The year 2017 saw the meteoric rise of webinars as the tool of choice for B2B tech marketers around the world. In fact, 61% of the total webinars delivered by B2B firms according to a report by GoTo Meeting. In the same report, it was also vouched by 57% of marketers that they will host more webinars in 2018. While that truly places webinars as one of the most sought after marketing channels, the dynamics of information consumption and some of the issues faced by webinar hosts may point to podcasts as being a competitive medium for marketing. The year 2017 also had podcasts reaching out for some new feathers in its cap. Edison Research stated at how in 2017 alone that Podcast listens reached 112 million. It all makes for a serious business marketing tool that can be an effective webinar in its own right.

What makes podcasts more effective than webinars?

  1. Podcasts need little or no promotion whereas webinars are promoted using an extensive strategy. Marketers typically fire one to four emails and also use paid social media promotions to attract participants. Podcasts on the other hand need no promotion since the medium itself has a culture of organic growth that relies more on pull than push.
  2. Podcasts need no registration as they can be heard at the schedule of the listener. With webinars you will normally find them worrying about obtaining confirmed registrations. Statistics show how 15% of registrations happen for webinars in the first week of promotions and finally half the amount of those registered turning up to the live Webinar, all as reported by the GoTo Meeting research. Podcasts do not need registrations and are downloaded to your audio playing devices automatically via an app such like iTunes or Pocketcasts.
  3. Webinars are more expensive which can seem an obvious thing to consider for any marketing professional. The Big Marketer Blog estimate that the cost of hosting a webinar at anywhere between $100 – $3000 USD. These are just the expenses. There is also the time that multiple team members invest in running email campaigns, sending reminders to registrants and sending the recorded webinar diligently. Podcasts are much cheaper to create. With one decent microphone and easily downloadable editing software, one can start churning out podcasts.
  4. Podcasts are free to listen to which creates a low barrier for consumption unlike webinars which also are free but normally hidden behind a wall.
  5. Podcasts are better consumed “offline” which adds pressure on any webinar host to have live attendees in the webinar preferably say at a PC. Interestingly, Clickz also reports that only 16% of B2B consumers prefer the live versions. If offline consumption is the preferred way for webinars, podcasts are then definitely the better choice. A listener can consume podcasts at his or her convenience and pause, rewind or skip effortlessly.
  6. Podcasts can be longer and more specific whereas webinars do have the capabilities of graphics and interactive slides. But each minute of a webinar adds figures to the expenses column of the marketing balance sheet. This is often the reason why webinars can try to include many different points in their planned time. Hosting multiple webinars for multiple topics can be cumbersome. But podcasts are nimble in that way. Each topic can be neatly divided into intensive, long podcasts and the increase in the number of podcasts doesn’t hurt the pocket.

Podcasts and webinars are both great tools with their respective strengths and weakness. The webinar is still a great tool to gather leads. 73% of marketers and sales leaders claim that webinars are an effective tool to gather leads, as reported by GoTo Meeting. But when it comes to building a solid brand, by disseminating quality information about ones products and services in an educational manner, it is the podcast that emerges as the clear victor. It is for these reasons that marketers should consider using the podcast as their next webinar.