Run Contests/Sweepstakes on the web to get traffic(ideas/feedback needed)

Hey guys!

I’m currently developing a web application that will enable small businesses or individuals to run interactive marketing campaigns on the web.

Since the app is still under development, I thought it would be a good thing to ask for ideas or features that marketers would like to see in such a service.

Some startups out there offer similar services but they’re not as good as I’d like them to be.

The app will obviously get most of it’s leverage from social media platforms like fb, twitter etc…

What features would make a marketer/webmaster or even you use the service?

Wildfire does a good job and has a very impressive list of past clients. They’ve grown very quickly. You’d have to convince me why to use you instead. What’s your USP going to be? It probably won’t be a feature.

Dan is right [of course], Wildfire and their competitors have a good name in the space and, perhaps more importantly, the benefit of dozens [or more] of employees to keep the site running and expanding.

To take the lead you need to be more than better, you need to be truly different which means figuring out what’s missing from the current market not in what I know I want but in what you figure out that I don’t know. Big innovations don’t tend to come from your customers knowing what’s lacking, at least not in a competitive field… rather they come when someone says “he, how about a really big auction site on this web thing… eBay circa 1994” or “let’s let people stalk their friends by making a site not about your space but instead about theirs…” facebook circa 2004.

As a business owner I’d like to see more app friendly tools. The ability to go beyond a silly fangated lead gen form and actually get fans able to participate by contributing content, collaboratively voting on it and the likes. Problem is, if everyone is just 2% different you need a very adaptable system just to do that, so perhaps start thinking there?

@Dan:

Thanks for replying.

You’re asking me back the question I asked. Wildfire is cool but very limited… Their interface is crappy and the fact that they have an impressive client list doesn’t mean anything… Most of their clients are fortune 500 companies that could do pretty well without using the app… Fortune 500 companies have the money and the ressources to deploy successful campaigns.
Besides, all their big clients must cost a fortune on their servers and must mobilize a big part of their workforce since they all opt for the “white label” plan.

For my part, I think small businesses are the ones who need a web service like this. They need something cheap, that scales and that is highly customizable. Above all, they need a tool that will enable them to interact to a maximum with their users/prospects…

So I’ll ask my question again… What would make someone, small business owner, marketer, etc… use the service?

I’m trying to build a product here… If I’m not at the right place, point me in the right direction please!

Thanks!

@Ted:

Thanks for you reply,

I really like what you’re bringing to the table. The reason I’m asking for ideas and feedback on this forum is simple: While building the service, I wanna focus on what customers really want.

I really like when you said: The ability to go beyond a silly fangated lead gen form and actually get fans able to participate by contributing content…

You’re right when you say that fans/users should participate by adding content… Most features of the app will require users to contribute… Otherwise there’s no interaction…

What would you see instead of a “fangated lead gen form”?
What do you have in mind?

Thx…

LP

Really?

If said companies [I’ve been a wildfire client several times, as well as a client of almost all of their competitors] had the resources, Wildfire would not have them as clients. The truth is companies small and big are looking to understand the emerging parts of digital and just because someone has a team of developers, or a building of them, doesn’t mean they have the time or expertise to do whatever is requested.

Many “big” companies have jumped into social headfirst. SMB is a great market and needs help but don’t underestimate the value of a few anchor clients both for closing sales and insuring you’ve got the lights on.

So… to the heart of the issue…

It sounds like you have already identified what you perceive to be a market gap – a provider that is not catering to SMB and does not have a good interface or options.

Don’t underestimate interface either. Omniture and Webtrends have some great features but they open a lot of doors by looking more sophisticated, and usable than Google and the other free alternatives. Marketers and especially business owners for very small companies have too many tools to use thees days, if you can make big gains in insuring they actually are able to use what they paid for, that’s a win.

Features are diverse and something you’d have to be more leading for me to point you too. Are you going to build facebook tabs? Standalone apps? Mobile versions? Will there be marketing strategy or just self service tools? What sort of analytics and integration of existing reporting?

Like I said before, I can rattle of ideas for minor improvements over the known names easily, but I’m not sending my clients away from a known company like wildfire, buddy media, or the other players for minor… innovate something more significant, something that I, as a so-called social media strategist didn’t see coming.

I’m trying to build a product here… If I’m not at the right place, point me in the right direction please!

This confuses me. You want to build a business but only want to hear ideas for what to do? Personally I’d rather know the objections and perceptions in the market first. Features don’t make the business work, selling it in does.

If you’re really stuck hunting for features I’m not sure you’ll find enough on a forum, blog or social network. People don’t know what they don’t know; telling them what they could do will be where you win.

Instead I’d suggest getting offline, or into some much deeper conversations, to understand how companies are trying to engage in digital campaigns… that’s going to show you the types of things that’s being done and let you see and open doors to what you could do to make it better / easier / faster / more successful.

p.s. Wildfire may logo list the big names but most of the instances I’ve partnered up on it were by no means fortune 500. Not to say it was small shops but much of their business would seem to be fairly small one-off engagements. I’d suggest you research their clientele closely.

Lots but I like having something to sell to my clients :smiley:

At my last job the founder of our company was known in the industry for “inventing a need”. That is to say, he saw a problem that people didn’t know they had and sold it too them. If you had asked people how they could have improved this up front, no one would have said you could.

I don’t mean to downplay market research – it’s vital – but only in so far as understanding what people are expecting today, not what they want tomorrow.

Apple is perhaps the best example of this. Other players had smartphones first but they saw that people were spending hours on some of the smallest features on those phones – games and music – and turned it into an empire. Again, if you had done research 6 years ago on getting a phone to play music, you would have had people look at you strangely.

My advice – don’t stop your research, don’t slow it down but don’t expect it to give you a feature list either. If anything you should walk away knowing what people are doing, trying to do, and would like to do tomorrow. Your job is to turn that into what they could be doing next week.

For this purpose facebook apps can really perform well!