Welcome!

Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, Derek Weeks, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Industrial IoT, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

Technology Marketing "Done Right"

SaaS Vendor Zendesk's Customer Hero Tour

Most technology companies, especially software companies, do marketing all wrong.

Zendesk is NOT one of them.  Their "Customer Service Hero Tour" - taking place in various cities including Austin (where I'm currently based), Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston and New York, is a great example for other technology companies to follow.

If you're connected with customer service in any of those cities, you should attend the event - any software company smart enough to spend their marketing dollars in this fashion is worth getting to know.  If they're smart enough to do "this" so very right, they're probably smart enough to do a lot of other things really well too.

Plus, it sounds like a great event - I will definitely attend.  Check out the "registration page"...then read on for my perspective on why I love this event in so many ways.

Me-Me-Me Marketing - Odious (Even on a Good Day)

I (mostly) hate software and technology marketing.  I've written a lot about how terrible it usually is and how immature the marketing profession is at technology companies.

Most technology companies stink at marketing.  They make a habit of committing a mortal sin - they make marketing all about "them", and they will all surely go to Marketing Purgatory when it is their time to pass.

I call it "me-me-me" marketing.  And I detest it.  It's even worse than meeting some loathsome bore at a party - where all they can talk about is themselves (and have no ability to connect with the person they're talking to, or the rest of the world for that matter).

Marketing for technology should be about "the customer".  Best-in-Class software marketing is about how to make the customer successful in their ventures by using the technology.

Examples of software technology marketing done right are few and far between - one of them is Zendesk with their "Customer Hero Tour".  This is an "out of the ballpark" marketing hit.

The Customer Hero Tour from Zendesk caught my attention when I got a LinkedIn "InMail" from someone I used to work with back in 2003 back when I worked in Silicon Valley.  This guy was reaching out to his contacts in cities (such as Austin, where I am currently living).

What is a "Zendesk"?

Zendesk is not a piece of laid-back office furniture from Ikea.  It's software.

Specifically, Zendesk is a Cloud/SaaS-based HelpDesk software provider.  Their product helps companies achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.  I don't know much about it, don't use it, don't have any professional or financial connection to Zendesk and I'm not trying to get a job there.  But their Customer Hero Tour email caught my attention - and I love this marketing campaign - so I'm writing about it as an example to other technology providers out there on "how to do it right".Legacy Modernization

And any vendor brilliant enough to market "this way" is worth learning more about.

Marketing or Education?

I would not be entirely surprised  (assuming someone from Zendesk reads this) to get an email from someone complaining that I've misrepresented the Customer Service Hero Tour.  I'm calling this a "marketing campaign", and someone will probably object to that and ask that I re-characterize it as a customer service education event.

Who says that Marketing can't be beneficial and educational for the customer?

To take one step beyond that, I would argue that Marketing SHOULD be beneficial and educational.  That is the difference between "spam" and effective marketing.

Marketing is nothing to be ashamed of when it's done right.  In fact, bringing value to customers is something you should be proud of.  The fact that Zendesk is piling a ton of educational value into a marketing event that will reach a LOT of people is WHY it's such a brilliant move.

I am not at all afraid to admit that I've learned a marketing thing or two by studying this event.  If you are a technology marketer (software or otherwise), you should do the same.  Zendesk has raised the bar on this one.  I'm glad I actually read my InMail from time to time.

Why the Tour is Valuable - and Awesome Marketing.  Yeah, Educational too.

Here's why I love this marketing (errrr... education) event:

1) They are coming to us.  Yup.  I'm in Austin, and they're coming here.  None of that superior "west coast software" attitude.

2) They are making it interesting.  5-star (on Amazon.com - including a review from Steve "Woz" Wozniak) author Micah Solomon is coming along on the tour.  He's the author of "High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service: Inspire Timeless Loyalty in the Demanding New World of Social Commerce".

I'd visit a toilet-bowl cleaner marketing event to listen to this customer service celebrity speak.

3) They help me do my job better.  Zendesk is sharing best-practices benchmark data from their 15,000 customers and is also hosting a Customer Service interactive panel discussion.

4) They're making it fun.  Everyone always hosts these events at some boring Marriott or Hilton.  Nothing against those hotels, but they're not very fun - I've had beers in about 10,000 Marriott "Champions" bars and none of them are fun.

I don't know about other cities (they promise a "Hero Party" in every city), but the Austin event is being held at "The Parish" - an ultra-cool live music venue in the heart of Austin's hot 6th St. district. Super smart - playing on Austin's reputation as the "Live Music Capital of the Planet".

5) It's free.  If Zendesk wanted to, they could easily charge for this event.  People pay hundreds of dollars (or much more) all the time to attend various "symposia" that are less educational and valuable than this.  Call it a "Seminar" or "Symposium" and get rid of the super-hero graphics, and they could turn a profit on this tour.

What's NOT to love about this event?  Check it out....see you there.

Note:

Hollis Tibbetts is a Software Strategy Director for Dell Inc.'s Global Mergers and Acquisitions organization.  He writes on a number of software marketing and technology topics, including marketing "best practices", growth strategies, Data, Integration and Legacy Modernization.

More Stories By Hollis Tibbetts

Hollis Tibbetts, or @SoftwareHollis as his 50,000+ followers know him on Twitter, is listed on various “top 100 expert lists” for a variety of topics – ranging from Cloud to Technology Marketing, Hollis is by day Evangelist & Software Technology Director at Dell Software. By night and weekends he is a commentator, speaker and all-round communicator about Software, Data and Cloud in their myriad aspects. You can also reach Hollis on LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/SoftwareHollis. His latest online venture is OnlineBackupNews - a free reference site to help organizations protect their data, applications and systems from threats. Every year IT Downtime Costs $26.5 Billion In Lost Revenue. Even with such high costs, 56% of enterprises in North America and 30% in Europe don’t have a good disaster recovery plan. Online Backup News aims to make sure you all have the news and tips needed to keep your IT Costs down and your information safe by providing best practices, technology insights, strategies, real-world examples and various tips and techniques from a variety of industry experts.

Hollis is a regularly featured blogger at ebizQ, a venue focused on enterprise technologies, with over 100,000 subscribers. He is also an author on Social Media Today "The World's Best Thinkers on Social Media", and maintains a blog focused on protecting data: Online Backup News.
He tweets actively as @SoftwareHollis

Additional information is available at HollisTibbetts.com

All opinions expressed in the author's articles are his own personal opinions vs. those of his employer.

@ThingsExpo Stories
So, you bought into the current machine learning craze and went on to collect millions/billions of records from this promising new data source. Now, what do you do with them? Too often, the abundance of data quickly turns into an abundance of problems. How do you extract that "magic essence" from your data without falling into the common pitfalls? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Natalia Ponomareva, Software Engineer at Google, will provide tips on how to be successful in large scale machine lear...
The IoT has the potential to create a renaissance of manufacturing in the US and elsewhere. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Florent Solt, CTO and chief architect of Netvibes, will discuss how the expected exponential increase in the amount of data that will be processed, transported, stored, and accessed means there will be a huge demand for smart technologies to deliver it. Florent Solt is the CTO and chief architect of Netvibes. Prior to joining Netvibes in 2007, he co-founded Rift Technol...
The increasing popularity of the Internet of Things necessitates that our physical and cognitive relationship with wearable technology will change rapidly in the near future. This advent means logging has become a thing of the past. Before, it was on us to track our own data, but now that data is automatically available. What does this mean for mHealth and the "connected" body? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Lisa Calkins, CEO and co-founder of Amadeus Consulting, will discuss the impact of wea...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus inter...
We’ve worked with dozens of early adopters across numerous industries and will debunk common misperceptions, which starts with understanding that many of the connected products we’ll use over the next 5 years are already products, they’re just not yet connected. With an IoT product, time-in-market provides much more essential feedback than ever before. Innovation comes from what you do with the data that the connected product provides in order to enhance the customer experience and optimize busi...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Klein, CEO and Co-founder of Rachio, will discuss next generation communities that are using IoT to create more sustainable, intelligent communities. One example is Sterling Ranch, a 10,000 home development that – with the help of Siemens – will integrate IoT technology into the community to provide residents with energy and water savings as well as intelligent security. Everything from stop lights to sprinkler systems to building infrastructures will run ef...
Digital payments using wearable devices such as smart watches, fitness trackers, and payment wristbands are an increasing area of focus for industry participants, and consumer acceptance from early trials and deployments has encouraged some of the biggest names in technology and banking to continue their push to drive growth in this nascent market. Wearable payment systems may utilize near field communication (NFC), radio frequency identification (RFID), or quick response (QR) codes and barcodes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the software company developing the next generation data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Stratoscale is revolutionizing the data center with a zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution. With Stratoscale’s hardware-agnostic, Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) solution to store everything, run anything and scale everywhere...
Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified – now it's a component-based well-performing framework. This immersive one-day workshop at 18th Cloud Expo, led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and the product company SuranceBay, will provide you with everything you wanted to know about Angular 2.
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
You deployed your app with the Bluemix PaaS and it's gaining some serious traction, so it's time to make some tweaks. Did you design your application in a way that it can scale in the cloud? Were you even thinking about the cloud when you built the app? If not, chances are your app is going to break. Check out this webcast to learn various techniques for designing applications that will scale successfully in Bluemix, for the confidence you need to take your apps to the next level and beyond.
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Increasing IoT connectivity is forcing enterprises to find elegant solutions to organize and visualize all incoming data from these connected devices with re-configurable dashboard widgets to effectively allow rapid decision-making for everything from immediate actions in tactical situations to strategic analysis and reporting. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Shikhir Singh, Senior Developer Relations Manager at Sencha, will discuss how to create HTML5 dashboards that interact with IoT devic...
Artificial Intelligence has the potential to massively disrupt IoT. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, AJ Abdallat, CEO of Beyond AI, will discuss what the five main drivers are in Artificial Intelligence that could shape the future of the Internet of Things. AJ Abdallat is CEO of Beyond AI. He has over 20 years of management experience in the fields of artificial intelligence, sensors, instruments, devices and software for telecommunications, life sciences, environmental monitoring, process...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ericsson has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Ericsson is a world leader in the rapidly changing environment of communications technology – providing equipment, software and services to enable transformation through mobility. Some 40 percent of global mobile traffic runs through networks we have supplied. More than 1 billion subscribers around the world re...
There is an ever-growing explosion of new devices that are connected to the Internet using “cloud” solutions. This rapid growth is creating a massive new demand for efficient access to data. And it’s not just about connecting to that data anymore. This new demand is bringing new issues and challenges and it is important for companies to scale for the coming growth. And with that scaling comes the need for greater security, gathering and data analysis, storage, connectivity and, of course, the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, will discuss how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to im...
This is not a small hotel event. It is also not a big vendor party where politicians and entertainers are more important than real content. This is Cloud Expo, the world's longest-running conference and exhibition focused on Cloud Computing and all that it entails. If you want serious presentations and valuable insight about Cloud Computing for three straight days, then register now for Cloud Expo.