08 8 / 2011

gdgt came to Seattle on Friday night with over 30 sponsors listed, this trumped everything on the boyfriend’s list of things to do on a Friday night.  Being the geek I truly am, I jumped on the excitement train as well, quickly reserved tickets & made plans to grab dinner at Japonessa beforehand. (Hello all day long happy hour to celebrate their anniversary! *side note: we’re cheapskates whenever possible.)

Standing in line outside the Showbox SODO was kinda exciting.  *There’s a line!?  It must be packed! we thought to ourselves.  Then we joked around about how funny it was that the door guy had to go get another door guy to look at our Kansas IDs (the 2nd one was from Wichita).  I guess it’s time to finally be real Washington residents and get a Washington state ID.

But once we got inside and looked around, excitement quickly turned to disappointment.  Yes, we got pretty cool free gdgt t-shirts (in our sizes! hooray for a variety of sizes of free t-shirts!), but the vendors/sponsors did not bring their A-game this time around.  WHY NOT?

[Now, I should quickly mention that I don’t fault gdgt for this at all.  The only thing they could have done better was to bring more people in or use a smaller venue, because the perception of a full venue does wonders for guests’ perception of how well an event goes.]

As we walked by the tables, nothing really drew us in that much.  AT&T did a pretty good job showing us about a new commercial they are shooting that uses a white box & old phones people donate to soliders.  Logitech even did a great job getting us to like them on facebook (great use of incentivizing your customers offline with in person coupons).  But nothing really compelled us to want to learn more, or more importantly, buy something on the spot (even though there were event only discounts scattered around the room).

The only thing that really blew me away was the Windows Phone table.  Whoa, wait you say?  Me, the apple fanatic, iPhone sugically attached to my hands, would probably name my dog Wozi, girl, impressed by a Windows phone?!  It’s true.

What really blew me away though was the customer service the people running the table delivered.  

All night, the table was packed with eager nerds, anxious to see Mango in action.  And who could blame them?  But the tables weren’t big enough or setup well enough for more than a couple of people to really interact with the phones.  So while we were milling around waiting to get our hands on a phone, one of the guys walked up to us & asked if we had any questions.  Z quickly said, “no, we just want to play with one of the phones & check out mango.”  This guy could have said okay and left us to wait.  INSTEAD, he whipped out his own personal phone (which already had Mango on it), and proceeded to give us a personalized demonstration of the new system, pointing out features that we both would use frequently. 

He showed me how integrated many different social media tools & platforms are with the operating system of the phone & how easy it is to check up on friends & family, seamlessly, across networks.

And for Z, he showed off their gaming systems, integration with xbox live.  What I was really impressed with was how he personalized his demonstration to our interests & how instead of making us wait around for demo phones, he just used his personal phone, with his personal information on it.  And it’s actually a really good system.  Almost makes me consider switching.

For that gdgt was worth going.

However, all the other companies need to really get their butts in gear when it comes to marketing to their consumers.  When you have a captive audience begging to try out your products, you should have the best, most passionate people demoing your products.  They represent your brand & will ultimately impact the way consumers make their decisions.  Also, don’t just have a simple table with a couple of demo devices on it.  Consumers deserve an interactive, personalized experience.  It doesn’t have to be fancy with lots of smoke and mirrors.  A simple demonstration on a personal phone blew me away, because the way the Windows phone guy interacted with us made me feel like there was no one else in the room, let alone at the table waiting for a a chance to play.

Make every customer feel like this every time.  With more and more information available to consumers when making decisions about where to spend their dollars, relationships & respect are going to go a long way with where they choose to spend their money.

Now, I’m actually going to give another phone some consideration & while Windows hasn’t convinced me to switch yet, this first step of catching my attention is a big one.  Good on you Windows phone team!

edit: It seems like everyone else & the Seattle PI agree with me. (photo credit: Sang Cho/seattlepi.com)

05 7 / 2011

Instead of crafting the perfect blog post today, I did this.  And it was pretty awesome.

[side note]: This is Duck Dodge, a sailing race on Lake Union in Seattle, WA. We compete every week and almost always come in “14th” place, but we love it.  The theme this week was Prom Night!

Instead of crafting the perfect blog post today, I did this.  And it was pretty awesome.

[side note]: This is Duck Dodge, a sailing race on Lake Union in Seattle, WA. We compete every week and almost always come in “14th” place, but we love it.  The theme this week was Prom Night!

08 6 / 2011

Tomorrow I begin the final leg of my Zaarly/KC adventure.  The drive back. I’ll be going through Denver, Salt Lake City, and Boise on the way to Seattle. Of course, I’ll be chronicling my adventures (here and on twitter @briana9) as I go.

To start, let’s talk about the 5 most important things to do for a successful road trip.

  1. Get your oil changed: I went to Big O Tire and they had a whole road trip package that included checking all of your fluids and a tire rotation.  I was overdue on this anyways, so I set up an appointment (by calling at 10:30 for an 11 & then dropping it off at 10:50).  They did the whole shebang to get my car ready to go for under $30 in under an hour.
  2. Buy some healthy road trip food: Especially with the lack of selection and over priced crap in most gas station convenience stores, this one is a biggie for me.  Grab some protein (trail mix, nuts, etc (cashews were mentioned by twitter follower @ashleemint & beef jerky by @ericgruber)), fresh and/or dried fruit (I’m a big fan of fruit leathers), some favorite crackers or chips (things like goldfish, Cheez-its, and sweet potato chips are fan favorites), and a treat!  Treats were a big deal to my twitter friends and ranged from swedish fish, red vines & Twizzlers to fruit snacks.  My personal favorite is chocolate, so I got some Endangered Species squares that I’m really excited to munch on.
  3. Set up some tunes: I did this on my trip to KC, but do whatever works best for you.  Get a playlist going on your iPod, make sure you have your favorite artists or albums on there.  I stream Pandora on my iPhone & it wireless syncs with my car stereo, so when I have good reception the options are limitless.  I never know what I’ll get the hankering for.  But I also have a backup list on my iPod app of my phone for those spotty reception times in Wyoming.
  4. Pick out a route: This will be the third time I’ve driven this journey in the past year.  The first time we hauled a truck along I80, the second time I checked out Montana and I90.  This time, I’ll be doing I70.  I determine my path using a combination of maps acquired from AAA, Google Maps on my phone, and the GPS in my car. It’s a great way to see more of the country & get some more of the states crossed off my checklist. (Can you believe I haven’t been to Colorado yet?)
  5. Bring a reusable water bottle and coffee tumbler:  I only bought Red Bull as a drink because water and coffee are my mainstays.  Plus they help you save money.  I get coffee in the hotel (or often Starbucks) and fill up my water bottle at rest stops.  This is a great way to limit sugary drinks, calories & costs.  I use a Camelback water bottle and a Contigo coffee tumbler that I couldn’t rave more about if I tried.

What kinds of things are you interested in seeing me blog and tweet about along the way? Also, be sure to follow me on twitter for up to the minute updates & to help me decide where to stop for lunch, dinner, or scenic views!