Is Zoom a Utility or a Value-Added Essential Service

Published by Linda Rolf on 8/16/2021

Bundle essential services into value-added bundles

So apparently Zoomtopia is a thing.

A recent post on LinkedIn about Zoom's annual user conference quickly sparked some funny comments. Who couldn't sarcastically ask if it's in person or Zoom-powered.

But after I stopped laughing, this is what caused me to pause for a moment.

Mark Schaefer is a well-respected, long-time marketing leader. His post asked the question "Is there really a community around Zoom? To me, it's a utility. It's like my local electric company saying, "Let's get together!" Why?"

I have to confess his question did prompt my snarky comment about our local cable company hosting such a user conference. Just imagine if we could create the agenda for that one.

Merriam-Webster has several definitions of utility including "Something useful or designed for use." Useful gets the job done, but it definitely doesn't inspire a sense of community or connection.

This second definition is more specific to technology, but it contains an important key word. "A program or routine designed to perform or facilitate especially routine operations (such as copying files or editing text) on a computer."

Routine. This single word implies necessary, repetitious, boring, and lacking in uniqueness.

This brings me to question #1 for you.

Do your clients consider the services you deliver a practical utility or a value-added, foundational part of their company?

  • Can your services be easily replaced by your competitor's similar offerings?
  • Do your services convey a sense of uniqueness, a designed specifically for your company feeling?
  • How often do you deliver unexpected ideas without first being asked?
  • Are your services primarily transactional?
  • What are the unseen connectors that turn a series of routine deliverables into a unique, irreplaceable service?
  • If you stopped delivering your services, how would your clients feel?
  • What do you think your clients value the most from you?
  • Have you asked your clients what they think is most valuable to them?

  • Question #2. If your company created a user community, what would inspire your clients to join it?

    Remember, we all have a strong need for connecting and belonging. Bringing your clients together in unexpected ways sends a powerful message.



  • Useful is good, but valuable is lasting.
  • Bundle the necessary, replicable services you deliver into a package that is uniquely yours.
  • Imagine your exclusive user community. What would inspire your clients to join?
  • Why not start creating your community now? The possibilities are fun to explore. No rules. You can build whatever your clients want most.

  • P.S. In case you're wondering, Zoomtopia 2021 – the Sponsors of Happiness -- is an all-Zoom event. Of course it is. Tags: Business Strategy

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    Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

    Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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