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How to Measure Digital Engagement

Marketers have been collecting data on their digital marketing initiatives ever since the web became a mainstream marketing platform. The vast majority of this kind of “analytics” relates to user actions and behavior (i.e. “What path did a specific user take on my website,” or “What are the most commonly clicked links on this page?”, etc.). When marketing applications became more ubiquitous, these same kinds of data collection principles were similarly used in an attempt to measure the effectiveness of these applications.

Particularly for marketing apps (be they web apps or native apps on desktop or mobile devices) the key question marketers should be asking about their apps is: “Are my users engaged?” What insightful marketers recently have learned is that just looking at clicks and time-on-page is not sufficient to develop an understanding of the user’s intent, and neither are these kinds of declarative metrics reliable indications or predictors of future behavior.

What is digital customer engagement?

“Engagement” is a metric that some marketers have started to use in the context of web analytics. If we look at the definition of engagement in Google Analytics documentation, they define it as:

Any user interaction with your site or app.

This is a peculiar choice, which doesn't jibe with what people generally mean by the word engagement. The dictionary definition of the word engage is a useful reference:

Occupy, attract, or involve (someone's interest or attention).

Why the disconnect between the analytics definition and the dictionary definition? Because analytics software is limited to the range of data that was collected, and web analytics typically only counts “hits” on pages or clicks. This limitation has repercussions that turn a lot of web analytics metrics into a wasteland of misleading, useless data.

For example, suppose your prospect searches for information about your product. They click through the search link and end up on a product page. Your product page is well-designed, and the user spends several minutes reading about your product. They then close that browser window. This was an “engagement” lasting several minutes. However, web analytics saw only one hit and then nothing else. As far as web analytics are concerned, it could easily be counted as a zero-interaction “bounce.”

The opposite also happens. Suppose your prospect starts on your website. They browse to a page about a product and get distracted by a Facebook notification on their phone. A few minutes later, they return to your product page in their browser, decide they clicked on the wrong product, and navigate to your home page. Web analytics software will report a several-minute engagement, while there was no engagement at all on the part of the user.

How do you measure digital engagement?

Instead of accepting this status quo, what if we designed a strategy measuring digital engagement by making the app itself an active participant in the analysis? How different would the results be?

Let’s start with these basic digital engagement definitions:

#1 - A session is a series of interactions between the user and the application.

#2 - A single session can span multiple short bursts of activity.

#3 - Multi-tasking is a reality, and apps going in and out of the foreground only marks a session boundary if that the idle time is large (say, for example, a half-hour).

#4 - Idle time should be disregarded. The app can monitor input like mouse-cursor motion, scrolling and clicks/taps to determine whether the app is idle.

#5 - Sessions could happen online or offline. In the offline case, data should be collected and accurately reported at a later time when the app is used online.

If we use these definitions/rules, both the examples above would much better answer the question: “Is my user engaged?” In the first case (reading everything on a single page), the session would last several minutes. In the second case (the Facebook distraction), after subtracting out idle time, the session only would last a few seconds.

Google Analytics vs. Actual Engagement

When you compare traditional web analytics to analytics collected using these specifications, the difference is striking. Looking at two weeks of data from one of Kaon Interactive’s marketing and sales applications that gathers analytics both in Google Analytics and using this new method, Google Analytics reports 3,163 sessions:

Google Analytics Kaon App Session Duration - App 1

When, in fact there were 4,926 sessions (55% more than Google Analytics reported!) with a completely different distribution:

Kaon Analytics App Session Duration - App 1

Why do they look so different, if they were analyzing the same user sessions? The difference in the distribution of engagement durations is easily explained. This app is highly engaging (it consists mostly of 3D, interactive, product tours). Users can spend many minutes exploring products and features without changing pages, and, so, they get bucketed as one-hit “bounces,” despite being minutes-long engagements.

The difference in the count of sessions is harder to explain, since Google Analytics uses the same “half-hour idle” rule we used here. The most likely explanation is that Google Analytics doesn’t include some of the sessions that only visited a single page. Another possibility is that the web analytics stores a statistical model of sessions, not the individual sessions at all – and then attempts to reconstruct/estimate raw numbers from those models. That’s not a problem when you are looking at trends, since, over time, the models will tend to have similar error. But, it can be confusing and significantly misleading if you are trying to use this “web analytics” data to make marketing decisions (such as understanding conversions to sales or campaign clicks to attribute sales/revenue to particular marketing initiatives/tools).

This particular app is deployed a variety of ways, which leads to different engagement distributions (colors indicate different device types):

Kaon Analytics App Session Duration by Device

About half the usage of this app is on the company’s website, with individual 3D, interactive, product tours available either on the main product page or on a dedicated 3D product sub-page. A quarter of the views are from people going to a direct link (possibly from the corporate site or shared directly). The last quarter are from the sales team that have this app installed on their phones, tablets and computers. Understanding the engagement profile of the sales team separately from understanding customer or prospect engagement is critical for developing accurate and meaningful marketing insights.

In the case of web embedding, the user is not as likely to be there just to see the specific app content, which explains the bias in the distribution toward slightly lower levels of engagement. It is noteworthy that, even in this case, there are significant proportions of sessions lasting more than three minutes. (For comparison purposes, industry averages for time-on-page range from 40 seconds to two minutes.) Keep in mind that idle time is subtracted out, so this is only counting time interacting with the app content.

It is possible to record events other than page views to web analytics software. This might make web analytics software better able to capture true engagement, since a user of a modern website could be interacting quite a bit without changing pages. For example, another Kaon-developed app fits that profile. Although the user never changes “pages,” we record events each time they click to learn more about a particular part of the solution story being told.

For a single period in this app, Google Analytics reported 31 sessions:

Google Analytics Kaon App Session Duration - App 2

This closely matches the 29 sessions counted by our analytics (the difference could be explained by slightly different definition of when a “day” starts). However, the distribution reported by Google Analytics still shows considerable error. Here is the actual distribution of session engagement:

Kaon Analytics App Session Duration - App 2

The difference between these distributions demonstrates flaws in traditional web analytics engagement measures, even though the pages are highly instrumented. Web analytics overstates the number of short sessions, because a user might be engaged (scrolling or moving the mouse) without clicking on anything. It also overstates the number of long sessions because it fails to subtract out idle time. App and website users multitask constantly, and marketers are kidding themselves if they believe “time-on-page” is anything like a measure of actual engagement.

To clearly illustrate the discrepancies in Google Analytics, we looked at a large-scale virtual event hosted by one of our customers using a custom-built interactive application in both Google Analytics and the application's back-end insights portal.

Generally, you can see that Google overestimated the number of attendees but underestimated their true engagement -- especially in that critical 3-5-minute engagement time range.

Metrics for digital customer engagement

Of course, we aren't measuring digital engagement for its own sake. We want to know engagement because we believe that it predicts other things. In an app, engagement should predict specific marketing value propositions, such as understanding competitive differentiation, customer satisfaction, or long-term value of the app in helping to solve problems or illustrate solutions. On an e-commerce website, engagement should predict conversion outcomes. Since web analytics software is unable to accurately report customer engagement, marketers would be wise to stop looking at the reported digital engagement metrics and find other ways to measure the effectiveness of the app or website in meeting its goals.

The other alternative is to do what Kaon has done and add active digital engagement metrics to the app or website and develop a scalable back-end system to store and report this data. If the past is any indication, it is unlikely that web analytics providers will add true engagement measurement to their platforms any time soon.

By Joshua Smith, CTO & Co-Founder, Kaon Interactive

Why B2B Needs A Digital-First Marketing and Sales Strategy

There’s a saying that the definition of sales is “the transfer of enthusiasm.” This is the driving force behind why – up until now – pivotal B2B sales meetings predominantly take place in-person and not in virtual meetings or over the phone. As the world has become more complex, and with the increasing pace of change, however, it has become more challenging for sales people to ensure that these meetings are effective. In fact, according to SiriusDecisions research, the primary reason why B2B companies lose deals that they should win is that sales teams are unable to consistently articulate the relevant differentiated value of their complex solutions.


Now, imagine the increased difficulty that companies are encountering with the recent elimination of face-to-face sales meetings and events, leaving only online conferencing tools. Without the ability to connect on a personal level, and with only the use of admittedly boring slide presentations as their primary communications tool, achieving that “transfer of enthusiasm” has become exponentially more difficult.


Accelerated by the COVID-19 lockdowns, sales representatives have been realizing for some time now that they can no longer rely on simply discussing their products’ features in order to convey competitive differentiation. Nor can they rely on their personal relationship-building skills to transfer the kind of enthusiasm that connects with decision-makers. A true transformation in sales and marketing is now required. Rather than “presenting” to prospects and customers, sales and marketing teams are compelled to engage their audience directly. This transformation is extremely challenging for many companies, because it involves both a behavior change (give the customer control, rather than to always be presenting) and a technology upgrade (slides and videos are no longer sufficient – interactive applications are required).


Having worked with Fortune 1000 companies across the globe on transforming their digital-first marketing and sales strategies, I’ve collected key takeaways from some of the world’s top executives on how this digital interactive strategy helped their sales and marketing teams better demonstrate value and convert conversations into sales.


One of the key insights from these global companies is that just focusing on the mechanics of running the virtual sales or marketing meeting as a digital version of an in-person meeting is insufficient and ineffective. It’s imperative to focus on the attendee/customer experience. Virtual meeting attendees are only paying attention 23% of the time (the remainder of which is spent emailing, surfing the web, checking their phones, etc.). The most effective way to engage customers is to involve them - let them control the digital experience. Putting them in the driver’s seat ensures that they keep their focus on the story that they are revealing to clearly understand how your company’s unique value proposition will help THEM overcome THEIR business challenges.


When asked how adopting a digital-first marketing and sales customer engagement strategy helped them quickly and effectively adapt to a remote sales and marketing model -- and move from vendor to strategic collaborator – these executives shared the following learnings:


Ricoh USA: Mike Herold, Director Global Marketing, Production Inkjet Technologies; and Roger Serette, Executive Briefing Center Director

When working at home isn’t a choice, staying productive, secure, and focused is of critical importance. Our interactive solutions have helped us engage and educate buyers virtually, tell our value story better, communicate technology differentiators, and uncover new opportunities. The agility of the platform has given us a competitive advantage and helped our sellers pivot quickly to a digital-first world. We use this for our service organization, our marketing organization, our customers use it to communicate to THEIR customers. Our entire organization can now have a 9.5-ton printing press sitting in their office and interact with it [virtually, with augmented reality]. It solved a transformative problem and that is how we get our entire organization to engage with a product that they may never be able to physically stand in front of.


FÖRCH: Alexander Emmert, Business Unit Manager Digital Business International

We used to follow standard industry practice in manually developing specifications and proposals to design systems configured within our customers’ environments. Today, we have automated much of that process, improving the customer’s solutions and dramatically reducing the sales cycle and customer lead time. The system automatically creates consistent visuals to represent a common and correct understanding between the customer, sales, our inventory system, all the way through delivery and installation. The pandemic has highlighted the value of this digital strategy, because the efficiencies and interactive nature of this application have brilliantly transformed our sellers’ ability to effectively engage customers and communicate complex product offerings. It is a game changer.


NetApp: Lee Howard, Director, GSI Solutions Engineering

When we looked at reevaluating how we would go to market, we knew we had to have some sort of digital expression... not only for the physical hardware; our innovation cadence was really focused around quality of life improvement. How do you change what you’ve always done, how do you disrupt that muscle memory? We have to get out of talking and deriving value from speeds and feeds and getting into telling stories and articulating business outcomes, and, in order to do that, you have to have a different avenue in which you communicate. This digital interactive platform is key in that transformation.


Juniper Networks: Sally Bament, VP of Marketing

We can reach customers that we may not have been able to reach in just the physical, in-person events. This platform gives us a content hub that we can continually refresh and send our customers back to.


Regardless of how the business environment evolves in the future, remote/virtual meetings and events will be a major part of how business is done. In order to transfer enthusiasm in a virtual environment, B2B marketers and sales professionals must raise the bar to create engaging experiences that evoke emotion, are multi-sensory, and reveal relevant and useful information. A long-term digital-first marketing and sales customer engagement approach can change the competitive dynamics forever, leading to more sales and longer-term profitable business relationships.


By Gavin Finn, President & CEO, Kaon Interactive

Digital Customer Engagement: 5 Ways to Maximize ROI After the Event

You’ve invested time, resources, and money in an innovative, interactive digital customer engagement experience for your virtual event. The user experience is a work of art, the message is cohesive but concise, and the deployment to your virtual event platform is seamless. But, what happens when the event ends? How can you maximize the ROI of your application beyond that single event?


Just as you put time and resources into building an event application, it takes some time and resources to build adoption and utilization across use cases. To get the most out of your application investment, you need to apply it to each phase of your buyer’s journey -- a process that is enabled by a robust and extensible application platform. The following are common marketing vehicles along your buyer’s road to becoming a customer, all of which will benefit from an enhanced customer engagement experience.

#1 Awareness: Enhance Your Website

Like any other product or service, you want as many prospects to engage and experience your brand and products -- and application -- as possible. With your already implemented SEO and inbound marketing tactics, your potential customer is going to find your website. Therefore, using something as ubiquitous as an iFrame, seamlessly embed your application into your website, ensuring that it doesn’t disrupt the page loading time since 53% of visitors will leave your site if it doesn’t load in 3 seconds or less.


When visitors come to your website, the digital customer engagement application should be in a visible place, perhaps in the corner or even in the center of the screen. More effectively, you can have a pop-up page that captures the viewer’s attention and engages them immediately once they take a certain action. Wayfair created an interactive, virtual reality application, allowing customers to see how furniture on the website would look in their own homes. This novel application, at the time, is featured in Wayfair’s Technology Blog.


Promoting your interactive sales and marketing application on blogs AND on your website itself will increase application usage as well as engagement on your website. We have seen that incorporating interactive, personalized elements into a website increases session duration and decreases bounce rates.


And, since 70% of media time and 79% of social media time happens on mobile devices, make sure to build your application to be mobile-friendly.

#2 Consideration: Continue to Wow Attendees at (Virtual) Events and Tradeshows

Whether you’re at a big or small event, you’re competing with many, sometimes hundreds, of other companies for attendees’ attention. Virtual meeting attendees are typically only paying attention 23% of the time (the remainder of which is multitasking).


Therefore, you only have a couple of seconds to capture your audience’s attention. And what better way to do it than with your eye-catching, interactive sales and marketing application? Like your investment in a physical trade show booth, you want to be able to reuse your event engagement assets, while offering personalization specific to each event. With the right digital customer engagement platform, you can easily update the experience from a previous event to use at upcoming events.


The most effective way to engage customers is to involve them — let them control the digital experience. Putting them in the driver's seat ensures that they clearly understand how your company's unique value proposition will help them overcome their business challenges.


Not only will an interactive application draw people into your virtual space, but it’ll also encourage them to stay longer, generating 2x more conversions than passive content. Interactive, trade-show features like calculators and configurators are 51% and 43%, respectively, more effective in the consideration and decision phases. So, not only are you attracting and retaining online booth traffic, you’re moving prospects along the buyer’s journey more quickly and effectively -- and building ROI on your application.


#3 Faster Decisions: Engage Customers in (Virtual) Sales Meetings

Imagine sitting at a table in a conference room (or on yet another Zoom meeting) listening to yet another sales pitch. Your mind wanders and your eyes close, only to be jolted awake by that mid-fall feeling. If you can relate to this scenario, the customers you’re presenting to probably can as well. Now, imagine how much worse this situation can be in a virtual meeting with the typical work-from-home distractions of other housemates, children, and pets. Not to mention the phone lighting up in your peripheral vision, promising something likely much more entertaining than the sales pitch (lecture, really) happening on your computer screen.


Sales meetings should not be a lecture, but a personalized interactive experience. The reality is that, with buyers relying heavily on self-research in the awareness stage, customers now dictate the sales process. However, there’s a huge disconnect between what salespeople want to talk about and what customers want to discuss.Engage customers more in the sales process by introducing them to a non-linear, digital customer engagement application that allows them to personalize the sales conversation to what is truly meaningful for them.

#4 Retention: Foster Customer Knowledge

Even after closing the deal, you can use your interactive sales and marketing application as a customer leave-behind engagement tool to share with other decision-makers within their organization. By using an existing solution, you can help your customers retain product knowledge in a visually compelling way at their own pace.


In 2015, 3% of B2B businesses said they value a customer’s experience; in 2019, that percentage jumped to 89%. With more and more B2B consumers demanding omnichannel capabilities. Providing such capabilities is crucial. Luckily, you already have an informative, value-delivering application that, when given to your customers, can significantly improve both their pre- and post-purchase user experience.


#5 Advocacy: Reinforce Channel Relationships

Use your application to bridge this communication gap in a consistent and meaningful way to make your partners’ jobs easier while maintaining control of your product/solution messaging as it moves downstream. Not only can your digital customer engagement application help your company communicate its differentiated value against the competition, but it can be a tool to aid your channel partners in concisely communicating your unique value and ensuring their success.


Making sure these interactive sales and marketing applications are kept up to date, with new products/solutions, gives your partners a way to stay relevant and continue learning about your offerings. This will give your company a leg up against the other solutions your partners may be reselling.


Bonus: Deepen Employee Understanding and Engagement

It’s easier to be passionate about -- and sell -- a product/solution that you genuinely believe in. Since your interactive sales and marketing application focuses on your product portfolio, solution story, and/or your internal processes, use it in training to help employees understand and advocate for your company. By using the application internally as an onboarding and resource tool, everyone becomes a marketer and/or a salesperson -- knowledgeable and equipped with a tool to help them perform their jobs better. If your application can wow strangers at a virtual event, imagine how it will excite employees who already root for your company.


Summary

Your digital customer engagement application deserves the spotlight, but, like anything your company creates, no one will know about it and use it unless you integrate it into your holistic marketing strategy and tactics. Using these strategies can showcase your application throughout the buyer’s journey, leaving both your company and your customers informed and engaged.


Contact Rachel, Kaon's customer success director, to learn more about the User Adoption and Advocacy Program to increase the visibility and usage (and ROI) of your application!

Digital Customer Engagement Platform Increased Demand Results in Significant Kaon Team Growth

The shift to exclusively virtual business interactions due to the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the need and demand for digital customer engagement platform solutions for sales and marketing, like those offered by Kaon Interactive, that are agile enough to remain relevant in the post-COVID-19 era. This acceleration, as well as a strategic company expansion into Europe, mandated the growth of our Kaon team.

Keep reading to meet the those who joined us in 2020, and check back on this post as we continue to grow our Kaon family!

Thomas Scheerder | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts, Europe

Thomas Scheerder, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Since the beginning of his career, Thomas has worked in international B2B sales within the exhibition/interior design, telecommunications, and meeting/event/congress industries. This work has sent him around the world searching for prospects and new clients. He strongly believes that when the product or service is good, people should listen to his story so as to not miss out on a beneficial opportunity. Thomas is of Dutch nationality, meaning that he is a straight-forward guy who speaks directly and will help his customers, whenever needed, during the buying process.

Thomas will be overseeing European business for Kaon Interactive, based in Amsterdam. He is looking forward to interacting with Kaon clients and prospects in Europe and prospects.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I feel privileged to start up the European division, together with a great set of colleagues on the other side of the ocean.

Michael Guillemette | Applications Software Developer

Michael Guillemette, Kaon Interactive Applications Software Developer

Michael joined the Kaon application development team at the beginning of the year. He is excited to be working alongside such an exemplary group of programmers to create compelling, useful and performant applications. With a background in customer-facing roles and experience working as a graphic designer, he strives to bring thoughtful, creative energy to each project with a focus on client success.

Outside of work, Michael enjoys spending time on a variety of hobbies, including gaming, cooking and running. Having completed his first half marathon at the age of 29, he hopes to finish a marathon in the next five years.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?

My favorite part about the culture at Kaon is the incredible support that exudes from all parts of the organization, from management to the production team and beyond.

Mike Vasios | Applications Software Developer

Mike Vasios, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Michael hails from Arlington, MA, and joined Kaon’s application development team at the beginning of the year. His previous experience is a combination of roles in both front-end development and online retail. Mike’s favorite hobbies are traveling and exploring the great outdoors.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
The variety of projects and clientele keeps the work here far from monotonous. This is an outstanding learning environment for any front-end developer.

Hans Wernke | Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Hans Wernke, Vice President, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

After driving sales efforts at the interactive division of a large, international medical education agency for eight years, followed by another eight years doing the same at LA-based Inhance Digital (eight seems to be the magic number), Hans joined the Kaon sales team in January of this year. Hans has been closely involved in the sale and deployment of a broad range of interactive and immersive experiences for trade shows, briefing centers, trainings, and live events for companies such as GE Healthcare, Merck, FM Global, Honeywell, Otis, and Pratt & Whitney. Ultimately, he views it as his job to help clients tell their stories, engage their audiences, and make a meaningful, lasting impact. His aim is to always bring value to his clients, not just by delivering successful projects, but by being a source of strategic insights, new ideas, and inspiration.

Hans lives in Stamford, CT, with his wife, two boys (11 and 18), dog, and bearded dragon. Despite having lived in the U.S. for more 20 years, he is still a citizen of The Netherlands and never quite lost his love for Dutch fried food and soccer (or voetbal).

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
What I love most about Kaon is the incredible talent and collaborative spirit.

Paris Lopez| Applications Software Developer

Paris Lopez, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Beginning at Kaon as an intern, Paris started as a full-time application software developer in January. Along with the talented designers and project managers, she develops applications to the specifications of our clients.

Before joining the Kaon team, Paris attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love how everyone is kind, and they always have a positive attitude about each other and their work at Kaon.

Dana Polihovsky | Marketing Coordinator, Europe

Dana Polihovsky, Marketing Coordinator, Europe at Kaon Interactive

Having interned at Kaon since May 2019, Dana officially joined the team full-time in February as the marketing coordinator for Europe. She graduated from Bentley University in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a minor in law. Having lived in Russia, Israel, Spain, and the U.S., Dana is very excited to be able to combine her passion for global outreach with her marketing experience.

In college, Dana was an award-winning captain of the Moot Court team, competing nationally in legal oral argument. She also served as a writing center tutor and a first-year seminar peer leader, helping freshmen adjust to college in a class co-taught with a Bentley professor. She had the opportunity to teach a marketing class in Spanish, intern for a cryptocurrency company, and work for a non-profit in Barcelona, providing free education to children of low-income families.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
Jen (marketing colleague).

Charles Howard | Director, Strategic Accounts

Charles Howard, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Joining the Kaon sales organization in the spring, Charles is an award-winning, creative business leader who has defined and managed the delivery of cross-platform digital media strategies, experiential design, 3D/VR/AR/MR, and more for Fortune 500 companies. He is ever excited by the challenge of finding a fresh approach to building an audience, forging stimulating client partnerships and enhancing the user experience.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
The thing I love most about working at Kaon is my connection with the people behind the amazing technology that we develop and deliver to our clients.

Brandon Lee | Director, Strategic Accounts

Brandon Lee, Director, Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon Interactive this spring, Brandon spent the past 20 years in various sales and leadership positions for global enterprise software companies such as PeopleSoft, SAP, Verizon, and JDA. During that time, he led sales teams in rapidly changing environments focusing on internet-enabled SaaS platforms and mobile and cloud computing, consistently exceeding goals. Brandon is recognized as a proven mentor, leader, and sales executive receiving numerous Chairman’s, President’s Club and Winner’s Circle achievements for exceeding sales revenue.

Marc McFatter | Applications Software Developer

Marc McFatter, Applications Software Developer at Kaon Interactive

Marc graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and a minor in interactive media and game development. He joined the Kaon team soon after as a front-end developer.

From Canton, MA, Marc has previously worked at Amadeus as a web development intern and at Cornerstone at Canton as an on-hands server and activities coordinator.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I’ve only worked here a few months and, due to the pandemic, the work that I’ve done has all been remote. Despite all of my interactions with my co-workers being virtual, the sense of community at Kaon is palpable. Everyone I’ve worked with is kind, understanding, and friendly, and it makes me glad to be a part of it.

Sandra Velema-Hijnen | Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra Velema-Hijnen, Executive Director, Head of Account Management, Europe

Sandra joined Kaon in July to support clients in Europe. She brings 14 years of business development, marketing and account management experience from working at international B2B companies. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in management from Stenden University, she held commercial roles in London, Dubai and Amsterdam. In her last position as head of business development, she had the opportunity to build a team responsible for sales, creative concept development, and marketing.

Sandra currently lives in The Netherlands, near Amsterdam, with her husband and nine-month-old daughter. She likes a challenge and helping clients with theirs in the field of sales, marketing, change, and strategy. Currently, she is enrolled in a part-time MBA program at Warwick Business School. And when that is all (semi)done, she enjoys a good glass of wine, playing tennis, reading, traveling sunny places, and skiing.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I enjoy the team’s passion for the clients’ success, turning their strategy into reality! Their drive and diverse experiences make an environment in which there is something new to learn each day.

Sheila McNeil | Senior Director of Strategic Accounts

Sheila McNeil, Senior Director of Strategic Accounts at Kaon Interactive

Sheila joined the Kaon sales organization in late August and brings with her more than 20 years of experience. Sheila started her career running her own business for a period of eight years, prior to moving into the technology industry. She has held a variety of positions including worldwide GM, senior enterprise sales director and director of the East region. In these roles, she had the opportunity to work for a variety of organizations from Silicon Valley startups — like PowerReviews and Punchtab — to established enterprises — including Asymetrix, Interwise, SAS, and Zift Solutions.

Sheila resides in the greater Boston area and enjoys international travel, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, dance classes, and spending time with family.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
What I love most about working at Kaon is the supportive culture and true collaborative working environment.

Rachel Mitchell | Director of Customer Success

Rachel Mitchell, Director of Customer Success at Kaon Interactive

In October, Rachel joined the marketing team at Kaon with more than 10 years of experience in various aspects of marketing and marketing research. She most recently held customer-facing roles as a consultant at Forrester Research and as the head of research at GreatBlue Research. Her focus in each role has been building and enhancing relationships, while delivering on expectations and developing talent. She has a knack for creating efficiencies and identifying growth opportunities.

Rachel holds a degree in marketing from Boston College and an MBA in accounting from Sacred Heart University.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love the warm welcome and the contagious spirit of collaboration and team.

Danielle Wilson | Project Manager

Danielle Wilson, Project Manager at Kaon Interactive

Prior to joining Kaon in October, Danielle spent more than 20 years working in a number of industries including consumer packaged goods, higher education, community banking, medical software and, most recently, retirement services. In these industries, she has held a number of different positions including project management, account management, and marketing, allowing her to build strong client relationships and manage projects with an eye toward the end user.

Danielle holds a degree in communications from Marist College and a MBA from Western New England University. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, watching her children play sports, and hiking with her family’s new dog, Maisey.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
I love to see an idea start from a client, combine that with the superb talent of the team and see a project come to life.

Laura Sinur | Project Manager

Laura Sinur, Project Manager

Laura, who came on board to cover for an employee leave, joined the Kaon team permanently in November. Laura was able to jump in quickly and absorb information about Kaon’s clients and complex projects.

Prior to joining Kaon, Laura was a certified scrum master and agile project manager for Turbine Games in Cloud Solutions and Integration. She also was a National Marrow Donor Program-certified bone marrow transplant coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Laura was a 2012 honoree for The One Hundred, an annual event that recognizes those whose contributions advance the fight against cancer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Laura enjoys hiking, crafts, cooking, and spending time with her son, Jackson, and husband, David, in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. One of her favorite books from childhood is “The Way Things Work” — a book of diagrams, cut-aways and explanations of the inner workings of things.

What do you love most about working at Kaon?
My favorite part of working at Kaon is that we create an exciting yet practical and tangible form of this type of information. By revolutionizing the way that we present ideas, we bring our customers’ products and value propositions to life. I love seeing these projects entertain the childlike fascination and curiosity in all of us.

Jordan Bryant | Art Director

Jordan Bryant, Art Director

Jordan Bryant transitioned from working as a contract art director with Kaon to officially joining the design team full-time in November. He brings a wealth of experience with concepting, UI/UX, motion graphics, and 3D in fast-paced in-house and agency environments. Jordan previously worked with brands such as A24, AT&T, Cablevision, DirecTV, Lionsgate, Microsoft, Mitsubishi, Sony, Southern California Edison, Universal, and Warner Bros. creating immersive digital experiences.

Isabelle Quelhas | Project Manager

Isabelle Quelhas, Project Manager

Isabelle joined the Kaon project management team in November of 2020. She has worked in a number of industries including live events, medical publishing and technology. In all of her previous roles as a project manager and senior project manager, Isabelle enjoyed wearing many hats and handling different priorities such as actively engaging with customers, controlling budgets, negotiating subcontracts, effectively communicating, and establishing processes.

Isabelle currently lives in central New Jersey with her husband. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and is bilingual in English and Portuguese. In her spare time, she enjoys being active, cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.

Josh Cranmer | Art Director

Josh Cranmer, Art Director

Josh joined Kaon in November. He has been working with brands, big and small, for more than six years building extensive experience with UI/UX, motion graphics, and 3D. He’s created eye-catching video content for the web and retail, built brands from scratch, and designed the UI of digital experiences in some of your favorite stores, such as Spectrum Mobile.

Why You Need a 3D Product Strategy Post-COVID-19

When businesses reopen following the COVID-19 shutdowns, they have to adjust to new realities. While there’s a certain comfort in the idea that reopening is itself a return to normal, actual business practices are unlikely to be the same for some time yet. And one of the shifts we’re likely to see is that companies pitching products to one another may no longer be as able or willing to do so in person.

This is a point that’s being discussed frequently concerning B2C relationships. It’s expected that consumers won’t feel comfortable returning to places of business for some time, and, that when they do, companies will need to adjust to new safety needs. But in a sense, the same is true of B2B contact. With many inclined to avoid travel and in-person contact, companies will need to provide alternatives that both incentivize ongoing business and approximate ordinary practices safely.

The good news is that there are countless steps companies can take to address these issues. Among the most effective though is the implementation of a virtual 3D product strategy. This can mean a few different things, but, by and large, we’re referring to company efforts to preset their products via interactive 3D representations of materials or experiences. This can effectively allow businesses to continue pitching and assessing products, and there are several reasons it makes a significant difference in the current climate.

The Promise of Customer Experience

We mentioned above that businesses will need to provide something of an incentive to spur a return to ordinary activity. Primarily, this means making it abundantly clear that business can proceed without any risk to the health of anyone involved. Additionally, though, companies will need to make their counterparts in the business world want to interact again. There will have to be specific reasons to inch back toward normal, beyond the idea that things will have gotten somewhat safer.

Concerning the B2C issues alluded to above, one article about consumers’ return to brick-and-mortar stores took an interesting approach to solving this problem, making a comparison to Disneyland. The point was that yes, a person could purchase Mickey Mouse ears at Disneyland, but the real draw is the experience. It’s suggested that stores and shopping centers will need to mimic this principle. The draw to consumers has to be an experience, rather than just a store full of products.

This is something businesses should take to heart whether they’re dealing with consumers or other businesses. An interactive 3D product strategy can provide just the type of experience that brings some excitement to the idea of returning to normal. As an example, companies pitching products might be able to set up photo-realistic 3D product tours and augmented reality demonstrations that enable potential partners to interact with said products in a lifelike manner. Without the need to travel, meet in-person, or even handle a product (if it is something physical), businesses can exchange visuals, go over in-depth specifications, negotiate adjustments, and, ultimately, close deals. Specifics, of course, can vary greatly. But, with properly engaging 3D materials or applications, businesses can entice their potential partners by providing a whole new experience, as opposed to just something adequate within the new normal.

Increased Marketing and Sales Conversions

Looking beyond the clear need to coax potential partners back from the bizarre days of COVID-19, there’s also the simple fact that companies using interactive experiences are known to garner more attention – often with consumers, but with business counterparts as well. Online, for instance, interactive content can generate four-to-five times as many page views as static content. This means that 3D product tours, demonstrations and videos are more likely to engage potential partners than other types of static content.

B2B Website Session Duration Infographic

It’s also said that interactive experiences are more than 33% more effective at “educating buyers,” which can be the difference between generating a conversion or failing to do so. This can be the case both in-person and online. In either case, a prospective buyer, who may be out of the habit of meeting and assessing products or services in person, may come to learn about a given option and, ultimately, make a purchase.

We know that visually engaging and interactive applications lead to more conversions, and, with businesses of all kinds operating on tight margins in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to take advantage of this idea.

New Angles on Familiar Products

Presenting 3D product tours also allows businesses to present new angles on existing products. In other words, a 3D product can be used to explain or portray a new product in a way that people haven’t necessarily seen or considered before — thus making said product more interesting and potentially boosting appeal. Examples come to mind across industries.

Kaon application on MultiTaction iWall at Siemens

Where industrial projects are concerned, we know that related industries have gotten a boost from technologies like augmented and virtual reality. For instance, augmented reality plays a role in architecture already, in that it can help to present models of buildings or neighborhoods in realistic and interactive ways. From there, it’s not a big leap to consider how 3D representations of various industrial projects and designs can serve as all the material that related businesses need to make decisions. They’ll be able to see how the product or design at hand will look and operate within a given environment, all without any contact or in-person assessment.

In tech- and science-related sectors meanwhile, a greater focus on 3D product strategies may provide a new ability to look “inside” various items in a way that hasn’t been easy (or necessarily possible) in the past. To this point, it’s worth noting that 3D measuring in designer programs is already very much part of the process in electronics manufacturing. Engineers use software to plan and design circuit boards, processing chips, and the like, all to make devices capable of functioning the way we need and want them to. This is already a field in which in-depth 3D models are part of the process, and, with a deeper focus on 3D product strategy, some businesses could make those 3D models part of the sales pitch to prospective partners. Showing off how electronics work, and providing walkthroughs of visual representations of the design process, will make the actual devices seem that much more sophisticated and desirable.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Invitrogen Attune NxT Cytometer 3D Product Tour

Examples could go on, but it’s clear that while businesses focus on 3D strategies post-COVID-19, there may be frequent opportunities to make products more alluring through new angles and insights.

Low-Contact Customer Engagement

Perhaps the clearest benefit of implementing a 3D product strategy is that it will help with the transition to the new way of life we’re all facing. The low-contact economy is something that’s mentioned often about consumer-facing businesses, but the reality is that companies of all kinds will need to find ways to perform ordinary operations in new ways. While specific practices will vary from place to place, and between companies, businesses should generally expect a different kind of experience. There will be new office designs, new expectations for workforces, fewer in-person meetings, and new standards for the handling or exchange of physical products and material.

3D product showcases can’t address all of these needs, but it can certainly provide ways of interacting with products without any need for meetings, physical touch, or close contact of any kind. Other benefits include:

  • Increased access to hard-to-get products for virtual demonstrations
  • Putting customers in the driver’s seat to zoom/spin/animate products, increasing their knowledge retention
  • Significantly reduced product shipping costs at in-person events or sales meetings
  • Elevated customer engagements at virtual events, transferring enthusiasm

Using the example of electronic products discussed above, potential buyers could look through extensive 3D product catalogs to observe features without having to pass physical products back and forth. Considering industrial products, interactive 3D showcases can help businesses to negotiate and come to agreements without gathering at work sites or in factories or facilities.

Conclusion

Kaon Buyers Journey

In summary, 3D product strategies and showcases can help to address a lot of the needs businesses will have as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. These strategies can provide new experiences, boost conversions, show products in new and interesting ways, and help to minimize in-person contact. It will be fascinating to see the specific ways in which different businesses make use of these general concepts. But even the broad sense of what 3D presentations can do for businesses invites some post-COVID-19 hope.

Get started with your 3D product strategy here!


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