Using Technology to Co-Create Value

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Marketing podcast with Joanna Van Vleck (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes

I’ve said on numerous occasions that technology and social media pay the largest dividends for small business when employed to co-create value for all involved. In other words, an innovative use of technology that increases the value for both the business and its customers – Even better if it increases human engagement too!

I recently had the opportunity to visit with personal image consultant Joanna Van Vleck and I think she has created a pretty fine example of just such an innovation.

Van Vleck consults with men on their wardrobes, hair and overall style. She found that while her clients loved working with her, they hated being dragged into stores to try on clothes – keep in mind these are all men. On one occasion a client suggested using a web cam instead. He would buy the stuff on his own and consult with her about what worked with what didn’t via video conference. At first Van Vleck found the idea a bit odd, but somewhere along the way she discovered a brilliant innovation.

Today the Trunk Club, a business she founded to take advantage of the video consulting technology, helps men around the globe not have to do something they hate – go shopping. (By the way, that’s the surest way to create a meaningful innovation) The Trunk Club concept is pretty simple – When you need something to wear you get in touch with your Trunk Club Expert, they pick out clothes based on style, need and budget and send them to your home or office. You try them on and get advice via video conference and pay for and keep only what you want. By the way, during our interview she shared that her little idea is poised to do around $3mil in its first year.

Van Vleck is a wonderful example of what a successful entrepreneur looks and acts like – enjoy her advice and her energy.


Tags

Joanna Van Vleck, Trunk Club


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  1. Of course when you are an online business entrepreneur, you can get away with not looking so sharp 24/7 to some degree. Although the technology as you stated is coming into-the-room with web cams and video conferencing.

  2. Of course when you are an online business entrepreneur, you can get away with not looking so sharp 24/7 to some degree. Although the technology as you stated is coming into-the-room with web cams and video conferencing.

  3. If you have a business as online,you must spend your all time for it.Because Internet always live 7/24 and You must join it too.

  4. If you have a business as online,you must spend your all time for it.Because Internet always live 7/24 and You must join it too.

  5. I think the important thing here is that the innovative technology is being used to support the customer, not just throw information at him. Too often, people look to social network technology and say, “I’m helping my customer by keeping them informed.” The business you’ve just described helps the customer by giving them what they need…it’s not just and update; it’s a solution.

    Paul Weiss
    blogs.vbpoutsourcing.com

  6. I think the important thing here is that the innovative technology is being used to support the customer, not just throw information at him. Too often, people look to social network technology and say, “I'm helping my customer by keeping them informed.” The business you've just described helps the customer by giving them what they need…it's not just and update; it's a solution.

    Paul Weiss
    blogs.vbpoutsourcing.com

  7. Interesting concept, although, it’s seems like it is trying to do the job of girlfriends/wives… maybe there’s a good fit with dating sites to help get people to meet.

    1. maybe the girlfriends/wives don’t really think it’s their job – proof is in the sales numbers, which prove you might just have to stay in your cave.

  8. Interesting concept, although, it's seems like it is trying to do the job of girlfriends/wives… maybe there's a good fit with dating sites to help get people to meet.

  9. maybe the girlfriends/wives don't really think it's their job – proof is in the sales numbers, which prove you might just have to stay in your cave.

  10. During recession, social media networks are even more critical to companies, especially small businesses.”The Yes Movie is a cutting edge, inspirational documentary featuring the success stories of America’s youngest millionaires and visionaries. http://www.TheYESmovie.comby Louis Lautman

  11. During recession, social media networks are even more critical to companies, especially small businesses.''The Yes Movie is a cutting edge, inspirational documentary featuring the success stories of America’s youngest millionaires and visionaries. http://www.TheYESmovie.comby Louis Lautman

  12. This is a great example of listening to the customer, taking the time to understand their pain points and using that information to drive process and product innovation. Just goes to show you what your customers will show you when you take the time to listen.

    1. So true – many great ideas come straight from our customers if we bother to ask and listen – of course, some real bonehead ones come from their too 🙂

  13. This is a great example of listening to the customer, taking the time to understand their pain points and using that information to drive process and product innovation. Just goes to show you what your customers will show you when you take the time to listen.

  14. So true – many great ideas come straight from our customers if we bother to ask and listen – of course, some real bonehead ones come from their too 🙂

  15. This is powerful idea, and it works.

    As marketing company dedicated to helping helps small business owners who are struggling to attract clients but don’t have money to invest in advertising nor have time to spend in countless networking websites, clubs and events, we have started some months ago something that is working remarkably well for our customers.

    We’ve created a small website where we encourage consumers to send their burning questions, needs or requests to us and we’ll provide them in a short period, if not minutes, free professionals answers from experts. ALL for Free.

    Business professionals in our network have a huge incentive to answer questions: They could mention their products or services, where relevant, in their answers and If they are answering a question not related to their business, they can expose their know-how and brand to millions of users, and their ad appears on the right side or at the bottom of their answer proposal.

    it is an incredible leads generating machine because the vast majority of questions involve purchase decision or service need.

    If you are interested to join our network, Contact me.

  16. This is powerful idea, and it works.

    As marketing company dedicated to helping helps small business owners who are struggling to attract clients but don’t have money to invest in advertising nor have time to spend in countless networking websites, clubs and events, we have started some months ago something that is working remarkably well for our customers.

    We've created a small website where we encourage consumers to send their burning questions, needs or requests to us and we'll provide them in a short period, if not minutes, free professionals answers from experts. ALL for Free.

    Business professionals in our network have a huge incentive to answer questions: They could mention their products or services, where relevant, in their answers and If they are answering a question not related to their business, they can expose their know-how and brand to millions of users, and their ad appears on the right side or at the bottom of their answer proposal.

    it is an incredible leads generating machine because the vast majority of questions involve purchase decision or service need.

    If you are interested to join our network, Contact me.

  17. This is powerful idea, and it works.

    As marketing company dedicated to helping helps small business owners who are struggling to attract clients but don’t have money to invest in advertising nor have time to spend in countless networking websites, clubs and events, we have started some months ago something that is working remarkably well for our customers.

    We've created a small website where we encourage consumers to send their burning questions, needs or requests to us and we'll provide them in a short period, if not minutes, free professionals answers from experts. ALL for Free.

    Business professionals in our network have a huge incentive to answer questions: They could mention their products or services, where relevant, in their answers and If they are answering a question not related to their business, they can expose their know-how and brand to millions of users, and their ad appears on the right side or at the bottom of their answer proposal.

    it is an incredible leads generating machine because the vast majority of questions involve purchase decision or service need.

    If you are interested to join our network, Contact me.

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