Recently I got back from our first two conferences for introducing Percebe to the public. The Florida Music Teachers Association had their conference in Orlando, and the Georgia Music Teachers Association in Macon, Georgia. Both of them were actually quite small in the world of conferences, with roughly 120 music teachers attending each, with probably about 80% being piano teachers. Roughly half of them stopped by our booth. Reactions were overall very positive. Some people were going around telling their colleagues at the conference about it, some said it would be great to use in their piano lab at their piano studio or university. Many saw the value of students using it during their practice times, which was our main stated use case. There were a few that were not interested in using technology for teaching piano. That's OK; people used to feel the same way about sending mail electronically. We also gained some valuable feedback from the piano teachers there.
People were impressed with how you could play from anywhere and the score would scroll to the right place, and how you can practice with one hand at a time or both, and Percebe knows which you are doing. Some of the main things we need to improve I think, and that we are doing now, is providing lots of scores in the catalog, and making it available for mobile devices.
But probably the most useful feedback, in my mind, is that out of all of the visitors and enthusiasm, we had one download. Uno. So obviously our "leads" get lost somewhere. Or rather, perhaps they just need to be reminded a few times. Cue standard advertising practices, enter stage left. People need to see ads not once, but multiple times, before that little internal switch toggles that says, "Yeah OK I get it, now I'm going to take action." We did gather some contact info from our booth visitors, yes, and we sent a follow-up e-mail. We will continue e-mail campaigns (friendly, not annoying) in the future, when we have a significant number of contacts. We also need to find out why they turn away, at what step along the way. So we are now moving forward with an advertising firm here in the U.S. that will help us get the ads out there and optimize, optimize, optimize, tracking customer experience from ad viewing to purchase.
Unfortunately for me that means yet another unexpected technology endeavor: learn and integrate with a CRM. We're deciding between SalesForce and PipeDrive. The integration is so that our app can signal when the user has installed the app. ...But it's just a REST API, so no problemo. Just a bit less time for the many other things that need done.
So me being a not-salesman (yes, another original term...though maybe there have been "knot salesmen" before...at Boy Scout conferences maybe?), there were a few awkward moments. Like the time when I greeted a lady walking by the table and she quickly fled with, "I'm not interested." Felt like the stereotypical car salesman "vulture"...for saying, "Hi. Have you heard of us?" And one time I became a lame game show host when I pointed out our amazon gift card drawing with a wording that just felt, well, game showy. Oh well, most of the time I was just a guy talking to folks. One lady avoided talking to me like I had leprosy in my breath, until she found out that I was a musician too, which suddenly transformed me from vulture into human. It was a rather relieving transformation.
Overall it was a positive experience. I met a lot of interesting people and even made a few new friends, including a couple fellow-composers. No really, they were a couple, the married kind, with one daughter. Oh, and was extended a possible future composition commissioning opportunity by another new friend. I'm not sure what our calculated ROI would have been for the conferences, and while it may not be good, good things came out of it, and we will march forward with what we've learned!