Prior to the 2008 NFDA Convention, I consulted for several companies that would be making their first showing at the expo.

Among them was a well-funded startup, called Eternal Space.  For two months before the show, we had weekly, hour-plus phone consultations to discuss how they’d interact with funeral directors (they’re new to our industry) and how to present their unique product to a skeptical or un-informed public.

In the course of our conversations, I worked to get the guys from Eternal Space (Jay and Dave) to whittle the explanation of their product to one or two short sentences.  Here’s what I finally settled on:

Eternal Space is the online equivalent of the world’s largest and most inclusive resting place that is accessible from anywhere in the world.  While it can feature traditional cemetery components like headstones, trees and flower arrangements, Eternal Space is ultimately customizable, with spaces as diverse as beaches, mountainsides and meadows and almost any memorial feature you can imagine.

In theory (the site launches later this month), families pay a small fee to own an Eternal Space from their loved one.  Visitors can plant trees (that will grow over time!) leave gifts of flowers and other items and sign a virtual guest book.  Each Eternal Space features a large virtual memory book for photos, videos and condolences.

Eternal Space hit the 2008 convention hard and rolled out a 20’x40′ booth with bright white carpet and awesome graphic elements to reinforce the theme of modern, sleek and well-designed.  Their space was just across the aisle from our CotCovers.com booth, so I got to listen to their video presentation for four days!  (No complaints here, Jay.  The video was professional and adequately communicated your product offerings.)

Their initial traffic was slow, as funeral directors tried to figure out who these news guys were.  Competitors began paying attention and sneaking over to get a peek.

By the third day, they were having regular in-booth meetings with big name family funeral homes (I’m talking 5-10 location family groups) and getting people interested in their product.

During our consulting sessions we had discussed setting a realistic goal for leads generated by the show.  They surpassed that goal by the beginning of the first day and won the “best new exhibitor” people’s choice prize before the show ended.

I’d talk more about the website now, but we’re all still waiting for them to roll out the full product.  In the meantime, you can visit their site at www.EternalSpace.com and enroll for updates.  You can also play with the “scene selector” to see a few of the memorial landscapes they have planned and watch a video that explains how your firm can make money offering Eternal Spaces to your clients.

And while I do some paid consulting work for Eternal Space, this article is NOT part of the pay agreement and my opinion hasn’t been bought.  When their site goes live, I’ll bring you a more in-depth review and show you some of the cool features!

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