Posts filed under ‘Events & Networking’

Dreambank.org launches a marketing dream

I attended the official launch party for Vancouver-based Dreambank.org tonight. Congrats to Dawn Bowles and her team for turning this dream into a reality. In their words…

DreamBank.org is about helping dreams come true and doing it in a way that helps the planet and important social causes. Instead of giving gifts that, although appreciated may not really be wanted, with DreamBank you contribute to someone’s dream. As well as helping fulfill a dream, your contribution helps spare the planet some of the nasty side effects of manufacturing and packaging unused gifts. Plus your gift automatically generates funds that are given to important social causes.

What intrigues me about this opportunity as a marketer is one that may not be self evident, but it was a driving force behind Stepcast when I was running this circa 2001. The concept of a wishlist or gift registry (which, when you distill it right down, is exactly what Dreambank is… but with a social conscience) is a marketer’s dream. If marketing is about getting a customer’s attention and getting them to raise their hand, this is what happens in the registry.

Consider a few of the most recent dreams that you see posted on Dreambank. Andrew Halt posted his dream/raised his hand and said he wants to go “heli hiking in the rockies”. I wonder what Canadian Mountain Holidays would pay to be able to contact Andrew? I assume that their marketing budget is pretty standard and that they would be willing to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per lead. After all, they are doing search marketing for phrases like “heli hiking” [sorry… I clicked on your ad, but I’ve linked to your site, so hopefully you can forgive me]. In Andrew, the marketing effort is done. Now all they have to do is nurture the relationship over a period of months (or years) and then they will have a customer.

Then there is Rebecca Bollwitt of Miss604 who dreams of the bright lights of Vegas and BlogWorld. I wonder what they spend on their marketing budget trying to convince people to come to their conference? Do you think they want to do everything they can to help Rebecca (or her friends and family) make her dream come true?

In any case, the concept behind Dreambank is solid. I don’t know where the longterm vision holds for enabling this (if at all), but it really could become a marketer’s dream.

NB. For those interested, they prompted all of us who attended to add our own dream. I was initially going to try for something simple and realistic, but instead I opted for something more unlikely. But one can dream.

Advertisements

July 11, 2008 at 1:19 am 1 comment

Vancouver Entrepreneurs’ Meetup at TheNetworkHub.ca

Here I sit on a warm Friday evening, drinking a Grande Java Chip Frappuccino. It finally tastes like summer. Things were hot last night as well at the Vancouver Entrepreneur’s Meetup hosted by Minna and Sam over at TheNetworkHub in their trendy, edge-of-Gastown offices. It was a little warm, but it was nothing that a cool drink couldn’t take care of.

This was the first time I attended this get together and it definitely is good to see the spirit of entrepreneurship alive and well in Vancouver. I had some great conversations, heard about some new business models (I like what Daniel Flippance had to say about his forthcoming Inhabit Street venture… to be unveiled officially  at Launch Party next week). I also have to apologize to Minna and Sam for staying around waaaay too late discussing domain names, internet marketing, and incubation models (though I also blame Pete Quily, an Adult ADD Coach, for this one … Oh and Pete, I started to take the Adult ADD test on your site, but I got distracted by this post).

One of the things that surprised me a little bit is that this little journal of mine has started to pick up some readers (as a couple of people in attendance indicated that they had read some of my thoughts over the preceding weeks). Someone commented [might have been Pete above] that he didn’t like seeing blogs that the person who was writing it was not forthcoming about who they are and what they stand for. For that reason, I will be building out more about who I am and the projects that I am involved in [if they can be disclosed due to client confidentiality] right after I finish this post.

For those too busy (or lazy) to follow a few links and read the “about me”… my name is John Lyotier and I am a veteran of the Vancouver software scene, mostly working at the cross roads of marketing and technology (e.g., internet, domain names, web strategies, marketing automation, product marketing automation, etc.) My bio is public on my resume site here. I am presently working as a consultant to early-stage companies and entrepreneurs advising them on marketing, internet, and launch strategies (while at the same time incubating a few of my own entrepreneurial ventures). My consultancy is currently under a placeholder domain over at LaunchPoint.ca. And no, I haven’t done anything to that domain to market it, promote it, or optimize it for search (it will be disappearing soon as I bring my practice under the LaunchExperts brand… one of the concepts that I am developing).

There, now that that is off my chest, I think I will go finish my Frappuccino before it has completely melted.

May 16, 2008 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

Canadian Franchise Association – Sessions and Speeches

The second day of the 2008 Canadian Franchise Association’s (CFA) Annual Conference was a good one — well aside from reeling from a 24-hour bout with the flu, but I think few noticed. Those involved with the CFA, both the coordinators and the participating companies, are very welcoming and open to newbies like myself.

I find tradeshows are a great place to work on your elevator pitch. Where else can you explain your concept over-and-over-and-over-and-over again in a short amount of time. Pitch it once, look for non-verbal cues to comprehension, and then repeat again to the next person, adjusting the message to see what resonates.

One thing that has struck me about those participating (and I found this last year as an exhibitor as well), is that many of the senior executives of franchise systems for the country’s largest companies, just don’t get the Internet yet. It scares them. For those of us who are immersed in the advances of marketing and technology, we start to take it for granted and assume that everyone “gets it”. They don’t. But that’s where opportunities are made.

Case in point: last night there were a series of awards handed out at the annual Frankie Awards dinner. Their were awards from everything from Direct Marketing, Radio spots, TV commercials, Magazine Advertisements, Newspaper Advertisements and even one for best use of advertising on Transit or a Bus Shelter. There was one generic award for “Internet”, but this was more of a “hey… congrats on the new website” kind of award. I won’t spill the beans on who won the awards, but you think the CFA would have put out a news release this morning announcing the winners. There is a missed marketing opportunity right there.

There was one session yesterday facilitated by Sean Saraga of both MrFranchise.ca and now with PostNet called “The Millenial Generation & On-line Social Networking“. I think many in the audience were dumbfounded and a little frightened by what Sean had to say. But he was bang on.

Anyhow, the morning’s sessions are about to start. Until next time.

May 6, 2008 at 7:52 am Leave a comment

Canadian Franchise Association Annual Conference

I’ll come back to continuing the list of who’s who in a bit. For now, I thought I would share with you where I happen to be tonight.

I am sitting in the lounge of the Deerhurst Resort of Huntsville Ontario (about 3 hours north of Toronto). Why am I here (which some would surely classify as close to the middle of nowhere)? Well, I decided it would be good to attend the 2008 annual conference for the Canadian Franchise Association.

Last year I was at the 2007 CFA Conference in Montreal (while working with Marqui). At that time, I participated as an exhibitor. It was my belief that the franchise vertical (that being the companies that controlled the individual franchisees themselves) was an interesting vertical to pursue, and those that were in attendance were c-level decision makers with a need for marketing automation and internet technologies. Unfortunately, I left Marqui a few weeks after participating in last year’s event, so I never had a chance to follow through with many of the leads and conversations that were made. But that was last year.

This year, there are two driving reasons why I am here: first, the same opportunity still exists, and as a marketing and internet consultant, I believe I can help franchisors systematize their marketing, be it to attract new entrepreneurs into their brand, or to market and attract leads to the individual franchisees. It was apparent to me last year that many franchisors still do not understand the power of internet marketing and still remain skeptical that it is possible to provide full accountablity and measurement of your marketing campaigns. I hope to be able to generate a few leads while out here, as I am confident that I can help.

The second reason why I am here, is the concept that I am working on: LaunchExperts.com. LaunchExperts will launch later this spring and will utilize a lot of the good things associated within a brand-franchise concept, while introducing some innovation into the entire industry. And I have a lot to learn. Tonnes.

If you have not read Michael Gerber’s The E-myth, I would strongly encourage you to do so. This should be right at the top of the pile for any prospective entrepreneur’s reading list. In this masterpiece, Gerber emphasizes that it is critical for any entrepreneurial venture–whether it is your intention to franchise your business or not–to build your business out as a franchise prototype. Measure things. Hold yourself accountable. Document procedures, Systematize entire business processes. For me, I am trying to build out my consulting practice as my franchise prototype, and in so doing, create added value for myself and others who may associate themselves with the LaunchExperts brand.

Anyhow, it is a little after 11:00 PM here in Huntsville. My morning started at 3:30 AM PST. And it is going to be a busy few days. I’ll keep you posted.

May 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm 1 comment

Wireless Startups and Entrepreneurism in Vancouver

I attended the Mobile Monday event at Granville Island brewery last Monday. In their words…

MobileMonday puts on events every month that bring together industry influencers from amongst its roughly 25 thousand members to set trends, debate developments, foster cooperation and cross-boarder business development, and to profoundly network with peers locally and globally.

The event was a good one. I must admit that I’ve been on the periphery of BC’s wireless scene for the past decade, even though it is definitely the backbone of the BC technology industry. With most of my background spent in enterprise software and internet marketing, I kind of just put my fingers in my ears, closed my eyes and went “nanananana” I can’t hear you every time colleagues spoke about the advancements in wireless.

I guess you could say that I was/am a bit of a laggard user of wireless technologies. Perhaps I have a hard time envisioning full-featured applications on small screens. But a lot has been happening while I was sleeping, and some of this was fully on display when speaking with Michael Bidu (Exec Director of WINBC) and some of MOMO’s other participants. It was actually Michael who extended an invite out to me to “check it out” (Michael and I go back a good eight years now… we met during my first path through this startup thing).

I think what has kept me away from wireless applications (and the hardware side) for so long, was the fact that very few people were making money from this space. The old model seemed to be build a product and shop it around to a carrier with the hope that it they were going to push it. I remember somebody saying that if you only get a few cents on an application for each use, and a few million people try it only once, well that makes a lot of cents. But really… unless you were dealing in ringtones, adult content [on a small screen…that’s just weird], etc., there wasn’t much of a market for you. And silly me… I like following the money.

The theme for this event was “Entrepreneurship and taking products to market” — definitely right up my alley. They even talked about some of the “what’s coming” following what appeared to be half the room’s attendance the week prior at CTIA Wireless 2008 in Las Vegas, NV. What I found interesting was a comment that came out of a question I asked of a panel. Immediately after saying that mobile advertising “wasn’t there yet” to a person, this was how the majority of companies were going to be making money in the next year or two (or at least that was the paraphrased answer given by Luni Libes of Medio)… but that was to be expected seeing as how they position themselves as the “Mobile Search and Advertising Leader”. I don’t know enough to confirm this statement.

One company that does look intriguing, and for which I can see some real world “here’s-how-you-can-make-money-in-this-wireless-thing” business, was Razor Technology. I spoke for about 10 minutes with Ray Walia, Razor’s CEO, and then checked out their site after returning. Razor is pitching a product called FireTonic™ RIMMP (Razor Intelligent Mobile Marketing Platform). It sounds intriguing and I have to follow-up with Ray to continue our conversation.

Overall, wireless innovation and marketing seems to be finally coming around. I think I better pay closer attention in the coming months and years.

April 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm Leave a comment

Newer Posts


Categories