AJA Video is a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and desktop solutions for the professional broadcast and post-production markets.

This year they launched a new product, the Ki Pro at the National Association of Broadcasters Show and from there embarked on a 24 city global road-show, creating events to herald the new product launch. We had the chance to speak with Shea Byrnes who was responsible for these events.

What was the purpose of the roadshow?
We wanted to launch the new product with a splash, and events are a great way to rally people around a product and generate buzz. The product we launched is in a new field for us; it’s a unique product and we wanted to have the chance to show it to as many people as possible.

Also as a manufacturer who primarily sells through resellers, we also wanted a chance to meet our end-users face-to-face and get their feedback on the new product. An event was a great way to unite us with our audience.

What was the process of putting this all together?
We started off with the overall plan of what we wanted to accomplish and what cities we would go to and then booked venues, put the website up, and sent emails out. We contacted local and national industry publications and posted on industry blogs and contacted user groups letting people know that we were coming to their town. We tapped into our local reseller network for geo-specific advice like what venue to choose, which publications to market in,, and how to get the word out at the local level.

Since we were doing this in 24 cities, there was a lot of work just to keep the events cohesive and present some consistency. We created a landing page on aja.com to unify the experience and that helped a lot.

So, how did the events go?
They were very successful. We attracted about 100 people in each city and used the events to conduct user trainings and familiarize users with the new product. A lot of our resellers really liked our approach so we are actually implementing a “seminar in a box” offering so that resellers can do it as well.

How did you measure success?
We looked at how many people we reached, the number and quality of press that we spoke with, and sales generated from the tour. On all of these metrics the event was a success.

What were the biggest learnings from these events?
First, getting to know our end users. Going into this, we didn’t really know who are customers were since we don’t get to connect with them directly since we deal with resellers. Getting to meet them face-to-face, hearing about their problems and how our products addressed them, and getting real-time feedback was invaluable.

Secondly, we learned that WOM (word-of-mouth) marketing is incredibly important for events. You have to create marketing materials that people can forward on easily, you have to connect with industry publications and other influential groups that can help to spread the word. Through these events we were able to create a tremendous amount of buzz around the product launch and achieve a greater relevancy with our customers.

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