How Marketers Can Bridge Innovation and Business

This article was originally published by Chief Executive, “Kaon Interactive CEO on Bridging Innovation and Business,” January 18, 2019.

Kaon Interactive CEO and President Gavin Finn is all about bridging the gap from technological innovation to the marketing and business side. When he joined Kaon Interactive in 2005, it was still very much a technology-focused orientation.

“My focus has been on thinking about how marketing and sales can benefit from innovations and behavior to really meet the needs of the way that the world is evolving in general,” Finn says.

Kaon AR with Gavin Finn

He has done this on some level throughout his career, both at small companies and multinationals alike. At Kaon, Finn’s goal is to take the company’s augmented and virtual reality marketing and sales applications and make them usable for customers. “It’s a pervasive challenge for enterprises to convey their complex products and solution messaging to a variety of customers within their buying ecosystems.”

Finn says augmented and virtual reality technologies can help their customers tell “very complicated solution stories and messaging.” They can help immerse someone into an environment where they can actually see what these complex marketing and messages mean, rather than imagining it.

Chief Executive talked with Finn about the challenges of using a newer concept to market and sell products, how he recruits tech talent and more. Below are excerpts from this conversation.

What are some of the big challenges that you guys face in trying to kick-start a newer concept in terms of being able to market and sell products?

I think CEOs in particular are always interested in looking at creating long-term competitive differentiated value that allows them to create a sustained, competitive advantage. And so, what we have to do is we have to find ways of linking those key strategic goals that CEOs have for marketing innovations. And so, in using marketing innovations, we can help accomplish these strategic objectives.

So, some of the challenges that we have is very often, marketers are focused on very tactical objectives that are focused on an event, a customer event or a trade show, or a product launch, or some bounded marketing objective. One of the big challenges is to help marketers align their key initiatives and all of the deliverables with the senior executive strategic objectives. Because when you think about it, all of these kinds of technologies can be viewed as sort of technology for technology’s sake by the CEOs and CFOs, unless they can be aligned with key strategic corporate objectives.

We have to overcome the visibility of why marketers need to be thinking in terms of strategic alignment or the strategic objectives, and not just tactical objectives in getting data sheets done, and branding and messaging for a particular solution story. One key objective for us is to overcome that inherent resistance to thinking about innovation in marketing as a strategic cooperate initiative and a potential strategic advantage.

Another barrier we have is because these technologies are relatively new, they can often be seen as experiments or sidelines and may get positioned as proofs of concept or interesting ideas. And what we’ve been really focused on is thinking about demonstrating that in a continuum of engagement solutions and innovation, these solutions can become very important and sustained over the life of very long product cycles or market initiatives.

The challenge is to get away from thinking about this as a cool, shiny object and a new toy to companies turning this into something really valuable on a continuing basis that provides substantive, competitive value differentiation to engage customers.

And so, what we did there was rather than just build it as a way to do a walk through, we created it in such a way where every time there’s a new innovation and a new development and new technology initiatives at an R&D facility, the application is updated and enhanced so that all the customers continuously want to keep going back and experiencing that virtual reality walk through because they feel it’s a way for them to get more industry knowledge and the company actually connects with their customers on a continuous basis.

So, I think it’s a continuing challenge to move these new technologies out of the cool, shiny toy bucket and into realizing this an important initiative for us to embed within our go-to market strategy.

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