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Product Demo Experience: Recorded vs. Interactive - Which to Choose?

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A product demo is the grand stage where your product either shines or falls flat. The debate is not about whether to demo but how to demo.  The concept of enhancing the demo experience was created with recorded video demos some time ago, however, it was thoroughly shaken up recently with the introduction of interactive demos. While recorded demos are well-rehearsed presentations of a product, interactive demos offer a completely new experience.

And guess what? The audience (your potential customers) is increasingly craving that real deal. It is not enough for them to see your product. They want to touch it and interact with it to understand what value it brings. 

In this article, we're not just comparing features and benefits of recorded vs. interactive product demo experiences but exploring the psychology of buyer engagement in the 21st century. Let’s begin.

What are recorded product demos?

Before the rise of interactive experiences, recorded product demos were paving the way of the sales and marketing arena. Think of them as the "instructional manuals" that are carefully scripted, professionally edited, and designed to showcase a product's features in the best light possible. 

They've been the go-to for businesses aiming to provide a consistent, controlled narrative about what their product does and why it matters.

Key characteristics of recorded demos 

Before we talk about the new way of doing demos, let's look at the traditional recorded demos that many companies still use. Here's what makes them special.

  • Consistency: Every viewer sees the same demo, ensuring a uniform message.

  • Convenience: Available 24/7, allowing prospects to engage with the product at their own pace.

  • Polish: High-quality visuals and sound, often professionally produced, offer a refined presentation.

  • Low Risk: With no room for live errors or technical glitches, recorded demos are a safer bet for a smooth experience.

Limitations of recorded demos

Recorded demos have their time and place, but understanding their limitations is key to leveraging them effectively in your sales and marketing strategy.

  • The Passive Nature: There's no clicking, no interacting just watching. This one-way street can make it challenging for viewers to engage deeply with the product.

  • One size fits none: Recorded demos often lack personalization. They follow a linear path, the same for everyone, regardless of individual preferences or needs, offering little to no personalization. They cannot adapt to the unique needs or preferences of individual viewers. Each viewer experiences the same content in the same order, regardless of their specific interests or requirements. This lack of personalization can make it challenging to connect with viewers on a deeper level and address their specific pain points effectively.

  • Missed Engagement Opportunities: In a world where viewer queries or specific client interactions are crucial, recorded demos may fall short. For instance, when a viewer demonstrates a high level of interest in your product but has unique questions or concerns, recorded demos don’t offer the opportunity for the buyers to engage.

Scenarios Where Recorded Demos Fall Short

Having discussed the limitations, let's focus on real-life moments where recorded demos might leave you wanting more

  • Complex Products: For products that offer a wide range of features tailored to different industries, a one-size-fits-all recorded demo can't possibly address the unique needs of every prospect.

  • High-Stakes Sales: In B2B sales, where the stakes and price points are high, the lack of personalization in recorded demos can be a deal-breaker.

  • Tech-Savvy Audiences: Modern buyers who are accustomed to interactive experiences may find recorded demos outdated and less engaging.

What are interactive product demo experiences?

If recorded demos let the prospects SEE your product, interactive demos go a step further. They let them TOUCH the product. They offer a hands-on experience that allows prospects to navigate through a product's features, essentially letting them "test" before making a purchase decision. This level of engagement is becoming increasingly crucial as consumers across the buying journey demand more than just information.

The concept of interactivity marks a fundamental shift in how businesses approach marketing and sales. It's about transforming passive viewers into active participants, thereby creating a more memorable and impactful product experience.

Key Characteristics of Interactive Product Demos

Now that we know what interactive demos are, let's look at what makes them so special and different.

  • User-Driven: Allows prospects to explore features that interest them the most.

  • High Engagement: Interactive elements keep the user engaged, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

  • Hyper-Customization: Sales reps can adapt the demo based on user behavior and questions as the prospect moves through the sales cycle.

  • Data-Driven: Provides valuable analytics on user interaction, helping the sales team better qualify the leads before handing them over to the presales.

Considerations Before Choosing the Interactive Product Demos

While interactive demos sound great, they propose a different way of selling. That requires the business to consider the following aspects before engaging.

New Skills for Demo Builders:

Skilled Storytelling: Demo builders must acquire the art of storytelling, knowing how to convey the right message at each sales stage.

Initial Time Investment:

Demo Gallery Creation: Businesses should invest time in creating a comprehensive demo gallery to reap long-term benefits, while remaining mindful of resource allocation post-purchase. The most advanced interactive demo providers offer demo building services for their clients to overcome this challenge.

New Ways of Working:

Ownership of Sales Narrative: Interactive demos shift the responsibility for the sales narrative to demo builders, necessitating a departure from the traditional siloed approach and promoting collaboration among teams for consistent messaging across the entire buying journey.

Examples of Interactive Product Demos in Action

Here are three interactive product demo examples that illustrate the power and versatility of interactive product demos in action:

1. Limitless Technologies

Explore this micro demo for a deeper look into empowering capabilities

Screenshot 2023-11-07 133518
  • Console View: Your Control Hub: Multitask effortlessly with multiple tabs in one browser window. All essential information is at your fingertips.

  • Omni-Channel Support: Code-Free: Seamlessly manage customer interactions, be it text or voice, once connected to a call center service.

  • Queue Management: Smart Efficiency: Agents can self-assign requests, eliminating duplicate efforts and ensuring the right fit for each task.

  • Macros: One-Click Efficiency: A single click sends an email, updates a task, and more. It's like having an extra set of hands.

  • Home Screen Stats: Tailored Metrics: View performance metrics customized to your needs, offering actionable insights.

2. Veritas NetBackup

Screenshot 2023-11-07 133659

Navigate through our interactive demo to grasp the full scope of the Veritas NetBackup.

  • Dashboard: Your Overview Panel: Get a snapshot of all crucial backup and security events in one place.

  • Activity Monitor: One-Stop Tracking: View all activity events collectively, making it simple to review and monitor.

  • Protection Plans and Policies: Assess your safeguarding strategies to ensure optimal security.

  • Workloads for Backup Details: Examine the backup specifics for each server, offering a comprehensive look at your data protection.

3. BigCommerce

Screenshot 2023-11-07 133931

Discover the ease of product management with our hands-on demo of BigCommerce.

  • Admin Panel: SKU Configuration Simplified: Once a product is added, effortlessly set up your SKUs right from the admin panel.

  • Product Addition: SKU Ease: Adding products is a breeze, with straightforward SKU configuration options.

  • Interactive Product Category Table: Experience a dynamic table where rows are highlighted upon hovering and checkboxes are fully functional.

Product Demo Experiences: The Difference

As we move forward, the question is no longer just about 'to demo or not to demo,' but 'how to demo' to meet the evolving expectations of modern consumers. Below is a table showing the differences between recorded and interactive product demo experiences.

Factors

Interactive

Recorded

Interactivity

High: Allows user-driven navigation and real-time interaction with the product.

Low: Offers a static, one-way viewing experience with no user control

Personalisation

High: Can be customized in real time based on user behavior and queries.

Low: Provides a one-size-fits-all experience with no customization.

Engagement

High: Interactive elements and real-time adjustments keep the user engaged

Low: Passive video consumption with a low level of interaction.

Analytics

Comprehensive: Tracks user interaction, providing valuable data for sales optimization.

Limited: Basic metrics like views and watch time, but no insight into user interaction

Flexibility 

High: Can adapt to different sales scenarios and user needs.

Low: Fixed content means no adaptability to different user interests

Complex Demos

Effective: Better suited for complex products that benefit from hands-on exploration.

Less Effective: May not fully convey the utility of complex features

Live Demo Assistance

Available: Sales reps can guide the demo in real time.

Not Available: users rely solely on the recorded content

Understanding why interactive demos will be the new normal

The digital world has spoiled us as we're no longer happy with just watching or listening. We want to click, swipe, and interact. People don't just want to know what your product does, they want to discover it themselves.

Interactive demos are a sandbox that lets your prospects engage deeply, construct scenarios, deconstruct them, and explore how your product solves their problems.

By giving your prospects the freedom to explore at their own pace, you're actually speeding up the sales cycle. How? Because interactive demos are a valuable source of real-time analytics. Every click is a clue, every interaction a window into what your prospect cares about. This isn't just data but a real-time feedback loop that lets you tailor your sales strategy as needed.

10 Factors to Consider for Choosing the Right Demo Format

Having acknowledged the role of a product demo, the question then arises: which format best aligns with your product and target audience? The following ten factors offer a framework to inform your decision-making process:

Screenshot 2023-11-07 134600

1. Understand the Preferences of Your Target Audience: Are your prospects tech-savvy digital natives who crave interactivity, or are they more traditional consumers who prefer a straightforward, informational approach? Knowing your audience's preferences can help you tailor your demo to meet their expectations.

2. Analyze How Your Competitors Are Conducting Their Product Demos: Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Are they leaning toward interactive demos, or are they sticking with the recorded format? This can give you insights into what might work in your industry.

3. Define the Goals of Your Product Demo: What do you want to achieve with your demo? Is it purely educational, or are you looking to drive conversions? Your goals will influence the type of demo that will be most effective.

4. Consider the Product Complexity: For intricate products with multiple features and use cases, an interactive demo may offer a more comprehensive exploration. On the other hand, simpler products might not require such an in-depth approach.

5. Evaluate the Resources Available for Creating and Maintaining the Demo Content: Interactive demos often require more technical resources and upkeep. Make sure you have a demo automation platform like Demoboost to create and maintain a more complex demo if you go the interactive route.

6. Determine the Level of Interactivity Required to Engage Your Audience Effectively: Not all products require a high level of interactivity to get the point across. Assess how much hands-on engagement your audience needs to understand your product's value.

7. Consider the Scale of Personalized Demos You Need: If your sales strategy involves highly personalized pitches, interactive demos can be a boon. However, this level of customization may not be necessary for all products.

8. Evaluate the Ability to Scale the Demos: Recorded demos are easier to scale, as they can be sent to an unlimited number of prospects without any additional effort. Interactive demos, while more engaging, may require more resources to scale effectively.

9. Consider the Ease with Which Your Audience Can Access: Is your target audience always on the go, needing a demo that's mobile-friendly? Or are they more likely to engage with your product on a desktop? The accessibility of your demo can influence its effectiveness.

10. Operational Efficiency for Multi-Language Support and Localization for a Global Audience: If you're targeting a global audience, consider the effort required to localize your demo. Recorded demos may be easier to translate and dub, while interactive demos might require more extensive localization efforts.

How Demoboost can help you deliver interactive product demo experiences at scale?

Demoboost's scalability directly addresses one of the key considerations for choosing a demo format: the ability to scale. As your business grows, you don't have to worry about outgrowing your demo platform. It's built to expand with you, ensuring that you can continue to deliver high-quality, interactive demos at any scale. Here are some key features of Demoboost:

  • No Code Automation: The platform's no-code capabilities make it a breeze to create demos without diving into the technical parts. This is especially useful for businesses that need to adapt their demos for diverse audiences quickly.

  • Engaging Interactivity & Team Collaboration: Beyond showcasing a product, Demoboost transforms prospects into active participants. This is further enhanced by its focus on fostering collaboration among various departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer success, to deliver a unified and engaging demo experience.

  • Data-Driven Decision Making: The platform provides real-time metrics that offer actionable insights. This enables you to refine your sales strategies based on genuine user interactions.

  • Channel Partner Enablement: For organizations looking to extend their demo reach, the platform offers features that facilitate effective engagement with external partners, such as third-party sellers or affiliates.

Book an Interactive Demo and Go Beyond the Ordinary.

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