Seth Godin points us to what he calls the "the promiscuity paradox". His post highlights the importance of segmentation. When trying to sell or promote anything, the more finely tuned your target audience is; the more successful you will be. Segmentation allows you to craft a compelling and targeted message to your audience.

I received two credit card offers in the mail the other day. One was an obvious generic promotions letter. The other one was highly targeted and mentioned several pertinent things about me. Not only did I read the entire second letter, I also felt like the company that had sent me the letter was more professional and of higher quality than the company that had sent the generic letter. Had I wanted a credit card, there was no doubt in my mind which card I would have applied for.

Be the best you can be to a targeted segment; let them rave about you.

[tags] Seth Godin, segmentation, marketing [/tags]

Relationship Customer Service

durfees.jpg. It has been in business since 1929. This is Ray Durfee. He sits in a big chair by the entrance and greets everyone that walks in. If he does not know your name, he introduces himself. You can bet he remembers your name the next time you come in.

He has survived a Home Depot and a Lowes being built around him.

He has succeeded by building relationships with every single one of his customers. He is not a hardware store – he is Ray Durfee.

Success is a relationship away.

[tags]Customer service, Durfee's, Home Depot, Lowes, [/tags]

Interview with Megan Evans of SmithBucklin

Last week, I interviewed Megan Evans from SmithBucklin. Megan uses our event services extensively through her management of DScoop (The Digital Solutions Cooperative). I have posted some of the highlights of the interview below. You can listen to the entire interview here if you wish.

Q: Can you give us some background on SmithBucklin and what it is they do?
Megan: Sure, SmithBucklin is the world's largest association management company and we have about 200 business trade, technology and healthcare clients that we manage.

Q: What is DScoop’s relationship to SmithBucklin?
Megan: DScoop is short for digital solutions cooperative and it is an HP Indigo community user group which is a digital printer. They are one of our technology clients based here in Chicago. It is in its third year and coming up on its third annual conference.It is a new group that we are managing.

Q: And what do you do for DScoop?
Megan: I coordinate events for them. I coordinate their annual education conference as well as educational events throughout the year.

Q: When did DScoop start using web conferencing?
Megan: We started using ReadyTalk in October of 2005 so we are coming up upon our second full year.

Q: Why did DScoop make the decision to use web conferencing?
Megan: We were looking for something that we could offer our members on a monthly basis that would provide them with education and a way to interact with other members and keep the learning process going throughout the year. Having an annual conference is great but it is still important to support our members during the other months.

Q: What happens during these monthly web events that you conduct?
Megan: We have about three webinars a month for the three subgroups within Dscoop. We have a business sales community, a tech group and those who participant in the label and packaging portion of the printing industry. So each month we have a webinar geared towards each on of those groups. It can be related to anything from a technical problem or maybe software or hardware type problem that people are wanting to discuss or new product launches. Basically, any sort of issue that people want to know more about. We can also bring a speaker in that is an expert on a certain issue to speak to our members.

Q: Let’s look at each of those sub-groups briefly. What type of meeting would the business group hold?
Megan: Well just recently we brought in someone from HP SciTech which is a division that is affiliated with our group. They talked about different ways our members could utilize new products within the product set they already sold. A month ago we talked about the importance of pitch books within the digital printing industry and we were able to bring in an outside consultant that could speak specifically about that. We are just trying to provide our members with different skill sets across the board, whether it be new product or new techniques, that they can use to sell their company or better print their products.

Q: What was your most recent seminar that supported your technical group?
Megan: That one was a new product launch with HP. We talked about different products that would affect the media substrates and presses as well as digital front end solutions that they can supply to their shops.

Q: What was the most recent seminar that you had with the label and packaging group?
Megan: We talked about scalable packing last month. This group works a lot on the industrial side with printing different types of product labels and things that consumers come across everyday. So this new sustainable packaging movement is especially important because so many people come in contact with these items and they need to know what they can do with them after they are done using them.

Q: When you set up an event, how does ReadyTalk help you?
Megan: First, I generally make a request through an e-mail. Then I work very closely with Shawn Cardinal and Rachel Stoddart. I send them my request for what day I need, how many people I am expecting and what type of webinar it may be. They are able to set me up with a conferencing line and recording. I then go and set up a registration page for our members on our own site. I know ReadyTalk can also supply a registration page but we have several templates of which we take advantage. But basically we provide the members with an access code and dial in number. On the day of the webinar, they are able to dial in and participate in the presentation.

Q: What happens when you have speakers that are new to web conferencing?
Megan: I know Shawn Cardinal is available for training, but because I am able to access ReadyTalk at any point; I will have the speaker meet me on our 24 hour access line and I am able to run through the tool with them. If there is anything out of the norm that they might be doing like sharing applications or desktop rather than just using the standard powerpoint presentation, we are able to practice then as well. If we are doing something that I have never done, I will definitely call into the help line or talk to Shawn.

Q: What are some of the benefits of using ReadyTalk over a self service vendor?
Megan: I think they are responsive and accessible at any point if I am having a question or an issue. Even during the webinar, it is really easy to call back out. I know they are always working to improve their product and recording processes. They are really helpful. Knowing that if something does go wrong, they are there to correct the problem and help with conference management takes a lot of the stress off of me. One thing I did not mention, on the day of the webinar, I call in early with my speakers. At that point, Rachel or Shawn will be on the line and we can check in with any last minute questions and help us get the recording going and touch base with the operators. I think the access is what I most appreciate.

Q: What are some of the other ways that you use ReadyTalk beyond having live events?
Megan: Well, as a I was mentioned before about it is nice to have continual access to the ReadyTalk tools. One thing I was able to do with our association executive was actually record a demo of how to use our website. It is just a ten minute clip but we use it when we bring in new members to show them what it is we offer as an association. It also serves as a nice introduction to talking about the webinars that we offer on a monthly basis. It was really handy to be able to do that through the ReadyTalk system.

[tags] SmithBucklin, web seminar, web conferencing, DScoop, ReadyTalk [/tags]

A Maturing Web Conferencing Industry

In yesterdays post, I talked about a research report released by Wainhouse Research on web conferencing. Today, I wanted to talk about one more piece of data they reported.

The graph below was taken from the Executive Summary of the report which can be found here.



The question was:"On a scale of 1-5, how do you rate your experience with your primary web conferencing vendor in each of these areas?" The results from Q3 of 2006 are compared to the results of the 2007. As you can see, satisfaction ratings in in all areas has improved significantly. The results suggest two things to me.

First, the web conference industry is maturing. The products are more stable with more features and are easier to use. The industry is listening to the customer feedback and improving their offering. Significantly, support and price took giant leaps forward in user satisfaction. Again, another sign of a maturing industry.

Second, web conferencing has achieved high enough market penetration that many people are already familiar with it. Satisfaction rates are higher because users are more mature and familiar with the technology. This may also be the reason that support received higher scores as well. Customers are calling support less as they become more adept at using the technology.

What does a maturing web conferencing industry mean to companies developing web products? What does it mean for users?

[tags]web conferencing, Wainhouse, web seminars, webinars, web events [/tags]