Augmented Reality: What Is It and Why Do B2B Marketers Need It?

In a world of constant change, many successful companies are now adopting a digital engagement strategy across their entire customer lifecycle. Interactive experiences  on websites, smartphones and tablets are everywhere we turn these days.  And now we are about to be driven by immersive experiences. Many of these new marketing technologies are being adopted in the B2C world, but B2B companies must also take notice. Succeeding in B2B marketing depends on how well companies understand the systemic changes that are now imperative in engaging prospects and retaining customers. B2B marketers can look towards a new kind of immersive technology: augmented reality (AR) to help deliver their stories and demonstrate the outcomes of their products and solutionBill_AR_Waters_High_Res.jpgs.

Augmented reality is the ability to take a real-time camera view of a physical space and superimpose digital objects within that space virtually. In true AR, the product is scaled correctly so that the digital object fits perfectly into the physical space. One popular application of AR is consumer games, such as Pokémon Go, which allows B2B marketers to take note on how this type of technology can be utilized in their field and give them a meaningful competitive advantage. Rather than blindly implementing a new technology, B2B marketers must effectively use AR so that it adds quantifiable value to their business.  AR provides companies with a new way to explain their complex value propositions with an entire new set of tools. Not only does it bring in three dimensions, but also allows direct user interaction.

According to a report by Forrester Research, technology like AR, helps companies also create new customer loyalty opportunities and improve customer service effectiveness. The report claims that AR allows companies to better personalize their products/services to the consumer’s frame of reference.  This allows for an enhanced emotional connection during the customer engagement which creates concrete memories and lasting impressions. As customers interact with the AR application, they absorb more information because they are so emotionally connected to the experience itself. Marketers can utilize this advantage in a variety of different ways within their B2B business. An article from the Optera Group explains four possible use cases for AR in the B2B space: product development and prototyping, marketing large complex products, communicating  value propositions and trade show and events.

Augmented Reality is taking B2B marketing to the next level by amplifying the customer’s experience throughout the entire buying process and allowing them to understand exactly how your solutions fit into their world. These experiences create a transformative effect on the customer that will help demonstrate the product’s value within every business setting.

Learn more about our current offerings here www.kaon.com.

 

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Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: Why B2B marketers should sit up and take notice

We now live in a moment of profound change. In just the last 50 years, the average life span of a company on the S&P 500 has fallen from 75 years to 15 years. The common thread? Thriving companies have rapidly adopted a digital engagement strategy across their entire customer lifecycle.

In fact, we are emerging as a digital engagement economy. This shift has rapidly evolved from offline to websites, to smartphones, to tablets, to kiosks and large touch screens, to social media, and leading to interactive experiences everywhere. And next, we are about to be driven by immersive experiences.

While many marketers see these changes as incremental; requiring only minor tactical adjustments, the truth is that succeeding in B2B marketing depends on how well and how rapidly companies understand the systemic changes that are now imperative in engaging prospects and retaining customers.

Many of the necessary underlying marketing technologies are being adopted in the B2C world, but these immersive consumer experiences are creating a set of expectations that translate directly into our business lives.

The marketing challenge of a new generation

Most B2B companies are selling change. This is particularly true of companies that provide complex solutions and products, in a wide variety of industries. The proposed new products and solutions are merely mechanisms that their customers would use to achieve their business and technical objectives, which (by definition) will involve changing from what they are doing today to something different… and better.

The difficulty marketers are facing is that people tend to suffer from what cognitive scientists and behavioral economists call ‘loss aversion’. That is, they tend (even subconsciously) to avoid a possible loss by sticking to the status quo, rather than risk a possible gain by opting for change. This is particularly true in large organizations that may be highly risk averse. (Upton Sinclair, an early 20th century American novelist noted: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”)

To combat this loss aversion, we must demonstrate that the changing world will create big winners and big losers in our prospects’ specific competitive markets. The marketer’s responsibility is to show both that companies are likely to achieve greater success by adopting these solutions and products, and also that not doing so will likely result in an unacceptably negative future for the prospect.

The more complex the solutions and products, the more difficult it is to explain (particularly just with words) how the customer’s world will be different and better. This means we have to innovate in how we deliver our value stories, and demonstrate the outcomes that our products and solutions will deliver.  B2B marketers can now use two different kinds of immersive technologies: augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to help extend the effectiveness in delivering their value stories.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is the abilityScreen Shot 2017-02-07 at 3.11.49 PM.png to take a real-time camera view of a physical space (say, from a mobile/tablet device) and superimpose digital objects within that space virtually. In true AR, the digital object fits perfectly into the physical world because the product is scaled correctly and it knows where it is in the spatial layout of the camera view.

There are, of course, different kinds of AR applications, including some very popular consumer games (such as Pokémon Go.) Other applications show images of consumer products based on a specific GPS location, or present data that represents some meaningful information based on what the person is seeing through the camera view.

A critical component for successful marketing of AR is to develop an emotional connection during the customer engagement. When customers are using an AR application, their surprise, delight, and wonderment form lasting memories and impressions, as they develop an understanding of how innovative the experience is. Without even realizing how much they are learning about the solution, they absorb a great deal of useful information because they are so emotionally connected to the experience itself.

Augmented reality has the power to personalize the B2B marketing (and sales) experience in a profoundly impactful way – by allowing the customer to understand exactly how your solution fits into their world.

Virtual reality

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Virtual reality is the ability to place a person inside a virtual space, allowing them to move around and interact with that space as if it were the real, physical world. The key here, however, is we have to immerse the user in that digital world. That is why VR experiences include the use of a headset, which blocks out any view of the physical world, and creates a fully immersive experience.

Inside these immersive experiences users can enter a 360-degree environment and move through the space at their own pace, explore things of interest to them, and develop a uniquely personal journey.

While the VR experience is intrinsically exciting and interesting, in order for it to be effective as a B2B marketing tool, it should deliver all three dimensions of engagement – intellectual (some useful and relevant knowledge about the solution or products,) sensory (seeing and/or hearing relevant aspects of the environment that resonate with their own work environment,) and emotional (creating a sense of connection with the environment and the solutions).

The impact of a fully immersive VR experience is immensely powerful, transforming the prospect from a viewer/listener to an active, integral participant in a resonant narrative. Their individual experience develops both a real understanding of the value message and a unique relationship to the way that the value story unfolds. These memorable experiences lead to much deeper connections than can be achieved using more passive marketing strategies.

AR and VR are facilitating immersive experiences for B2B marketers by amplifying their customers’ receptiveness to key value propositions across the entire customer lifecycle. These experiences result in a greater emotional connection with the products, creating a transformative effect on the customer that will help demonstrate the products value within every business setting.  There is no greater accomplishment in marketing.

 

Please contact us here or at www.kaon.com for more information regarding AR and VR opportunities.

Original article published on B2B Marketing.

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3 Ways to Keep Customers Engaged with Your Mobile Marketing Apps

apps

Original article published on Mobile Marketing Watch

B2B sales and marketing apps have dramatically increased over the last few years with one-in-five people in the world owning a smartphone and one-in-seventeen people in the world owning a tablet (Source: BI Intelligence). So it’s no wonder that mobile marketing has become a top line item and priority for 2017 as businesses attempt to penetrate the almost 224 million monthly active app users in the US.

As fast as companies are developing these apps, they are also noticing a quick decline in usage. Appsflyer reported that app engagement significantly decreased just 24 hours after the initial install. And by day 30, only 3.3% of Android users and 3.2% of iOS were still engaged with it.

Looking to combat deletion and lack of usage, many marketers have turned to app retention as a metric to gauge how valuable their app is to the consumer. If the goal of the app is to build trusted relationships with customers both pre and post purchase, marketers need to seriously think about relevant and engaging content that enriches user interaction with their brand throughout the ENTIRE buyers’ journey.

Here are three things marketers should think about when developing their mobile app road map:

  1. You are never done. When marketers create an app, there is no “end date.” When an app is released, it is not really complete. It’s always a work in progress. In the “old” days, a marketer would create a brochure, and the project would be complete when the brochure arrived from the printers. But today, when an app is launched, it is no longer “discrete” (i.e. has a start date and an end date) but rather it is an evolving process that requires constant updating, enhancements, and long-term sustenance. This is an advantage, of course, because digital assets are easier to modify and reuse, so their relevance and applicability have a very long “shelf life”. Don’t ever budget for an “one-and-done” app. In doing so, you are under-leveraging the medium and falling into the statistic of almost entirely disengaging customers by day 30.
  1. Apps work best as a system, or platform. In the analog world, many individual events, campaigns, deliverables, and assets can be developed and deployed independently. In the mobile world, users navigate across all channels fluidly (from emails to websites, from social media to different apps, etc.). The most effective way to take advantage of mobile is to think of the entire digital ecosystem as a platform that should have consistent design elements, user interface tools, navigation, and relevant content connections. Apps must allow customers, prospects, employees, and partners to traverse every aspect of the message, solution, and support network in a seamless manner.
  1. Apps need to be all about engagement. The most significant benefit of an app is that it facilitates an interactive user experience, which is an order of magnitude better than simply a vehicle to deliver content. By enabling a rich level of user involvement, the app builds an entirely different (and better) relationship with the audience, because they are actively participating in the process – and it is well established that active participation yields better comprehension, knowledge retention, and positive emotional response.

Engagement — and more importantly re-engagement—is critical for app marketers. If you can achieve all of the above when developing your app; 1.) evolving content 2.) accessible everywhere and 3.) dynamic interactive experience, you should be able to create very targeted information exchanges that drive repeat visits and long term engagement.

In an exclusive interview with CMO.com, CMO of GE Measurement & Control, Marcelo Prado said, “We wanted to approach our customers in a different way. We were typically very tactical and product-focused. We used to go to market talking about our products, how nice and sharp and shiny they are, and [this interactive app allowed us] to change that dialogue.”

GE M&C created an interactive application to arm its sales team and engage their customers. The experience focuses on eight stories–one for each of the customers GE M&C serves in the oil and gas industry–that talks about customers’ operations and major challenges via information gathered from them directly. The app, which was deployed cross platform and can be updated in real-time, is now the core of how GE M&C talks to existing and potential customers and partners both from a sales and marketing capacity.

So remember, the most successful apps are transformational because they deliver continuous engagement platforms for people that matter, at every stage of their journey with your company.

Contact us here to learn more about how Kaon Interactive‘s solutions can help you win more deals.

 

 

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RSVP: Santa Clara Marketing Innovation Seminar

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Click here to register!

Join Kaon Interactive Thursday December 15th for our next Marketing Innovation Roadshow in Santa Clara, CA.

Kaon has leveraged our global marketing community to create an educational seminar that will help you make the right decisions for your organization. This year we will discuss “digital transformation” and how CMO’s and senior marketing leaders will utilize technology to gain a competitive advantage, increase sales productivity and drive effective customer experiences.

This seminar will feature AR/ VR demonstrations, a complimentary breakfast, and dynamic keynote presentations by…

 

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AGENDA

  8:00AM:    Continental Breakfast & Registration
  8:30AM:    Welcome and Introduction
  8:45AM:    Aligning Digital Sales Tools & Marketing Content
  9:15AM:    Interactive Customer Experiences that Drive Sales
  9:45AM:    Effectively Communicating a Complex Value Story
10:15AM:    The Power of a Technology Platform – Ongoing Innovation
10:45AM:    Game Changing AR & VR Solutions – Immersive Experiences Today
11:15AM:    QA, Technology Test-Drive & Closing Remarks

RSVP TODAY to reserve your spot for this exciting event!

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What customers want from their mobile marketing experience

Original article published on Mobile Marketer.
Today’s business-to-business buyers are increasingly more self-educated and turning to sources other than salespeople for product information.
Ample research shows that buyers are already more than 70 percent through the buying cycle before reaching out to a sales rep. According to multiple studies, 42 percent of those buyers are using their mobile devices during the B2B research process.
B2B researchers are not just using mobile devices when they are out and about, but also when they are at work conducting research. Therefore, it is imperative to create a memorable mobile moment for your prospects anywhere, anytime.

 

1. Web mobile optimization is a must

Since 80 percent of Internet users own a smartphone, it is essential to ensure mobile optimization for your Web site.
According to Inbound Marketing for Dummies, in 2015 mobile searches (85.9 billion) overtook desktop-based searches (84 million) for the first time.
That being said, nearly half of consumers say they will not return to a Web site if it does not load properly on their mobile devices. Therefore, creating a mobile experience that allows customers to navigate without the hassle of downtime is fundamental to winning deals.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud vice president of marketing Jeffrey K. Rohrs gave the following advice to help put things in perspective: “The customer journey is comprised of a thousand moments and each one of those mobile moments matters just as much as the one that preceded or follows it. Therefore, by focusing on the present moment and making it unmistakably memorable, marketers can stand out amongst the noise on mobile devices and take the customer one step closer to closing the deal” (‘Make Mobile Moments Matter,’ Jeffrey Rohrs).

 

2. Interactive selling experiences

In today’s world, you have just six seconds to capture your audience’s attention. That means you only have six seconds to give prospects a reason to care, an interest in responding and spark their curiosity.
You must give them a reason to want to engage with your products or applications on their mobile devices. This is particularly important for large or complex physical products that are too cumbersome for customers to really engage with and explore.
In these cases, the best way to execute this is to hand them a mobile device with virtual 3D products or interactive solution stories that attract their attention right away as it runs an animation or removes a component to continue to hold their attention.
These types of engaging interactions, which can also be experienced using augmented reality or virtual reality, will grab their attention within six seconds and prove their interest for you to further the sales discovery conversation.

 

3. Tracking every step of the user’s journey (mobile analytics)

Analytics is the buzzword of 2016.
Sales and marketing teams want to make sure all mobile experiences include powerful analytics for tracking and measuring all aspects of user engagement to deliver real insights into the effectiveness of B2B mobile applications.
Tracking every prospect throughout the buyer’s journey on a mobile device not only grasps the particular moment that is keeping them intrigued, but it also allows companies to truly personalize the next interaction with that prospect.
Capturing this data gives marketers ideas to refine their messages and increase application usage across all channels, not just mobile.
Although this happens behind the scenes, these insights help marketing and sales teams better understand where to spend their time and resources to continue attracting more qualified prospects.
BECAUSE TODAY’S customers expect a seamless digital experience that supports and nurtures them along the entire customer journey, crafting a mobile experience that is engaging, consistent and connected at every touch point can be a great challenge, but extremely beneficial by following the three methods above.

Check out Kaon Interactive for more information. 

 

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How Digital Marketing Will Get You Promoted or Kill Your Career

As the world moves increasingly toward digital strategies for almost every aspect of individual and corporate life, it is important to recognize that we can’t simply “digitize” existing processes or assets, and expect the results to be better. The digital marketing world is fundamentally different in three important ways:

  1. You are never done. When marketers create a digital program, there is no “end date.” When an app is released, it is not complete. When a website is launched, it’s not finished. In the “old” days, a marketer would create a brochure, and the project would be complete when the brochure arrived from the printers. But today, when we implement a digital marketing campaign, it is no longer “discrete” (i.e. has a start date and an end date) but rather, it is a continuous process that requires updating, enhancements, and long-term sustenance. This is an advantage, of course, because digital assets are easier to modify and reuse, so their relevance and applicability have a very long “shelf life”. Don’t ever budget for a “one-and-done” digital marketing program. That’s missing the point entirely, and completely under-leveraging the medium.
  2. Digital works best as a system, or platform. In the analog world, many individual events, campaigns, deliverables, and assets could easily be developed and deployed independently. In the digital world, users navigate across all channels (from emails to websites, from social media to apps, etc.) so the most effective way to take advantage of digital is to think of the entire digital ecosystem as a platform that should have consistent design elements, user interface tools, navigation, and relevant content connections. Digital platforms allow customers, prospects, employees, and partners to traverse every aspect of the message, solution, and support network in a seamless manner.
  3. Digital is all about engagement. The most significant benefit of digital solutions is that they facilitate an interactive user experience, which is orders of magnitude better than simply a vehicle to deliver content. By enabling a rich level of user involvement, the digital solution builds an entirely different (and better) relationship with the audience, because they are actively participating in the process – and it is well established that active participation yields better comprehension, knowledge retention, and positive emotional response.

The most successful digital solutions are transformational because they deliver continuous engagement platforms for people that matter, at every stage of their relationship with your company.

Visit Kaon Interactive to learn more about how you could transform your digital marketing strategy!

 

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RSVP for Our Chicago Marketing Innovation Seminar (Nov. 17th)

 

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Click Here to Register!

 

Kaon has leveraged our global marketing community to create an educational seminar that will help you make the right decisions for your organization. This year we will discuss “digital transformation” and how CMO’s and senior marketing leaders will utilize technology to gain a competitive advantage, increase sales productivity and drive effective customer experiences.

This seminar will feature AR/ VR demonstrations, a complimentary breakfast, and dynamic keynote presentations by…

  • Jeremi Jermakowicz– Project Manager at S&C Electric
  • Alan Cordial– Senior VP of Account Development at MC2
  • Gavin Finn- President & CEO of Kaon Interactive

screen-shot-2016-11-03-at-11-41-38-am

AGENDA

  8:00AM:    Continental Breakfast & Registration

  8:30AM:    Welcome and Introduction

  8:45AM:    Aligning Digital Sales Tools & Marketing Content

  9:15AM:    Interactive Customer Experiences that Drive Sales

  9:45AM:    Effectively Communicating a Complex Value Story

10:15AM:    The Power of a Technology Platform – Ongoing Innovation

10:45AM:    Game Changing AR & VR Solutions – Immersive Experiences Today

11:15AM:    QA, Technology Test-Drive & Closing Remarks

 

RSVP TODAY to reserve your spot for this exciting event!

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