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InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 28, 2006

3 Min Read

After finishing a webcast to your biggest channel partner and sending the presentation off to the participants, wouldn't it be great if you could track which participants watched the presentation again? What if you could see which slides people spent the most time replaying? Imagine if you could track how many times each participant forwarded the presentation, and to whom. This would help you track people's interest in your product and measure your marketing efforts, see who is pushing your product, and measure the success of the presentation.

Until recently, the possibility of tracking the viral spread of a presentation and individuals who virally consume a presentation was difficult and required a lot of custom programming.

Now that's changing. Brainshark (, a software provider that allows companies to create, manage, and share on-demand presentations, has developed a suite of products that will allow customers to capture the value from the viral spread of their web conference presentations.

Brainshark has developed a solution that helps companies track the viral spread of their web presentations. Brainshark has integrated their suite of products with Microsoft Live Meeting, allowing presenters to easily turn a recorded Live Meeting presentation into a training module. Brainshark's tools allow presenters to customize the training module and strip away unnecessary collaboration tools or discussions. The tool allows the presenter to add polls and questions to the module or continue to use the questions and polls that were used during the live presentation. Once the training module is complete, the presenter posts it to a Brainshark server and receives a link. Then the presenter forwards the presentation's link to all the participants and starts the viral spreading of the web presentation.

As participants receive the email, they can click on the link and replay the presentation, or forward the presentation to colleagues. Everyone who views the presentation can be asked to register prior to viewing the presentation, which allows Brainshark to keep track of the viral spread. Presenters can view reports and contact prospects who were forwarded the presentation based on how many times they viewed the presentation.

According to Brainshark, sending an email with a presentation is a lot more effective then just sending an email. After sending 250 emails to customers, a company may get a 1-1.5% hit rate, but after sending an email with a presentation, the hit rate goes up close to 6%. Brainshark's reasoning is that users can retain more from watching a presentation with sound than just listening or reading. When consumers listen to a presentation, they retain about 10% of the content. When they read one, they retain 20%. But when they read and listen, the consumer will retain close to 60%. Consequently, Brainshark's goal is to help companies increase their marketing campaign's success rate, increase the consumers retention, and most importantly, help companies close deals and achieve their training goals.

Although Brainshark tools seem very innovative and useful, they still lack integration with other web conference vendors and are very focused on Microsoft products. They also only offer a hosted solution.

Allowing customers to create a presentation, conduct a live presentation, distribute a presentation, and run a viral marketing campaign is an intriguing service. Marketing, channel, sales, training, and learning and development departments may find the possibility of increasing potential sales attractive enough to justify the purchase of Brainshark licenses.

Technology is now starting to allow companies to keep close watch on the viral spread of content. The benefits and value could be additionally lucrative, if the results allow buyers and sellers to easily connect. Industry watchers should keep a close eye on Brainshark and other technologies that focus on viral marketing, as many of today's consumer technologies are successfully spreading this way. 

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