The next level in gaming...

With the holiday next week I was setting up my calendar for the week after that and found that the next WebInno meeting is coming up that Monday, July 9th. If you want to see what’s going on at the cutting edge of internet technology in Boston these meetups are required viewing. Just sign up on the wiki and show up to watch the presenters give a short demo, and check out the other presenters around the room and mingle at one of the better Tech who’s-who in Boston. I’ll be there and have managed to convince some other Boston bloggers and podcasters to show up so swing by if you’d like to grab a drink. One of the presenters for next week – Digitalbrix has an interesting value prop – a SaaS offering that allows users to build simple games with out writing code like javascript, flash, etc. I’m very interested in checking this out some more, anyone that has done any web marketing has had a point where someone on high gets the itch to try and create a Flash based game. David Beisel (the webinno organizer) connected me to Naveena Swamy, a founder at Digitalbrix and I had a chance to chat with her for a few minutes about what they are working on. Casual gaming is a huge market so there weren’t many surprises about the growth potential there, but there were two things that stretched my brain a bit. One was that I mentioned that this would be a powerful tool, and she said that a more important point was that it allowed greater collaboration. With a more powerful tool there’s now less friction between the artist, game concept designer etc. This can be expanded to include everyone playing...

Last day on the show floor...

The conference is wrapping up today (at least the expo floor). As usual my feet and back are ready for a break – conferences all come down to good shoes. We’ve been using greeters to scan badges, that has proven to be at least 20% more effective in getting names. One interesting thing – for lead gen collection most shows use a mag stripe card reader. For this one we were given a pocket PC with a barcode scanner. The lead comes up on the screen and we can rank them hot/warm/cold. There’s also a box for text entry from the blackberry-style keyboard, and better yet a record button to take a voice memo. Pretty impressive, now the next step is to try and talk other shows into using the same thing. Back to the shop for...

Trade Show Wars

I’m off to set up the booth. This is like the lottery in reverse – you go to the show floor and open the cases and see what’s broken or missing. Best case scenario is that everything is there and working and you breathe a sigh of relief. In a lot of ways it’s a pain but it does get to test your MacGuyver skills to the fullest. Last year at this show I opened the case and found that the wrong lights had been shipped and they wouldn’t fit into the booth. Thanks to GPS I was at the nearest Home Depot in about 15 minutes buying an assortment of plumbing supplies, tools and a hacksaw to make my own parts. I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience, but it does make for a funny story. Let’s see what today has to...

These leads are crap

As a marketeer, I have never heard these words. Just kidding, I get it at least twice a month. This is the age old struggle between sales and marketing, and with marketing being the creative side there are thousands of responses: “The sale begins at ‘No’, you order taking monkey”, “I give the good leads to closers” etc. It’s all in good fun, kind of like complaining about cafeteria food, you do it regardless of whether the food is from the best chef or a can. If you are hitting your numbers everyone is happy, if not everyone is pissed off. But there are things you can do to improve your leads. I’ve been working on our process to screen leads via a survey on SurveyMonkey (a web-based survey tool), and it’s working wonderfully. You get a new list, send them a few questions and you manage to filter out maybe 20%: 5% look a lot better than average and 15% is crap the sales guys don’t have to eat. Keep in mind I can give a sales guy a hard time, but that’s because I share their goal – they should be able to blow their number out before the 3rd month of the quarter so they don’t have to come in to the office for the last month if they don’t want to (and I don’t have to listen to them). They should really never have to work Fridays, and Mondays should be exclusively for golf. This is the path to a happy workplace. For more great info on lead gen I turn to Brian Carroll, he’s a thought leader in this space. Here’s some more info on Sales and Marketing playing well...

List Management

For the past couple of weeks it’s been all about the lists. List management is ultimately the blood supply of all your marketing efforts. Anyone doing direct marketing knows that the company usually kneels to the ultimate power of “the house list”. The best part of an organization that grows quickly is being able to farm the list management out to a database specialist. I don’t know too many people that get all juiced up on dumping spreadsheets into database tables, and the arcane arts of ETL (Extracting data, Transforming it to the right format, and Loading it in). I’ve picked up a bunch of ghetto tricks to simplify a lot of this, and thankfully SalesForce.com does a better job of it than anything that’s come before. If you are going further ghettostyle and don’t have the Salesforce API, there’s a great tool called RingLead that can make your life much easier and your data much cleaner. Recently I’ve been hunting for names that are very focused and I’ve been able to get lists from individual publications, but another tactic is to use a list broker, someone who rents lists and has a broad range of knowledge about publications. I had favorite vendor here, but some of these folks have been having some trouble making the transition from the world of Magazines to the Web. For example, I couldn’t find a web page for my vendor of choice. Something for me to dig into further this week. I’ll spare you the rest of the details of these mystic arts… unless you want to hear...

Return of the Mack

I’m finally feeling like I’m back in the game. I still have this annoying itch in my throat but that could just as well be allergies as cold. This is one of the joys of New England. Another – on Tuesday, even though there was still snow in the parking lot I saw my first cloud of black flies. Just in case you stopped by looking for real content, I’ve got a 7 minute chat on telemarketing over at the best marketing podcast – Marketing Over...

Return from Podcamp

Too tired… Just posted M Show. Pictures of Podcamp Toronto Video of sessions on Getting your company to Podacast...

Trade Show Wars – Top 10 Survival Tips...

March is a busy month for me with back to back trade shows, which I refer to as “The Trade Show Wars”. Trade shows really are blood and guts marketing – do the logistics, execute, get the names, and deliver sales “The Glengarry Leads”. I was horrified to realize today that I’ve been doing shows for over 10 years now. It’s all about the preparation, I have a bunch of checklists I’ve used for many years, comment or email me if you are interested (I’m not going to bother setting up links if none of you care about this at all). Here’s some productivity boosters for you: Shoes – Need to look good, but don’t break them in on the floor. Many hardcore folks like black rockports, I’m an ecco man myself. Carpet – you don’t need the expensive carpet, but get all the padding you can. It keeps the staff happy and after day 2 people will visit your booth just to give their feet a rest. Meeting Room – I’ve even done this splitting a 10×20 in half and curtaining off half with a nice table and four chairs. You’ll be surprised, if it’s more than 2 days you’ll have prospects visiting just to sit down and they won’t want to get up once they do. Water, Mints, First Aid Kit – Everyone’s voice takes a beating, they eat crappy food and get bad breath, and somebody always gets cut handling the booth. Box Cutters and Extension Cords packed in the booth crate – in the old days I had a toolbag I would bring in myself, these days the absolute last thing you want on your trip home is to get pulled from the airport security line for a box cutter...

Salesforce.com in Boston...

So I went to the Hyatt Harborside (right next to the airport with a nice view back on the Boston skyline, small place though) for the Salesforce event today. It was time well spent, even if just for getting to hear from a product manager directly. He was able to explain Apex in about 5 sentences better than anything I’ve read anywhere. Apex is a language that you can query and script Salesforce with. It’s a new language that looks alot like a mashup of SQL and Java. They key is it runs on Salesforce servers. The product manager was a hardcore admin in a prior life and was talking about how they would set up a linux box out in the dmz to query SF and do cool stuff – for example hit the database once a day and round up all the contacts that sent in POs and send them the thank you message and kick the accounting system to send them an invoice. Sort of like Automated Procedures for Goldmine folk, but on steroids. My hopes for finding a SF/Adwords ninja were dashed when I was one of the few (maybe only?) guy to raise his hand when they asked who was using it out of the probably 200+ people in the room. Either I really do have superpowers, or I was the one-eyed man in a room full of blind people. Some other interesting stuff – ConVoq has webinars integrated into SF including VOIP, Dreamfactory has some project management and even SCM stuff that I need to check out. SalesGenius can tell you when your contacts are visiting your site (and also did a cool lead gen that got me a $5 Starbucks card). iNeo had some interesting stuff that...

Boston Salesforce.com meetup tomorrow...

Even though I am insanely busy I am going to make time to go to this event since I’ve missed the past two. I really want to see the latest stuff they’ve rolled out with the 7 release this month (and maybe find somebody that can help me with my Google AdWords integration… Hello? Bueller? McFly?). If you are in the area you can probably still register, I’ll report back after the...