Kirk Vespestad, Director of Marketing, GTL
PRNewsWire – I am very fortunate to work at a company that invests in cutting-edge technology and attracts and retains industry professionals with the ability to leverage such technology for the benefit of its customers. As the leader in technology for corrections, government payment services, and now education, GTL is always going the extra mile to demonstrate to its current and future customers the capabilities of a solution portfolio that is broad and deep.
Last year when I was chosen to be part of a multi-departmental team charged with creating a mobile customer briefing program that would pack all of our technology into a premium motor coach, it didn’t take long for me to reply, “let’s do it!” And, while I already knew that my colleagues were a rather talented bunch, it was nonetheless impressive to see how our organization’s collective intelligence and ingenuity were harnessed to bring the project to life.
Now that the Technology in Motion Tour has officially launched, I’m in a position to look back at the first group of tour stops—as well as the design, construction, and launch phases of the project—to share what’s behind this nationwide technology tour and why it matters to the corrections market.
Our mission was clear from the outset: create a “demo center on wheels” that can roll up to an industry conference or a customer’s parking lot and showcase everything we’ve got. Accomplishing this feat would require us to draw on expertise from across multiple disciplines, including products, networking, sales, messaging, PR, branding, operations, logistics, finance, legal, and others. The project also necessitated our choosing a mobile tour partner that would not only build the vehicle to meet our custom specifications but also help us manage the tour once the bus was ready to hit the road.
The design phase was fun because it was like building a new house. We had to devise a layout for the vehicle that would support our demonstration capabilities while also giving us ample space to conduct meetings. What’s more, we had to pick our color schemes, choose flooring and paneling, and select things that seemed mundane, such as the color and texture of the upholstery—but making all of these choices was absolutely essential to create the proper atmosphere aboard the motor coach.
In parallel to designing the interior of the bus, our technical teams worked diligently to get the necessary gear and networking on board so that we could demonstrate our full range of services and solutions. This required our experts to design a way to get equipment and systems into the vehicle so that we wouldn’t merely simulate our solutions but actually demonstrate them in real time. Connectivity was also key, and the onboard Internet capabilities give us what we need no matter where we locate the tour bus.
The Marketing team has built a comprehensive program around the tour. For example, a quite detailed scheduling process adds tour stops to the tour route. This requires us to maximize customer exposure while minimizing drive times and remaining compliant with DOT regulations for our driver’s daily and weekly duty hours. Once we have segments of the route locked in, tour stop planning helps us define what happens during a tour stop, including demos, staffing, catering, and any other site-specific customer engagement plans.
Branding gives Technology in Motion its unique identity within the overall GTL brand architecture, which is important because of how the tour promotes our position as the innovation leader. Corresponding messaging helps explain what the bus is all about, including on the web and in social media, and gives us the opportunity to tell a really interesting story about what we’re doing on the tour. We even leveraged our promotional items program to acquire tour-branded tchotchkes that complement and promote the tour.
IMMEDIATE IMPACT AND FUTURE POTENTIAL
We’ve already had more than 850 customer personnel on board the bus in just the first four weeks. The Sales and Sales Engineering team members responsible for hosting tour stops have reported that feedback has been positive across the board, and I have personally seen our customers’ eyes light up when they see our full portfolio in action. Not only is our range of offerings impressive, but the interoperability between the services demonstrates to corrections professionals that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. What’s more, our corrections customers can see the benefits of the services to inmates and their friends and family members.
If the degree of impact that we’ve made in just a month is any indication, the Technology in Motion Tour is going to make a lasting impression on our customers as we take the tour across the country. Now that we have a few stops under our belt, we’re planning some enhancements to the bus and the overall tour that will make an already robust program even more of an immersive experience for our customers. In the meantime, we’re going to keep the pedal to the metal and stay rolling down the highway.
We hope to see you on the road!
Press Contact: Vinnie Mascarenhas