Innovations in Webcasting

By Cindy Waxer

Compaq Computer Corporation could have used any number of channels to increase sales of its high-end personal computers. Instead, the PC manufacturer turned to MindBlazer, a Charlotte, N.C.-based provider of live and on-demand webcasting strategies that recently rolled-out its newest webcast format, the Innovator Series.

With the Innovator Series, MindBlazer delivers a brief email message to a company’s customers asking them to send in stories about how they have used its products and services. In the case of Compaq, nearly two million emails were delivered to users.

Based on responses, MindBlazer then selects the top five stories and sends out a video crew to film three- to five-minute vignettes highlighting a day in the life of the chosen innovator. Bill Whitley, MindBlazer’s president, says, “We look for innovations that other people can learn from and can quickly implement in their lives to make their life or small business better.”

Each vignette is then pieced together to form an online television show – a webcast that prospects can access by simply clicking on a link in an email message.

It’s a format that promises to help companies increase sales by showcasing how customers have utilized their products and services. Unlike cold-calls and email communications, the Innovation Series can pack a ton of information into a single webcast – not to mention the time and effort such a technique can save salespeople when disseminating information.

“Think about how much content I can get across in my three-minute video versus a print ad or a direct mail postcard,” says Whitley. “It’s also easier for the sales rep to fulfill an inquiry. If you call me and I’m on the road and you say, ‘Hey Bill, I really want to know more about MindBlazer…, I can send off a pre-written email to you anytime with a link [to a webcast detailing the company’s products and services].”

Still, there are drawbacks to the webcast format. Limited bandwidth can frustrate viewers. And not all prospects and buyers lay claim to the technical prowess needed to navigate a webcast.

Says Whitley: “If the user’s not technically savvy, I don’t know how much you can overcome that other than just trying to make the webcast simple and easy…. But from a user’s perspective, it’s really not that hard.”