Musings of an Internet Marketing Consultant
Musings of an Internet Marketing Consultant

Friday, June 10, 2005

On "Selling Innovation"

Tom Evslin has put together a great post on the need to sell innovation through transparency. His key point is that,in adopting new products and services, business customers want to maintain familiarity without any concern for the underlying technology. In his example his VoIP-based wholesale Internet telephony did not gain traction until they changed their marketing (sales approach) to look like a traditional wholesale carrier with an emphasis on reducing costs for international calls. At this point they only had to sell secondary issues such as the quality and robustness of a VoIP-based service to ensure no degradation in service levels. Bottom line: don't ask your business customers to change the way they do business.

I see this challenge in selling collaboration services. The easiest approach is to sell something business professionals use already (such as audio conferencing) but allows them to experience the convenience of new collaboration tools, such as web conferencing and instant messaging, as a corollary. The customer's business advantage arises in that they have more control over their business communications ("become your own teleconferencing operator") and the associated costs while increasing employee productivity.

This poses a challenge that has been seen in blog posts about recent VoIP and communications related conferences. The initial sell is the reduced costs for legacy long distance and telephone services, such as voice mail. But VoIP's true potential lies in all the associated applications that can be brought into play by building on a VoIP platform. The business opportunity lies in determining how to infuse these services transparently into current business practices.

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