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Company connects with customers on relaunched Web site featuring interactive demos

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Challenge: About four years ago, Turning Technologies came into the market with a new take on an existing idea: audience response technology. The Youngstown, Ohio-based company had plans to improve audience response systems, making them more interactive than ever before.

Turning’s system integrates into Microsoft Corp.’s PowerPoint and allows audiences to participate in presentations simply by using the ResponseCard keypad to answer questions, a technique that Tony DeAscentis, VP-marketing at Turning, describes as a “complete 180” from what existed earlier.

But to reach existing and potential customers, the young company needed a strong Web presence—something beyond what most sites already offered.

“We had to create a medium that would educate a whole existing audience, and to bring this system in to a brand new audience and to do it in an extremely fast way,” DeAscentis said. “The best way to do that was through our Web site.”

The Web site’s landing page needed to convey a certain message, he said, to create a feeling of connection with the user. But because Turning Technologies serves different markets—including corporate, kindergarten through 12th grade and higher education segments—it also needed a way to target its marketing messages.

Solution: Because the Web site that Turning’s marketing team wanted to create went well beyond anything that could be built in-house, they sought out a Web developer. Their search led to San Diego-based Red Door Interactive.

“We came up with a concept and design,” DeAscentis said, describing the original site as impersonal with basic graphics and Flash animation. “[Now] when you land on the site, you are greeted by a ‘real person’ who will introduce you to our product and tell you how it works, and wraps up by giving you an opportunity to actually use the product on the screen.”

Once product presenter “Melissa” finishes, users have the opportunity to click on market-specific pages, which might launch something resembling a fifth-grade classroom, for example. Clicking animations on that page brings up more information about Turning’s product.

“It’s really giving you a sense of connection to the product and the environment it gets used in,” DeAscentis said.

Result: The once small start-up has grown into a global company, and DeAscentis said the Web site has kept pace with this growth. Keeping the site where it should be is an ongoing, collaborative process, but one that has reaped some large rewards, he said.

More people are visiting the site and, although DeAscentis wouldn’t disclose any figures, he said the numbers “spiked dramatically” and that “all of the key performance indicators are pointing in the right direction.”

Along with monetary success came positive feedback, DeAscentis said.

“It was a huge wow factor,” he said. “So many people would compliment us on the site and say how creative this is, that this is unique. They could really understand what the product is in less than a minute and were ready to learn more. That’s nice, but what you really want to hear about is growth in people visiting your site.”

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