Sunday, March 11, 2007

DD Part4 - Dress for success

Note: This is a continuation of my prior post, DD Part3.

Now that we had a more consumer-friendly feature set, we needed to make sure that the hardware was ready for the broader consumer market and that the value proposition would resonate with prospective customers. And, we needed to have a launch venue which allowed us to get visibility for our re-launch of the company and it's products. We needed to get the word out.

I felt that we needed to make some changes to the hardware. The remote control was a brick, and the name eDeck wasn't very consumer friendly. We re-named the eDeck, the Media Connector, opting for something that was descriptive rather than clever. And, Media Connector played off some of the other home networking product categories - namely media adapters and media extenders.

The remote control had been a bigger challenge. We didn't have the resources to design a custom remote control, and after extensive research I wasn't happy with any of the ODM/OEM remote controls I had discovered . On a trip to IBC, I visited the UEI booth and found an interesting PVR remote that was being used by a cable company in Israel. It hadn't been used in the U.S. before, which was why I hadn't seen it during earlier meetings with UEI. But, I really liked the ergonomics of it and decided to contract with UEI to bring it to the states. The result was a great compromise between budget and usability.

Part of the plan to shift towards the general consumer market required us to rethink our outbound marketing strategy. This included product issues (documentation, packaging, etc.) and our communication plan (PR, website, etc.). It also required us to bring on someone with more experience with successful consumer MarComm. We hired Joe Harris, a good friend of mine and one of the best marketing professional's I've had the opportunity to work beside. The year before, Joe had launched Orb Networks at CES and had garnered a large amount of PR with a limited budget.

Joe hit the ground running, and we targeted the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, January 2006, as the main event for us to re-launch the product and the company. While the primary product we would be selling was a hardware media adapter, we didn't lose sight of the fact that our core value was the Media Connector Software which rus the system. So, we made sure this was a core part of our consumer messaging. Joe is famous for being a "frequency freak", so we were careful to make sure we were consistent in all of our external communication.

more to come in part 5.

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