Archive for October, 2008

Meetup: Great Model, Untapped Potential

October 8th, 2008 No comments

Meetup is a great web service that allows average folks like you me to schedule a meeting, invite friends, and share comments. It’s essentially an enhanced e-vite, but the company has put some effort into develop communities of like-minded enthusiasts. They’ve got thousands of groups listed.

I belong to, and attend, the New York High Tech Meetup. This group was organized by the founder of Meetup, Scott Heiferman. It’s one of the larger, more dynamic groups on Meetup. I went to their monthly meeting which was held last night at the new IAC Building, a fantastic building designed by Frank Gehry. Each meeting includes 6-8 entrepreneurs making presentations about their startups. There are 6000 people in the New York High Tech Meetup group and about 400 were there last night. More would have been there if there was more space. This meetup always fills up quickly (online registration limits attendance). Used to be free, now they charge $10 to cut down on no-shows.

Anyway, Meetup has been successful in creating a tight business community that any B2B media company would be happy to have, but because they are a web services company they apparently don’t know how to leverage or monetize it. I don’t know how they make money, other than traffic on their site. The people I talk to at these meeting always discuss potential value added options for these events–things they would be willing to pay for. These ideas go nowhere because the event is essentially a voluntary effort. Business marketers should take a look at Meetup and see how this model can be adapted to a serious B2B effort.

About B2B Presence

October 4th, 2008 No comments

Relationship marketing plays an important and under-appreciated role in the B2B marketing mix. It is the job of the B2B marketer to move the potential buyer from brand/product awareness, to investigation, to purchase, and ultimately to an interactive, long-term relationship. The relationship aspect of this continuum is key in B2B. Consumer marketers make a lot of noise about creating communities of customers. B2B marketers, in a smaller universe, must quietly live and die by these relationships.

Conferences and events have traditionally served as the place where relationship are cultivated and harvested. As an event producer, I’ve seen a lot of neglect paid to this important tradition, by both event producers and business marketers. The strategy for event producers has been a big tent approach—create the largest gathering possible, and leave interaction to the participants. Too many event producers treat their business like a transient mall. They rent space and collect fees for a limited range of services. They recruit speakers, print badges. That’s not enough any more. Event producers must develop new tools that help business marketers create or leverage their customer communities.

Relationship marketing is fragmenting and fluxuating. Once limited to meetings and sales calls, business relationships are now cultivated through webcasting, user groups, social media, blogs, chat boards, traditional trade shows and conferences, inside and outside sales calls, informal meetups, custom/corporate events, product announcements, virtual events, and hybrid events.

This weblog will look at people, organizations, technologies and trends that will move event media forward and create new industry memes. Traditional marketing is built on the four “p’s: Product, Price, Promotion, Placement. Web marketers have proposed a lot of new “p’s”: Personalization, Participation, Peer networking. I’m going to roll them all up under the rubric of market “Presence.”

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