Podcast: How we create our digital demos

By Alexander Evjenth

Podcast: How we create our digital demos

A lot of Zooma's customers are large, international B2B companies that produce complex, technical products and solutions. It's always a challenge to present these offerings and emphasise their benefits in a clear way. Fortunately, we have two experts on the team, and they were guests in this week's Onlinification Pod.

Ingrid Wallgren, account director and strategist, and Qarin Lövgren, project manager, both have years of experience in online and digital, and they're both instrumental in creating the digital product demonstrations that we deliver to our customers.

The more complex a product or solution, the harder it is to clearly explain its strengths to a potential buyer. That's what our product demos try to do. By using text, visuals, simulations and animations, the demos present the users with the real-world applications of the products and solutions they promote and guide the potential buyer in the decision-making process.

In this episode, I discussed digital demos with Qarin and Ingrid - what does the process look like, what needs to be included, and what is the final effect? And importantly, in a time when almost all trade shows and conventions have been cancelled or re-scheduled, how can you repurpose your digital demos for use online or in sales meetings?

I hope you enjoy this episode - as always, you can watch the video episode below, or listen and subscribe on your podcast platform of choice with the links further down. Enjoy!

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AE: [00:00:00] So, welcome to The Onlinification Pod, Ingrid and Qarin.

QL: [00:00:05] Thank you!

AE: [00:00:07] Very nice to have you both here. I know that, Ingrid, you have recorded a podcast episode before.

IW: [00:00:15] Yes, I have.

AE: [00:00:16] What was that about?

IW: [00:00:18] I don't remember!

AE: [00:00:21] Product launches, I think, or something like that.

IW: [00:00:24] Yes, we do a lot of that.

AE: [00:00:26] And Qarin, have you participated in any podcast before?

QL: [00:00:31] No, actually, I haven't. So this is exciting.

AE: [00:00:36] Yeah, great. So can we start with you, Ingrid, who are you and what do you do at Zooma?

IW: [00:00:42] Yeah, I'm a long-timer at Zooma, and I'm a business manager and a strategist at Zooma working with our largest client, so I'm involved in a lot of different projects, together with our other colleagues and friends working with Zooma or with this customer.

AE: [00:01:05] And Qarin, who are you and what do you do at Zooma?

QL: [00:01:09] I'm Qarin Lövgren and I've been at Zooma for a decade now, but not as long as Ingrid. And today I work mostly as a production manager and content creator, and I'm involved in a lot of launches, videos and demo productions.

AE: [00:01:25] And you two work a lot together, right?

QL: [00:01:28] Yes, we work very much together.

IW: [00:01:32] Yes we do. We are a small team working with this client all the time. Or it's not a small team, actually, we are quite many.

AE: [00:01:44] A small team in Zooma. And so you work with this client who, usually participate in an annual trade show. And I know that you work with many projects related to that trade show. Could you tell us a bit what happened when this trade show was cancelled due to the pandemic?

IW: [00:02:06] Yes, it's actually much more than just a trade show. It's a big Congress, so it attracts attention from all the large decision-makers in the industry and a lot of also different types of companies in the ICT sector. And it's very influential in what it's doing, and normally there is around 100 thousand people coming to this congress, and there are some big halls with exhibitions and everyone is talking together and showing what's the latest thing and discussing how to take the business or the industry forward. And then we do a lot of stuff for that, where we really have some very busy times up until that moment when it happens. But the last time it was supposed to happen, or just when the pandemic broke out, we were working as usual. And then it was decided not to go there because the pandemic broke out, and it was a very sensible decision from all the different parties taking place. And that, maybe that's a different question from you, Alexander, but what happened was you can say that there wasn't actually many things happening besides that we didn't go there, because we just continued to work on the things that we had been working on for the last few months. And then our customer decided to use everything that we have done, basically, I would say, 99 percent of the things that we used and finalized, and then go into much more of a digital mode.

AE: [00:03:49] Qarin, can you walk us through how you experienced it? The thing you do for this Congress, did you need to rethink when it instead of being a physial congress where you meet in person compared to having it online?

QL: [00:04:08] I would say that, no, not really, because what we mostly produce is demos and these demos, usually is a physical installation. And then it's either the same or it is a version of that. One is then a restricted demo that is available online. And we have been doing these demos for so many years so that we know that they are not only used at this single event, they are reusing them afterwards in customer discussions, etc. So they are already before the congress optimized for desktop viewing and mobile viewing and what's needed.

IW: [00:04:56] You could say that the congress itself is a starting point for all the things that need to be discussed throughout the year, and they build upon that in different ways to take it out to road shows, to customer meetings, to digital seminars, to local events, etc. So from the start, that's part of the equation, you could say.

QL: [00:05:23] And also a lot of the different assets that are building up to these demos are reused and repurposed for other types of media. And so we're trying to make those reusable in several different ways.

AE: [00:05:37] So you completed the event online that year?

IW: [00:05:41] Well, what happened was that all the different projects and productions that we were involved with, they were all finalized and all the things that we have created have been used extensively in other situations. So, so even if you think that you're going to a physical event from the start, there was a digital use thought in from the start already. And now more of the focus was then sort of more on the digital events, but they are also used on their own. They have their own sort of exhibition or studio where everything is up and running all the time, all the year round, and customers coming to visit. So that's also where things are used.

AE: [00:06:25] So Qarin, can you walk us through an example of a digital product presentation you have developed?

QL: [00:06:33] Yes, I can.

IW: [00:06:37] Qarin, maybe you can short just explain a little bit what different types of demos there are?

QL: [00:06:43] Yes. So we do a lot of digital demos, but we usually divide them into different categories. And then there are actually about four categories. So we have like the solution demos, which are interactive and content-rich pieces, and then we have a more streamlined version, which we call digital presentations, but they are still interactive. And so you can say it's an advanced slide deck, maybe. And then we have GUI demos, which are you can say supposed to be a prototype that we feed with real-time data, and that is to replicate selected parts of existing applications that already exist that you want to demonstrate. And then we also build something that we call try-me tools. And these are very appreciated because they allow customers to explore features and benefits by customizing input parameters based on their own businesses. A lot of these demos are restricted demos, but then we also use some of these that we actually implement on the website. So instead of just having a basic video, we sometimes implement these demos to make better experiences online.

IW: [00:08:10] And I'd like to add two more categories, actually. And that is the immersive demos, which are also often a physical installation of some kind where you really have an immersive experience. So that is often sort of the introduction to a lot of different solution demos. So first, you have the immersive demo studies, a fuller explanation of a key offering area, and then from that you can go into looking at several solution demos. That's one more category. We do a lot of those and it can be, for example, a physical table with projections combined with the big screen. It can be different types of interaction where you can steer what's happening on the screen. And another category is the value calculator, where there is a lot of logic and data behind what you see on the screen. It's a little bit like the try-me tools, but they are more based on, for example, findings from analyst firms that our customer has then collected. And then you can go in there and you can draw different levers and see what happens if you do different things and come up with how quickly you can get a return on investment, for example, for different types of new features, etc. And that is really good to show the value of a product or a solution.

AE: [00:09:42] So you have these five categories of different product presentations. So how do you think? How do you choose between them? Like, how do you make a decision that this solution fits this demo?

IW: [00:09:55] Well, what happens is that our customer gets in touch with us. And then we start discussing what the needs are, and then they often know a little bit about their thoughts and then we discuss around that. And if after we have the first discussion, we produce a debrief and back to them and we say, OK, based on our discussion, this is what we think you would need. And they confirm that our debrief is according to their needs or thoughts. And then based on that, maybe we discuss again and we have some ideas around the concept. And then after that, they confirm and then we prepare a quote, the budget estimate and a time plan and a process for the overall thing. And then we just get started with the project.

AE: [00:10:44] So during your time at Zooma, Ingrid, how do you see the development of digital presentations and demos? How have they evolved during the last 10 years?

IW: [00:10:57] Well, I think that as the world becomes more advanced and we are all talking about how software is a greater part of a product, for example, then you really need to make it clear and understandable what the solution means. And then you really have to visualize and you really have to explain how things work in order to make the customer understand what this all means. And it's especially true also at these large congresses, because people walking around them see a lot of different stuff, they maybe see a hundred different things. And when they come up to you, you must make it really easy and understandable and intuitive. And you must also be able to be prepared to take a very short discussion and still give them some really useful information. Or you must be able to, if they are very knowledgeable, you must be able to have information in there that you can go deep into certain specific topics. So from that perspective, we have learned a lot about how to produce this kind of demos so that they fulfill these kinds of needs. But I think we have been working on quite advanced demos for quite a long time, and they've been used the same way, not only at the floor, but also in customer meetings and online for quite some time.

AE: [00:12:23] And what do you think are the main challenges when creating digital demos and product presentations?

QL: [00:12:30] I would say that the main challenge mostly comes to the project process. So ideally, we have all the inputs and it is signed off internally from a client and then we start designing. We review updates accordingly. And then when everyone is happy with the design, it moves over to then programming. But unfortunately, the reality does not look like that. So it's quite common that we start producing because we know a bit about what is going into the demos and then we try to be flexible, of course, but it happens once in a while that we get to do updates later in the process and that is something that, of course, is not very cost-efficient. But we try to be flexible and we always meet the deadlines.

AE: [00:13:31] Yeah, and do you have any tips on how to overcome these challenges, like getting it right from start?

QL: [00:13:38] Yes, information, and that we go through processes in the beginning. And I think also that our customers know all about this. But then there are a lot of different stakeholders, and the reality is not always that structured as it optimally would have been, so communication is always, of course, very important.

AE: [00:14:04] And Ingrid, about these six categories. Is there anything that must be included in every demo and presentation? Any characteristics or general things?

IW: [00:14:19] Yes, of course, it's always important to prepare the demo so that it's interesting from a customer point of view. You always have to think about what's interesting for the customer. But I think also what is very important is that you should be very visual. Not a lot of text, more visual content that is easier to grasp. That sort of both gives the information, but also the feeling around a specific solution. So we usually put a lot of effort into creating nice visuals and a good experience.

QL: [00:14:54] So it's usually a lot of animated animations, and videos and 3D generated everything.

AE: [00:15:01] And is there anything you should consider, Qarin, when making it reusable so that content can be repurposed?

QL: [00:15:12] Yes, so we know that there are several demos that we built several years ago and these are still being updated and rebuilt. So we always have that in mind when we build demos that we try to guide customers to the right solution. And we're trying to have that repurpose mindset. So if we see that it might be problematic if we want to add a different use case or a new use cases, then we try to find a better solution for realizing the same effect. If you can say so, it's also nice to see that a lot of these demos are very graphical experiences, not too much text in them, but all the assets that go in, it could be animations, videos and images, etc, these are often also then reused for other purposes. It could be anything from presentations to social assets. So, yes, so we try to make sure that everything that goes into the demo is available for other purposes also.

AE: [00:16:25] And Ingrid, could you share some main learnings from the past 10 years working with demos and digital presentations?

IW: [00:16:35] Yeah, I think we already have discussed some of the learnings that we have made, but maybe to conclude then, you have to have a good process from the beginning that you think big and then you try to make it clearer and clearer along the way. And then you work according to the process and not going back from to the start again. So everyone understands that once you have done the design and once you have done the structure and go into programming you, you can change the content but you shouldn't start to think over things again. And then when it comes to the demos themselves, they should be very visual, easy to understand. You should have the possibility to give a very short presentation based on the demo, but also go deeper if there are questions and technical experts that you meet up with. Another learning is that you can tag the presentation so you can have a look after how it's used and where it's used. For example, if you distribute it through a global organization, you can see which countries or areas in the world actually using the demo for customer meetings, etcetera. You should make sure that the content and assets that go into the demo, that you can reuse them for other purposes, so that then even if it's quite costly to build a demo, then you can get the bigger value from it because it can be used for many different things. So that's a few of the learnings that we have.

AE: [00:18:10] And do you have anything to add there, Qarin, or was it a complete list?

QL: [00:18:15] I think that was a very good list, yes!

AE: [00:18:18] Well, thank you both very much for participating in this episode.

QL: [00:18:24] Thank you for inviting us!

AE: [00:18:26] Bye bye.

QL: [00:18:26] Bye!

Alexander Evjenth
Alexander is a content creator who has a great interest in learning new things. What he enjoys even more is creating knowledge content.
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