Success Story

MIT Sloan Executive Education Webinar Series Far Surpasses Expectations

A multi-year, complimentary Webinar Series has led to increased revenue, improved program recognition, and additional qualified leads.

Attracted more than 2,000 registrants per event, exceeding the original expectation of 300

Acquired an additional $250,000 in revenue, to date

Added approximately 10,000 new people to the database

At the outset of the program, we expected about 300 registrants per webinar, but our expectations were greatly surpassed with each webinar averaging more than 2,000 registrants. The attendees–current participants, alumni, and thousands of other business professionals—seem to really enjoy the webinars and value the content. In addition, our faculty like the exposure to the diverse and international audience that the webinars provide, and they appreciate the level of planning and support required to keep these large-scale live events running smoothly and effectively.

Dr. Peter Hirst
Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

BACKGROUND
MIT Sloan Executive Education is part of the MIT Sloan School of Management and offers non-degree executive programs—including open enrollment, executive certificate, and online options—tailored to meet the needs of leaders who want to drive innovation, lead change, and solve complex business challenges. Developed nearly five years ago as a way to increase brand awareness for Executive Education, the innovation@work™ Webinar Series, to date, has produced and delivered 19 live webinars that have featured MIT Sloan’s renowned faculty members who comment on cutting-edge research, critical issues, and current trends in the marketplace.

CHALLENGE
The primary goal of the webinar series has been to give the target market—a global business audience from a wide variety of industries—a taste of what they might learn in an on-campus program. Secondary goals include brand awareness, an opportunity to showcase MIT Sloan faculty expertise, and a lead generation tool to build and qualify the database, while also adding valuable information to the existing database.

The MIT Sloan Executive Education audience is broad, diverse, and in various stages of pursuing its education goals—some are considering MIT along with other institutions; others are almost ready to commit to programs; and still others are currently enrolled in courses. While many program participants and prospects are local or regional, geographic distance hinders others from traveling to campus.

Initial challenges at the outset of the program included: convincing the client that the series would be of value; agreeing on the program logistics; ensuring that the content was fresh, relevant, and not too sales-focused; convincing the faculty that preparation and delivery of the webinars would be time well spent.

SOLUTION
A wide range of digital marketing strategies were used to promote the webinars, including:

  • Systematic emails, which promoted the events to over 50K people in the database
  • Promotion of the events on the MIT Sloan Executive Education website (home page carousel and interior pages)
  • Webinar event postings via social media (paid and organic)
  • Postings on other MIT sites and sharing through social media outlets

Since the program began in 2012, results have far exceeded expectations. Registrations have often surpassed 2,000 and approximately $250,000 in revenue has been attributed directly to the series. The events have also been a great lead-generation tool with approximately 10,000 new names added to the database as a result of the promotions.

The success of the program has been due, in part, to its uniqueness. Unlike other webinars, this webinar series was created as a way to share information with intrinsic value—in-depth business knowledge and insights from thought leaders—as opposed to similar events that tend to be more sales-oriented and created primarily to promote individual programs or courses. Through this more indirect approach, CRI anticipated that attendees would be attracted to the inherent value of the information, and then inspired to enroll in a course or program.

Aside from the marketing benefits of improved revenue and building the database, the faculty has been very satisfied with the whole experience and attendees have been very appreciative of the free, content-packed events. Strengthened and solidified collaboration between CRI, the MIT marketing staff, and the faculty has been an additional, yet equally important secondary benefit.

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