ReadyTalk is located just a quarter mile from the Democratic National Convention (DNC) which has been an interesting experience. From a marketing point-of-view, it has supplied some great web conferencing campaign opportunities. We offered Denver businesses free web conferencing and audio conferencing so they could telecommute while the DNC kept them out of their offices. There were also over 15,000 journalists in town that covered the event. We joked about running through downtown holding a large ReadyTalk Web Conferencing banner to get on television. Our joke was actually another company’s plan.
While out on the 16th Street Mall, I saw some of the following:
People carrying signs directing and leading crowds to a restaurant
Companies handing out free t-shirts with political campaigns on the front and their logo on the back
A donkey and elephant riding around on Segways advertising a news station
These are not the tactics that they taught when I went to marketing school. Word-of-mouth buzz and grassroots campaigning are the latest craze and we saw that out in full force during the DNC. Combine it with technology (blogs, social media sites, email blasts) and you have campaigns that maximize return on investment because of the relatively low cost of these mediums.
It was exciting to see social media tactics on display all over our city this week. It further solidifies the relevancy and efficacy of these tactics.
When I was informed that my primary task at ReadyTalk would be garnering competitive intelligence (CI) for the web conferencing industry, I was intrigued by the idea but did not know what to expect. Despite not being very educated on the subject of CI, I started formulating a plan based on what I knew and a list of guiedlines to follow. I admit that I was excited about this project and eager to get started.
Over a month has passed since the briefing on the CI task and I am pleased to report that my plan was a well implemented success. Without formal education on CI and just a few guidelines to follow, (I assure you nothing unethical was conducted) we were able to acquire adequate intel on ReadyTalk's competitors.
Just the other day after our review of the CI project, I decided to do some research on the topic. Why I waited this long is a mystery to me. I understood the idea of CI and why we were doing it, but I guess I never thought about its impact on the business world or more specfically, the web conferencing industry.
To my surprise I discovered that CI is much bigger than I had imagined. It is a multibillion market and with today's ever changing business environment it is as important as ever. Researching CI has opened my eyes to a whole network and community of CI professionals, there are a variety of CI consultant companies as well as a global organization for CI. CI can increase you company's ability to:
Position your company in the market
Stay ahead of competitors
Be alert to market changes
Know and understand your competitors and the marketplace
Increase your sales team's competitor awareness
These are only a few benefits of CI, having the opportunity to profile competitors will allow your company to better understand them as well as the marketplace. Check out this resource for some more valuable and interesting information about CI.
[tags]competitive intelligence, web conferencing [/tags]
At ReadyTalk, we are constantly thinking about new and creative campaigns we can run that will help our customers get more out of their web and audio conferencing or get non-users to start using our conferencing service. Sometimes these ideas comes like bolts of lightening and the campaign comes together without a hitch. Other times ideas are hard to come by and you are stuck with campaign block.
Ideas for campaigns are everywhere;we just need to be looking and listening for them. I have been in a crowded elevator and heard a conversation that led to an idea for a marketing campaign. Instead of being irritated that the two people were having a loud conversation next to me, I decided to turn it into an opportunity. Stuck in traffic and letting the brain wonder is another great way to think of campaigns; look at the billboards or bumper stickers on cars for inspiration.
Other ways to brainstorm ideas for marketing campaigns:
Look to the news and current events. I use Google alerts and have several keywords on alert such as:web conferencing, audio conferencing, webcast, webinar etc. Google alerts me everytime these words are used in cyberspace.
Watching and reading the news is what your customers are doing, so forming a message, offer, and campaign around current topics will allow you to connect with them. Find out what is happening in the economy as Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. Fortunately at ReadyTalk, we can provide both.
Read what your target audience reads and have a conversation. They will tell you the business pains they are experiencing and even how your company can solve them! This will give you the information to create a service/product and offer that will make them buy.
These are just some of the ways I try to come up with campaigns. In the web and audio conferencing industry, it is difficult at times to keep it fresh and exciting. I find that by following some of these guidelines above I am able to create campaigns that are new and effective without being boring.
The Democratic National Convention is in town next week. There is alot of preparation going on as secruity is being put in place, routes are being mapped and highways are being closed. The Denver Post reports that some companies are forcing vacation time while others are telecommuting for the week.
Being located in the middle of Downtown Denver, we are also feeling the crunch of tightened security and increased traffic. To help the local companies out during this week, we are offering free audio and web conferencing for the week of the DNC to any company located in Denver. This is our way of saying we feel your pain and allowing you to remain productive during a week which promises to be crazy.
To learn more about this promotion, you can go to our DNC Web Conferencing Pass page.
We have been busy here at ReadyTalk over the past several months putting on some final additions to our new release this Fall. This release is more of a UI re-design and terminology change to keep up with the changing demands of the web conferencing market. Currently, our product allows you to manage on-demand meetings or web events. The distinguishing feature between events and meetings being that events required registration.
This created two issues for us. Customers doing on-demand meetings did not have access to a whole host of features that the event service allowed. Also, we found that due to the abundance of web conferencing terminology people were confused as to the difference.
Being that simplicity and ease of use are our guiding principles in development, we made some minor changes to the UI and language. After our release in the Fall, we are going to stop using the term "events" and simply use "meetings".
This will accomplish two things. First, it will give those people doing on-demand meetings access to the event features that were previously unavailable to them. Second, it reduces the terminology and allows the chairperson to choose which features they need without having to understand the philosophical difference between an "event" and a "meeting".
It is our goal to make products that are quickly grasped to ensure that our customers are at their most productive. I would love to hear your feedback on this change.
[tags]web conferencing, web seminars, webinars, web events [/tags]