Phone.com participated on Thursday in the second annual NY Tech Day at Pier 92. This was an extremely well attended event and more impressive were the 400+ start-ups who exhibited. It seemed as though every start-up of note in NYC was there, small and large, showcasing some of the newest and innovative technologies from around the area.
It’s always difficult to stand out at trade shows with so many other companies vying for peoples attention. But Phone.com rocked with some great promotions, t-shirts, and mustachioed coffee mugs ensuring our little both was always crowded.
I find these events invaluable when it comes to learning what peoples first impression is about your product. They’re a treasure trove of information! For a company like Phone.com who’s entire presence is online, it’s easy to lose sight and sometimes forget how the real world perceives your product. Especially one like phone service where there are so many different “types” of phone companies out there. I would argue that conversations at a trade show can have the same impact as a focus group on your marketing message, and usually at a far lower cost.
Marketing messages should evolve not always due to changes within a company, but external changes within your market. It becomes evident especially during trade shows that people instantly want to compare your product with others they may be more familiar with (after all it’s a phone service). And although we all hate to compare ourselves to others in our space, it is often the easiest and fastest route towards helping individuals understand your product. Sometimes it is our so called competitors that are the ones spending the lions share of money to educate users about our technology. This is why being perfectly clear on how we differentiate yourselves is of utmost importance.
Something I found surprising on Thursday were the number of people who wanted to compare Phone.com to Skype. Sure, maybe we both allow calling over the internet, but that’s about the only similarity we share. I also like to keep an eye on the word “VoIP”, because for a long time large phone companies were giving VoIP a negative connotation saying its “unreliable”. This might be why many VoIP providers started calling their services “cloud based”, but perhaps it’s really the same thing…. meaning we all use the Internet to connect to our services. Is that VoIP? It was clear from the people I spoke to at NY Tech Day that the term VoIP is widely understood and rarely a negative term….. so VoIP for the win… but personally I still prefer “Communications in the Cloud”…. it sounds cooler but it is also more appropriate. VoIP is a technology not a service type. Also, Phone.com does not require you to have broadband and “Internet” nor a computer unless you want to.
Explaining what Phone.com does, our service, our features, in relation to the rest of the phone service universe isn’t the easiest. We are truly a unique company with a feature set unmatched by most competitors and with a unique pricing model. I would encourage anyone reading this to contact Phone.com if you have any questions about our service, what it does, how it works, and how it compares to services you’re already familiar with.