Viewstream and Autodesk-10 Years and Counting!

Autodesk has been a Viewstream client as long has we’ve been in business-that’s nearly 10 years! Beginning with the creation of the first-of-its-kind iDesign Virtual Trade Show back on 2000 to the most recent Navisworks lead generation campaign, we’ve been creating content solutions that help market one of the world’s leading software companies. We’ve been involved in more than one hundred Autodesk projects, including online videos; webcasts; Screencasts; virtual trade shows and new hire orientations; flash animations; landing pages; tracking and metrics; and more.

Hitting the decade landmark is a great excuse for a visit. I went down to Autodesk headquarters at the request of their marketing team. With Viewstream Creative Director Joel Yabrudy in tow, we spent an hour reviewing our long relationship with the company, mapping out Viewstream’s approach and strategy, and sharing some of our best practices. It was great to visit with old friends and make a couple new ones. Thanks to Deb for inviting us!

Take a look at some of our latest Autodesk work:

Screencast: Navisworks
Screencast: Civil 3D/The Road Ahead
Screencast: Revit Architecture
Product Demo: Then/Now
Web Banners: Architecture Suite
Landing Pages: Architecture
Social Media: Revit Architecture on YouTube

Microsoft Virtual Summit a Success

When Microsoft wanted to host a summit for its global enterprise marketing team while keeping costs down, they called us! We created a virtual solution, the Enterprise Marketing Virtual Summit 2009. Over three days, hundreds of Microsoft marketers from around the world attended the event without leaving their desktops!

We build this custom site from the ground up, exclusively using Microsoft technology, including .NET programming, SQL Server and Silverlight (Viewstream is an official Microsoft Silverlight Partner). This virtual summit did away with the cookie-cutter 3-D world of many virtual events to take a content-driven approach. Live webinars and on-demand video integrated into an environment designed for interactivity and conversation. All live sessions were available on-demand shortly after they were held. There was event a Race Game, where users gained points for attending virtual sessions and engaging with other attendees via message boards.

Microsoft’s Enterprise Marketing Virtual Summit 2009 officially wrapped yesterday, but the event lives on through this site. Attendees can still log in and watch session videos on their own time.

We want to thank the Microsoft team for such an exciting project. We had a lot of fun with this one!

Sorry – this is an invite only event – but you can see the home page here.

Adventures with Lynn Allen

If you ever get the chance to have a sit down with Lynn Allen, take it.  Over the last couple of days, I have been working with Lynn on the creation of the AutoCAD 2010 demo.  Aside from the opportunity to be part of the promotion of one of the most revered software products in human history, I got to hang with Lynn.  We built the demo as we went – who needs scripts – right?

Check out what Lynn had to say about our adventure:

www.autodesk.com/lynnallen

Viewstream partners with Microsoft

Viewstream has just become an official Microsoft Silverlight Partner. This relationship gives us direct access to the latest innovations from Microsoft’s cross-platform, cross-browser media delivery and rich interactive application tool. We want to offer our clients the right solution for the job, which means being well-versed in all digital media and interactive technologies. Silverlight has a way to go in terms of adoption, but is a very powerful backbone for database integration and has some incredible features (image zooms, for example).

In a matter only too fitting, our relationship with Silverlight will kick off in one week, with the launch of a Silverlight/.NET-based virtual event for Microsoft. (More on that later.)

Flash isn’t going anywhere, and we will continue to use it for all it’s worth. But by partnering with Microsoft to offer Silverlight and .NET development, we are prepared to take on the increasingly diverse needs of our clients. Check out more information here.

Why Click Through Rates Are Not So Important

Anyone interested in the web advertising industry should check out this ComScore white paper.

The paper argues that the Click Through Rates (CTR) fail to quantify the value of Online Ads. The reason is simple: users will often seek via search or through offline methods the brand and then purchase the product. Clicking right there is only a small part of the value — if you actually go out and measure the impact of a campaign you can get some true value metrics.

Online advertising is starting to look a lot like TV or print advertising —  a way to get your message out to audiences that will respond depending on the quality and quantity of the advertising, not so much the medium.

Hopefully, reports and data like this will help people understand that it is not all about click through rates.

The data say: “The results presented in this paper will show the manner in which online display ads work in affecting consumer behavior, revealing that there are indeed latency effects and branding effects even when click rates are minimal.”

Facebook Turns Off Whopper Campaign

Viewstream’s favorite advertising agency (Crispin Porter) recently launched a brilliant campaign for Burger King — offering a free Whopper to any Facebook user who removed 10 friends. (Tagline: “You like your friends. But you love the Whopper.”)

The marketing campaign, dubbed the “Whopper sacrifice”, prompts users to download an application to their Facebook profile. The user then chooses ten friends to eliminate from their “friends” category, and is then rewarded with a coupon for a free burger. Then the Whopper application proudly boasts: “You have been sacrificed for a free Whopper.”

While most Facebook applications emphasise relationships between friends, the Burger King application is among the first to promote division as a marketing tool. Over 221,831 Facebook profiles de-friended for a coupon before being shut down.

Whopper Campaign

Well, Facebook didn’t like this campaign so they turned off the app — somehow it violated their privacy policy (yah!).

Congratulations to Crispin Porter on a brilliant campaign — it is unique, funny, and gets attention.

Check out the site here.

As MacWorld turns, Virtual Events rise!

While people are gearing up for the annual migration to MacWorld (despite the absence of Steve Jobs), truth is such events are on the decline. Costs are high, and planning can be a drain on company resources. As a result, we are beginning to see a rise in virtual trade shows and events.

Viewstream has worked on a number of virtual events, for Autodesk, Microsoft, HP and others. Over the years, we have seen the concept of the virtual trade show develop and, to certain degree, mature.

We’ve also seen virtual event providers come and go. The biggest problem with these new companies is the insistence on taking the cookie-cutter approach, generally characterized by corny 3D worlds for attendees to navigate. These companies following the same model for every event, creating scalable products for virtual shows.

This approach is faulty from the get-go. Users don’t care to have a 3D navigable environment-there is Second Life for that. And that is to say nothing of the lowest-common-denominator delivery. (Sorry, 240×180 pixel videos just don’t cut it!)

We all know that success comes from standing out from a crowd. In these similar 3D environments, people loose interest because they’ve seen it before. Viewstream’s approach is a more customized professional services offering. We take the right approach – by making you stand out and by delivering your message to the right audience. We take advantage of all the possibilities of the online world to create true “social” experiences and deliver stunning content.

Here are a few of reasons why more companies are doing virtual meetings and events, and the value attached to them:

  1. Saving Costs: Bottom line – virtual events are cheaper then flying in customers or team members from around the world.
  2. ROI Measurements: Even if you track leads from a trade show, how do you really measure the ROI? And how often does the investment in a trade shows lead to a return on your investment? There is no solid proof of good ROI from external events, particularly when compared to online events. With online events, everything is measurable and results can be tested. In fact, if your ROI measurement tools in the online world are already in place you can easily extend with little cost to virtual events.
  3. Content Archives: All content created for online events become mini websites in themselves, and user’s questions, social media elements like blogs, etc., are very valuable to leverage to other marketing arenas.
  4. Search: Having a “spiderable” set of world class content is nice, and is surely a consideration for high ROI in itself.
  5. Extend Reach: Online events are not limted by geography-meaning more people can attend from around the world.

72% of IT Prospects Use Online Video to Make Purchase Decisions

Couple of points from this TechTarget Presentation:

1 — Prospects WANT video — shows that marketers produce less video then prospects want. 72% of users use online video to research tech solutions.

2 — Syndication is critical (one video leveraged to many places). Prospects view video content on multiple sites (youtube, corporate sites, content providers, etc.).

3 — Users like diverse amounts of video content (demos, case studies, testimonials, conferences).

4 — IT Buyers like COMPARABLE content.

Thanks to Tanya at Xinify for sharing the presentation!

How To Make Product Demos Sell

Flash Presentations, Flash Demos and Online Demos are VERY effective tools to help sell your products and solutions. Most companies have product demos on their websites, and most of them are not very good. Considering that if you look at web analytics, product demos are the type of content that people actually click on and will watch, companies ought to invest in making quality product demos—and leveraging this communication across various mediums.

Viewstream has a lot of experience in creating product demonstrations — and we wanted to share some of our tips and tricks. So we wrote an article, that shares some of our insights. It’s a little long for a blog posting, but check it out here.

Please make comments to the blog!

The Stumpy Tail Cattle Dog

There is a great case study here of how to use a multi channel media strategy to bring a product to market, and align everything around keywords and key messages supported by varied media types. I have seen this integrated marketing and PR strategy work very well for many of Viewstream’s clients. If played right, using this strategy creates significant competitive advantage.

As companies like google continue to dominate, vertical content sites are growing slower than the big content sites (Social Networks, YouTube, Google) – which means an integrated communication/search strategy is a better place to spend your dollars then on online advertising. From the data that I have seen, the long tail is beginning to look like The Stumpy-Tail Cattle Dog (a dog that has no tail).

I am simply amazed at how many times clients tell me that they got a call from someone who found them on Google and then closed a huge deal. By the same token, ROI from online advertising has never looked sadder – with a decline in online ad click through rates and the unreliable data from advertising properties. Search drives sales – we have always known that – and the data shows this more and more.

Viewstream is well positioned in this changing environment as we are able to work quickly in many mediums (integrated search, digital media, website, creative, messaging) to get companies to market faster, better and cheaper than the slower advertising conglomerates that companies have traditionally relied on.