October 29, 2010
At 7:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the group payment startup WePay sent an icy message to payment giant, PayPal at its annual development conference in San Francisco. PayPal, a WePay competitor, has had negative publicity in the past around the issue of freezing some of its members’ accounts. WePay obviously wanted to let PayPal customers and developers know that they would not experience the account freeze issue if they were using the WePay system.
With a limited budget, competing against a giant in the payment industry, WePay elected to do a marketing stunt to get its message across. The WePay team wheeled a massive block of ice with frozen money and a message to PayPal customers and developers: PayPal Freezes Your Accounts. One minute after dropping off the massive block of ice in front of San Franciscos Moscone Center, WePay employees were confronted by security. An hour and half later, the stunt was on the front page of TechCrunch, one of the most popular technology news sites on the web today.
More Than a Cute Story?
Sure, that sounds like a fun story, and I am sure the folks at WePay had a lot of fun doing it, but did it drive actual business results?
According to the WePay team, yes it did. The folks at WePay shared the following results with us from the days following the stunt:
Conversions on the stunt landing page were 3x higher than a normal day.
300% increase in weekly traffic
225% increase in signups
Those are pretty dramatic results. How did they do it?
Takeaways From a Successful Marketing Stunt
1. Have a Dedicated Landing Page – WePay had a dedicated landing page for its stunt: UnfreezeYourMoney.com. On this page, WePay had two separate calls-to-action for its buyer personas: new users and developers. This landing page converted at a 10% higher rate than the companys homepage.
2. Be Ready to Make a First Impression – The WePay team had prepared for a spike in engagement. They were ready for more emails, calls, and tweets than normal. With lots of new potential users talking about the stunt, the team needed to be ready to respond and make sure it created a good first impression.
3. Have Fun With the Stunt - When you create something interesting, people always want to know how you did it. It is important to understand that the stunt is meant to be fun, and while you are putting it together, you should plan to take pictures to share with your community. For example, the folks at WePay documented the process on their blog.
What do you think of this stunt? The numbers seem to indicate that it was effective.
Save Your Seat: ROI of Real-Time Webinar with David Meerman Scott
Posted by Kipp Bodnar on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 @ 08:20 AM
October 29, 2010
It takes a leap of faith to go from the old-fashioned world of handsets to the seemingly high-powered, deal-making world of bluetooth headsets. But the tiny devices have become a staple for big suits and everyday people alike, spawning a massive market of options.
The tiniest of devices, the Plantronics Savor M1100 Bluetooth Headset, is about as big as a baby carrot and weighs just 9 grams. Full disclosure, I am decidedly in the first category of traditionalists. Headsets just seemed like extra work to answer a call. I should not have liked this headset. But it really is worth a look even if youre a skeptic.
Despite its minute stature, the M1100 packs a ton of features into an intuitive user interface, but its also a breeze to connect and even easier to use. What changed my mind, and why should you look into device? Read on for my breakdown.
The M1100 looks great. There are no gaudy flashing lights or projecting mics; the whole headset is a self-contained sliver of technology. A slim LED near the front of the device discreetly lights up blue or red when your battery is low or right when its powered on. Its weight means that the M1100 will sit comfortably in pretty much anyones ear, though I do recommend using the clear-plastic ear clip thats included.
Plantronics has somehow squeezed four buttons onto the headset, including a sliding on/off switch, cycling volume control, call button and voice recognition button. While it can be easy to mix up the call and voice buttons, or press them when trying to move the headset, the M1100 manages to streamline the calling process so even the simplest of users can quickly get on a call.
One of the biggest selling points is that every feature on the headset can be controlled via voice command. Tap the voice button once and say any of 10 commands from Redial to Am I connected, and a slightly robotic but generally pleasant voice will respond. The voice features really take front seat when paired with Vocalyst, a hosted speech-enabled service that lets you send and receive e-mails, texts, record reminders and more. A one-year subscription is included for free, but after that youll have to pay $24.95 per year.
The voice recognition works great at balancing out the simple, stream-lined design with some of the advanced features on Vocalyst.
This is probably why you bought this thing: to make calls to people without using your hands. The good news is that the M1100 works great. A touch of the device or saying answer will connect you to your call with minimal delay. The reception isnt perfect but its noticeably clear and problem-free thanks to the three separate mics buried in the M1100, one of which is dedicated to noise-cancellation.
I managed to call and place an order for flowers (including providing the address, a message and credit card number) without any problems. Normal phone calls and conversations were similarly clear and problem free. The headset also picked up calls from a healthy distance meaning youd have to try and be out of range for it not to work.
The M1100 boasts a 4-hour talk time and 7-hour standby time, which is important if your phone calls last longer than 3 hours, or more realistically, if you have calls spotted throughout the day.
If youre a power user, the M1100 has all the features youd expect and great call quality. It more than makes up for anything it lacks in immediate flare with the integration of Vocalyst. At $99.99, it is certainly not the cheapest headset out there. But if you are a casual user (or admitted skeptic) looking for a solid, simple, discreet headset, the M1100 is an equally great choice.
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/7otQWp1bYc0/
October 29, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/V5r0vnjx0M0/
October 29, 2010
Holly Schwartz (@hollyschwartzoc) is the Marketing Director for Torelli Realty, (@torellirealty) a boutique real estate company in Orange County, CA. She enjoys dishing up a daily blog about 365 Things To Do In Costa Mesa (Like the page on Facebook!) Prior to working at Torelli Realty she worked as a TV producer for the HGTV shows House Hunters and House Hunters International.
Once upon a time (earlier this year) I was a producer for HGTV, most recently serving as one of the directors of House Hunters. Some of you may be familiar with that program. One of the things I think is so telling is that in the time the show has been on the air (over 10 years) you can see the relationship between life and art. Many of the House Hunters reruns that air portray the home buying process as one where the buyers depend entirely upon the real estate agent. They trust the agent to find listings for them from the MLS and look forward to the printouts that the agent provides. The process of house hunting used to be very dependent upon what the agent could deliver. (See the video at the end for a little more insight on technology on TV real estate shows and in real life!)
Fast forward to the age of the tech-savvy client. So much of real estate listing information is on the Internet that almost anybody can find homes. The MLS is no longer an exclusive club that only special agents have access to. In fact at my real estate office we get calls daily from people who have found a home online and want more information.
When I watch old episodes of the show, home buyers were scavenging the real estate sections of the newspaper. In the recent episodes theyre searching online websites and newspapers. In the past buyers said they met their agent at an open house or by visiting the real estate office. Now youll hear buyers explain that they met their agent online and they established a relationship through email long before ever meeting in person.
One of the greatest things I got to experience was being at a shoot in Europe. An Irish family was looking for a vacation home in Italy and did all of their research online to find a real estate agent. I got to witness the agent and buyers meet for the first time in person during filming. Technology brought them together! Thats proof of the amazing things that technology is doing for REALTORS if I ever saw it.
I am so thrilled to see how technology is really bringing people together and enhancing the real estate industry more than ever before. Even watching real estate unfold on television is another great example of how technology, media, and real estate are all merging together.
In what ways do you think technology is enhancing the real estate industry?
October 29, 2010
On October 27th, the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), announced a new program called “Ironman Access”. This new Ironman Access membership program was to be an exclusive program whereby triathletes could pay $1,000 to have special membership privileges, including registering for Ironman races a week prior to them opening to the general public. This was to be on a “first-come, first-serve” basis (smart as it would allow them to control the marketing piece of this); in the event there was no interest or very limited interest they could always quickly pull the plug and say that they had reached their limit of members.
Within hours the social media websites were abuzz with an outcry of displeasure. Twitter postings, Facebook pages, Online Forums like Slowtwitch.com were all showing the vehement feelings against this idea.
The typical race entry fee for an Ironman event is currently around $575 per race. Now the organizers of these events were proposing what seemed to be an additional money maker for them and more money taken away from the people who do the events.
As a result of this outcry, Ben Fertic, President and CEO of the World Triathlon Corporation released an official video statement about the cancellation of the Ironman Access membership program.
This video statement can be seen HERE. Mr. Fertic stated that the Ironman Access program was really created for those triathletes who register for multiple events. He further stated that those particular athletes end up registering for more than one event just in case they didn’t get into the one they wanted and that they only went to the one they want and let the other slots go unused. With the creation of the Ironman Access program they had estimated an additional 2500 to 3000 slots could become available within the US alone.
As a result of the outrage in the triathlon community via email and Facebook, Ironman is now pulling the program. Fertic comments “If you guys think we’re wrong then we’re wrong.” Ironman is now refunding the money to those who had joined the program.
The example here, however, of the power of Social Media is undeniable. There was a cause and an effect, all from Social Media.
October 29, 2010
This post is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark as a new part of the Spark of Genius series that focuses on a new and innovative startup each day. Every Thursday, the program focuses on startups within the BizSpark program and what theyre doing to grow.
Xobnis Outlook-enhancing social sidebar may seem like one of many tools on the market think Rapportive, Liaise or Gist aimed to improve inbox productivity, but the startup is maturing past the stage of simple utility and fast becoming a grown-up business.
Now nearing six million total downloads, Xobnis product arsenal includes a free Outlook plugin, a paid premium version, an enterprise offering, Xobni Mobile for BlackBerry and Xobni One, a contact-centric product that connects Xobni for Outlook with Xobni for BlackBerry.
In an interview with Mashable, Xobni CEO Jeff Bonforte explains how the company has essentially reinvented itself to supersede the tools of the world and become a platform for personal productivity in e-mail.
Personal and Social Relevance
Part of Xobnis appeal is that the tool provides users with time-saving and relevant information on contacts. The startups formula includes analysis of explicit information users share on social networks, but also taps into users implicit behaviors surfaced through communication patterns.
Our analytics engine helps us determine important information that you dont explicitly provide, but that improves your productivity, says Bonforte. We can determine if someone is important to you, how important they are, and how they relate to others in your network. We take those analytics to serve you the right information on your contacts at the right time.
The combination packs a one-two punch of information that really resonates with users, especially those willing to fork over $29.99 for premium features in Outlook and $9.99 for the convenience of Xobni on their BlackBerry.
Evolving for Enterprise Demand
Xobni was built with the professional Outlook user in mind. Bonforte admits that from the very beginning the startup saw a trend in enterprise adoption, but ran up against an unanticipated challenge IT restrictions around user downloads.
Before launching our enterprise product, we had over 15% of employees from a very large enterprise (hint: Redmond) using the product. And this wasnt unusual. We have users in 85% of the Fortune 500, he says. But as we grew, we heard more and more that people were having issues getting Xobni on their machines because of IT restrictions.
The company responded earlier this year by releasing a paid enterprise product designed to allow IT departments to deploy and manage Xobni for small businesses or global corporations with thousands of employees. As a result, Xobni now has hundreds of enterprises paying to license its software.
An E-mail Productivity Platform
What started as simple tool to boost e-mail productivity has graduated to become a platform of its own. Xobni has raised a hevty $32 million from top notch investors making repeat investments to finance its transformation. Funds have been allocated to deploy the enterprise product, and build the cloud-based backend that has enabled to startup to move into the mobile space.
Additionally, weve developed a new platform recently that ports Google Gadgets to Outlook. This is a real win for developers who are looking to get into Outlook without the pain, explains Bonforte.
Xobni has also teamed up with Huddle, makers of collaborative workspaces, to integrate the product inside Outlook. Xobni provides fast access and powerful search around Huddle activity and documents.
Its these gadgets and Xobni additions that help make Outlook more of a productivity dashboard than e-mail client for users.
But even with all of the product enhancements and new offerings, Xobnis just now starting to become a money-making business. Were in the millions, but not yet tens of millions in revenue, reports Bonforte. The pressure is now on the startup to prove its business potential and attract more paying enterprise clientele.
Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark
BizSpark is a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/JatZCVoRi88/
October 29, 2010
Article source: http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/qVjtmGnGo6o/