Toshiba uses Internet to generate sales leads at SNM meeting

August 8, 2001

Among the many ways that corporations hoped the Internet might save them money, no one considered its potential for reducing baggage—until Toshiba America.Rather than lug gamma cameras to the Toronto annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear

Among the many ways that corporations hoped the Internet might save them money, no one considered its potential for reducing baggage-until Toshiba America.

Rather than lug gamma cameras to the Toronto annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, Toshiba brought NT-based workstations to demonstrate DICOM compliance and processing capabilities and computer kiosks featuring the company’s myonceinalifetime.com site. On-screen was Toshiba’s family of T.CAM nuclear medicine gamma cameras at a hefty discount.

“We took the savings from not bringing the gantries and applied it to our e-commerce special,” said Daniel A. Davis, manager of the Toshiba America Nuclear Medicine Business Unit.

The idea was to leverage the glitz of the Internet to attract customers, hold their interest with price tags 10% to 15% under industry average sales prices, then convert that interest into sales leads. The strategy seems to have worked.

About 95% of booth visitors registered for the online promotion, according to Davis. Of these, 64% downloaded quotes, which are valid for 120 days. And more may be coming. The company mailed promotions to customers and about 3000 listed SNM attendees, inviting them to register online within 30 days after the conference to get the same discounts as those who signed up on the SNM exhibit floor.

“We’re shortening the sales process by encouraging procurement agents to order online,” Davis said. “It will be a long time before medical people buy capital equipment through cyber technology without a personal contact, but the flow of information is very important.”

Toshiba is in an unusual position. The company’s gamma cameras come from Siemens Medical. Toshiba relabels the products from E.CAM to T.CAM. Its e.soft nuclear medicine programs are codeveloped with Siemens. If both companies feature essentially the same products, why should both bring them to the show, Davis said.

“We brought the workstations for the software and let the customers log on for the (gamma camera) information,” he said.

Shifting the focus to the Internet gave Toshiba something Siemens did not have, and it provided an efficient way to capture data about prospective customers. With this, sales reps were able to provide interested parties with more information, inviting them to visit installed sites to see T.CAM and e.soft in action.

The promotion was crafted as a one-time event, ergo the name myonceinalifetime.com. But Toshiba executives hope to get more from their investment.

“We expect this tool to become an ongoing part of our channel strategy,” Davis said.