Versatility of webinars useful for clients and internally

The usefulness and wide range of possible permutations for webinars are making them more attractive as a tool for PR agencies, both internally and on behalf of clients.

The usefulness and wide range of possible permutations for webinars are making them more attractive as a tool for PR agencies, both internally and on behalf of clients.

Makovsky & Co., for example, sought a way to boost the appeal of a new product offering from its client International Decision Systems (IDS). Its task was to persuade a group of customers al- ready satisfied with their current systems to upgrade to a new-and-improved - and expensive - Web-based system.

"One area that we became very deeply involved [in] was developing success-story webinars," says Robbin Goodman, a Makovsky EVP and partner. The agency helped to plan, write, and produce the webinars, which were targeted at what Goodman calls "warm prospects"- people who may have been open to a new purchase, but were not yet convinced.

Using real IDS customers giving testimonials as its basis, the company gathered prospects in conference rooms to watch the productions and placed a sales rep on-site.

"This is a little different from the way many companies use webinars, which is they throw it out there to a large audience... this was used as part of a relationship build," Goodman says.

In fact, many agencies also use webinars internally. They are essentially becoming the new version of the conference call; stark conference rooms echoing with disembodied voices are giving way to computers rapidly streaming live videos.

At Edelman, webinars serve a variety of internal purposes, including events to educate clients, prospects, and the industry about trends in the marketplace.

"We feel that the technology nowadays allows us to not only share... with the people in the room, but with clients, with whoever wants to access the content," says Paul Cordasco, Edelman VP and director of marketing.

Both agencies say they will likely expand their use of webinars, citing the ability to unite colleagues, clients, and the public more effectively than any other technique.

"It took one or two of these webinars to really nail down the process," says Goodman. "[But] they got good at it."

Key points:

Webinars are useful in targeting specific clients or a large group, including the public

Webinars can be used to share information between the agency and client

Internally, webinars can save time and unite disparate employees effectively

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