Custom Digital Marketing, Social & Interactive Media Consulting

Rookie Season, Rookie Mistake: Launching The iMedia Playbook

In travel, theme parks and restaurants, it’s called a “soft open” or “soft launch.” You open the doors to the public without formally announcing the opening. It’s a disaster-check of sorts; a chance to work out all the kinks and potential problems before the formal launch or opening later.

That is the approach I took when it came to launch this new venture, The iMedia Playbook. Not officially open for business, I approached a single client just to give my ideas a test drive -- to see how they fly out in the real world.

Since I knew the coach, I approached the softball program at the local university. In hindsight, probably not the most ideal choice as a test client for TiMP’s soft launch, but I did learn a valuable lesson:

Pick a client that actually needs what you are offering
Since my client of choice, a university softball team, is part of a larger athletics department, many of the ideas and strategies I was bringing to the table were already being handled in house.

Yet, all was not lost. Since I was unable to ramp up much of what I intended TiMP to offer, my soft launch exercise became one of observation. I became a scout, taking notes on everything I could, learning as much as possible by watching how the university athletic department utilized interactive media platforms. Use of streaming video, social media, blogs, images and standard video were all pieces of a larger media, marketing and exposure strategy.

I did also use the opportunity to tinker with a few projects on my own. I travelled to an away game in the area to take photographs and record audio for what became three slideshows, complete with a soundtrack. I assembled a trio of Flash pieces for possible use in a fundraising campaign for a new softball complex. I took the opportunity to attend home games, observing how the streaming video feed of the game was coupled with play-by-play for those watching on their computers. I followed the Twitter account and friended the Facebook page to see how those platforms were utilized as part of the overall strategy.

All in all, it was still a successful soft launch. Although I was not able to ‘test out all the features’ The iMedia Playbook had to offer with this inaugural client, the information I gathered watching the ideas and theories in action was extremely valuable. The scouting report I compiled watching the university athletics department leverage the interactive media technologies will serve as a valuable resource for the future of The iMedia Playbook.

OT -- As an added bonus, the softball team won the conference championship for the first time, earning a berth in the NCAA tournament. This only added to the comprehensiveness of the scouting report, getting to see how the interactive media technologies were utilized during a championship run. Plus, I’ll admit, it’s exciting to follow a team during a championship season -- I am still a sports fan after all.