One of the most frequently requested workflows is the Recurring Webinar. Quite a few Marketo clients setup recurring webinars for product demos (especially all your SaaS firms) and want to route the registration through Marketo. This makes perfect sense and it is very possible to do this.

Before you do so, please note a couple of key differences:

  • GTW and WebEx do not support recurring webinars with Marketo. Just not going to happen.
  • You need 1 Program for every single time you run the recurring webinar. It is always a 1-1 relationship. Please do not try to circumvent this. The reason is once you connect a webinar to a Program, it is very difficult to change it. The other reason is you will have bad data for your reports. All you would see is "1000 attendees" for the demo webinar---for all time. This makes no sense.
  • What Marketo does do is give you the tools to support a recurring webinar yourself.

 

Here's how to proceed:

Most of the time, there is a single page for registration and a list of dates the lead can sign up to. In the past, this form spit out a list to you and you registered the people with the right events.

In this How To, I assume you know the following concepts and how to use them:

  • Program
  • Event Partner Setup: Admin > Launchpoint
  • Webinar Setup
  • Connecting Event Program to Webinar and SFDC
  • Standard webinar or event registration flows
  • Forms 2.0

 

Use Case: Register for Standing or Recurring Webinars or Events

The standard way of handling webinars in Marketo is to create a single Webinar Program, then build or clone the related assets, and put up a single registration page - one for each webinar. Usually the lead or customer is asked to choose one of several dates to join. Yes, you still need a 1-1 match between a webinar and a Webinar Program.This can be done for Roadshows and Webinars with the same process. In this example, we will use a Webinar. Here is the basic workflow we will build.

Recurring Webinar Process

Create a Custom Field: Event Date Code

The recurring webinar system first requires you to create a custom field in Marketo. Go to Admin > Field Management > Custom Field.Add Field to Marketo

Since this field is only required in Marketo, we don’t need to worry about mapping it to SFDC.Using the Event Date CodeIn the system, we need to tell Marketo which event was selected. In the previous step, we created Event Date Code as a custom String field in Marketo. Now we can choose a code system. I like something simple like this:

Form Field Value Codes

Now, if we want to display the date on the thank you page, we will have to use the natural language as the code, e.g.: January 5, 2014. This is fine, but there could be some limitations if we try to do fancier things later on.

Field Values Dates

 

Central Program Setup

The next step is to setup an Operational Program to manage the central registration system. This Program will not take credit for the attribution or registration; it is just a place where the Lead can sign up. It is a central place for you to manage the recurring webinar or event.The Lead will then be passed to the correct Program Status based on the date in the field we created.There are two approaches:

 

  • Change Program Status for the target Program.
  • Request Campaign – request the target’s registration campaign flow.

 

Both systems work just fine and require the same amount of work to update for new events. I will show you both systems.

 

Option 1: Change Program StatusIn this system, we are listening for the Form Fill Out on the main page. We must also make sure the Event Date Code IS NOT EMPTY, or our plans will fail.

Smart List Trigger

The Flow is simple:

  • Change Program Status in the target Program based on the Event Date Code.
  • Wait 10 Minutes (for the emails to go out)
  • Reset the Event Date Code field so that if the lead shows up next time, prefill won’t mess up their next request).

status-change-central-flow

Option 1: Target Webinar Program System

The next step is within each Target Program: the Confirmation Trigger will listen for the Program Status is Changed in this Program to “Registered.” If we want, we can ensure the right Event Date Code is used. This brake isn’t necessary, but it might prevent errors if someone accidentally changed the status.program-status-trigger-webinar

The flow is simply to Send the Email because we’ve already set the webinar Status to Registered.Option 2: Request CampaignAgain, in this system, we are listening for the Form Fill Out on the main page. We must also make sure the Event Date Code IS NOT EMPTY.In the main registration processor, the difference is just that we use Request Campaign to call the target Program’s registration flow.

Requested Recurring Webinar Campaign Flow

Option 2: Requested Webinar RegistrationIn the target Program, the Confirmation flow listens for the Campaign is Requested and Event Date Code. The flow then does Change Program Status and Send Email.

webinar-flow-requested

If you are used to having the Change Program Status within the target Webinar, then I recommend just keeping this the same in your Program Template.Either system will work!

 

Form SetupNow that we have a Program, we can create a Form. Add the fields you wish to have filled in, but also add the Event Date Field.Recurring Webinar Form

Landing PagesThere are two pages to create:

  1. Registration Page
  2. Thank You/Confirmation Pag

For the Thank You Page, we might want to display the Lead’s choice on the page. The only way to do that is if you chose to keep the standard Date format instead of using the date code system.Recurring Webinar Page Variations

Approvals and ActivationNow you can approve the pages and turn on the target Confirmation flows, then the Webinar Registration Processor.Completed Recurring Webinar System
Go ahead and give a whirl.

 

How to Update the System Each Month

Let’s say you had four recurring webinars each month. You would use these steps to update the Form and central flows.

  1. Setup the recurring webinars in GotoWebinar. These must be separate webinars.
  2. Setup the Marketo Webinar Programs and connect them to GTW. Use a Program Template here.
  3. Decide on the Event Date Code.
  4. Make sure your target Programs’ registration flows are activated.
  5. Central System: Update the Form with the new codes and dates.
  6. Central System: Approve the Page Draft
  7. Central System: Update the Webinar Registration Processor to point to the correct Programs
  8. Give it a test

That should do it! Now you have a recurring webinar system that is mostly automated.For more recurring event ideas and webinar tips, see these helpful articles:

 

More links:

 

There are quite a few threads on this topic, so please do a search if you want to know more. I owe a lot to earlier threads, but the links have disappeared.