With recent talks of returning to the workplace and various models being adapted across industries, we took some time to chat with Gavin Finn, President & CEO of Kaon Interactive, who’s successful career has spun across verticals building high-growth companies from the ground-up.
Gavin and his team at Kaon have worked throughout the pandemic with Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies to successfully navigate the ongoing American health crisis and digitally adapt to “the New Normal?”, emphasizing and ensuring ongoing customer engagement. Today he sheds light on how they’ve done it and gives us some insight into what we can expect going forward, as well as intel on what’s happening at Kaon Interactive itself.
Can companies embrace a hybrid form of work that still enables remote work for those who want it? That will define the future of business.
How did the Kaon’s platform and team work with customers in adapting to remote work and what is Kaon doing to address transitioning into a hybrid space where some people might be remote and others in person without being messy?
Gavin Finn: The Kaon platform supercharges omnichannel customer engagement by allowing enterprises to deploy and reuse interactive applications that ‘actively’ engage users in navigating complex value messages (by persona or vertical). Whether hybrid, in-person or virtual, customers are now in the driver’s seat to learn, explore, and retain information in a way that resonates, accelerating sales.
As corporations switched to remote work, sales and marketing teams were faced with twin challenges:
(a) their own team members were now working entirely out of their homes, and did not have access to products for physical demonstrations, promotional materials, etc., and
(b) the clients and prospects were also working from their homes, and were unable to meet in person and see product and solution demonstrations first-hand. For companies using Kaon applications, the Kaon platform solved both of these challenges immediately. By using Kaon’s interactive “virtual” product and solution applications,
Virtual Meetings: Sales teams were able to meet with clients in video conferencing meetings via the web and show clients and prospects everything they would need to know in order to make a buying decision
Self-Serve: Customers were able to interact with products and solution stories themselves (without the company’s salespeople or with a sales person in an online sales meeting) – turning a passive process into an engaging and memorable experience that provided valuable information
Virtual Events: Marketers were able to create interactive and engaging digital events, to replace traditional product launches and the physical trade shows and conferences that had been shut down
These professionals were able to adjust to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic quickly and effectively because they did not have to create new materials or solutions – they could simply transition from in-person engagements to rich, interactive digital/online experiences.
As companies are emerging from full lockdowns, they are realizing that customers often prefer digital interaction, for the majority of what were previously face-to-face meetings. The Kaon platform has facilitated the successful transition to this hybrid environment because the same engaging and dynamic customer experience is delivered in an omnichannel manner – and is available whether people are meeting in-person or online, and even if some of the participants are physically together while others are remote.
What are the biggest changes and challenges companies are trying to address right now?
GF: The four significant changes and challenges facing global enterprise companies in today’s digital-first climate…
The dramatic increase in complexity of products and solutions has made it almost impossible for marketing and sales teams to be knowledgeable enough across all of the company’s solutions to add the kind of value that they were able to achieve in the past.
The increasingly rapid pace of change in technology and the business environment has made it impossible to use traditional systems and processes for communicating with prospects and clients.
Increasing industry consolidation and the resulting changes in the competitive landscape have changed the nature and difficulty of the company’s value differentiation strategy, and how to effectively communicate this to the market.
The dramatic shift to digital customer engagement has left many companies without the infrastructure and processes to adapt to both internal and external communications models. It is no longer possible to rely on customers’ seeing solutions in-person in order to understand the value they provide, or even how they work.
The combination of these key problems has resulted in a tremendous pressure on sales cycles, win rates, and customer retention.
What makes Kaon so engaging and flexible during a time when companies have to be relatively fluid in their work set-up Self-Serve or Sales Guided?
GF: Kaon’s solutions offer agility and flexibility in how companies can engage with their customers by providing one solution that allows for both a sales-guided engagement and for customers to engage by themselves online (without any sales involvement). This means that the investment in sales and marketing solutions is much lower with Kaon’s platform, because the same solution is used in multiple environments. Whether working remotely, or visiting customers in-person, the same key value stories are communicated consistently.
Unique Experiences for Multiple Audiences
The same Kaon application is used to communicate value messaging to multiple personas in a variety of regions, at different levels of detail. Customers experience the solutions uniquely, because they navigate through these experiences in a non-linear fashion, exploring relevant sections at their own pace and in the sequence of their choosing.
When the time is right for them to dive deeper into technical details, for example, they have immediate access to the information that they need.
When they are looking for competitive value differentiators, that information is readily available. If they need confirmation of use-case applicability, case study stories are intuitively accessible.
When they need to validate that the solutions will offer specific value to their company, calculators are integrated directly into the solution, allowing them to use their own data to view the precise impact of implementing a new approach.
If they need to see how a particular product would fit into a space in their environment, augmented reality is built into the application.
What are the biggest differentiators of Kaon from other services and platforms – can you utilize presentations for more than one campaign easily?
GF: Buyer Enablement Across the Entire Digital Buyers’ Journey Kaon’s solutions are customer-facing, transforming the sales and marketing paradigm from presentation to engagement. With Kaon solutions, customers experience consistent value messaging at every touch-point, at all stages of their problem-solving journeys.
Complete Agility, Zero Waste, Total Reusability
The Kaon solution is the only enterprise customer engagement platform. There are many examples of interactive applications developed by many companies, and created in a variety of ways, but these are all individual, siloed, stand-alone point-solutions. In order to achieve sustained value over the long term, it is necessary for global enterprises to deploy solutions that apply across the entire customer problem-solving journey, providing consistently engaging customer experiences used by all. Kaon’s technology platform uniquely delivers this level of scalability and sustainability, which ensures that Kaon applications are effective over a sustained period of time.
What are the different product types Kaon offers, how does the platform work and are there specific industries it’s better for than others?
GF: The Kaon solutions portfolio consists of:
The High Velocity Marketing Platform (a SaaS solution that includes modules for collaboration during the application development process, for global, device-independent deployment, cloud-based updates, and for measurement, analytics and insights once applications have been deployed.)
Interactive applications solutions for storytelling
Real-time, photorealistic, 3D interactive product tours
Augmented reality for visualizing products and solutions in a real-world physical space
Virtual reality for immersive product solutions exploration collaborative online digital sales tools for video and audio meetings around multi-user shared experiences
Interactive space planning applications for configuring and visualizing digital versions of physical spaces
Calculators to demonstrate precise customer value based on their own data and use-case information
Multi-language and regionalization capability within the same application
Integration with CRM systems for improving sales effectiveness
Integration with marketing automation systems to optimize lead generation and nurturing for web-based prospect engagement
The Kaon High Velocity Marketing Platform® is the software technology underpinning every Kaon application. Built on Kaon’s platform, each customer application has the look-and-feel of the customer’s brand, telling their stories in a visually engaging interactive way. In a true omnichannel approach, the applications are deployed as native applications on PC’s (Windows and Macs), on mobile devices (tablets and phones) and via the web, available through any browser. The same application runs in all of these environments, and whenever an application is updated, it is updated globally and instantaneously to every user on every device everywhere in the world, ensuring they have the most recent and compelling interactive experience.