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> Solutions Are Power :: Twilio & Boxee?s Hackathon: A Unique Approach To Getting People To Pay Attention
post Apr 14 2010, 08:42 AM
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(IMG:http://blog.networksolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IMG_75151.jpg) As I’m writing this, there are developers around me working on creating applications in a way to “hack” the software of another company. No, it’s not a bad thing…in fact, these developers have permission to hack the software. Why? Because it will lead to better service, more interest in the product and help you improve your relationship with part of your community. In a manner of speaking, it’s a guerrilla form of inbound marketing.

On this day, two companies teamed up to do this project: Boxee and Twilio. Boxee is one of the leading providers of online television that you can use to run straight off your computer and eventually will be available as a stand-alone device. Twilio is a startup based in San Francisco focused on building powerful voice & SMS apps in the cloud. Held at Twilio’s brand new offices, developers gathered to find a way to build applications that would integrate Twilio’s telephone service into Boxee’s platform – essentially finding a way to “unite telephone and television in a unique way”.

This project came to fruition through the partnership of these two companies. It’s also part of a contest put on by both Boxee and Twilio to see who can come up with the most ingenious application that will mashup the services they offer. For slightly over 24 hours, developers can submit their apps and the winning app will receive a Boxee Box before it’s available later this year and a netbook.

So how is this type of campaign going to be beneficial to your community and why is this considered a form of inbound marketing? It’s because it shows potential and current customers that you’re interested in having them help contribute to the success of the product. You’re not marketing to the customers directly like you would with traditional methods, per se. Subtlety, you are motivating the community to be more interested in what is being produced and convince them that they have a vested interest in what’s being created. These type of “hackathons” can go a long way to show your customers and community that you don’t know everything about your product and that you value their feedback. Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t know everything about your product, but we all know that getting people involved in helping your product can’t be a bad idea, right?

In my earlier post, I talked about the different types of inbound marketing and how you’re working to “earn” your customers business. A hackathon-type event or something similar within your industry is a great way to spark some interest in your product. You’re innovating and telling people that you’re not done yet. No product is finalized at any stage. Bring in thought leaders to share their experiences and also give them as much support as possible. These hackathons are not meant to give any lip-service to customer appreciation. On the contrary, this guerrilla tactic should be supported by all team members and every support possible should be given to help contributors succeed and build a better product…because with a better product, everyone wins…and more business is done.

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