Can This Startup Compete Against Event Ticketing Platform Giants?

How one startup is making product management waves in the competitive online event ticketing reservation platform markets

VinoVisit, a Napa Valley based startup, built an online reservation platform that offers consumers the flexibility to book real-time winery reservations and build itineraries.  The startup has expanded an existing platform to make it easier for event organizers to manage, market, and sell tickets to their events.

We were intrigued by the startup’s product management to deliver standard meeting management – with functionality that is not much different than Eventbrite or Cvent – features to a niche market.  However, with one key difference, the platform integrates with “winery software”.

The VinoVisit ticketing platform includes features such as; event creation, customization, guest management and reporting, check-in, and event sales payment options.


‘Finally, a solution exists for wineries to inexpensively manage their ticketed events that is fully integrated with widely used winery software. Most ticketing platforms were created without the winery in mind. The new VinoVisit ticketing platform allows multiple levels of customization that puts the winery in control. Those planning trips to wine country or living locally will all have increased exposure to our partner’s events.’ Ron Scharman, COO, VinoVisit.

As a startup, competing against event management and ticketing giants like Cvent and Eventbrite, VinoVisit provides data that their customers also gain access to:

  1. 75,000+ monthly website visitors
  2. 230,000+ national email subscriber list
  3. 30,000+ social media fan base


From a product management perspective, the features of VinoVisit are not unique.  The only differentiator is in the marketing – the startup has focused solely on the winery industry for event ticketing.   However, as noted, key competitors such as Eventbrite and Cvent could challenge startup’s play in the winery market because they have a deeper list of features and an extensive list of visitors, subscribers, and social media followers.

For example, the Eventbrite and Cvent platforms have an array of built-in features that facilitate the entire event lifecycle from start-to-finish.  VinoVisit will need to consider extending their platform further with future product development in order to compete with the Evenbrite and Cvent features which include:

  • Mobile apps
  • Post-event analytics
  • Meeting management
  • Venue sourcing
  • Social media
  • Search for finding unique venues
  • Budget management
  • Event marketing
  • Registration
  • Check-in process
  • Onsite audience engagement



Common A/B Testing Mistakes That Kill Traction

Solutions to Common A/B Testing Mistakes

When was the last time you evaluated your marketing strategy? If you have not done it for awhile, now is the time to revisit your online marketing campaign and assess the impact of your A/B testing.  You might have overlooked the common mistakes of over represented product information and an old approach of dripping market promotion.  Also, check out the video below on A/B testing mistakes.

KISSmetrics explains the common A/B testing mistakes that people make and provides a few useful solutions:

Mistake One: Over representation of your product

A common mistake in marketing strategy is over representation of the product by exploiting fake testimonials.  Do not exaggerate product information or product value. 

product representation

The policy of honesty remains true and applicable in launching and promoting products.  If you continue to bombard your clients with false or misleading information, you will be more likely to increase negative customer reviews and drive bad word of mouth.

Solution One: Enhance the value of the product to deliver value that meets your customer’s needs.  

Stay focused on creating a compelling hook or promise that truly and properly represents your products.  Direct your customers to landing pages that include specific information that addresses their wants, needs, and expectations.

So the question lies with how you would gauge which optimization tool best suits your customers’ needs?  The solution is to simply ask your customers.  Asking the right questions paves way to understanding their main concerns.

product management

Survey tools like Qualarro, can be helpful in uncovering customer needs.  Also, customer development calls, keyword inbound traffic, and heat maps are some tools that if effectively used can help you understand more about your customers.

By gathering survey data, it will become more clear how to create marketing campaigns that will most likely trigger positive responses from customers.  As a result of these combined efforts — knowing the needs of your customers and enhancing the overall value of the product — your clients will continue to love and buy your products.


Mistake Two: Making customers wait too long to experience the value of the product. 

Customers have no extra time to discover your products, so it is important that you help them know how to experience your product.  Once customers love your product, they will use it regularly and pay for it.  Also, you will likely find that customers are willing to give feedback and provide comments to make your product better.


Solution Two: Make them experience the value of the product.

Once you let clients know the true value of your product, and if the product is aligned with what has been promised, then you will be successful at earning their trust.  In return, customers will be happy to share testimonials and recommend your product through social media and word-of-mouth.

Knowing how to avoid common A/B testing mistakes and applying the above solutions will greatly improve your marketing strategy and business profit.  Have you been successful in eliminating some A/B testing mistakes in your business? Let other people read it from your post!

After Your MVP Getting To Scale And Choosing The Team Is The Next Hurdle

By Sharon Brown

Scaling a startup is typically one of the biggest challenges.  When faced with the challenges of scaling your business, consider focusing on what the most important metrics are to converting customers in your pipeline, then optimize, optimize, optimize!

After creating your minimum viable product (MVP) build your team to align with the measurable goals that you need to achieve month-to-month, week-to-week, day-to-day. Hire people with a track record of achievement in a similar capacity.

Everyone you hire should contribute to the core business objectives. It is equally important to choose people that have a passion for the big picture, and with whom you would enjoy working.

Also, it may be time to do a self assessment about your abilities as an entrepreneur, and your ability to communicate a vision, lead a team, and create a culture that will allow your startup to thrive. The culture fit is an important component to scalability that should not be discounted.


Sharon Brown

Sharon Brown

Founder & CEO, eLuminate

For speaking engagements contact Sharon here

Tips For The Virtual Product Manager

By Sharon Brown

Virtual Product Managers Working with Long-Distance Development Teams

I noted in a blog post that I could probably write a book of tips for product managers working with a virtual development team.  Below are a few key considerations and tips to get you started on the right path.

  • Make sure the product vision is clearly defined and communicated to the team;
  • Validate the scope and product deliverables with the team (great for buy in);
  • Document and communicate a clear division of roles and responsibilities.

Remember the importance of building a good first impression.  Your first interaction with your new team will be instrumental in building the foundation for the work relationship.

Do not discount the importance of team-building and establishing a team culture; both are extremely important.  You could have the brightest minds and the most capable resources, but if people don’t know how to work together —  and pull toward the same goal — that will become a big drain on productivity and the product.

Establish regular processes for accountability (team and yourself), get one-on-one time with each product developer, and find efficient ways to communicate — then streamline, streamline, streamline that communication.


Senior Product Manager Versus Junior Product Manager

What if one of your team members is another product manager?  If one product manager has seniority, how should you work together?  There must be seamless communication and a clear definition of roles and responsibilities between both senior and junior product managers.

In either tech or non-tech environments (I’ve worked in both), the senior product manager is responsible for defining the scope, end-to-end solution, execution of product specifications, optimization, and more.

Depending on the organizational structure, the junior product manager can be assigned a portion of the product to manage and is responsible for meeting milestones, and reporting progress on key deliverables to the senior product manager.


Sharon Brown

Sharon Brown

Founder & CEO, eLuminate

For speaking engagements contact Sharon here

One Startups Strategy to Launch a Product Market Fit and Sales Platform for Product Owners

A product market fit and sales platform geared towards startup companies and product launches that helps product owners identify their target demographic and ideal price.

World Cup of Sales (WCOS), a product market fit and sales platform geared towards startup companies and product launches, is providing Millennials social sharing tools so that they can leverage their social media followers to sell products and earn money on what they sell.

Millennials already spend over 5 hours a day on social media, so it’s an easy way for students to share to their networks, get some cool selling experience, and earn some money along the way.

The product market fit concept that helps product owners identify their target demographic and the ideal price point for their products, is what WCOS is touting as their unique offering into the crowded sales platform market.

social media

The startup is putting together a team of ambassadors across 300 US campuses who will review product samples and provide feedback on look and feel, missing features, and any other info companies need to track. This type of market intelligence can save huge money by ensuring companies launch the right product to the right market.

The company hopes to change the way companies launch.  “With an aggressive growth plan for their platform to connect the crowd with startups, World Cup of Sales is poised to create a shift in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Nabyl Charania, CEO of Rokk3r Labs.

Rokk3r Labs is a platform for entrepreneurs with a focus on exponential technologies (e.g., the blockchain, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing) and offers methods of raising capital.  Currently, Rokk3r Labs has a portfolio of 39 companies.

About World Cup of Sales
The World Cup of Sales is a platform that accelerates sales, amplifies product launches and provides real-time feedback. With WCOS, startup companies can launch new products to market, get instant product feedback on demographics and market fit, and live data on how products are generating real revenue.

Product Management Roadmap of a Startup Productivity App

Great apps start with great product management. How one startup created an app that solves the maze of productivity app tools and functions

Startups and founders who spend their workdays switching between multiple productivity apps are missing opportunities to streamline work processes and business functions.  Startups need to find a way to coalesce productivity functions, such as note taking, task management, bookmarking and more, into one framework.

Finding an easy way to find anything you’ve stored and having a way to access it when you need it is gold.  Consol – a bootstrapped startup – is an app that consolidates key productivity functions into one framework.

Productivity App User Perspective

Users create their own organization with hashtags called workspaces (parent tags) and categories (child tags). This system, called Taggregation, adds hierarchy to project organization. Items can even belong to multiple workspaces and categories.


Different content types, such as notes, tasks and bookmarks appear in context in a list. This item list updates based on which workspace and category the user selects and the user’s preferred sorting mechanism. Selecting an item in the list displays a page view where the user can add and edit content.

“I was frustrated trying to keep track of all my clients’ data with available tools,” said Consol Co-Founder Chevas Balloun. “I was using a note taker, but kept having trouble finding my tasks or links within the notes. I’d try a task app, but felt like I never had room for extensive notes. Using multiple apps as a fix just seemed inefficient.”

“Many productivity apps try to hide or minimize the organization in order to focus on the experience.” “However, with a productivity app, the organization should be central to the experience,” said Balloun.

Productivity App Content

The startup has seemed to have used solid product management to create an app that supports multiple content functions:

  • Notes
  • Tasks
  • Bookmarks
  • Code blocks
  • Contacts
  • Images uploaded from a computer or a URL
  • Messages between other users

Connections can be made with other users allowing them to chat, comment, collaborate and send content to one another.  The product also supports end-to-end encryption for notes, code blocks, and images. This requires a second encryption-specific password (ESP).