"VR has the potential to change the world...in training, research, engineering, medicine and automotive industries."
Boston Limited were nominated at last year's Tech Marketing and Innovation Awards, for the best use of AR/VR category. Could you tell us a little more about your nomination and the reasons behind the decision for developing this technology?
One of the best things about working at Boston is knowing that we have our Boston Labs, not only is it a place that our customers can trial latest technologies, it is also home to our R&D department. We were approached by NVIDIA with a Multi-User VR concept and they were looking for a partner to take this on and move it towards being a fully productised solution. We first demonstrated it at NVIDIA’s GTC Europe in Munich in 2017, since then we’ve been at Gamescom, MWC and again at GTC showcasing NVIDIA Holodeck. VR has the opportunity to change the world, not just in gaming where it’s already got a lot of traction but also in training, research, engineering, medicine and automotive industries where costs can be lowered by testing/practicing in a virtual environment than the physical world. Our nomination recognised the scope of the product and the way in which we’ve marketed it to all of these industries.
"I think education is probably the hardest part of launching any new product..."
The nomination alone is indicative of how well this IT solution has been received. What were the main marketing challenges you encountered when promoting this type of product?
I think education is probably the hardest part of launching any new product – we’re familiar with this though as many of our solution launches are based around ground-breaking technologies so we are used to having to not only extol the virtues in the traditional way but also teach people how they can incorporate the technology into their existing infrastructure and how it will compliment it.
"Depending on the timeline...we can be simultaenously working on the [marketing] strategy as the product is still in creation."
When you/your team are made aware of a new Boston product in development, how soon do you start to formulate and implement a marketing strategy?
The exciting thing about our department is that we get to be involved from very early on as well as our sales team who of course are also on the front line with our customers and will know what they’re going to need to enable their sales. Depending on the timeline to launch we can be simultaneously working on the strategy as the product is still in creation.
"...what we find works best is to get those partner alignments throughout the channel agreed in good time."
Your role requires not only marketing IT solutions to sellers but also end-users as well. How do you manage to balance these very different target groups, appealing to both without compromising or underselling the product in question?
That’s a great question, we exhibit at a lot of industry tradeshows across the year and across the world, many of these feature co-exhibitors that may be our resellers and the attendees are end-users. So what we find works best is to get those partner alignments throughout the channel agreed in good time. So we’ll partner with vendors in both hardware and software and perhaps a reseller or end customer to demonstrate how our solution can be practically applied – you may have seen some of our demonstrations with partners such as Excelero, NYRIAD and Asperitas highlight this in 2018.
"I still see value in traditional marketing like direct mail..."
The notion of whether decision makers react to marketing on an emotional - or a more logic-driven level has been a much contested and polarising topic. What has your experience led you to believe and how do you cater your marketing efforts to either (or both) of these?
It depends on who you are talking to. If you’re talking to a data scientist then benchmarks, specifications and knowing you’re working with a company like Boston, who has over 25 years’ industry experience and whom can configure a solution for you to test is important. For our sales team talking to a reseller the conversation can go differently and at the end of the day, everything we do has to be around relationships, building and maintaining them.
"When we look at our [social] analytics...it's our video content and infographics that perform the best."
Following on from the last question, what type of content have you found that your audience groups react most favourably to?
Last year, we consciously put out a wider variety of content, particularly digital - by way of newsletters, blogs, infographics and videos. Interestingly when we look at our analytics we see that it’s our BostonLabs announcements and content that perform the best in terms of time spent on our website – but when we look at our social it’s our video content and infographics that perform the best. For 2019 you’ll be seeing us do a big push on video…so watch this space.
We have seen the prolific increase in the way data is generated, stored, applied and valued. How has the way you have historically used, compared to how you currently use, data changed?
People don’t download and read white papers in the same way they used to, we see more uptake on webinars and the same content that would be in a white paper presented in smaller digestible pieces on our blog.
Drawing on your experience within marketing, which combination of marketing tools seem to work especially well together? Have any of these surprised you?
So I am probably that generation that can remember a time before mobile technology when everything was very analogue. Because of this I still see value in traditional marketing like direct mail, we use it sparingly but when we do a targeted direct mail it outperforms every time in terms of ROI. I think part of that is because decision makers are in a similar boat, they aren’t going to be on Instagram looking for a hardware solution…but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for more modern practices – we’re looking at how we can embed AI in our website to improve our customer experience.
We’re ISO accredited for Quality and Environmental, part of the latter is a commitment to reducing our paper consumption so we’re investing in e-business cards that make use of QR codes that can be customised to individuals and also it means that we can track how successful our sales people are at giving out their details as each time their individual code is used it’s registered. We can build rewards and incentives around this for our own staff but also our valued customers.
"The buzzword for the foreseeable future is AI..."
Are there any marketing strategies or tactics which you think are being underused at the moment, or new emerging ones which companies should start getting on-board with without further delay?
I’m obviously going to say VR/AR, but also the buzzword for the foreseeable future is AI…it’s already in our lives, it’s already used in marketing, but it’s the refinement of it’s use that is going to be interesting to be part of.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say a very special thank you to Maz Lopez, for taking the time to speak with me and provide such an insighful account of marketing strategies and best practices. If you have experience within marketing and would like to share your thoughts and experience please fee free to get in touch with by clicking on the link below.
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