Archive for November, 2009

10 Questions for Meetings Technology Providers: Mingle 360

November 3, 2009

 This is a first in a series of posts asking 10 questions from meetings technology providers, specifically focusing on meetings technology innovation.  Let me know what questions you would like to ask and what technology products you would like to cover. 

 As in independent consultant, I have never accepted a cent of commission on the sale of any meetings technology product. The reason I am making this post is to increase awareness of how meetings technology innovation can improve the meetings process.

Corbin

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 10 Questions for Mingle 360

1.    What is your company name?

Mingle360 (www.mingle360.com) is our company name and we were founded in 2006.

2.     Briefly, what is the background and/or history of your company?

The co-founders of the company are Dan Coffing, Lou Bonfiglio, and Bradley Blinn.  Back in 2006, we came up with the idea of the electronic business card.  At that point in time, MySpace was very popular while Facebook was exclusive to the college market.  Our innovative idea turned into the MingleStick product.  We filed our patents back in 2006 and raised investment capital shortly thereafter. 

We quickly realized the MingleStick has a variety of applications, but it was important to focus on a specific industry.  Tradeshows and conventions were an obvious fit based on our personal experiences with exchanging business cards and making introductions and connections at events.  We simply thought to ourselves “there has to be a better way!”

3. What is your product?Mingle360 has two main products for the tradeshow and convention industry:  The MingleStick and The MingleStation.   

The MingleStick is a small keychain device that enables two people to connect with each other with a click of a button.  The simplicity of the device is its strength – its only one button!  The MingleStick can be distributed to all attendees at an event – this ubiquity combined with its simplicity makes the MingleStick an extremely powerful networking tool for attendees and exhibitors.  Imagine a convention or tradeshow with 10,000 people and giving ALL participants the ability to network with exhibitors and each other with a simple click of a button.  This is incredibly powerful!  A person could easily make hundreds of mingle connections.  Event organizers create a unique and memorable experience that helps differentiate their event from the competition.  For more information about the MingleStick, visit: http://www.mingle360.com/faq_answers/the_minglestick.html

minglestick

The MingleStation is a small countertop unit that acts like a simple lead retrieval unit.  Instead of traditional name badge scanning, attendees walk up to the MingleStation and ‘click to connect’ with the exhibitor’s MingleStation.  Attendees like this experience because they feel in control.  Exhibitors benefit from the station because they don’t have to be present in order to facilitate the connection.  For example, the exhibitor might be talking with another customer or stepped away from their booth, but the attendee can still connect with the company by clicking their stick with the station.  For more information about the MingleStation, visit:  http://www.mingle360.com/faq_answers/the_minglestation.html

minglestation

The MingleStick and MingleStation products create a powerful networking solution for both attendees and exhibitors.  The connections made in person are uploaded online whereby attendees and exhibitors can view contact information and profile pictures (facial recognition) of the people and companies they met.  People can message each other online and share their favorite social networking profile pages found on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others.  Additionally, online document sharing enables exhibitors to present a wealth of information to interested attendees.  All in all, the Mingle360 solution extends the life of an event by turning real-world conversations into online connections.  Relationships are formed as a result of these connections, thus increasing the perceived value of the event.

4.     How does it fulfill a need or a problem?

Without a shadow of a doubt, the MingleStick and MingleStation help facilitate networking at events.  When people are looking to meet, greet, and network with each other, the MingleStick is a perfect solution.  Companies spend a lot of money to attend tradeshows, conventions, and business meetings with the goal of networking, building a sales pipeline, enhancing customer relationships, and more.  This involves personal human interaction and the MingleStick helps people engage each other. 

The following are key features and benefits associated with the MingleStick:

  • Conversation Starter:  The MingleStick is a great ice breaker at events.  Because it helps stir conversation, it enhances networking at events.  The MingleStick creates a social environment for business professionals.
  • Simplicity:  The MingleStick is a one-button device.  Just press the button to make a connection – it’s as simple as that!
  • Facial Recognition:  When you mingle with lots of people, you login to view your connections.  In addition to viewing contact information, profile pictures are displayed to help recall the conversations you had with each person. 
  • Save Time Typing:  The MingleStick is akin to an electronic business card.  No need to type in the contact information of 25, 50, 100+ people.  Just mingle with them and login to your online account to view their information.
  •  Go Green:  The MingleStick reduces the need for business cards.  At a recent Jiffy Lube event, 700 attendees created over 30,000 mingle connections!  That would be a LOT of business cards!
  • Data Export:  We allow a person to easily export their mingle data into a CSV file.  This allows people to use Salesforce.com, Outlook, or any contact management program they desire.  

5.     What is your unique selling proposition? What differentiates you from the competition?

Our unique selling proposition is the following:

 For event organizers:
– Mingle360 offers revenue, branding, and buzz.  Revenue can be generated because the event organizer can monetize our platform by selling sponsorships and MingleSticks.  It’s very feasible for organizations to generate profit with our solution.  Event organizers can choose to brand the MingleStick with their own colors and logo.  Because the MingleStick is a new technology, people are excited to use the MingleStick and it creates buzz at the event.  Creating digital connections with a click of a button and integrating with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. creates curiosity, excitement, and incredible value.  Event organizers and meeting planners looking for that competitive edge and ‘wow factor’ can turn to the MingleStick.

For attendees:
– An enhanced networking experience
– Electronic capture of mingle connections (no business card exchange needed)

For exhibitors:

– A new way for lead capture and retrieval.  The MingleStick and MingleStation solution offers facial recognition to help remember the conversations with attendees.

For sponsors:

– The opportunity to brand the MingleSticks with your company name and colors for maximum exposure at the event.  Companies can associate themselves with an exciting technology that people will remember.

Our differentiation from the competition is the fact that we are bringing a new and innovative technology solution that can replace the way ‘old business’ was done.  Who needs to trade business cards and scan badges, when you have a MingleStick!?  Forward thinking companies love the MingleStick and see the benefits of bring innovative yet simple technology to their events for enhancing the networking experience.

6.     What audience(s) are you trying to reach?

The audiences we are trying to reach are meeting planners and event organizers for small, medium, and large events.  A corporate meeting with 100 – 250 people is perfect for the MingleStick.  Similarly, a large tradeshow of 50,000 people could create over 1 million mingle connections!  No matter what size event, the attendee experience can be greatly enhanced with the MingleStick.  When people look to meet, greet, and network with each other, the MingleStick is a great tool for enhancing networking at the event.

7.     Are there common misconceptions about your product or service?

 Sometimes event organizers don’t comprehend the entire revenue and branding opportunity with our platform.  It’s easy to think we’re a simple electronic business card, but our value proposition is much more.

 8.  Do you have an online demo of your product?

            To see how the MingleStick works, please watch this video:
            http://www.mingle360.com/video_minglestick_works.html

9.  Can you share success stories?

Our success stories are evidenced by our customer testimonials and reference letters.  Please check out the following:

Jiffy Lube Testimonials: http://www.mingle360.com/video_Jiffy_Lube.html

TS2 Testimonials: http://www.mingle360.com/video_TS2_Testimonials.html

ABA Testimonials: http://www.mingle360.com/video_aba_testimonies.html
Northeast Regional Carwash Convention:  http://www.mingle360.com/video_NRCC.html

Reference Letters:  http://www.mingle360.com/references.html

 10.     What is your contact information? Your web address?

            Bradley Blinn
            VP, Marketing
            703-425-0402 x511        

            bblinn (at) mingle360.com

            http://www.mingle360.com is our company website.

            http://www.minglestick.com is our product website.

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If your company would like to be interviewed for ’10 Questions,’  please contact me at corbin@corbinball.com

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