In many professions it is important to be able to review and constructively critique your colleagues work and projects. This post is a peer review that I have done on a digital artifact created by one of my classmates; Breeanna Donohoe. You can find the link to her website here 🙂
Breeanna argues that many organizations quickly loose the engagement and contact they create with people through conferences and events because they lack efforts to sustain the commitment. Instead of focusing on the value of the customers, Donohoe says these organizations measure the success of their events mostly in revenue from that one day and therefore eventually lose their customers. In her pitch, Breeanna demonstrated this through a graph that displayed trade-show event engagement before, during and after an event. This indicates that she has conducted background research of her idea which matters if she wishes to take the project further one day.
Breeanna believes that long-term customer engagement will award an organization more, and has therefore developed an online community platform that will act as a go-to center for every player in a trade-show event. The platform will create links between customers and companies which potentially will lead to revenues throughout the year, and not just on the day of the event.
I believe that this concept works best for local companies that are struggling to become a part of the main market. The big companies will probably already have their marketing-procedures up and going as well as a stable consumer-market. The small, local companies will therefore be more likely to see an advantage in the concept and invest in the service.
The concept is a great marketing resource. The companies involved have a chance to present themselves up front and spark interest before the event which can give them an advantage at the actual happening. Customers who saw the site will be looking for the product of interest and as a result both the supplier and the customer will get something out of the event.
The vision of this project was to create a website which would operate as a hub for both consumers and suppliers that are participating in a phantom annual ‘food & wine’ trade-show event called “Gourmet Living Australia”. The key objectives of the website would be to boost engagement with customers and companies as well as develop strong partnerships between the companies involved and Breeanna herself.
The interface of the webpage sets the scene for this. It has a very inviting look and the ‘Corner store’ and ‘Partner & suppliers’ links are presented clearly in the front. They do not disappear in a whirlpool of pictures and text, but appear centered and easy to access. Their logos have also been linked directly to their individual websites which shows that Donohoe tries to lift the partnerships between them and her.
To make the above aim happen Donohoe has incorporated four components to her website; the actual event page, applications for mobile devices, the corner store and the recipe centre.
The event page is what draws people to the suppliers and event, and it was very smart to make this page the place to get tickets as it an effortless way to attract people to the page. I think though that it could be beneficial to include a ‘About’ section on the homepage to inform new visitors what the website is about, or make the ‘Food & Wine Fair’ site the homepage.
Breeanna has done well in considering mobile users in her concept. The site works well on cellphones and the idea to implement QR codes on the event is brilliant; a great way for customers to connect directly to the suppliers. A good idea would also be to present a QR-scanner application on the event-page and recommend people to download it.
Although the other components of the site are valuable, ‘The Corner store’ is gold. It enables direct revenue to the companies via Breeanna’s website and for this service they ought to pay well. It builds towards a well-working partnership and also simplifies the shopping experience for the customer by offering everything in one place.
The ‘Recipe Centre’ is an important part. People love to find and share recipes and so this draws them to her website. The fact that they can share their own recipes and comment on others makes the visitor feel as a part of the chain, and also gives the companies the chance to see what the customers want. The companies can then advertise products in the ‘Corner store’ that seem popular amongst the consumers. To build this feature up a bit, Donohoe could perhaps allow for memberships by allowing members to keep a ‘cooking book’ on her website. Also, Donohoe is already using tags for the actual recipes, but it would make it easier to navigate through them by setting up a tag-cloud or a list of categories to go along with the tags.
Breeanna shows an eye for details as she implements the little things that strengthen the user experience and loyalty. She has provided subscription via e-mail in the recipe site which makes it easy for guests to follow the blog, and more importantly the function acts as a ‘bouncer’ as it reminds the user to check back into the website again. She has created Twitter and Facebook accounts to ensure a broader customer-market and she keeps all the networks active with resources, contests and polls which make them look ‘alive’.
Breeanna’s pitch outlined the concept clearly and it was obvious that she had her project planned properly. The main challenge was to produce the actual webpage which was something she had never done before. Therefore she started this process early and worked on the actual content on a temporarily site. When the website was up and running new content like recipes, contests and event-information kept building up. Because this was a phantom event another problem was to market the website to its full potential. The use of hashtags or inviting people to like her pages was not an option and kept her from measuring the concept’s growth through marketing.
Breeanna has done an excellent job with her project. The beta demonstrated that she has been consistent with her project plan since the pitch and has followed up on all the aims she set out to achieve. The website has a clear focus on the event, suppliers and the customers, and encourages participation from all parties. The structure of the site invites to boost engagement between participants if the proper effort (marketing etc.) is put into it. I believe Breeanna’s project has real potential to be used professionally in the future is she decides to present it in a real-life project.