Art & Science of Advancing Virtual Engagement

We find ourselves a year into this global pandemic, where in-person conferences have fallen out of marketing plans and virtual events have taken their place – only to be burdened by lack of engagement brought on by Zoom fatigue. This webinar brings innovative advancements on how to best engage with your targeted personas.

Join us for this exciting, informative presentation where you will hear from Tom Riddle, our Director of Market Research as he shares new ways to boost virtual engagement – and how to promote them.

In this short webinar, you will learn about:
• Virtual Focus Groups
• Virtual Networking Event – a new format!
• How other companies are leveraging these
• How best to promote them

We are excited to share these new ideas with you!

Advances in Virtual Engagement

Hi, everybody. This is Tom Riddle from Virtual Intelligence Briefing. I’m the Director of Research. And today we’re going to have another edition of the ViB Success Series Webinars, Advances in Virtual Engagement. Thanks for joining.

Today’s agenda, we’re gonna spend about two minutes about ViB to give you a little bit of context. And then we’ll be talking about the ViB Virtual Networking Forum, which is an exciting new solution from ViB we developed in conjunction with a lead customer, and we and they consider it the most significant advance in virtual engagement since the webinar, and we think you’ll agree with that. And then the ViB Virtual Focus Group, which delivers the full promise of focus groups at a point of need and panelists quality level and at prices you can afford. So a better way to do our focus groups and to make them accessible to all of our customers.

And a little bit more about us is as a focus as a company. We’re all about enabling the competitive marketer to get that competitive advantage, and it’s a very simple formula for us. There’s really four key pillars. One is the ViB Community, ViB Essentials, which are a go-to high volume products that our customers rely on every day for demand gen, for qualified sales meetings, for intelligence, and for thought leadership as well. And then, where these two products we’re going to talk about today come from is ViB Labs.

Four Key Pillars

ViB Labs is a process that we utilize with our customers to validate and develop exciting new solutions. Lastly, I’m not sure if this is actually a word or not, but delightment. We help make sure with our culture and capabilities that our customers are delighted in the process. We’re going to talk about each of these for a moment or so.

And so, ViB Community which is really one of the key things that makes us go. We have a very high volume, 2 million-plus engaged community that respects our brand, practitioners, the C level, SMB, mid-market enterprises across virtually every product domain, are there customers involved in. Precise targeting is key. And once again, these are people that respect our brand, and therefore, they’re receptive to your offers.

ViB Essential Solutions, these are go-to products that our customers have used for years and get great result with our SmartSend email program, where we deliver your compelling calls of actions to precisely targeted users who are more likely to open those emails, click through and respond to those offers due to their respect for our brand. Our qualified sales meeting program that delivers better sales meetings, about 35% meetings become qualified opportunities. Our state of the industry thought leadership program help you create the most trusted forms of content to drive thought leadership, awareness on it, and our WinMore program. And these are topics or subjects of other webinars. I wanted to give you just a quick high level for context.

Drill Down

And now let’s drill down a little bit on ViB Labs. Because also there are sources to go through, great solutions that we’re going to talk about today. This is where we come up with unique services and SaaS solutions that are developed in partnership with our customers. That all starts of being continually aware of our customers. What their needs are unfulfilled, what unsatisfactorily fulfilled needs they have.

And if there’s something that sounds interesting, we do a customer listening tour to drill down on those. Then, go through a product management process very similar to what your companies do to develop new solution. Go through a beta step, and if that product delivers those results and it’s compelling, and we feel it’s a big market opportunity where it’s highly differentiated for us and for our customers, we go to an early mover access program and then a production release. So, we’ve got a very well-defined process to create highly differentiated, non me too marketing solutions.

And, of course, delighted customers, the delightment that we spoke about. So it’s very simple. And these are some of the people that talk about our brand and our company on our webinars and as references as well. It’s all very simple. We don’t have a complex mission statement or anything like that. It’s very simple. Sean Shea, our president and founder says if your customers are satisfied, it’s hard to fail in business. So, those are the four key pillars of the ViB success formula to help you become the competitive marketer.

ViB Virtual Networking Forum

And so, we’re going to start talking about the ViB Virtual Networking Forum. And to our point of view and our customer’s point of view, this is the single greatest advancement in virtual engagement since the webinar, and we think you’ll agree. So, let’s talk about the need for a solution like this. Well, webinars are great and always will be, but it’s not any longer a competitive differentiator. Everybody is doing webinars, and there’s webinar fatigue.

So, there needs to be new ways to engage virtually, especially since physical events may not come back anytime soon. Marketing organizations are looking for a way to gain a competitive virtual event advantage. And so, what does that mean? Marketing organizations want to increase prospect engagement. They want knowledge sharing bi-directionally. Not just knowledge that they’re imparting on the attendees, but they want feedback, live interactive feedback as well.

And marketers want something that creates that true brand bonding, that affinity with your brand that motivates productive next steps. As an example, being more likely to take a sales call with you because they enjoy the experience of the event. And so, another thing that this solution does which is extremely important, as everybody is talking now about the empathetic organization, which it instills customer-centric culture across all functions. And we’ll talk briefly how that helps do that.

Virtual Networking Forum Explained

What is the virtual networking forum? It’s a one-hour virtual networking session on a ViB-hosted platform. We bring together your target personas to discuss topics that are seeded by you and are interesting to them as well. The participants actively engage, and they enjoy the experience so much and it creates a bond with your brand. That makes them more likely to take a sales call or another follow-on activity. The lead intelligence that you get makes for very effective in production sales meetings.

Think about it, if your salespeople have a very good understanding of how that prospect thinks, what are their motivations? What are their needs? Their preferences? Boy, that makes for a great sales call because you have most of that discovery work done into the call. And you can get right down to things like understanding their use cases in more detail and form and fit. So, again, it helps your entire organization become more customer-centric. And we’ll talk about that here in more detail in a moment.

Virtual Networking Forum Process

So, let’s start by walking through the process from left to right. We’ll show you how this works through that. We’re going to start with a landing page, a registration page, because that is the start of the process. So, what you’ll see here are a couple screenshots from one of our customer’s landing pages. And this is a customer that we learned about this great solution from, a little bit of background.

Our customer had people in their software group using a collaborative networking format called lean coffee, for Agile software development. And a conversation happened in a lunchroom between these developers and the marketing people, and the marketing people said, wow, this could be a great way for marketing to engage with prospects. And it turned out to be that, and a home run, to the point where this large customer of ours, a $3 billion a year IT solutions and services provider has flipped most of their webinar budget to this format, and did it pretty quickly based on the results that they receive.

Landing Pages

So, let’s take a look at a landing page. It describes what the topic for this interesting interactive conversation will be, and then it provides some sample topics, so these are the topics that you’re seeding that would be discussed on the session. And then ask them to submit some topics as well.

Let’s take a look at the second half of the landing page. So, here they click on topics that you present to them that you suggest. We’ll tell you in a minute how that works and why that’s important. And then they also have the ability to submit some topics that they’d like to discuss, and this is optional. Typically, the topics that they suggest are in line with this overall umbrella of the topics that you suggest. Then they enter into a session. And this is on a ViB SaaS platform that you would subscribe to for single use per event. This platform is invoked through Zoom.

Choosing Discussion Topics

So, they come in through Zoom, and then they get the link to join this session. It starts out, as you can see, there’s a list of topics on these carbon cards that were seeded by you, and at your option, you can add topics that they suggested as well. And so, they come into this session, they see these topics, and everybody gets three votes. They can put all their chips, all three on one topic, or they could spread them across multiple topics, and then democratically it’s determined which topic will be discussed first.

Here’s another screenshot from the platform. What you can see is that there becomes a list of the highest voted topics or topics to be discussed. And then you pick one, the highest one, and you put it in this box of topics that are being discussed. You set a timer for 10 minutes and everybody starts discussing that topic, and that’s stimulated and moderated and steered by you.

Forum Moderation and Best Practices

And we provide training instructions. They make it very simple for you to become moderators, but you’ll find those people in your organization, product management, product managers, SEs, product marketing, are very well accustomed and are good at moderating as well. During the course of the conversation, action items are taken and learnings are added to this list, and these are distributed to everybody. And you could see these action items are ones that cause great post-session engagement.

For instance, emailing everybody about a best practices webinar that’s coming up. Jane is interested in a demo, George is requesting an ROI calculator, and more and more. And then, equally important, there’s these learnings that come from the session. Now, these learnings can help you. They could be great blog posts, they could be input to product marketing, to product management, messaging, or whatever. So, the topics get discussed and then the next topic comes up for discussion as well.

And I should mention as part of the package, you receive all the participant details, you receive the transcript, the recording, and the list of what their topic preferences were. There’ll be some that get voted high, they’ll be others that don’t get voted on at all. And it’s very important to know that they can help you in your prioritization, and most important, they should stay along with the participant details or the action items that you get from the session, and the learnings that evolve from the session that are distributed to all as well. So, I think if you can see how these help you determine and prioritize your follow-up and the great intelligence you get through that process.

Session Attendance

And one of the audience is asking, how many people are in the session? A great question. So, typically 15 to 20 people. It’s an amount that gives you enough critical mass to keep the conversation going and having diversity of inputs and opinion, but it’s high enough or not too high that it creates a very good level of engagement as well where everybody has a chance to voice their opinion. So, great question, thank you for that.

You receive the participant contact information, the transcript, the recording, the action items that come out of it, and the learnings. And another thing I should say that’s very interesting is what you find is you’re kind of spawning a small follow-up community as well where those participants can actively come back to you and to each other with ideas that percolate through the course of that session that can be acted on later.

And so, the process. ViB will deliver 15 to 20 participants to the meeting that are meeting your topic, your targeting I should say. It’s hosted on this ViB platform and you get a per session login. It’s moderated by you. We provide very quick and effective platform and moderation training. Pretty simple. And you’re gonna find these people in your organization that already did great about this. You can, right after the session, click a button, and download the transcript, the recordings, the action items, and more. And we can spin this up in about four weeks’ notice.

Helping Enable a Customer-Centric Organization

Now, one of the things that I mentioned earlier when we first introduced this topic was how it helps enable a customer-centric organization. So what some of our customers would do, they’ll invite other people in the organization just to listen in. Maybe it’s somebody from customer service, maybe it’s somebody from product management, maybe it’s somebody from finance, or from HR, etc., so they can get that sense for what the customers think, what your prospects think, how they behave, how they form opinions, and get an emotional level of connection with them, which is very important.

We have one customer that rotates various disciplines across their whole organization, software programmers, customer service, anybody in the organization should just sit-in and listen on these sessions so they can soak that up and become more customer centric. That’s one side benefit that you’ll get from this session. So, that’s a little bit about that.

We’re going to summarize this at the end, and feel free to contact us with the contact form. And the last slide here. To learn more about this, but we believe and our lead customer believes that this is the single most significant advance in virtual engagement in years, and as evidenced by our large customer who flipped most of their webinar budget to this format. And they did it very quickly after only two months of amazing experience with the solution.

ViB Virtual Focus Group

So, now let’s talk about another new solution from the ViB Labs, the ViB Virtual Focus Group. Focus groups, most everybody in business understands the value of a focus group. They are used by marketers, product management, customer experience professional strategists, and more. But there’s problems with the traditional approach to focus groups that make them not get the utility or the use that they really deserve. A focus group could really be a go-to solution for every organization, but what are the issues?

A lot of times in a focus group, a panelist is not properly qualified. They’re not engaged at the right level to be motivated to provide you very high-quality feedback. The panelist’s quality is everything in a focus group. That’s an area that we excel in delivering those panelists because of the capabilities, the breadth, and depth in the engagement of our community and our ability to focus them.

It’s hard also to assemble a focus group at your time of need. Think about it. When you have a pressing question that needs to be answered, maybe it’s an input to decide whether you launch a product, how you do your messaging, etc., or strategic positioning for the company in general. You want to get answers to that at your point of need, not a month, not two months, not three months down the road, getting an answer to that question helps you get to that next step, to decide or to make a decision on what you want to do or not, and most focus groups are very costly.

The ViB Advantage

You’ll see with the ViB focus group, it starts at just $10,000 depending on your audience. Today, we spin them up in about four weeks. And in about a month or two, we’ll be able to spin them up in just two weeks. So, why do a focus group? Well, what you want to do is you’ll understand the needs, the perceptions, preferences, the attitudes and beliefs of your end-users, or your prospects and end-users. And this gives you an opportunity for an intimate bi-directional conversation with them to discuss your brand, your solutions, your services, your website.

We have a customer that is looking for feedback on their website. Do people like the flow of it? Is it providing them the information they need? Do they believe it? Is it enticing? And things like that. And concept testing and validation.

We’ve got another customer that’s a new startup a month into their funding, and what they need to do is go through and understand, am I developing the right solution? Does it have the features that we need, etc.? So, it’s been immensely valuable to them as well. So, there’s a ton of uses, and if these focus groups can be delivered at the right price with the right quality of participants and in the time you need it, you’ll be able to exploit a focus group for any of these use cases and more.

Summary

And so, a bit of a summary here. So the ViB Virtual Focus Group delivers the power of the ViB community which is highly qualified, engaged participants. Your solution domain, we’ve got three basic price points in our offerings. One is a C level, or VP and C-level audience. The second is a decision-maker level, which is a director, and manager, and a user-level, very important to get feedback from actual users as well depending on what you’re doing. These are affordable by everybody. Our customers are ranging from 20-person startups to multi-billion dollar corporations that may use 20, or 30 of these panels a year, starts at $10,000, spun up at your point of need, which is extremely important, and coming up here in a two-week timeframe.

So, it’s a one-hour session. A little more detail, best practices for a virtual focus group, I’ll stipulate between five and six qualified panelists for optimal engagement level. It’s moderated by you. We provide moderation training materials. There’s a very simple checklist of do’s and don’ts that are very important in moderating a session. We will have a kickoff session talk to you about those and help you understand that. And then, it’s hosted on Zoom or a similar platform, your platform. You get the recording. We provide a transcript as well. And today, again, on four weeks’ notice, and in the future on two weeks’ notice as well.

Q & A with Audience

I’m going to take a moment here to take a look at questions. Yes, Shannon is asking, is that $10,000 for focus group session? Yes, that’s correct. The pricing starts at $10,000, and that’s where the user level people have been engaged at a staff level using your solutions, and it’s $10,000 per session at that level. Thanks for that question, Shannon.

I’ve got another question here. Can I give you a list of companies that are targets to attend? Well, actually, that’s not a simple thing to do or necessarily what you want to do, but it can be done and there’s a price involved with doing that. Jennifer is asking, how is the list procured? So, we source these panelists from our community, people we know that are credentialed to be experts on those subjects, well informed to give you the answers you need, but people of high integrity that are motivated that have ViB’s best interest in mind. And therefore, have your best interest in mind as well, which is to come to that session prepared and to see you as the customer and to help fulfill your information needs in an honest and motivated way.

In Summary

So, thanks for those questions here and we’ve got some time to take some more as well. So, in summary, today, the ViB virtual networking forum to our belief and to our lead customers’ belief, this $3 billion IT solutions provider that we reference, you know, it’s the most significant virtual event advance since the webinar.

Now, webinars are extremely important. Webinars will always be important. Webinars in most cases will always be the number one lead generation source. But again, the market for webinars is saturated. There’s competition for awareness between you and your competitors. Webinars don’t provide that level of engagement that a virtual networking forum does. It’s a significant differentiator for yourself being an early mover with ViB.

So, qualified engaged participants who bond with your brand and provide details leading to more productive sales meetings, very important points, but also enables a true customer-centric culture. Think about it, what’s a quicker way to imbue your organization in terms of being customer-centric going forward? Is to have some of those people listen in to an hour session where your prospects are emoting what their needs are, what their attitudes and beliefs are, how they like to be sold to, how they don’t like to be sold to, how they like to be marketed to, how they don’t like to be marketed to, etc.

And the ViB virtual focus group, a qualified, motivated panel of experts at your point of need exactly when you need them, today, four weeks, in the future, two weeks, and inexpensively to make it affordable for everybody. Feedback on your brand, your solutions, your sales, how you sell, how you go to market, how you service, your website, your pricing models, etc., and concept testing. So, a virtual focus group at these prices are indispensable to provide you that level of intelligence to finely tune your targeting, your personas, how you sell to these individuals. And it’s just great leverage in terms of the results that you’ll get for a very minuscule $10,000 investment at a starting level.

State and Local Government and Education

Another question on the virtual networking forum, that starts at $10,000 as well and the level is dependent on targeting as well. Do we serve state, local government and EDU or just commercial? Well, that’s a good question. To be honest, about 85% of our community is B2B, but we can in some cases help in state and local government and EDU as well. So, bring us your targeting on those things and we’ll take a look at it as well. So, another question from Jennifer, is there a vetting process hand in hand with ViB? Yes, so we do very detailed level of vetting with these individuals that join these groups, and the vetting that we do is according to your criteria as well.

So, we understand your criteria, and we vet accordingly. But key things that we want to state is, these are people that we precisely target so we know their roles, we know the levels, we know their companies, we know their industries. And we know from them responding to previous offers, that they respect our brand and that they respond to our customer’s offers as well. So, that’s a great question, Jennifer. And on our follow-up call we can get into more detail on that, as well. Those are the questions that we’ve received here so far.

Conclusion

So, wanted to let everybody know that there’s a follow-up survey that’s going out. We’d encourage you to provide us feedback on that. We’d love to hear your feedback. And you can learn more by responding to that survey. You can email me at tom@virtualintelligencebriefing.com. Or, you can inquire about information on our website on a contact form as well.

We’d like to thank everybody for joining us today. These are two exciting new solutions from ViB that are validated by our lead customers that were developed with our customers in mind that are priced in a way that they’re affordable to everybody that are highly differentiated, and can be executed at your point in time. So, thanks again everybody, for joining today and we look forward to follow-up conversations to tell you how these exciting new products, solutions can work for you.

And the level of differentiation you’re going to immediately get from these solutions by engaging more smartly than your competitors are with your target prospects and learning more about them in the process. So, thanks again everybody for joining today. We very much appreciate.

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