This week I had the opportunity to view the webcast Best Practices in Risk Management which was hosted by Purchasing magazine and sponsored by Spend Management technology provider Zycus.  I really enjoyed the format of the event and wanted to share a few of my observations as an audience member, since I believe it can be an important feedback for technology marketing professionals who sponsor these types of events.

Marketing professionals sometimes confuse the purpose of webcasts, particularly in this new era of Web 2.0 marketing.  It seems that the singular goal is to gather prospective leads and push content vs. a broader perspective of engaging in a series of educational forums or events that help prospects understand the various aspects of a business challenge and how best practices supported by technology can provide meaningful business benefit.  Many supply chain related webcasts that I’ve viewed of late tend to be too one-dimensional, pushing large amounts of information without context. They leave little room for audience interaction or two-way dialogue, which for me defeats the purpose of the event. When I conduct or sponsor a webcast, I want to insure that there are some forms of interaction that can provide learning for all participants.

The Purchasing webcast featured two senior procurement executives as panelists, and Paul Teague, Purchasing Chief Editor served as the moderator.  While there was important content related to challenges and best practices in supplier-related risk management, the content served more as discussion points among the panelists.  Mr. Teaque also inserted a number of live audience polling questions, which provided two-way feedback for the entire audience.  There were frequent breaks where live questions were responded to by the panelists, and the panelists did not necessarily have the same perspectives, which is fine. 

I for one vote for more interactive webcasts where audience members can have their questions answered and where all can share in knowledge.  It provides a far better outcome.

What’s your view- do you prefer a more interactive format in webcasts?

 Bob Ferrari