The Silicon Review
Building a strong brand starts with engaging your customers. Whether it’s in person or online, customers want to better understand why YOUR products and solutions will help THEM overcome their business challenges. There are countless tools and applications that help customers make informed buying decision, but few as compelling or effective as Kaon Interactive’s.
Kaon Interactive (www.kaon.com) is committed to providing interactive 3D sales and marketing engagement applications that help B2B marketers and salespeople to demonstrate and differentiate solutions and products anywhere, anytime, on any device.
At Kaon they believe that engaging with your audience is better than presenting to them. They believe that B2B marketing and sales teams are more effective when customers use interactive applications at every stage of their buyers’ journey. And they believe that delivering an engaging customer experience, that consistently reveals true value differentiators, results in shorter sales cycles and higher win rates.
Kaon’s innovations have proven to increase sales effectiveness and lower marketing costs for the world’s most visionary B2B companies in the life sciences, industrial machinery and IT industries, including; Cisco Systems, Siemens, GE, IBM, Dell EMC, Thermo Fisher Scientific and more.
The company offers simplified solution storytelling. Fail-safe 3D product accessibility for stunning demonstrations. Visually engaging customer driven experiences on EVERY device (including augmented reality and virtual reality). And enterprise scalability delivered on their Kaon High Velocity Marketing Platform, a SaaS-based model, that any Fortune 1000 company would salivate over.
Kaon was incorporated in 1996 and is headquartered in Maynard, Massachusetts with regional presence in California, Texas, and Illinois.
Gavin Finn, Kaon Interactive CEO & President, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
Q. Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
The company was originally established to deliver multi-user interactive 3D experiences over the web. This was during the early days of the evolution of the internet as a commerce platform. Over time, the network infrastructure of the internet improved dramatically, providing the opportunity to deliver more and more kinds of experiences online, and this underlying network performance improvement created opportunities for Kaon to enrich the kinds of experiences it was delivering to its customers.
In the early 2000s, B2B companies became aware of the potential to leverage all kinds of digital tools, and as they evolved in their marketing and sales to adopt more digital strategies, Kaon developed specific applications and a platform for the enterprise. The company pioneered the concept of ‘always on digital sales and marketing experiences’ allowing enterprise teams to effectively use these new interactive tools whether or not they were connected to the internet, and has continued along this path ever since.
Q. What challenges did you face in your initial years? What can your peers learn from it?
The early years were characterized by a very strong technology innovation focus. It is often difficult, and it certainly was for Kaon, to grow revenues using a technology-driven strategy. The company struggled to get past the initial pilot phase with many early customers. While the technology worked, it was very difficult to justify continued investment in the Kaon solution, because the pilots were more of a technology experiment, rather than an attempt to solve a specific business problem. This situation had serious ramifications for the company since a lack of continued sales made it very difficult to secure funding from investors, and there was a cycle of financial and strategic problems that ensued.
Once the company made the ‘pivot’ to solving very specific enterprise sales and marketing challenges, it was much easier to prove value to customers, which led to significant revenue growth, and this, of course, led to improvements in the overall health of the company. Importantly, Kaon’s focus on providing value to important customer problems is now at the core of everything that it does, from technology roadmaps to resource allocation, and long term planning. Kaon’s customers have repeatedly validated that one of the reasons that they appreciate the relationship with the companies that there are tangible results associated with every Kaon solution.
Demonstrating value is not limited to financial ROI. We have found that there are many dimensions along which companies derive benefits, including direct cost savings and increased sales, of course, but also employee engagement, customer loyalty, brand awareness and perception, reductions in sales cycles, and many others.
Our lessons are broadly applicable to other companies, in the sense that it is critically important to have a maniacal focus on solving real and important problems, even at early stages of company development.
Q. “Earning trust and respect of consumers all around the world is through consistent focus on delivering high quality in all of our actions.” How do you interpret this statement?
Many companies fail to understand that every interaction that prospects or customers have with anyone in the company affects their perceptions, even with very minor interactions. When some customer touch-points are viewed as insignificant, then there can be a tendency to overlook attention to detail in those situations. Take, for example, sending emails. Studies have shown that when customers receive emails with spelling mistakes, they alter their perspectives (even subconsciously) of the overall trustworthiness of the company. Psychologists account for this through association – “if they don’t pay attention to spelling, they probably won’t pay attention to the deliverables for my company.”
Paying attention to excellence in everything that the company does is essential in developing a deep level of trust. This is a cultural aspect of running a company, and once it becomes instilled in the value system, it sets an expectation level for everyone. Trust is the result of knowing that “they always do what they say they’re going to do.” Setting the right expectations, and then committing to achieving those results, is the most important way to develop trust with customers.
Q. What drives/inspires you to excel in your field of business?
Our vision is to lead the world in transforming enterprise sales and marketing engagements into interactive experiences that empower customers to make informed buying decisions faster. We are driven by the rewards derived from helping global companies significantly improve their sales and marketing effectiveness. We believe that people more easily understand even the most complex solutions when directly engaging in visual interactive experiences that explain and show how these products and solutions can benefit them.
Q. Do you have any new products ready to be launched?
Kaon has several innovations underway in the areas of collaborative Augmented Reality and collaborative Virtual Reality, which are expected to be deployed in 2019. In addition, the company has created new products in the areas of the interactive configuration of spaces and complex equipment, which are all in the product launch pipeline for the next 12-24 months.
Q. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?
Our goal is to enhance partnerships with our Global 1000 customer base by extending how and where Kaon solutions are used across these companies. In the next few years, we see our solutions becoming even more strategic to these companies, as they increasingly rely on digital customer engagement throughout the life cycle of their own customer relationships. We will be expanding the markets/industries that we serve and broadening the internal organizations with our customers to whom we can offer value in helping improve marketing efficiency and sales effectiveness.
Leadership | Kaon Interactive
Joshua Smith: Joshua Smith, founder, is the Chief Technology Officer of Kaon Interactive.
Gavin Finn: Gavin Finn is the Chief Executive Officer & President of Kaon Interactive.