AT&T is trying their hand at this with the launch of their U-verse IPTV service in San Antonio. Blogging colleague Alan Weinkrantz reports that they're offering $300 to people who will host IPTV demos in their homes. You can read a more detailed account of how these demos are being done here. As Alan says, these are hi-tech Tupperware parties - classic grass roots, community-based marketing. I think it's a great way to go, especially in having the early adopters do the telling and selling - I'll bet they'll do a way better job than any call center agent ever could.
Last week I noted Alan's SAtechBLOG, which has a lot of content about his experiences with AT&T's launch. Regarding viral marketing, he has a really terrific posting, that you really should read. Alan is a very sharp PR/marketing/strategy guy, and he goes one better than AT&T, as he's been doing his own version of evangelizing U-verse. He offers a great critique of what AT&T is doing well with viral marketing, but more importantly, he notes several things they could be doing to make it even better.
The key takeaway for me is that you should NOT demo the service for your friends and neighbors. Give them the keys and let THEM drive the car. TV watching is a pretty personal and interactive experience, and the best way to sell people on IPTV is for them to see how easy it is to use and how they will notice a difference right away.
Technorati tags: IPTV, Jon Arnold, Alan Weinkrantz, AT&T