by David Libby
Last week, UberConference CEO Craig Walker spoke at the OpenCo San Francisco Conference. Prior to starting the UberConference conference call brand, Walker founded GrandCentral, which was acquired by Google, becoming Google Voice.
There are many Bay Area companies who have received venture funding for a cool idea, but there are very few that have already had two successful exits. Walker led VOIP company Dialpad out of bankruptcy to profitability about ten years ago, and sold it to Yahoo, where it became Yahoo Voice. Software, by itself, is not an industry that can be easily disrupted, but there are certain segments of the software industry that are really ripe for disruption. One of those areas is telecommunications - it’s a market that’s had very little innovation in the last 20 years, and certainly very little innovative marketing, iPhone aside.
Here’s 3 big takeaways from UberConference’s marketing, and Walker’s journey, disrupting the telecommunications market.
1. Marketing is pretty meaningless unless your product or service has great features, amazing design, high-value and top-notch service. There are so many companies today that launch marketing campaigns without addressing the critical factors that oftentimes drive product success without any marketing at all. When was the last time you heard a radio ad or saw a TV ad for a Trader Joe’s grocery store?
When products and services are designed with simplicity, a big bang-for-the-buck, and superior post-sale service, marketing them is much easier, for two reasons. First, marketers don’t need to resort to puffery in order to make claims about the product, and second, because it overcomes an objection in the back of every customer’s mind - “What if I buy it and it doesn’t work like I expected it to?”
2. Don’t Forget The Last 10% Of Your Product - Care A Lot About The Little Things. Have you ever sat down at a nice - and pricey - restaurant, and realized that your table wasn’t level, and that there was a dirty fork on the table? A lot of businesses don’t pay much mind to the last 10% of their products.
If you’ve ever heard UberConference’s hold music, you’ll be surprised, and probably impressed. Lead designer Alex Cornell recorded a hilarious song, “I’m On Hold,” that got media mentions by itself. Time Magazine even called UberConference’s sister company Nosh’s website error page “the best 404 error page in Internet history”. Hold music and 404 error pages may seem like “table stakes” to many companies, but they can certainly make you stand out, if you pay attention to them!
3. The best promotion is the product itself. Rather than discounting your prices, why not find a way for customers to sample your product or services, so that they can begin to understand the value that your offering delivers. If you’re selling shoes, is it possible that a ”raving fan” customer can have a shoe party for 10 friends? If you’re selling luxury cars, can you let customers test-drive them from home? UberConference typically acquires dozens of new customers every day by letting friends and partners give away promo codes to allow them to try out the high-end version of UberConference, which contains features like dial-out and choose-your-own-number.
For a month of UberConference Pro free, go to www.uberconference.com and use the promo code OPENCOSF.