The first week of August I was in NYC at SpeechTek. SpeechTek [for those that don't know] is the largest tradeshow for the IVR industry. My current employer, Voxeo
, is quite possibly the best company in the IVR Platforms & Hosting space. I've had a personal relationship with the CEO and several of the Voxeo employees for quite a few years now. Over that period of time I've come to know the guys at Voxeo pretty well. The more I learned about each of them the more I liked and respected them. So when I became a free agent a few months back and was offered a position to work with some of the smartest guys I've ever known, it was an easy choice. Needless to say, that's why I was at SpeechTek
Before the conference we were hashing out all sorts of ideas for collateral we could give away that would make us stand out from the rest of the vendors. We had several good ideas and each had been well thought out and fit into our overall tradeshow marketing strategy. But the one that stuck and made the most sense was giving away a Vespa
. It fit on so many fronts and was a much bigger success than we had even thought. We chose the Vespa for a few reasons. Here are some of them.Reasons We Gave Away A Vespa
* Vespa and Voxeo have both stuck to their original business plans over the years and are time tested.
* Vespa and Voxeo are both industry leaders and companies the competition looks at before they make their next move.
* Both are reliable and handle traffic like a champ.
* Our VP, Strategy & Ops drives one and we're all jealous.
* How cool is it to have a Vespa sitting in your trade show booth?
* Because we could.
* Because nobody else would.
* Because the guys I work with set the bar in the industry and if anyone else gives away a Vespa next year we'll know why.Reasons I Wanted To Give Away A Vespa
* Because I plan on replacing my bimmer with one.
* Because it's sleek, quick, gets attention and hard to follow.
* Because Vespa is into blogging and gets it.
* Because no matter who you are or where you live you've heard the name Vespa and I like good brands.
* Because Vespa sounds good when used in the same sentence as Voxeo which makes it easier to remember when telling friends.
* Because talking to people at trade shows is hard enough and the Vespa was the perfect ice breaker.
Not only did we give away a Vespa but we gave away a limited production ET2 pearl in color with a navy blue leather seat. To top it all off the Vespa was a limited production model that's no longer available. Coordinating the pickup and delivery of a Vespa was done while we were still in Orlando. The Vespa came from Vespa of Soho
and they handled bringing it to and from the fhow. We paid extra dinero to have it detailed and the detailing job they did was less than we could accept so we detailed the ET2 at the tradeshow. I felt like I was on a game show and I was getting the grand prize ready for the big finale. Sooo many people walked up and asked about why we had a "scooter" in the booth and if we were really giving it away or if it was just a scam. When I assured them we were indeed giving one away they were shocked. They were even more surprised when I told them that even our competitors were welcome to register to win the Vespa.
One of the coolest things about giving away a Vespa was getting to hear stories from all sorts of people that came to our booth. Older men would recount a tale of youth and freedom, memories they had associated with owning a Vespa when they were just teenagers. Others spoke of what they'd do if they won the Vespa and how it would immediately improve their social life and make commuting to work and running errands exciting. Unlike most trade show booths, ours drew people into it. Once a casual passerby saw the Vespa they would do a double take and then come back and ask about it. It pulled folks into our booth who would probably have not stopped by if we were giving away pens. It opened new doors and was a conversation piece and ice breaker all in one.
All in all, I think it was the best prize I've ever seen a company give away at a technology trade show
. Way better than an iPod and not lame like a mobile dvd player or a golf club. If you wonder what it's like working with people that get it and that care more about taking care of customers and being the best in their industry, then this little Vespa post is a great example of one such company. The guys I'm surrounded by are top notch in every aspect and that's a result of the DNA that drives Voxeo.