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CEG’s multimedia e-mails decrease costs, increase sales

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The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is a not-for-profit, membership-based economic and business development organization dedicated to helping companies in an eight-county area of upstate New York grow and attract new investment opportunities.

The organization was looking to improve the way it connects with prospective investors; it also wanted to provide consulting and training information to its members. Because CEG’s member base is spread over such a large area, however, managing sales leads with face-to-face meetings and phone calls was proving to be inefficient.

“It can be a great challenge keeping them all abreast of the various programs we offer,” said Louise Aitcheson, CEG’s director of business development.

To meet this challenge, CEG decided to send out customized presentations via e-mail using KinetiCast, an online tool that creates, sends and tracks multimedia presentations. To use the program, Aitcheson creates a PowerPoint presentation and uploads it to KinetiCast, where she can add video and Web links to enhance the presentation, she said. Aitcheson said she can also use a webcam to add personalized video, as if she was making the presentation in person. "Video brings a more personal aspect to my presentation campaigns," she said. "People are more likely to watch a brief video than read a bunch of text."

In one campaign, Aitcheson created a presentation that was sent out to 75 manufacturing companies across CEG’s sprawling territory. The package included information that allowed recipients to learn about CEG's services through video excerpts of training programs and PDFs of case studies, she said. The e-mail also included a link to a registration form. On other occasions, Aitcheson has sent a targeted presentation to a handful of people she met at networking functions.

Once it sends the presentations via e-mail, CEG uses KinetiCast’s tracking feature to monitor how many times each recipient has watched a particular presentation and for how long. Aitcheson then uses that information to direct her follow-up calls.

Since using the new tool this year, Aitcheson estimates CEG has successfully closed $100,000 in new business. The increased sales reflect the additional deals closed this year compared to the same period before CEG was using the multimedia tool, she noted. "Our close rate went up significantly because we were able to prequalify many prospects based on interest" from their click-throughs on those e-mails, Aitcheson said.

Another benefit, she said, is that CEG is saving money because it no longer has to mail or fax large documents or travel to face-to-face meetings to give presentations.

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