During today's roundtable, we had some excellent discussions of product marketing for a couple of different concepts.
The 1M/1M Channel on Stanzr
The first of these discussions was about a new social media marketing platform called Stanzr, from San Francisco-based Voluble, that we are using at 1M/1M. Taariq Lewis, the founder of Voluble, is a 1M/1M premium entrepreneur. We did a cobranded social chat event on Tuesday that gave us an opportunity to actually test ride the Stanzr product. We thought it was very cool!
We invited entrepreneurs considering joining the 1M/1M premium program to the Stanzr chat room and did a one-hour Q&A session. The entire discussion was streaming automatically into Twitter and gave us great visibility. It is also an excellent platform to address the questions from prospects and help clarify issues and objections for any sales process, which is one of the primary ways Voluble is seeing some of its major early customers using it. This beta customer list includes the who's who of the tech business, and 1M/1M is very proud to continue hosting a monthly Stanzr event on an ongoing basis. The next event will be on Tuesday, November 22, 2011, at 8:00 AM (PDT), register to attend here.
And, as we brainstormed with today's audience, they suggested other excellent use cases, including one for product managers to discuss feature-function priorities with customers and prospects. I thought that was brilliant. Taariq, please note!
What appears clear to me today is how fundamentally the Internet is changing business processes, and the advent of nifty social media tools and technologies that plug into core business processes like lead nurturing are a powerful force.
Next, Dr. S. Said from Orange County, California, pitched MapWide.com, which is supposed to be a collection of sites like MapDentist.com, MapDoctors.com, etc. Dr. Said is a dentist himself and argued a good case for a network of dentists with special offers for uninsured consumers. It turns out a large number of consumers out there do not have dental insurance, so these special offers, reviews and ratings matter to them.
However, the mistake Said has made is to go "spray and pray" and build numerous different verticals without really fleshing out the business strategy for any of them. Today, instead of going niche and focused, he and his partners are going broader, even, and planning to burn even more money. I was alarmed to hear how much money Said has already spent on the business with not a whole lot to show for the investment.
I am anxious to see Said do an immediate strategic re-engineering of his business, and I think, he can build a much more successful company by focusing on certain core verticals, especially Dentists, where he has superior domain knowledge.
Then Nirupama Mallavarupu from Summit, New Jersey, discussed PTA Portals, a platform for building niche social networks for private groups, starting with Parent-Teacher Associations. Nirupama is looking to find a niche where she can penetrate the niche social network platform market. Unlike Ning and others that allow you to host niche networks on their sites, Nirupama is interested in finding segments that want their own, branded networks on their own domains.
There is much validation work to be done yet, and most likely, the PTA segment is not where she will end up taking this business. I asked Nirupama to identify paid, members-only networks and organizations (of which 1M/1M is a good example) that may want their own, members-only site on their own domain, and conduct a statistically significant set of market research conversations. Key question: Is a private LinkedIn group enough? Why or why not? Looking up organizations that are already using LinkedIn may help assess whether or not they are happy with the functionality.
If you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especially What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.
I also invite you to join the 1M/1M mailing list for the ease and convenience of getting updates. This way we can stay in touch and it will help you to decide if 1M/1M is a program for you.
Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, an educational, business development and incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant. She writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka and Uuma. She has a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.