November 14, 2014

An Industry Powered by Innovation If science teaches us anything, it’s what we don’t know. This is why the scientific instru- ment and medical device markets are progress- ing at light speed. As as new and improved instruments and devices replace obsolete ones (in some cases every few months), so too must the marketing strategies and tactics.
Faced with uncertain funding and ever-in- creasing expenses, laboratories and hospitals are more prudent than ever regarding the products they purchase. As such, market- ing and sales professionals in the scientific instrument and medical device markets must clearly communicate their product differ- entiation and functionality at every touch- point, including where prospects often first encounter their goods—at trade shows, on websites and during sales presentations.
Unfortunately, what is true for almost any industry is that products for events and sales meetings have become more expensive to acquire, demonstrate, provision, package, ship, power, maintain, and manage. But the challenge is exacerbated in cases where products are highly intricate and delicate, and frequently excessively large, as many scientific
instruments and medical devices are. There- fore, these products are increasingly scarce, and are far more expensive to transport.
Trading at the Trade Show While trade show attendance has declined for many industries, it remains an important venue and a necessary strategy for scientific instrument and medical device manufac- turers. However, there is a shift away from large and expensive industry shows towards more defined engagements. At these more specialized events, marketers leverage en- counters to generate sales leads, market new products, and educate customers. Unfortunately for the manufacturer, such definition comes with a cost, making every customer contact count more than ever.
One inherent problem with attending more shows is that products need to be made avail- able, shipped, setup, and used. In an ideal world, marketing departments would have unlimited access to whatever products they need, whenever they need them. In reality, cost and logistics to access and utilize these products can be prohibitive. To showcase how great costs can be, one company spent $12,000 to power its high-end equipment at a single show. Shipping can easily reach $40,000, and
How much do exhibitors spend to reach a potential customer?*
Exhibitors spend an average of $113 for each potential customer who enters an exhibit, and an average of $197 for potential customers who actually speak to a staff member.
* Note: “Potential customers” are attendees who express an interest in an exhibiting company’s product type and with whom the company has a good chance of making contact.

drayage—the cost of moving the equip- ment on and off the floor—can run as high as $20,000. There are of course ad- ditional expenses to take into consider- ation, such as the cost of the equipment itself and the personnel to assemble/ disassemble, operate, and maintain the equipment on the road and at the event.

To that end, each year exhibitors are spending more to reach customers at shows with decreasing attendance. Exhibitors spent $129 for each customer who entered their booth in 2006, com- pared with $108 in 2005. In addition, exhibitors spent $223 for each cus- tomer who spoke with a staff member in 2006, compared with $214 in 2005.

Too Close for Comfort Even if budget was not an obstacle, there is still the issue of booth space. Smaller shows imply smaller venues, resulting in booths that have space con- straints. As product lines continue to ex- pand, the ability to showcase a complete product line eludes marketers who con- tinue to struggle to showcase all of their products by any means possible—more often than not with static, uninspir-
ing paper catalogs and over-crowded booths. Further, as product lines expand, and physical spaces contract, trade show personnel face a dilemma—cut back on the range of products on the floor, or cut back on the nonproduct space designated for customers’ use within the booth, and/or meeting rooms.

Regardless of the breadth of products, few oversized instruments will fit com- fortably into a 20×20 space, making it difficult to educate your customers in the absence of a product experience.
Demos Departed Another obstacle for scientific instru- ment and medical device manufacturers is the fact that products aren’t always readily available for trade show use. In fact, borrowing products for an event— either final or prototype—has become increasingly difficult, to the point where some marketing teams are forced to purchase products from Sales, just to gain access to them.

Because so many instruments and devices are difficult to demonstrate in a real-world environ- ment, customers must often rely on the testimonial of sales associates or
other references. Although shells of products are often showcased, their value is diminished. Hospitals, labora- tories, and educational institutions are far more concerned with a product’s functionality and operation, than its physical presence or appearance.

Then, there’s the scenario where prod- ucts could be demonstrated, but the risk of damage is too great. It’s no wonder engineering, operations, manufacturing, and sales teams are reluctant to relin- quish their products; using a product at a trade show subjects it to potential damage during shipment or use, ren- dering the product potentially unus- able, with the possibility of incurring downstream replacement costs. Beyond the cost, the delicate nature of such instruments and devices—which often capture precise measurements or micro- particles—can be easily thrown out of calibration in the hands of a novice user.
Let us not forget about the many times the marketing department must deal with missed opportunities as a result of being left empty-handed when no prototype (or even exterior shell) of a new product was available to show.

Competition Abounds According to Trade Show Trends Report, an average of 43% of booth visitors plan to buy an exhibitor’s product or service within the 12 months follow- ing the show. The number suggests that buyers attend shows with a direct intent to purchase. While this is good news for the exhibiting manufacturer, they’re not alone on the show floor; competitors are vying for those same dollars. The need for exhibitors to break through the clutter is greater than ever; read the full Exhibitor Online report at http://www.exhibitoronline.com/ exhibitormagazine/article.asp?ID=532.
It stands to reason that mere pres- ence is no longer sufficient to satisfy a scientific instrument or medical device buyer visiting a booth.

Only by creat- ing an experience that captures the prospect’s attention, engages them directly, and empowers them to in- teract with the products themselves, can marketers achieve a memorable product experience. By presenting products in ways that let these audi- ences control their own user experience, an emotional response is kindled as prospects begin to better understand and appreciate how the product can impact their research and their work.
Network of Knowledge While these industry-specific chal- lenges referenced above center on cost-containment and product avail- ability, obstacles also abound sur- rounding product expertise. While no doubt booths are likely to be staffed with knowledgeable personnel, can the personnel support all the traffic coming in and out of a booth? Are they educated on every product and feature?

Tied up in sales pitches with prospective customers, even the most knowledge- able staff may not be able to break away to help others who are perusing the products and information on their own.
Studies demonstrate that people have a very short attention span for sales pitches, videos, and other traditional sales/marketing media. However, when engaged in a dialogue or demonstra- tion, a person’s attention span increases dramatically. Furthermore, knowledge retention is significantly enhanced when the customer is directly involved in the sales process. This helps the customer make better buying decisions, which leads to higher satisfaction and en- hances customer loyalty. Interactivity is the key to keeping customers engaged and captivated while increasing their knowledge about your products.

Therefore, scientific instrument and medical device manufacturers need:
• Increased customer access to products, whether physically present or not;
• Significantly reduced costs to accommodate for more targeted events;
• A means of communicating break- through messaging and compelling

By presenting products in ways that let these audiences control their own user experience, an emotional response is kindled as prospects begin to better understand and appreciate how the product can impact their research and their work.

product differentiation in a way the prospect will remember; and
• Creation of an emotional connection with customers.
Technology Prevails While the requirements stated above may seem out of reach, innovative technologies are paving the way to new trade show experiences. In fact, today it is possible to show and demonstrate a breadth of instruments regardless of space limitations, or the possible compromise of physical products or messaging. By “virtually” showcasing sci- entific instruments and medical devices, products can be viewed from every angle, manipulated to show features, and investigated to reveal the internal components to show how a product actually works—something that can’t usually be done even with a physical product. Realistic digital representation not only lets customers see how prod- ucts operate, but reveals how they be- have and need to be maintained. What’s more, with such a presentation format comes the ability to seamlessly integrate consistent product information, mes-
saging and branding. The Kaon v-OSK® was designed for this specific purpose.

The Kaon v-OSK, a large-format, high- definition (HD) appliance with an integrated optical touch screen, built in computer and high performance graph- ics package, can equip your trade show or event with a full range of virtual prod- ucts. Easily accessible and fully interac- tive, product demonstrations engage prospective customers with those prod- uct features, benefits and advantage that are of greatest interest to them.
The Kaon v-OSK delivers a consistent and compelling customer experience to inspire, educate and persuade—all with- in a very small footprint. Additionally, due to the natural and intuitive nature of touch screen systems such as ATM’s, airline and hotel check-in stations, and retail kiosks, people quickly identify with the simple, yet engaging, user interac- tion environment of the Kaon v-OSK.

The availability of virtual product mod- els on the Kaon v-OSK makes it possible to attend the wider variety of events now on the schedule and to showcase all necessary products at each. The fact
that the appliance is a flat-panel display makes it simple to incorporate into a booth experience, either in a stand- alone environment or integrated into a wall display. Given its small footprint, it is practical in smaller venues as well as larger booths, and because it is a compact system, it is inexpensive to ship and carries lower drayage costs.

Taking advantage of the Kaon v-OSK technology is not limited to a cost-sav- ing exercise. To be sure, product acquisi- tion costs are reduced or eliminated; shipping and drayage costs are dramati- cally diminished; fewer personnel are required for product installation and dis- mantling—all resulting in a dramatically lower expense for these events. But an additional set of benefits is accrued by the sales and marketing process as well.
There is now a cost-effective, captivat- ing way to showcase products that were previously inaccessible, due to product sensitivity or size, or where appropri- ate product specialists are not available to properly explain features, benefits or advantages. The overall reach of the marketing effort is significantly en- hanced because the Kaon v-OSK can

be transported easily to any number of venues, set up in minutes to be ready to deliver a compelling customer experi- ence and educational product tour. As a result, a consistent, articulate, and persuasive experience is available to all prospects and customers, at a lower cost than was previously possible.
Getting the Message Out: Cross Channel and Across the Globe Because of Kaon’s patented compression technology, once the extraordinarily realistic virtual product models and demos are created, they can be ap- plied across multiple platforms includ- ing websites, laptops, and PDFs (as demonstrated below), further lever-
aging your investment. This enables customers, global sales teams, and channel partners access to all of your products anytime and anywhere.

Further, it allows organizations to deliver a consistent and engaging experience across multiple channels and customer touch-points, which is increasingly imperative in address- ing the ever-changing marketplace.
In Summary Kaon’s virtual product models have been gaining recognition in trade show circles and online. In June 2007, the Kaon v-OSK was recognized by the prestigious Massachusetts Information and Technology Exchange (MITX) as the best “Interactive/Online Business” ap- plication at its annual awards ceremony. It was also recognized with an interna- tional innovation award by Trade Show Executive magazine in June, and Event Marketer magazine named the Kaon v-OSK one of the “Top 10 technologies that are changing event marketing.”

It is now possible to have the “ideal” product experience at every trade
show and sales opportunity, big or small. Kaon’s innovations in technol- ogy development have made possible the use of virtual product models to deliver a compelling and engaging interactive customer experience at any event venue. The resulting experience delivers a persuasive and compelling product and company message—a necessity when working with such complex products—in a manner that is easy to remember and relevant for each customer. Because the need to ship every product is eliminated, trade show costs have been dramatically reduced, as have the costs of attending incremental shows not previously ac- cessible to the marketing organization.

In short, more scientific instrument and medical devices are available, to more people, at more venues, in a more com- pelling environment, and at lower costs.


3D Holograms: the Future


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