Software-defined networking (SDN) remains a hot topic in the IT and telecom industries. A recent Capacity magazine webinar, sponsored by NTT Communications (Wireside client) offered a useful reality check on this technology and an occasion to think about webinars in general.As for webinars, the challenge has always been how to deliver a credible message without becoming an infomercial. Excessive focus on lead generation, after all, is one of the main reasons that so many webinars have tended to underperform – or “suck” – as Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman bluntly put it in their 2011 digital marketing book Content Rules.
Of course, anyone doing a webinar – NTT Com included – is looking for leads. But the best way to achieve them is to focus on content. Service providers tend to have advantage an in this respect, being closer than vendors to the end user and motivated to communicate as clearly as possible. That was something I picked up on as a trade journal editor (and moderator of several dozen webinars) and clearly appeared to be the case with Shawn Morris, senior manager of IP development for the NTT Communications Global IP Network, and presenter in this event.
Morris simplified the complex topic, focusing on SDN’s “programmable control.” To explain the ongoing culture shift that SDN is driving, he pointed to 25-plus years of change in the manufacturing industry: “Today you can’t run a manufacturing plant without automation.” Modest about NTT Com’s own portfolio, Morris nonetheless explained how NTT Com is no Johnny-come-lately. “It took us about 10 years to get fully automated.” At the same time, he challenged the attendees: “In five years time, I don’t think you’ll be able to be competitive unless you’re operating in this manner.”
If you’re looking for more insight into SDN, check out the webinar in its entirety. Morris is really good. If you’re in marketing or PR and looking to improve your webinars, here’s my point: It’s easy to become overwhelmed by webinar production – Handley and Chapman list no fewer than 25 keys to success – but above it all, keep in mind the title of their book: Content Rules.