Why say “Thank You” at work?

givingtahnksIt’s Thanksgiving. We usually spend this time with friends and family, reflecting on all those things for which we are grateful in our lives.  Regardless of our individual “ups and downs” throughout the year, looking at how so many people all over the world are literally struggling to save themselves from the ravages of war and terrorism will quickly put our struggles into perspective. We should all take a moment to be grateful for the gift of being safe with our family and friends. When one is without that, nothing else matters.

Let’s also not forget to thank all of the people with whom we work, and on whose contributions we depend. To colleagues, mentors, customers, advisors, and suppliers. Each person matters, and their individual effort and attitude makes the difference in our own success.

Thank you to all my colleagues at Kaon, who work tirelessly to make our customers successful. What makes this company special, and different, is that no one needs to be told what is the “right” thing to do. Everyone treats each other with respect and kindness, and commits whatever is necessary to ensure that our customers achieve the value that we’ve promised. And more.

Thank you to our customers – each individual who has contributed to the decision to select Kaon as your partner, each individual who contributes to the collaboration between our companies, and each individual who uses the solutions we build. It is truly a privilege to know each of you.

Thank you to our partners who share our values and our commitment to delivering positive experiences to all of our customers.

Our digital world can mislead us into sometimes undervaluing the need that we all have to connect as people to those around us. Indeed, it is the accumulation of all of these relationships that provide texture and richness to life.

I give thanks to all the wonderful people who have gifted me with the opportunity to work together with you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Original post on LinkedIn.

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“Digital” is an entirely new Marketing Business Model

It is no longer sufficient for marketers to “go digital”.   In fact, digital platforms are completely changing the way marketers must think of their world and their work. The business model of marketing has changed from being event-driven (e.g. a product launch, or website redesign, or trade show) to a continuous process both of brand development as well as purchase enablement. We can’t simply do what we did before, rationalizing our digital chops with excuses such as “now the brochures are in PDF format, saving on all of those printing expenses!”

Modern marketing deliverables are never “done” – they continuously evolve, and the process of creating and updating these digital assets and applications is a completely different process from the outdated analog-based process that was designed around making a brochure or a video. Digital assets are like living organisms. They evolve as our solutions evolve, customers’ needs evolve, the competitive landscape changes, and our storytelling capability becomes richer.

The unique opportunity that this continuous process reveals to marketers is that of continuous engagement from pre-purchase, through the long post-transaction customer relationship. We need to change our deliverables, our organizations, and our objectives from a concentration on discrete, individual events to a broad continuum of customer experiences.

Visit Kaon.com for more information about going digital.

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Face-to-Face Selling Is Still Effective

facetoface1Even though people are using the Internet to get through the buying cycle before reaching out to a sales person, that does not mean face-to-face meetings are unnecessary. In fact, real data proves that in-person meetings are the most important part of a customer’s buying experience. While this is certainly not true for every product category, the reality is that in order to improve your sales and marketing effectiveness, you have to excel in face-to-face meetings.

Forrester Research released a study on how B2B marketers will be allocating budgets in 2015, and the #1 category across the board is face-to-face events, just as it has been since 2008. Even more than digital marketing. That’s not to say that digital marketing is not critical, as it is, but overlooking the priority of the physical, face-to-face meeting can be devastating.

Oxford Economics studied the effectiveness of virtual meetings (phone, video, chat, etc.) and determined that for new prospects, in-person meetings were 85% more effective than virtual meetings, and this benefit was incredibly significant even for existing customers (65%).

Why, in this age of content marketing, social media, and digital marketing, do people still need the personal touch?

In-person selling is better for the buyer:

  • For complex products and services, buying decisions are made less on the basis of technical features and functions, and more on the basis of organizational and personal relationships and trust. Yes, a significant portion of the buyer’s journey happens without a sales person’s involvement. But after the initial selection process, when it comes time to help the prospect make a good buying decision, cognitive studies have shown that there needs to be an emotional connection that goes beyond analytics. Body language, facial expressions, and voice tone are all examples of emotional cues that are not captured in email discussions, chat rooms, and even videoconferencing to help buyers evaluate vendors.
  • When buyers are making decisions, they need human interaction to get all of their final questions answered, and to ensure that they have understood all of the product/solution information correctly.
  • Buyers want to establish a relationship with the company, and even the people in the company. That relationship will transcend the initial transaction, and will allow for a mutual exchange of value that lasts a long time.
  • Buyers (especially when there is more than one person involved in the decision process) make better-informed decisions through face-to-face meetings. A breakthrough study of organizational behavior showed that overall outcomes of group purchase decisions were far superior when there were face-to-face meetings with vendors, highlighting effectiveness both in terms of better decisions (long term satisfaction) as well as efficiency in the process.

And, it’s better for the seller:

  • In-person meetings are the best forums to clearly articulate competitive differentiation, and to firmly establish a prospect’s understanding of the company’s value proposition. Since the biggest inhibitor to sales is the inability to communicate value messages, according to the MHI Research Institute, addressing this challenge should be a top priority for marketers and sales teams. A face-to-face setting is the best venue to correct any misperceptions regarding the customer’s understanding of the product or the company, and to augment the customer’s existing knowledge with additional benefits and advantages.
  • Studies have shown that sales cycles are much shorter when there are face-to-face meetings as part of the process.
  • Just as the buyer wants to build relationships, so does the selling organization, and the opportunity to establish a personal connection to the individuals involved in the buying process is far superior in person, than using other channels.

Not every customer interaction has to happen face-to-face. In point of fact, most customer touch-points will not be of this type. The majority will be the customer interacting with marketing content, the website, or third party references absent any involvement of the sales team at all.

But the most important interactions will happen when the people buying your products meet the people selling your products.

Original article posted on MarketingDaily.

Visit Kaon Interactive to learn more about how you could transform your face-to-face meetings by using 3D interactive marketing and sales applications.

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B2B Marketing: Virtual display saves money and increases engagement for complex solution

Case Study conducted by MarketingSherpa.

SUMMARY: Seagate Technology, a leader in data storage solutions, transported High Performance Storage Solutions that literally weighed a ton to show its product at trade shows and sales presentations. That is, until the company created a virtual version which was significantly lighter and easier to transport. Read on to learn how this virtual version engaged prospects better and, essentially, simplified a complex product.


Seagate “has been building hard drives forever,” Tomer Hagay, Director of Technical Marketing, Seagate, said. But when it decided to expand to building systems around hard drives, it meant that the company had to adopt additional sales strategies.

When Seagate started to show its new systems, the team would ship big, heavy racks to trade shows and events, and make sure that the event location’s infrastructure could support them. Hagay observed how cumbersome and costly this was.

“When I joined Seagate, the first event I attended was the SuperComputing Expo in New Orleans. I saw those huge racks and super-heavy equipment that also required special power and handling,” Hagay said. “They were incredibly hard to ship and they were mainly just sitting there. It was nice to see, but they did not do much and the return on investment was low.”

When sales people wanted to present details about the product, they would use slides.

“You can’t pull the racks apart. You can’t look inside, see how they’re built or talk about the components,” Hagay said.


Seagate’s product is for high-performance computing customers. These include large research organizations, government and oil and gas companies that require thousands of processors.


Now that Seagate is building entire computing systems, demonstrating products through the equipment itself wasn’t going to work.

“We needed new methods and new demo capabilities,” Hagay said.

View the Creative SampleThey found that capability in creating an interactive, 3D version of the product. This enabled Seagate to show product features and demonstrate value without having the products physically present. Seagate could accomplish what it couldn’t before: adapt quickly to various sales scenarios, engage prospects and display configurations.

It took four months to develop the virtual version from idea to completion, and about half that time was devoted to working out the standard non-disclosure agreements with the vendor while the other half was spent in development of the virtual product.

Step #1. Gain buy-in for new technology

The current process for trade shows was a heavy undertaking, and had room for optimization.

The cost of shipping, setting up and powering racks that weighed a ton was very expensive, both in time and resources. Hagay convinced leadership to move forward with virtual demonstrations by framing it primarily around cost reduction, then emphasizing marketing effectiveness.

“When we looked at the savings, it was a no-brainer,” he said. “It was so obvious, we really didn’t have to go into details.”

After presenting to leadership, Hagay was given the space to experiment with this new technology and evolve the current trade show process.

Define what you want the virtual demonstration to show

In beginning the switch to this technology, Seagate needed to define the scope of what it wanted to show.

Hagay first had to consider the ability of the technology to support varying demonstration and selling situations. In order to test every possible scenario, he spent hours in meetings with the Seagate sales team to understand how they present the product and what they need emphasized. These ranged from casual conversations to more formal meetings.

“We knew we wanted a 3D model of what we build, but there are multiple options,” Hagay said. “We defined that.”

Step #2. Make the virtual experience as real as possible

A mobile studio was created, and the team spent an entire day capturing images of the physical hardware. Hagay wanted to make sure the virtual experience completely mimicked the actual one.

“It was a really long day of taking pictures of all the components from all angles and everything needed to create those virtual models,” Hagay said.

Flashes of LED lighting and motion help create a more realistic virtual experience. They had to ensure that they had captured every angle of the product to be able to demonstrate individual scenarios to customers. View the Creative Sample
“For example, if you pull out a fan unit from an enclosure you need to move a lever to do that. We didn’t capture that originally,” Hagay said. “In our demo, it was just the fan was magically being pulled out without moving the lever. A lot of small things like that make the experience look more real.”

He attained ideas for creating a more realistic virtual experience by looking at how other companies have gone about creating their own virtual demonstrations. This included competitors, partners and even those in totally different industries. He maintained that this was a vital part of the process to create the most effective virtual experience possible.

“It’s important to look at what other companies are doing because you don’t know what you don’t know,” Hagay explained.View the Creative Sample
Step #3. Determine the content you want to include

In developing the content to accompany the virtual tour, Hagay combined frontline sales details with high-level marketing insight to most effectively present the product’s value in a way that customers could immediately understand and embrace.

The content included descriptions of hotspots, and areas of the product that needed further explanation. Working with the sales team also came in handy in this push as well.

“We made sure that we highlighted our differentiators and advantages over the competition,” he said.

He dove into product details as well, including interfaces with some of the other functions, like interactive product help.

“So let’s say you have an operations user interface that tells you about an issue with the product, and that issue requires replacing a power supply. On our virtual experience, we actually have the information of how to take out the power supply and put it back and we can embed this information into the product,” he said.

Seagate offers multiple solutions based on similar components, so Hagay took each use case into consideration. Before, they had to make sure they had a specific version of the equipment to show the customer. Now, with a virtual tour, they can just pull up the correct version. So the breadth of content available has to reflect the expanding product views.

“The text can change depending on the conversation with the customer and each use case,” he said. “[We created] multiple versions of that virtual rack so when we use it for demo, we can choose the right version for that conversation and it will have those small changes, maybe different text, and maybe different components within the virtual rack. And we can do it all at a minimal investment.”

Step #4. Make it mobile

Seagate’s virtual tour of its servers is for more than just events, Hagay explained. They are available online, as well, for customers to view at their leisure.

View the Creative Sample
Another benefit is that the technology is responsive, and sales professionals can pull out their mobile device and immediately demonstrate the product to customers.

Even if customers are browsing on their own for the first time, the responsive version explains to them how to easily navigate around the virtual tour.

View the Creative Sample
“In small events or small venues where we don’t have a lot of space and we want to have the customer experience what we sell, we can bring a small kiosk, a touch screen and a stand and we can take them through the experience,” Hagay said.


This interactive, virtual 3D version of Seagate’s product has simplified the marketing of a very complex product. It has provided greater:

Savings: The team doesn’t have to spend exorbitant time and resources dealing with the logistics of shipping and setting up powerful equipment that weighs a ton.

Flexibility: “We can do things we couldn’t do before and support events we couldn’t support before,” Hagay said.

He described events like investors meetings where the venue just couldn’t support a 2,000-pound rack. However, with the virtual version, they can now participate in these events “the way that we want to,” he noted.

Seagate has also embraced the virtual system for training and education opportunities ranging from all-hands meetings to headquarter displays.

Adaptability: The virtual experience allows Seagate to customize information to each audience.

“We can take the same platform and make it relevant without having to build a new application each time,” Hagay said.

Engagement: The actual equipment didn’t illustrate the value that Seagate brought to the table. It just provided an opportunity to demonstrate how it worked, Hagay added.

The digital version communicates key marketing messages that explain the value of the solution, in addition to providing key operational details that can be customized to each audience.

“Not only are customers getting to see the hardware virtually, but they are actually getting to understand the value of these very complex solutions,” Hagay said. “It’s a cool way of showing what we do. People like a big iPad. You can play with it. You can spin things around. You can zoom in.”

He noted that these digital experiences do far more than merely amuse the customer; it enables them to retain the information better, even if they’re getting the same information on a PowerPoint or brochure.

Seagate’s systems engineers are also using the virtual version multiple times a week on sales calls.

“I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Hagay said. “When I started, I obviously understood the value of [using a virtual display]. But seeing others in different groups using it, having presence in areas we couldn’t have presence before, we’re raising awareness. It helps us unify messaging because everyone is using the same tool.”

Click here
to read the entire Seagate case study conducted by MarketingSherpa.

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Data Analytics Is Critical For Success

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 3.26.09 PM

With emerging technologies, the need for data analytics is critical, which helps organizations uncover consumer patterns, trends, unforeseen correlations and other valuable consumer insight. This type of information can be leveraged not only by marketing, but also in other areas such as customer service and product development.

For data analytics to be successful, there are two levels required in this process, including:

  • The algorithms that help connect the two technologies and are able to deliver the benefits to a marketer from a tactical perspective.
  • Business analytics that ensures the algorithms are actually delivering the value and meeting the business objectives that were originally outlined.

Business analytics helps support the marketing strategy for the organization ensuring long-term growth. Both parts of the analytics mentioned above need to be implemented to ensure optimal success. While many organizations are joining the bandwagon of big data and investing millions – they sometimes lower their emphasis on the importance of analytics, which is a mistake.

Excerpt from Brand Quarterly’s Emerging Technologies Driving New And Innovative Marketing Strategies 

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Create Once, Use Everywhere

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.00.09 AMImagine creating an app once and from that moment it always works without having to worry about software updates crashing your application?

With the Kaon ADN (Application Delivery Network), we give B2B companies a cost effective way to deliver interactive product and solution demonstrations globally, to unlimited users, on any device.

The Kaon ADN eliminates the hidden costs of maintaining interactive applications on multiple platforms, ensuring that these engaging experiences ALWAYS work, regardless of the device or geography. Applications are continuously updated to support new operating systems, devices and web browsers, updated in real-time, without a trip to the app store.

Utilizing the Kaon ADN, enables a “create once, use everywhere” approach that allows applications to be re-used across all devices, saving marketers significant content re-creation costs and time to market.

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 10.50.45 AM

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Hubspot Inbound Conference Recap 9 of 9

Here it is, the last post about my INBOUND 2015 experience. Hope you learned something from my series of posts.

The Unified Business Model (The Future of Sales & Marketing) by Oliver Lopez from Structsales.

80% of leads converted are never turned into sales.


What is the unified business model?

  • One organization (Sales and marketing working together)
  • One process
  • One set of highly relevant KPIs

Cold calling should be enhanced by a strong collaboration with marketing so both marketing and sales proactively produce significant amounts of new business. Your MQLs (marketing qualified leads) and your SQLs (sales qualified leads) need to be clearly defined within the organization to avoid conflict. Marketing should be nurturing based on what the contacts have done before, i.e. downloaded white papers, visited a specific page of your site.  Focus your attention on existing leads who are not yet ready to buy and those who you’ve lost before.

Your CLOSERS (Sales managers or VPs) should ignore leads who are not able to buy (Nurture them or they should go to inside sales).

Once you meet with a customer, stop all forms of communication that are normally distributed to new prospects to make them aware of your company.

That’s a wrap! Three long days of sessions and presentations bundled up in short descriptions.  Overall, my experience at INBOUND 2015 was awesome and inspirational. I learned a great deal of information and hope you did too from reading my posts!

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