The Ideal customer for In-Calendar Marketing

November 19, 2008

As I talk to different businesess about the fit for In-Calendar Marketing some common attributes are emerging:

  1. They are already engaged and active with email marketing. Chances are they are using email marketing servicesfrom companies such as SilverPop or Constant Contact.
  2. They are looking for complementary marketing activities to further extract revenue from their customer list.
  3. In some cases they are concerned about the diminishing effectiveness of email marketing as consumers become more immune and resistant to these messages
  4. The business has a loyal following or brand among its customers who genuinely want to hear from the business.
  5. The business has time-based deals, promotions, events and inventory that must be used before it expires.

This combination of attributes leads to a good fit for In-Calendar Marketing and I will be posting success stories as they emerge over the coming weeks.


‘In-Calendar Marketing’ Launched

October 30, 2008

When I announced back in July that we were making our existing suite of calendar products available for FREE, there were many out there who wondered what we were up to (here, here, here and here to cite a few examples).

I mentioned in that post that were moving on to “in-calendar advertising business models”. I was being deliberately vague at that time, but the time is now to update on what we have been doing:

We’ve just launched a new product and service called Calgoo In-Calendar Marketing™. In-Calendar Marketing is the world’s first marketing concept that allows businesses to deliver targeted, opt-in marketing messages directly into the calendars of those that subscribe to their offers.

This screen cast explains how it works. You can consider In-Calendar Marketing as a similar and complementary service to email marketing, except the delivery is to electronic calendars. Compared to email, calendars are less cluttered and more “timely”.

In-Calendar Marketing works with virtually all desktop and online calendars without having to install anything. One key benefit of our approach is that the calendar “feeds” to which people subscribe don’t go directly into a person’s actual calendar that contains their personal events. The calendar feeds appear in a parallel calendar that the user can click on or off as they choose.

We believe strongly that the calendar is the medium in which time-based decisions and commitments are made. If your business has a strong brand with loyal customers, I am confident they will find value in receiving your promotions and events in a medium where they plan and schedule. I think In-Calendar Marketing will be particularly suited for businesses with distressed or perishable inventory. Think of hotel rooms, travel, conferences, golf tee times – anything that is in the category of “use it or lose it”. It will also be useful for businesses e.g. ski resorts, whose customers are passionate about being informed about events and promotions.

When we released our first calendaring product back in 2006, we called it “Calgoo First Draft”. It was a little tongue-in-cheek as we didn’t want to follow the herd and call the product a beta release. This time around, it is more like a new chapter with many more pages left to write. The first release of In-Calendar Marketing is fully functional and already has customers (click here to read a case study on one of our first customers, golf reservations provider TeeTimes.net).

I encourage you to tell me what you like, what you would like changed and, perhaps more importantly, share with others your ideas for using In-Calendar Marketing within your own business. We have provided some of our own ideas here.

I am looking forward to this next chapter of our company and the world of online marketing!!!


Calgoo In-Calendar Marketing Launch Approaches

October 27, 2008

We should be launching this week. We’re wrapping up the web site, screencasts, lead capture forms and much more.  We will be reaching out to media, analysts and bloggers. The coverage is beginning.

Back to work on the launch now…


New Calendaring Tool for eBay Buyers

October 21, 2008

We have just launched bidCal, a free tool that allows you to monitor relevant, upcoming eBay auctions from inside your calendar.

What does it do? In three easy steps, bidCal allows you to build a filter of items you are interested in (e.g.  “Ceramic Owl Figurines”), and then feed all relevant items that match this filter right into your calendar.  All you have to do is select “Add to Calendar” after building your auction feed.  Any item that is matched against your filter criteria will be visible in your calendar, providing you with a near real-time stream of the current bid price and auction details, displayed as an event at the precise time of the auction’s close.

With bidCal, the end result is that you can identify great bargains for the items you don’t want to miss.  You also save precious time in having these alerts delivered to you — via your calendar — in a format that ensures you don’t miss out on any bid deadlines.  bidCal works with most major calendar clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal & Google Calendar.  And it is free.

Follow this link to try out bidCal:
http://www.calgoo.com/bidcal/

We had built bidCal initially as an internal tool to showcase our upcoming Calgoo In-Calendar Marketing technology, but we’ve received such great feedback on the tool itself, we decided to release it to the world as a stand-alone product.  bidCal is a great example of the type of communications that can produced via In-Calendar Marketing, a new permission-based marketing medium that can be used to promote time-sensitive products and services to existing customers.

We hope that once you have had a chance to try bidCal, you will send us your feedback.

Best Regards and Happy Bidding!


Why no advertising models for electronic calendars?

October 6, 2008

We’re all intimately familiar with email and web page advertisements. Why haven’t businesses tried to advertise via electronic calendars? Time-based events such as specials, promotions, appointments and the like are particularly amenable to delivery and viewing in an electronic calendar.  Without doubt the sanctity of people’s calendar information must be preserved so that there can be no possibility or perception that advertising messages in a calendar can somehow read or change your personal calendar entries.  Today when we receive email advertisements we don’t for a moment think that this delivery somehow opens up our private messages to others.  The same holds true for calendar advertising, it’s just that consumers have no real experience to date in receiving advertising in this medium.

I think that calendar inter-operability and lack of standards has presented a barrier to advertisers to date. How can you deliver calendar advertisements if the underlying calendar programs have no standardized way of viewing them?  Once an email message gets through the various spam filters and other barriers to delivery, you can pretty much guarantee it can be read by any email program on the planet.

At Calgoo, we’re solving calendar inter-operability problems to enable effective advertising models.


Delivering messages to a decision point

September 18, 2008

I like receiving meeting requests in my Outlook instead of a regular email that says something like: “how about we meet 2pm Friday at Trolls Restaurant”.

With the regular email I open it, switch to my calendar, check Friday, make a new event, switch back to the email, copy the relevant info, switch back to the event and paste, save the event, switch back to the email, hit Reply and type my response, hit Send.  Lots of steps.

With the meeting request I simply view my calendar, make  decision, click Accept. All done.

Now imagine advertising messages that I am genuinely interested in that involve dates and times e.g. a special tee time offer at my favourite golf course or a weekend special at the Whistler Fairmont Hotel. It’s much easier for me to view the offer in my calendar which is the place where I make scheduling decisions. I can act on the opportunity with only a few clicks.  This is the type of service I would use enthusiastically.


The problems with email marketing

September 11, 2008

Are we reaching saturation point with email as a medium? Spam filters, ISP controls, image blocking are examples of barriers to deliverability. And what about the sheer volume of emails many of us receive on a daily basis? In my working day if I leave the office a 1 hour meeting by the time I return many of the new messages in my inbox have already scrolled off screen.

Is it time for an uncluttered medium that is unplagued by these kinds of deliverability problems?

And what about “timeliness”? Email marketers tell us that Tue and Wed are optimal days to improve readability and action. But if you’re marketing an event or time-sensitive promotion, wouldn’t it make sense to present it in an uncluttered medium where people actually make scheduling decisions?

At Calgoo we’re working on these problems and will be launching a new service in October.


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