] Um, so it turned out to, at first seemed like it was a major mistake. Um, but then when we assured that insurance would cover it and that it would get paid out properly, um, it wound up turning. , like ESPN's play of the day and got like massive PR coverage for us. And it was a great way to launch a brand, but it seemed like it was a disaster, but it turned into like magic.

[00:08:55] Um, so yeah, I don't know. Taking risks. Yeah,

[00:08:58] Alina: definitely something there. Mm-hmm. , uh, what are, what excites you about the future of marketing right now? What keeps you excited about your job?

[00:09:08] Scott: Um, , you know, I mentioned that we were, we're moving more into paid media and paid advertising. Mm-hmm. . Um, so I, I think for us, um, our ability to take this like expertise in organic content and start to bring that into paid advertising, paid programming, um, and to do it in a way that is breakthrough, um, is pretty excited for exciting for me.

[00:09:33] Um, so I think that that is something that we're gonna be, um, you know, focusing on this year is. You know, break those typical like paid media analytics of, you know, the tiny click-through rates or the tiny conversion rates and, and really like create something that sort of blows the market up. Hmm. So I'm excited about that.

[00:09:54] And I mentioned, um, we are gonna start doing more, uh, live events again and getting people together. Um, I think the community is sort of looking for connectivity and. You know, networking and touchpoints, um, away from screens. So I think that's something that, uh, that excites me too. Okay.

[00:10:15] Alina: Live events. I love live events.

[00:10:16] I think in person matters so

[00:10:17] Scott: much, doesn't it? Yeah, definitely. Um, I think also we're, you know, we're, we're rolling out a lot of really cool new product capabilities, um, and bringing, you know, bringing new marketing feature or, or product features and capabilities out to market. With, um, you know, great campaigns and great video and great storytelling around how these new features are gonna help our clients do their jobs better and, and more, um, quickly and more efficiently, uh, is is gonna be something really fun for us to work on this year too.

[00:10:52] Okay.

[00:10:53] Alina: It was great to have you, Scott today. What advice would you give to, um, people. Might wonder if marketing is exciting enough to give it a try from a career perspective, especially in this academy. Yeah. What advice would you

[00:11:11] Scott: have for them? I, I like, um, you know, organizations that, um, have a purpose.

[00:11:18] Purpose, yeah. I think it's important that you're grounded in your, your reason why. Mm-hmm. , and that if that reason why aligns with you, know your values, then you can have a really great. Hmm.

[00:11:31] Alina: I resonate with that so much because I'm so driven by purpose and not by anything else. Yeah. If you have your why, it's a lot more powerful.

[00:11:40] You get more energy in the morning throughout the day. Exactly.

[00:11:45] Scott: Thank you. You're welcome.

Alina Vandenberghe
Scott Fedonchik
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Demand Gen Chat is a Chili Piper podcast hosted by Tara Robertson. Join us as we sit down with B2B marketing leaders to hear about the latest tactics and campaigns that are driving pipeline and revenue.
If you’re looking for tactical ways to improve your marketing, this podcast is for you!
About Mastersaas live
MasterSaaS Live is the interview series that seeks to answer the question: What does it take to be a badass CMO? For our host Alina Vandenberghe, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Chili Piper, this question is personal. A CPO-turned-CMO, Alina is on a journey to become a badass CMO — and is building in public as she goes. If you're a current or aspiring marketing leader, this is your only chance to learn from top marketing leaders, innovators, and big thinkers about marketing in 2023 — from CRO to brand to music and so much more.
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