How iPads Transform Product Marketing

July 25, 2012

Note: The following is a guest post by Gavin Finn, President & CEO of Kaon Interactive, Inc.

Introduction

Most of us are very well aware of how mobile platforms (smartphones and tablets) are transforming sales for B2B companies. Many companies are now arming their sales forces with these tools, and we see what is happening right at the moment of each sales encounter: a very much more excited prospect. An iPad is much more than a mobile email and CRM platform for the salesperson to use on-the-go: it is a new way of engaging customers directly.

Mobile Device Content

“Marketers are generally delivering exactly the same brochures, videos, and presentations for use on the iPads as they were previously delivering on the laptop. What a missed opportunity!”

But what is less obvious, yet just as important, is a new focus on answering the question “what exactly is on these mobile devices?”  It’s all very well to put a mobile device in the hands of the sales force, but what content are you going to use to truly capitalize on this innovative platform?

In reality, today the answer, sadly, is that marketers are generally delivering exactly the same brochures, videos, and presentations for use on the iPads as they were previously delivering on the laptop. What a missed opportunity!

This new delivery environment is designed for a very different type of encounter — not so much a presentation as an interactive dialogue between the salesperson (or marketer) and the prospect. Why not take advantage of this interactive environment by creating and delivering truly interactive content?

Interactive Content

What is interactive content? This is a new kind of application that does not follow a linear demonstration or presentation sequence. It allows users to interact directly with the content itself, rather than watching a video or a pre-sequenced flow of slides.

A great example of this is a fully interactive 3D Product Model — where the user sees a photo-realistic virtual representation of the physical product, and can touch the screen to rotate the product, zoom in to any area, measure, and explore the product in any area of detail that is of interest or importance to that user.

What’s unique about this encounter is that even though the information in the 3D product model is the same for every user, each customer experiences this product in a distinctive way. They each have a very specific path that they follow through learning about the product — spending as much time on any detail that they want, and looking at features or benefits in any order.

Interactive Content is Better

Why is this better? Cognitive studies have shown that when people are presented with information (either via a video or by a person) they retain a very small portion of the material (anywhere from 5 to 20%).

However, when a person is actively involved in the process of delivering this information, they remember dramatically more (anywhere from 66 – 75% for the same time period.)  So, it is much more effective to get the prospect involved in the delivery of the marketing or sales information through interactivity, because they will remember more of what you want them to know.

Interactive Sales Experiences

In order to make a sales experience interactive, it needs to engage the prospect in three ways:

  1. Intellectual: There has to be meaningful information conveyed: information that is of interest and is relevant to their needs;
  2. Sensory: One or more of the five human senses must be engaged (sight, smell, sound, taste, touch);
  3. Emotional: The experience has to evoke some specific emotion (anger, joy, fun)

All of the developments in mobile platforms (and interactive content) come at a propitious time for marketers. MarketingProfs released a study that found that B2B marketers had a far greater need for content that was “more engaging” than simply “more” content.

What we know is that studies have shown that many sales people don’t use up to 60% of the content that marketers deliver, and it is not uncommon for sales teams to spend up to 40% of their time customizing or developing content of their own. In other words, there is a really strong demand for more engaging and effective content. Now, happily, there is also an ideal platform on which this kind of content can be delivered! The mobile device — smartphone or iPad.

“A mobile application is an easy way to put a product demo into the hands of a salesperson. Instead of carrying a big physical presentation around, it can be in their hands at all times and deliver collateral that engages the client.” –Michael Greene, Forrester Research Analyst

Kaon 3D Product App

The Kaon 3D Product App, mobile application is an example of the perfect combination of stunning visuals, interactivity, and ideal delivery device. When sales teams have the ability to show their customers every product in their portfolio, at every sales and marketing encounter, they are empowered to capture the most out of every planned and unexpected face-to-face customer touch point.

But when those sales encounters are turbo-charged by giving the customer control of their own interactive experience, a powerful and transformative experience is realized. Not only does the right message get conveyed at the right time, but it is also delivered in the most effective way possible — so that the customer retains the critical information necessary for them to understand the benefits resulting from the differentiation inherent in your products and solutions.

The direct sales and marketing benefits from this type of interactive solution on the iPad are many, and companies realize these benefits almost immediately.

Cisco Systems uses its Interactive 3D Product Showcase on the iPad to shorten sales cycles, in more than 100 countries. Ciena Corporation uses its Interactive Product Portfolio on the iPad to deliver its product and solution message at a variety of venues, helping to eliminate 85% of shipping and drayage expense from trade shows.

Other companies have developed interactive 3D Product catalogs on the iPad, using Kaon’s mobile applications, to deliver a consistent, compelling sales message to sales and channel partners all over the world, ensuring that everyone is selling using a common set of the most effective value propositions.

Conclusion

True interactivity, putting the customer in the “driver’s seat”, means more effective delivery of the right product information in a way that will have a positive effect on buying decisions.

Mobile platforms mean that no sales opportunity is missed — whether at a customer’s office, an unexpected airport meeting, or a trade show. Fully interactive 3D product models mean that marketers don’t have to ship physical products to every venue — saving a great deal of money, time, and effort, while achieving superior results. Isn’t that what every marketing and sales department wants? More sales, at a lower cost.

About the Author

Gavin A. Finn, Ph.D., is President and CEO of Kaon Interactive, Inc. For questions about this post, feel free to contact Gavin via email.


Launch Your Next Product Online

December 22, 2008

In 2008, I worked with a few savvy technology vendors to launch their products online in a virtual event.  We called these “virtual launch events”.  They were hugely successful – the vendors generated a slew of net new sales leads, educated prospects and customers about the features of the new product and connected employees, executives and channel partners directly with the same prospects and customers.

Because all users participated online, costs were efficient and the participation was highly convenient.  Additionally, the vendors and their partners were able to achieve deep (online) engagement with prospects, including in-depth text chats regarding the products.

If you’re considering a virtual launch event of your own for 2009, here are my Top 3 best practices:

  1. Encourage participation from your partner ecosystem – your resellers, consultants, etc. should have booths at the event.  This reinforces the full “value chain” of your product – showing prospects that your solution is backed by an assortment of partners who sell the product and provide valuable services around it.  Secondly, you can recoup some of the costs of the event by charging your partners to exhibit.  After all, they’re receiving sales leads as a result of participating.
  2. Active participation from your executive team – have the SVP or GM of your product officially launch the product via video – prospects and customers will apprecitate the personal connection of video (vs. slides and audio).  In addition, have the same exec(s) participate in the booths and networking areas, connecting directly with attendees.  Customers and prospects highly value direct access to your executivies.  And, your SVP or GM will find the experience valuable, since they’d likely admit that they’d like to get out in front of clients more often.  Finally, a successful event makes you a hero in front of the SVP/GM.
  3. Bring an independent voice – you probably have relationships with analyst firms (e.g. Forrester, Gartner).  Have a prominent analyst give her perspective on the product you’re launching and what it means for your market.  This independent voice helps complement all of your (and our partners’) presentations.

Best of luck on your 2009 launches!


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