Designer Pages, the online product database, has taken the A+D world by storm in the last couple years. Co-founders Jacob Slevin (Chief Executive Officer) and Avi Flombaum (Chief Product Officer) are gearing up for the debut of NeoCon.com, the complete overhaul of the show’s online presence, orchestrated by Designer Pages. We talked to the two to find out exactly what the new NeoCon.com means — for attendees, visitors and Designer Pages’ growing media presence (the phrase “IMDB for architecture and design products” was used).
How did Designer Pages and NeoCon begin their relationship?
AF: We launched Designer Pages out of beta at NeoCon East in 2007. In 2009, we served as the Social Media sponsor of NeoCon WTF in Chicago, which helped pave the way for our digital partnership with NeoCon.com in 2010.
How did you approach the redesign of www.NeoCon.com?
JS: We are very fortunate to have Rus Yusupov of creative agency Commercial Pop define the user experience and design of the new NeoCon.com. To start, Commercial Pop also designed DesignerPages.com so many of NeoCon.com’s new features are gleaned from insights we’ve learned from users’ interaction with products on DesignerPages.com.
Our goals were otherwise very straightforward. Use NeoCon’s exciting foray into the digital space to re-introduce the brand in a whole new light. Keep the design clean, simple and minimal. And last but not least, provide functionality to both attendees and exhibitors in a way that’s accessible to non tech-savvy users yet still powerful enough for the advanced crowd.
What does the new NeoCon.com offer show attendees that wasn’t available in the previous format?
AF: There are a lot of exciting new features that help to better bridge the physical and digital product search, browse, and discovery experiences of NeoCon WTF. Product information is entirely powered by DesignerPages.com, meaning exhibitors were/are able to quickly import all of their products to NeoCon.com with a single click. For the first time ever, attendees can browse products online in advance of the show. Further, My NeoCon is an interactive portal allowing attendees to save favorite products and exhibitors to personal NeoCon Guides, share those guides with colleagues, and even post them to Facebook. NeoCon Live is a live news aggregator of blog articles, videos, pictures and tweets about the show from across the web — it even includes mobile web integration. You’ll see the NeoCon Live stream on-site across several displays in the lobby.
Alternatively, what does the new NeoCon.com offer exhibitors?
AF: Easily the most meaningful value-add for exhibitors is the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), which we think is going to re-shape the dinosaur lead generation model of trade shows as industry members know it. Exhibitors will now be able to document all Indications of Interest (IOI’s) an attendee might have with their brand – clicks, saves, shares, RFIs, scans and more via Neocon.com – and then use that client insight to nurture modest interest towards a sale. The CRM will help surface information like past projects a firm has worked on and will allow exhibitors to connect with attendees on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn threading their brands into attendees’ social graphs.
How does NeoCon.com relate to Designerpages.com? Or is it simply a side project?
JS: We’d like DesignerPages.com to feel like IMDB for architecture and design products. We’ve had high hopes this information would be deployed through a variety of outlets online. NeoCon.com was a no-brainer place to begin.
Productwars.com, a DesignerPages.com offshoot, is yet another example of how this information can be put to use elsewhere with a platform that allows anyone to vote on which products they deem “hot or not.” Coincidentally, we’ve integrated a Productwars.com module into NeoCon.com, which is now powering “People’s Choice,” a Contract Magazine-sponsored democratic counterpart to their own juried Best of NeoCon awards.