Video webcast tips from West

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Video webcast tips from West
Video webcast tips from West

As video conferencing has taken off over the past few years, so too have its marketing implications. In a recent press release, West Unified Communications (WUC) indicated that video webcasting--despite its seeming ubiquity--remains underused. Results of a recent study on video conferencing and video webcast use and engagement in the enterprise indicate that enterprise webcasting trends have yet to reach optimization.

71 percent of surveyed employees had "attended" a video webcast; of those, more than three quarters of the group reported feeling "more engaged" because of their ability to see the presenter. Despite this implied indispensability of video webcasts, nearly six in ten employees reported that they would be "apprehensive" about hosting a webcast--and, indeed, fewer than two in ten employees had actually had that experience.

"Training can address and help mitigate these fears directly," said Dennis Collins, Senior Director of WUC, in an email interview. Collins reports that technical training is invaluable because troubleshooting difficulties can lead to higher mid-webcast bounce rates. Additionally, rehearsals can improve presentation skills and instill confidence in prospective webcasters.

"Despite end users' hesitations, video…webcasts yield multiple advantages in terms of productivity, flexibility and engagement," blogged Collins, addressing the survey results. "Video…is shifting from a workplace novelty to a collaboration essential, but social barriers and a lack of training have left many workers still preferring audio calls."

Other telecommunications companies aren't so sure that people prefer audio over video.

"Huawei believes video will be the basic communication service in the future, rather like voice was in the nineties," related Zha Jun, President of Huawei's Fixed Network Product Line, in an interview last month.

"It's important to understand that when we talk about human communications, the different senses that human beings employ aren't weighted equally. We listen; we look; we smell; and we touch," Zha elaborated. "But when we talk about online communications, video is clearly valued disproportionately to the other senses; we have done research that shows that the video quality accounts for 83 percent of the consumer's feelings about whether they are having a good service experience or not."

Hence, the point remains that marketers could use better technology for and additional training in video webcasting.

"Tools that facilitate the invitation and promotion are important," Collins went on to tell us. "[A] webcast that no one attends is the proverbial tree in the forest that no one hears falling."

Accordingly, Collins recommended offering an archived, on-demand option in conjunction with a live webcast--making the video presentation perpetually available to and easily referenced by those who are unable to make the scheduled time. Live attendees, Collins said, can have their real-time webcast experience heightened with plug-ins that encourage and enhance active audience participation--including chat rooms, Q&A features, and polls.

But features are easy. What should the IT department focus on when the organization is selecting a video-webcast marketing solution? When asked, Collins responded that security, event integrity, and access controls--particularly in the case of private webcasts – should be near top of mind. Emphasis, for Collins, on "near."

"IT departments should focus on compatibility questions first," Collins advised. "The tools should also have the capability to integrate with the company's CRM and LMS systems to maximize useful data for sales and marketing purposes."

After all, as exciting and cutting-edge as video technology for marketers may be, the real measure of these tools' worth is the conversions and ROI they bring.

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