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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