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Telling Authentic and Compelling Product Stories Across All Channels

Telling Authentic and Compelling Product Stories Across All Channels

Background and Challenges

Ciena is a network specialist focused on delivery communication network platforms, software, and professional services to transition networks for maximum value. What Ciena wanted was simple: It wanted to—initially at trade shows, and later at other venues—visually showcase unlimited numbers of products, dynamic product model content, and precise solution messaging.

Yet, because Ciena has so many products to offer, it is simply too difficult to accommodate all of its merchandise with any typical sales venue. Products are also fragile, and expensive to transport. Furthermore, the marketing material quickly becomes outmoded because of the rapid developments of Ciena's technology. Ciena's broadband access, data and optical networking platforms, software tools, and global network services are not one-size-fit all, so access to all products during sales engagements is imperative.

Kaon’s Solution

Kaon provided Ciena with the solution to its problem via the Kaon v-OSK—a large-format, high-definition interactive display appliance with an optical touch screen, built-in computer, and high-performance graphics. Kaon's product debuted at Globalcomm 2006 (perhaps now better known as Supercomm), where, says Bill Rozier, "between shipping and onsite product assembly at this first event, we obtained enough savings to validate our expenditure with Kaon, achieving a complete ROI just months after implementation." The company also realized significantly decreased travel expenses and requires fewer support staff, an additional cost savings. "Customers love interacting with the solution on large monitors that give them the power to investigate the features and benefits that are of greatest interest to them. In the three years we've been working with Kaon, we've now replaced all physical products with the Kaon v-OSK at every show," says Maureen Renaud.

Customers no longer are categorized as being "online" or "offline," but simply "customers"—implying a multichannel sales experience regardless of where the point of purchase may be. That's why Ciena's use of Kaon's technology in supporting sales extends well beyond the trade show floor or the mobile lab. In fact, Ciena has incorporated use of the product models throughout its sales and marketing process. Moreover, with current economic conditions resulting in longer sales cycles, the need for customers to explore a product more than once has become the norm. As such, the ability to replicate the sales experience at every touch point can’t be overestimated.

"While trade shows and our Innovation Lab draw the greatest crowds of customers at a single time, we're always fielding inquiries about our products," says Rozier. "Whether a customer is coming out to our executive briefing center or being met by a single sales representative outside of his or her office, we need to ensure consistent product messaging across the board."

To maintain the level of consistency, Ciena incorporated Kaon's technology on the laptops of its entire sales team, on the Website where prospects often first encounter products, in its Executive Briefing Center, within their Mobil Innovation Labs, and in the lobby of every one of its 20 offices throughout the world.

"With Kaon's technology, regardless of where customers come in contact with our products, we are able to deliver a consistent experience that is compelling and allows them to engage with our products and company," says Rozier.

Kaon also solved Ciena's marketing expenses problem. By downloading collateral from the Kaon v-OSK directly onto a USB key, companies no longer need to print and ship collateral/brochures to a show—thereby offering a far more green approach to presenting products, while at the same time heightening customer and prospect engagement. Moreover, as marketers leverage the technology across multiple channels, they can deliver more immediate return on investments.

According to Rozier, "in terms of trade shows alone, the Kaon v-OSK saved us 85 percent in recurring annual shipping costs, more than 800 labor hours associated with product assembly, and a significant reduction in travel and accommodations due to the reduced labor staff needed."

In any channel, the Kaon v-OSK lets customers "experience" interactive products on a large-screen digital display, delivering the next best thing to having a product in hand. Content on the Kaon v-OSK weaves together 3-D product demonstrations, interactive flow diagrams, video, PDFs, and PowerPoint presentations—dramatically simplifying sophisticated product stories in a compelling and captivating way. Additionally, the Kaon v-OSK engages users as they investigate three-dimensional moving parts, rotate, view, and measure products from every angle, sample color options, explore unique features, and view animated product demonstrations as relevant product information and messaging is presented. All content—including Kaon's 3-D product models, interactive flow diagrams, videos, presentations, and collateral—can be repurposed across multiple platforms, including the Web and offline sales laptops.

By transforming Ciena's physical trade show booth into an online platform, Kaon has made Ciena's products more accessible, more engaging, and less confusing. Ciena's costs have decreased, but its customer engagement has increased, bringing more value to its trade shows than before.

For more information, visit www.ciena.com or e-mail general@kaon.com.