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Ignite X is a recognized, integrated marketing agency in Silicon Valley that delivers content marketing, executive branding, and public relations services.  

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Ignite X specializes in helping technology startups grow their market visibility and brand. We bring expertise, connections and tenacity to helping brands break through the noise. Here are some of the things we've learned along the way. 

Filtering by Tag: Launches

Tradeshow Thermometer Check

Carmen Hughes

The future of tech tradeshows is suddenly in the spotlight. Apple announced it was pulling out of Macworld after January’s event, but Apple wasn’t the only one to pull the plug on plans to exhibit: Adobe, Google and Belkin also followed suit. CES, one of the industry’s largest, is experiencing a dip in registered exhibitors as well. The reality is that tech conventions and tradeshows are costly Marketing endeavors. While established companies have more financial resources to afford tech events, tech startups need to be much more judicious with their spending and marketing dollars—particularly during the ongoing economic recession. To weather the economic storm, new Web 2.0 tools and services are serving as an affordable option for tech startups and larger companies; (online video, podcasts, screencasts, blogging, micro-blogging, social networks, etc.) to use for launching new companies and their product/services. One of our clients, for instance, has chosen to cut back on tradeshows and sponsorships, preferring to apply a branded webinar as one ongoing tool to get in front of a more targeted audience. This example lends weight to Robert Scoble’s argument that social media tools are impacting tradeshows.

However, while not an absolute requirement, tech conventions and events can help maximize the marketing and PR efforts behind the launch of a company, new product, service, or a big announcement, because it provides a venue for the company’s spokespeople to meet face-to-face with select reporters, bloggers, and analysts to articulate their story, show off their product or service, and begin building relationships with select opinion leaders. Additionally, tech events provide an opportunity for company executives to meet in-person with prospective customers and investors as well as network with potential partners. For the companies that do decide to invest in exhibiting at one of the bigger shows (i.e.: CES, GSMA, CTIA Wireless, etc.), they also need to plan months in advance and execute flawlessly in order to maximize their ability to rise above the noise. So how should you assess the value in tradeshows? Many of our clients are re-examining the audience fit, attendee interest and ROI. Is the audience qualified and interested in the technologies and solutions being offered?

Tech tradeshows are not dying and should remain on the table for companies to consider as part of their overall Marketing plan. However, just like anything these days, companies have to be highly selective in how they are investing their marketing dollars for every tech tradeshow they are considering exhibiting at or sponsoring. Tradeshow organizers would be wise to consider narrowing the scope of their event in order to attract a more highly targeted audience and appeal to tech companies that must pick and choose carefully for the foreseeable future.

Early and Often -- focus on new features or customers?

Carmen Hughes

For any startup looking to gain a strong foothold in the market, customer traction is the name of the game.  All too often though, many Web 2.0 startups focus instead on pushing a product or service to market that they built without involving beta customers beforehand.

 

Innovative ideas need to incorporate early user feedback and testing and that shouldn’t mean just before the product or service is “baked.” Working with beta customers should start at the onset in order to really understand what customers’ needs are and reiterating the product or service to win their nod of approval. Since early stage, tech startups have such limited resources, the startups early version of their product/service should focus on solving the most critical customer pain points: the product/service has to be “a must have” and not — “a nice to have.”  This can be best achieved by focusing on beta customers — early and often.  Happy customers will become referenceable customers and your biggest champions.  In their words, they can best articulate why the product/service solved their problems and why it was of value.  Other prospective customers will self-select by identifiying with the same problem/pain points and move to seek out the solution.

 

Being on the PR side of things, we still see far too many Web 2.0 companies, as well as established companies, not involving their customers soon enough or often enough before they roll out some “beta” offering (or even worse launch a new product).  From the PR side, the best advice we can offer is not to push out new whiz bang features early and often but instead to work closely with customers, early and often, in order to build that better mousetrap.