When ‘Tech’ is a Bad Idea

June 24, 2010

I talked with a chap that related the following story;

A B2B manufacturer wanted to provide some channel information to its independent retailers.I did not pry into the details, but I believe they wanted to introduce new products or product lines.

To do this, the vendor set up a Web Conference. Simply put, web conferencing allows you to stream audio and video meeting materials live over the Internet, these tools also allow conference listeners to type questions into the conferencing software  or provide input to the people that are hosting the conference.

All in all – web conferencing is a pretty decent way to disseminate information without incurring huge travel costs.

But can you see the problem here?

These independent retailers are this vendors customers. How do you think they felt about this web conference?

A guess?

I was told they were furious.

They were furious because that vendor did not think about them as customers. They were furious the vendor had such a poor knowledge of its own market.

The reason for their anger?

Like many smaller business, these customer retailers have varying levels of technology literacy.

And?

Some of these customers still hand wrote receipts on carbon paper forms!

Some had PC’s, but no Internet connection.

In essence this organizations customers had a well deserved feeling of being left out.

As I mentioned above – I have no issue with web conferencing, but I do have an issue with hanging a bunch of your customers out to dry because you never bothered to understand them.

How could they have done this differently?

How about before the event communications offering a recording of the event on DVD (or even VHS! since if carbon paper is still in use..)

The SMB Takeaway

Technology is a tool. Only one tool. In marketing, or service consider which tool or tools is best for your market.

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