My motivation for this thread is dissatisfaction with the July 21, 2011 webinar "Who's Around the Corner? Performing Technology Scouting and Market Feasibility Analysis". I feel that it was a) not appropriate and b) inaccurately promoted, but I'll try to aim my efforts towards improving the Webinars that ACS offers. (It's not clear to me if the ACS Network is the best venue for this discussion, but I'm guessing only a select few will be motivated enough to take part.)
Goal: identify ways to improve ACS Webinars
Premise: To quote host John Christensen's standard wrap-up lines, "Webinars are for ACS members and scientific professionals, connecting you with subject matter experts and global thought leaders in the chemical sciences, management, and business. ACS does not endorce products and services..."
What happens when ACS inadvertently makes a commercial for a private company, by mispromoting a Webinar? In my opinion, this is what happened earlier today. I can accept a certain degree of self-promotion--presenting one's own CV or company helps the audience put the message in perspective. (For example, I am an R&D scientist, and I am not in competition with "Breakthrough".) But in this case, the authors didn't address the topics as advertised in the Webinar's promotion.
Review snafu? I'll assume that the webinar was reviewed and checked before it was given by ACS Webinars, perhaps by the moderator and/or host. But IMO, the title and advert were quite different from the slides discussed.
Title: "Who's Around the Corner? Performing Technology Scouting and Market Feasibility Analysis"
Blurb: Many businesses fail because they are late to recognize key changes in the technology and market landscape. Make sure your business doesn't fall by the chemical wayside. Join Pamela Roach and Elaine Harris, of Breakthrough Marketing Technology, to learn tangible strategies to stay competitive and grow your business!
More accurate title: "Why Marketing is Important to You"
More accurate blurb: Theory of marketing is presented, but instead of tangible strategies we'll tell you to search the internet or just pay someone else--no one in particular--to do marketing R&D.
I came away from the webinar feeling like I needed a shower. So many unanswered questions: How do I perform technology scouting? How do I perform marketing feasibility analysis? What tangible strategies were discussed? ... Even: how much does it cost to pay for a third-party to do an analysis? What are my options?
The moderator was enthusiastic and obviously experienced, but it seemed as though user questions got misinterpreted. It also seemed as though the moderator was not concerned about any potential disconnect between the advertised blurb and the delivered message. .... Who knows, maybe in the language of marketing, advertisements don't need to be accurate.
Ideas to improve ACS Webinars:
- Post all user questions for further discussion. For example, as a numbered list.
- Option: post to ACS Network
- each Webinar gets it's own discussion
- organizers must ensure speakers have access to the discussion
- Option: within the comments section of the Webinar info page
- List time each question was posted, to help put question in context
- Motivation (encouragement? stipend?) for the Webinar speakers to participate
- Option: post to ACS Network
- A link to further discussion
- Option: Flash clickable link during playback
- Option: hard link on the Webinar info page
- "Additional Resources"
- Links or phone numbers of interest
- Sometimes links are mentioned within user questions
- Like or Dislike button. Alternate: Useful or Not-so-useful
- Survey Question: "Was this Webinar promoted accurately? Was the topic of discussion what you expected?"
- ACS Network Discussion dedicated for each Webinar
- Round Table Discussion
- If a corporate speaker contributes, offer an opposing view from a competitor
- Instruct moderators to offer opposing views, even if they agree with the speaker
Hope this post stimulates a useful discussion. If I'm alone with my opinions, feel free to let me know. And to be clear, even though I was hoping for more, I appreciate the information given by the speakers in this Webinar. I just wish the message was less biased.