All Purchase Decisions Are Made By People

According to a paper by Gavin Finn, president & CEO of Kaon Interactive, posted by Chief Marketer, B2C and B2B marketers must look at both the macro and micro forces that are shaping the behavior of their audiences, along with the increasingly rapid pace of technological change.

To understand how to drive interesting and exciting discoveries and innovations in almost every personal, business, and public policy arena, the paper identifies primary sentiments of populations in many markets.

Uncertainty.

When the status quo is being challenged, individuals and companies develop a heightened sense of awareness of how things are (or might be) changing, and they are less able to feel confident in their plans. This translates into hesitancy to embark upon long-term strategic initiatives, or even to change in small ways, says the report.

Risk Aversion.

As a result of the dual forces of rapid change and uncertainty in the future, individuals and businesses become highly risk averse. This means that they are more likely to do nothing than to try something new. Each decision is weighed not in terms of the possible benefits, but in terms of the risk of failure.

Dissatisfaction.

When people are unhappy with the way things are going in their immediate environments, though this response may appear to be contradictory to the feelings of uncertainty and risk aversion says the report, there is a consistency in the prevalence of erratic consumer and business buying behavior.

While some might see these prevailing sentiments in a negative light, says the report, these forces can inform impactful strategies for successful acquisition and retention this year and beyond. The paper continues with some suggested ways that marketers can leverage this knowledge and deliver superior results:

  • There is so much noise and clutter in both B2B and B2C marketing, that getting people’s attention and developing any kind of interest has become exponentially more difficult. As businesses and consumers feel unsettled about the future, they especially appreciate when brands deliver on their promises, resulting in a combination of increased loyalty and a deeper sense of confidence in their buying decisions.
  • In order to reduce the perception of risk in a purchase decision, marketers should build a continuous dialogue with their customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is a different approach to “marketing communications” in the sense that the customer is just as involved in the communications process as the marketer. The result is true customer engagement, which increases confidence, proven by behavioral psychology to be much more effective at knowledge transfer and delivers long-term customers who make better buying decisions.
  • When markets are uncertain, and buyers are risk averse, decisions to purchase are most often made for only those solutions that are necessary and urgent. Identifying a customer need is no longer sufficient, understanding “why” is important to address now. The more the marketer focuses on helping customers arrive at outcome-based conclusions themselves, the more successful they will be.
  • While data science and analytics has become an essential element of every modern marketing arsenal, all purchase decisions are made by people, says the report. Even in business purchases, the individual decision-makers are subject to the same strengths and weaknesses as consumers.

Neuroscientists have proven that every decision has an element of emotion to it, even when business decision-makers believe that they are being entirely analytical. In fact, many behavioral scientists believe that the primary decision drivers are mainly emotional.

Addressing the emotional state of the decision-makers (addressing their sentiments of uncertainty and dissatisfaction) can yield significantly better results than focusing on quantitative benefits of solutions, concludes the paper.

For additional information from Kaon Interactive, please visit here.

Originally posted on MediaPost.

Posted in CEO Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UNDERSTANDING HOW MACRO AND MICRO FORCES INFLUENCE MARKETING

Shanghai city network technology

B2C and B2B marketers must look at both the macro and micro forces that are shaping the behavior of their audiences along with the increasingly rapid pace of technological change to understand how to drive interesting and exciting discoveries and innovations in almost every personal, business, and public policy arena.

To better understand the impact, let’s quickly identify some of the primary sentiments of populations in many markets.

  1. Uncertainty. When the status quo is being challenged, individuals and companies develop a heightened sense of awareness of how things are (or might be) changing, and they are less able to feel confident in their plans. This translates into hesitancy to embark upon long-term strategic initiatives, or even to change in small ways. Uncertainty is being felt across a spectrum of domains, from politics to business, and even national identities.
  2. Risk Aversion. As a result of the dual forces of rapid change and uncertainty in the future, individuals and businesses become highly risk averse. This means that they are more likely to do nothing than to try something new, even if whatever they are doing (or whatever their current product preference) is not achieving satisfactory results. Each decision is weighed not in terms of the possible benefits, but in terms of the risk of failure.
  3. Dissatisfaction. Look at the political climate in the US, or the anti-EU sentiments in Britain to see how unhappy people are with the way things are going in their immediate environments. While this response may appear to be contradictory to the feelings of uncertainty and risk aversion, there is a consistency in the prevalence of erratic consumer and business buying behavior that reflects unhappiness with the status quo.

While some might see these prevailing sentiments in a negative light, marketers must understand how these forces can inform impactful strategies for successful acquisition and retention this year and beyond. Here are a few ways that marketers can leverage this knowledge and deliver superior results:

1. Be authentic. There is so much noise and clutter in both B2B and B2C marketing, that getting people’s attention and developing any kind of interest has become exponentially more difficult. As businesses and consumers feel unsettled about the future, they especially appreciate when brands deliver on their promises, resulting in a combination of increased loyalty and a deeper sense of confidence in their buying decisions. As such, marketers must truly understand the needs/wants of their markets, and should honestly evaluate their differentiated value-add so that their connection to the customer is based on authenticity. Rather than trying to build a brand based on catch phrases, tag lines, and shareable celebrity endorsements, authentic brands are built around customer experiences with the company’s products and people.

2. Engage the customer – everywhere. In order to reduce the perception of risk in a purchase decision, marketers should take advantage of all the opportunities they have to build a continuous dialogue with their customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. This is a different approach to “marketing communications” in the sense that the customer is just as involved in the communications process as the marketer. The result is true customer engagement, which increases confidence because customers discover the value of the solution throughout their own process of interaction. This method has been proven by behavioral psychology to be much more effective at knowledge transfer and delivers long-term customers who make better buying decisions. Engagement happens when customers are connected to the brand both intellectually and emotionally. Use digital interactive technology at every customer touch-point to build that emotional and intellectual connection.

3. Make sure your solution really matters. When markets are uncertain, and buyers are risk averse, decisions to purchase are most often made for only those solutions that are necessary and urgent. Identifying a customer need is no longer sufficient. Understanding why it is important to address this need now is the marketer’s job. Helping to build a direct link between the customer’s priorities and your solutions is essential to elevating the importance of this purchase decision. The most effective way to accomplish this is for the customer to build a clear understanding of the outcome that will result from this purchase decision. The more the marketer focuses on helping customers arrive at these outcome-based conclusions themselves, the more successful they will be.

4. Use data, but focus on the person. While data science and analytics has become an essential element of every modern marketing arsenal, it is wise to remember that all purchase decisions are made by people. Even in business purchases, the individual decision-makers are subject to the same strengths and weaknesses as consumers. Neuroscientists have proven that every decision has an element of emotion to it, even when business decision-makers believe that they are being entirely analytical. In fact, many behavioral scientists believe that the primary decision drivers are mainly emotional. This means that our understanding of who makes or influences buying decisions is a critical component of successful modern marketing. Addressing the emotional state of the decision-makers (as, for example, in addressing their sentiments of uncertainty and dissatisfaction) can yield significantly better results than when we simply focus on quantitative benefits of our solutions.

Gavin Finn is president & CEO of Kaon Interactive.

 

Original article published on ChiefMarketer.com.

Posted in CEO Corner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Kaon Interactive WINS the 2016 SBANE Innovation Award!

And the Winner isKaon Interactive!

 

20 Finalists, narrowed down from 188 nominees, presented to a panel of 66 judges on April 7th at the MIT Endicott House in Dedham, MA as part of Phase 2 of the competition. After the presentations, the judges chose four winners in the “Profit” category and two in the “Non-Profit” category. Two companies were honored as “Rising Stars”, who are in the early stage of development and have clearly demonstrated the validity of their business.

IMG_7164.JPG“For 31 years, SBANE has done a remarkable job of identifying winners whose technology, services and ideas represent how truly innovative the New England Ecosystem is. This year has been no exception. Each and every one of our winners and for that matter our nominees, are leaders in their space, driving forward this innovation economy to make our lives and our own companies far superior to any other region in the country, let alone the world. As the SBANE Circle of Excellence welcomes the class of 2016, I can honestly say it is one of our best yet”, said SBANE’s New England Innovation Awards Committee Chairman, Todd Faber, President, The Faber Group.
Congratulations to all of the Winners of the 2016 New England Innovation Award!

SBANE [Smaller Business Association of New England] feels that innovation is at the heart of economic prosperity and SBANE continues to recognize those companies that have transformed their innovative ideas into a product or service that delivers proven value to customers. The New England Innovation Awards Program was started in 1986 and, since then, almost 200 companies have won this prestigious award. Nominations from a wide variety of companies are welcome. Former nominees have come from varying fields such as technology, manufacturing, service, non-profit, and retail/distribution.

Posted in News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kaon Interactive Named Finalist in SBANE New England Innovation Awards

sbaneThe Smaller Business Association of New England (SBANE), sponsor of the New England Innovation Awards since its inception in 1986, proudly announces Kaon Interactive as a 2016 Finalist. Kaon Interactive was selected from 188 innovative organizations to compete in the final phase of this competition. Innovation is at the heart of economic prosperity and SBANE continues to recognize those companies and organizations that have transformed their innovative ideas into a product or service that delivers proven value to customers.

Former winners come from varying fields such as technology, manufacturing, service (both for profit and not for profit, and retail / distribution.) Winners include notable companies such as Staples, PictureTel, Ben & Jerry’s, Brooks Automation, Direct Tire, Genzyme, Nantucket Nectars, Imagitas!, Aurora Imaging Technology, and iRobot. The Finalists will present to judges on April 7th, 2016. Winners of this prestigious award will be honored at the “Evening of Innovation” Gala Dinner on May 12, 2016 at the Westin Hotel, Waltham MA.

To learn more, visit the SBANE Innovation Awards webpage.

Posted in CEO Corner, News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How To: Build loyalty through customer engagement

B2b marketingGavin Finn, President and CEO, Kaon Interactive, presents three ways to better engage your customers

As B2B customers’ purchasing choices have expanded, their expectations have increased, and brand loyalty has sharply declined. Connecting with customers is no longer about the product, nor is it sufficient to rely on a sales relationship or the company’s marketing communications and messaging.

To acquire, delight and retain customers, companies have to think and act in a more strategic way. The most effective strategy for building loyalty in your customer base is to develop a relationship that’s based on engagement, and optimizes each customer interaction. Rather than broadcasting messages to the entire customer base, companies should create a culture of dialogue and interaction. Engagement is all about a bidirectional interaction, wherein the customer is not a passive recipient of information, but rather plays an active role by asking questions, driving the direction of the discussion, and deciding when and where to dive into details. When customers are actively involved, their loyalty to your company and products intensifies because they feel an emotional connection – and it is the combination of this emotional connection together with the analytical evaluation of products that drives purchasing decisions.

Here are three ways to engage your customers better:

1. Start engaging before they become customers

As people do their own research prior to engaging with individuals from your company, make it easy for them to find interactive experiences that help them learn even more about your business, products and differentiated value. These experiences differ from traditional web pages, videos, PDF documents and slide presentations in one fundamental way – they involve the user (prospect) in the process of information transfer, rather than ‘telling’. When prospects find interactive experiences online, and offline at face-to-face events, they are more likely to spend increased amounts of time with these experiences than they would by simply reading a document or watching a video. As they spend additional time, they will absorb more of the relevant knowledge they need to understand your solution and how it may apply to their specific needs. The process of interacting allows them to select areas of interest and depth of detail that will help them discover important and useful knowledge needed to solve their problems. This will predispose them to building a more in-depth relationship with your company, because they will already understand the primary factors required for them to move further along their buyer’s journey with you.

2. Deliver engaging experiences that have sensory, emotional and intellectual dimensions

When people are truly engaged, they are stimulated in three ways at the same time. They are doing something (such as touching a screen, manipulating a joystick, etc.) that is sensory, which means there is a tactile and visual activity. They are feeling something, which usually includes having fun, perhaps a little fear, surprise, and sometimes even anger. This emotion builds a visceral connection to the experience. The third dimension is intellectual – they are learning something. This is the transfer of useful information that is new to the user and is what distinguishes a truly engaging customer experience from, say, playing a video game. The combination of these three building blocks of the experience (sensory, emotional, and intellectual) are essential to delivering a long-lasting result that has a meaningful impact on decision-making.

3. Stop presenting

One of the least effective forms of persuasion, and paradoxically the most common sales method, is to talk to the audience, instead of with the audience. As sales people have become almost Pavlovian in their reliance on slide presentations during sales meetings, so too have customers and prospects developed aversions to these kinds of meetings. There are many good reasons for this circumstance, including the fact presentations are often boring when the presenter (sales person) is doing all the talking, and there are innumerable slides with lots of words. Realistically, the customers can usually read that material themselves. So, what should be done? First, turn the meeting into an interactive dialogue that engages the customer and makes them an active participant. Second, when using presentation tools, make them visual interactive experiences with the customer driving, rather than text-based slides. The exact same information can be delivered, but because it is a visual experience (rather than just reading) and the customer is in control, they will remember more and the meeting will be much more likely to achieve its intended result.

Delivering engaging experiences to customers at every touch point is transformative. Customers become more informed (because the engagement was more effective) and they become much more likely to buy (because they have understood your true value though an in-depth engaging experience). Fully engaged customers are emotionally attached and rationally loyal. This results in an increased share of wallet, and significantly higher lifetime customer value.

-Original article posted on B2B Marketing.

Posted in CEO Corner, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kaon 3D Provides More Flexibility for Cisco

photo 1 (2)When Cisco was looking to launch the VersaStack, an integrated collaboration between IBM and Cisco at VMWorld in August 2015, they wanted to make a big impact. First, they had a problem they needed to solve. They only had one full-scale demo built out to take to shows.

A. J. Ramsey, Global IBM Partner Marketing Manager for Cisco, described the demo unit as a “beast of a box” that was expensive and difficult to ship around. On top of that, only larger venues and events could handle the power and size requirements to display the fully functional demo unit.

Cisco partnered with Kaon Interactive to create the Kaon v-Rack, an interactive 3D product demonstration.

The Kaon v-Rack is an immersive experience that provides Cisco’s sales engineers with a tool that is even better at demonstrating the VersaStack’s capabilities than the actual physical equipment.

Ramsey said that the sales engineers like using the Kaon v-Rack because it is easier to use when conducting technical discussions. They can drill down to line diagrams, show switches, and pull out and spin around components. Details they cannot showcase on the physical box.

Not only is the Kaon v-Rack more flexible to demo, but it is also easier to transport, set up and configure.

“The Kaon unit adds to the number of venues where we can have a physical presence,” Ramsey said. “Not just conferences, but maybe it’s some type of big meeting where you want to show a demo.”

The system also adds the ability to run a representation of the full 3D version on a laptop or tablet, so sales reps can take it with them to meetings, expanding even further environments where Cisco can do demos.

Building the physical rack is expensive. Cisco has to buy the components, build it, house it, and ship it. Those racks also have a limited shelf life of about three years before they have to start over.

Ramsey says the Kaon units are more flexible, less expensive, and easy to keep current. In many cases, the Kaon v-Rack is more current than the physical boxes. No matter where is team is located around the globe, they know they have the latest version available. Moreover, it is not just Cisco, IBM has access to the very same resources, and so the two companies are always in synch.

Gavin Finn, CEO of Kaon Interactive, says the lead-time to implement their system is about six to eight weeks and four to six weeks for complex updates after that.

While Finn said that most their customers use the Kaon device less as a presentation tool and more as an engagement tool – that is the customer doing the interaction themselves while talking to a booth staffer, Ramsey’s team expands on that use.

Ramsey recently was in Las Vegas at IBM InterConnect 2016, where they positioned the Kaon unit so it was facing out into the aisles.

He said that when customers would start to engage with the Kaon v-Rack, a sales rep would walk over to engage them in conversation. Alternatively, if customers came into the booth to ask questions, the rep would take them to the v-Rack and start walking them through.

A 3D demo alternative is not just a solution for IT solution providers. The Kaon platform is also being widely used in the medical/scientific and industrial manufacturing industries by companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, GE, Fujitsu, and Schneider Electric.

There will always be buyers that want to see that “beast of a machine” and Ramsey said he understands that so they do still ship the physical VersaStack to larger shows.

“At times, it’s nice to have a physical rack, but [the Kaon v-Rack] is a tenth of the cost to get around,” he added.

– See more at: TSNN

 

 

Posted in 3D Products, Trade Show Trends | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Ignite Your Trade Show Success in 2016

According to “The Marketing Spend Decision,” the most important objective for companies investing in trade shows is lead acquisition. Today, it is reported that 35-percent of exhibitors’ leads obtained at trade shows ultimately result in a sale, according to Exhibitor Magazine. With new advancements in technology, and marketers’ desire to deliver a better customer experience, the probability for creating higher qualified leads for their sales teams is now better than ever before. So now you ask, ‘Well how do we create higher lead conversion at trade shows and beyond?’

The answer is simple. Use 3D interactive trade show solutions that can increase customer engagement within your booth, accelerate your sales cycle, and breed scorching hot leads at every event. Not only will the interactive touch screens draw more traffic into your booth, the self-guided experience will also help you to better qualify prospects based off their specific needs and challenges uncovered during their unique journey through the application.

Kaon Interactive is a B2B software company that creates 3D interactive applications that are like a bug light for your trade show booth. These 3D interactive solutions, which are more effective than presentation tools, generate engaged customers who convert 34% faster. Kaon’s applications add value to your trade show solutions and help companies…

  • Virtually showcase endless aisles of interactive 3D product tours (regardless of booth size)
  • Attract visitors with stunning visuals and engaging hands-on touchscreen experiences
  • Make the booth staff product experts with crib notes on every product feature/benefit
  • Reveal unique product workflow and process, letting customers virtually ‘look under the hood’ (without the physical product present)

Contact us today to learn more about how Kaon Interactive can maximize your trade show leads, better engage your customers, and optimize your trade show solution!

Posted in Trade Show Trends, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,