DevLearn Day 2

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  • Back for another exciting review of DevLearn’s Expo.  So what will you read today about?
  • Product of the expo  – there can be only one…
  • Worst marketing of a product and how it reminds me of the marketing case study involving Infiniti cars of 1981-82
  • A serious question to ask –  no seriously, I’m curious
  • Knowing your audience
  • What’s next?

Product of the Expo

One of the wonderful things I love about attending expos is the ability to see new products and new vendors. For example, there were several vendors making their debut – as in their solution – at DevLearn.

A few of which were literally startups.  Personally, I think that is awesome.  Not only does it show that this industry, i.e. e-learning is continuing to grow an enhance, it also shows the naysayers – we are not going anywhere – so go after the ILT people and leave us alone.   Or at least that is my takeaway.

Anyway, without further adieu – I name my DevLearn Product of the Show (drum roll or finger snaps please)


  • It pitches itself as an interactive video platform – but that does not do the product justice. Because if is more about interactive than anything else.
  • Other video tools – even some authoring tools enable you to have questions next to your video clip as part of that page, if you will – what does Hapyak do?  Have it right in the video as an overlay. Yep, overlay.
  • You can add chapters, links and synch in-video (i.e. go right to the part of the video you want to view, rather than having to watch the entire video – typically found only in video learning platform solutions)
  • Very cool analytics
  • UI looks sharp

I was so amazed at what it could do, I started thinking to myself, hmm,  I can use this for some videos I will be creating that are tied to e-learning (and free for people to take, etc.).

I also was thinking about all the possibilities on what this product could and going down the road a bit, has the potential to do.

web site:

Price: Not provided,  but they do offer a 30 day trial


1. Saltbox – LRS product

2. Pathgather – discussed in yesterday’s blog

3. eLearning Brothers – not a newbie to the field, but they constantly had crowds of people – and they offered a show special. They offer those templates, avatars/actors that you see in many authoring tools products including Articulate, among others.  As noted in an early blog post, buy their unlimited package and get everything they offer including gamification stuff.  I remember going to a show a few years back in Utah, and they were just starting out.


In yesterday’s post I talked about a product called Gennio which sounded very promising.  The problem though, is no one could see the product.  Why?  Well, it is not ready to go live.

But before you say, “okay, that makes sense”, it really doesn’t make any sense.  In fact, in a way it could backfire against them.

Here’s Why

In 81-82 or thereabouts, this new car come out around the same time as Lexus. This new brand was Infiniti.  While Lexus was showing their car in ads, Infiniti went with a different approach – which later  would be listed in numerous marketing case studies on what not to do..

In the Infiniti commercials, you never saw the car. What you saw was a road, lots of trees, and you seeing trees blowing back and forth as this mysterious thing was zipping by it.

Sounds intriguing right?

Well, what they found was that people were coming into the dealerships to see the car, but that was it. They didn’t buy it.

End result?

It took years for Infiniti to gain real share against Lexus and some people believe they never recovered from that faux pas.

If you are going to make your debut in the United States (their HQ is in Moscow, RU) at DevLearn no less, then show the product.

Create a five or 10 minute demo that is looped or create a fixed demo (i.e. created specifically for the show) and present that.

Both options above have been used by vendors at DevLearn and other e-learning, heck various other trade shows in the past.

Part of my confusion on why they decided to just show a screen where you could go to on the internet to register to learn more when the product is realized, was due to:

  • A major level of sponsorship at DevLearn
  • A very large booth

Thus, they invested quite a bit of funds for this “debut” but besides listing the “highlights” of what their product would be able to do, they had no product for anyone to see.

Speaking of sponsorships,

I was wondering how many vendors who pay to have their name/logo on those bingo liked cards, that people run amok getting the vendors to stamp, actually turn that into actual sales?

I’m not saying that in any type of sarcastic tone, I’m really wondering.  Yeah, your name is seen on that, but people trying to get the stamp are more focused on the “stamp” and chance of winning, then it would seem to me, learning or even remembering your name after they turn the cards in.

Some vendors just placed their “stamp” thing, on a table for anyone to go over, stamp their card and leave.  I did see one vendor talk to card holder and in a few minutes the vendor had garnered enough attention from that person, that the bingo card holder was in serious discussions with the vendor.

Most of the times, when the person shows the card, and the vendor talks to them, it goes no where. I mean they want the stamp, talking to you is not part of the game plan.

This leads me back to my original inquiry – what is the actual close ratio of those folks who are running around to get their stamp – with your product?  And do you even track that data to see if their is truly a ROI, especially since people are not keeping the cards after they turn them in.

Do you know your audience?

As anyone who follows this industry knows, that in the U.S. alone there are a lot of trade shows. Many more so than in previous years.  Which is kind of strange when you think about it, because a couple have consolidated, but that hasn’t stopped the growth.

Thus, vendors face a dilemma,  how many shows do they go to (as in getting a booth)?

Is it five? Three? All of them?

Any vendor will tell you that getting a booth is not cheap, and that is before the costs of materials, resources for the booth, needing items such as Wi-Fi which is not free, etc.  – it is a big marketing expenditure.

And while you may be thinking to yourself- well it is all about getting sales so it outweighs the cost, the fact of the matter is that isn’t the case.

Most vendors that I know or have talked to about the trade show circuit readily admit it is about being seen and for people to remember them.  If they land some leads that turn into new clients – often with a longer time to close a deal, than normal (avg. 4-6 mths), then it is as they say an added bonus.

But being seen and remembered only works, if you select shows that hit your target audience.

For example:

a.  DevLearn’s main audience are instructional designers, trainers and folks who are either creating courses or somewhere involved in the process.  Can there be decision makes there? Absolutely, but that is not the core audience – and I say that in no disrespect.

Let’s say you target the association market with your product, then you better be sure to attend ASAE’s trade show.  That makes much more sense that attending some other shows in the e-learning industry.

If you were attending the expo, be honest – you have to wonder to yourself – what some of these vendors were doing at the show.

My list includes:

  • Some of those colleges, schools, etc.  – I know when I talked to someone at Global Finance School how was business and how successful they are, he informed me that they do quite well at this show and other shows. I was surprised, because to me, it seemed odd, especially at a show like DevLearn (nothing against DevLearn here).
  • getabstract and their main competitor Soundview.  I like getabstract, and have bought in the past Soundview when I was a training director, but I never said to myself during my corporate/association/university working days “oh, thank G-D, Soundview is here at this show, today is the day I buy.”

Upcoming Stuff

Tuesday is my Halloween edition – and it is going to cover the latest authoring tool trends and my top ten tools for 2013 (oh and my presentation too).

Then the following week – there will be no blog post, as I will be traveling to Australia to speak at Learning@Work in Sydney (as a keynoter).  But the following week – a post from down under.

I’m quite excited to speak at Learning@Work (Nov. 11-13) in Sydney, followed by Unicorn Training and eLearning Age conference (Nov. 27th) in London (as a keynoter) which is followed by Online Educa Berlin (Dec. 4-6th).  Truly honored. If you are going to attend any of the shows, let me know.

Lastly, to all those people who came up to me in the last two days to say they are fans of the blog/followers on Twitter – thank you, thank you so much.

And to all the readers of this blog in 133 countries, words cannot express how honored I am.

That’s it from DevLearn.

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