Archive for the 'Marketing your technology' Category

W L Gore says, if you’ve got it, show it off

I reecently saw in a Business Week Innovation blog a post about how WL Gore & Associates¬†have set up a “Capability Center” at its Barksdale, Delaware site in order to show off it products and technologies. The new facility was opened last year and was designed with the help of design agencies Carbone Smolan, IDEO and Homsey Architects. It’s not just intended to be used as a way to sell¬†to clients. Gore’s own business model means that the company’s thousands of employees (Associates?) are widely dispersed around the site. According to in interview with Gene Castellano, Project Director for the Capability Center “Bill Gore had ideas about organizational dynamics and as he evolved his company, he tried to maintain a culture that fostered small teams.” As a result of this, employees focus on individual businesses and are scattered across many buildings with little sense of the overall corporation. So the facility is also used to “sell” ideas and technologies internally, helping employees to think about novel applications and combinations of Gore technologies. I’ve seen a very similar approach at 3M where the periodic table of 3M technologies is showcased in a dedicated technology and innovation section of the UK 3M head office in Bracknell. Very impressive it was to especially when combined with the traditional 10% innovation time rule at 3M. Anyway, here are a couple of shots of the new facility at Gore to give you a flavour.

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Linkedin answers for SME open innovation

Recently I asked¬†a question on Linkedin about open innovation¬† options for SMEs. In, particular, I focused my question on SMEs who think they have a great technology with broad potential, perhaps in mew market areas,¬†but are struggling to grow their sales. Here’s the question I posed:

If a small company has a great technology but a small market base, what are the best options for that company to connect with bigger markets?¬†I’ve been writing about Open Innovation in my blog and one area of the market which doesn’t seem to be as well served is SMEs seeking market growth. The scenario is something like this: I’ve got a great technology with IP protection but I can’t afford the time or cost of posting this on one of the on-line marketplaces e.g. What options do I have?

Greg Bautz, Owner at Sales Surge LLC, answered:

If Sales is not your core competency, then seriously consider outsourcing so you can focus your time and resources on your core company values and capabilities.
When your company wants better sales results, in the start-up phase, or ready to expand to the next level of corporate growth, you need to focus your resources and attention on your core product or service and not on developing sales processes and hiring a sales team. By outsourcing this business process, your company will move at the speed of light and leverage the core competency of the sales outsourcing to Sales Surge, we already have these systems and processes in place. As an added benefit, your company is getting the benefit of access to senior sales executives, sales consultants and sales trainers that perhaps you could not afford or justify. A real synergy begins to develop as you bring these talents together.

Anil Choudhary, Group Delivery Head, ASEAN & JAPAN at Wipro Technologies said:

 I think allaince and partnership may be best way to get bigger market base. However choosing right partner and alliance is the key and finding that may not be so easy.

One option is to leverage internet but unless you are in right place at right time, these could not give desired result quickly.

You could look at participating in some industrial seminar and conferences which you think may be interested in your product. A demo and talk on the technology and product could create interest in the group and could lead to some initial traction. You could also get your idea and product communicated through ebast to participants and that will help a lot if your demo and talk has made some people interested.

Another way could be to tie-up with some bigger player on profit and cost sharing basis for initial 2-3 years timeframe. This will not help in getting much profit initially but will ensure that effort and cost spent in getting attention and customer can be reduced to a great degree. Through this big player, once you have got to the right customer and your product / technology has become little bit familiar in the market place, you could extend it on your own. In fact chances are that this partner may become your customer or provide bettr deal for continued alliance. You must however ensure that IP remains with you.

Peter Adams, Head of Group Business Systems at High Tech Electronics Global Manufacturer advised:

Firstly, seeking parternships or entrance vehicles with companies that either have your customer OR are offering something aligned to your product. an entrance vehicle would be steve jobs saying how wonderfull your ‘do hicky’ is or Oprah or some other high profile candidate

secondly, joint venture arrangements to piggy back on another product for a split to gain market access

thirdly, a test/free version to give away to capture a backend profit ( assuming you have a backend to the entry product – and you should ! )

fourth, eMarketing to create the broader demand. ie. (directly ) Articles, whitepapers,blogs, books, audio and video, social marketing etc to drive traffic to your direct presence on the net. (indirectly ) locating all the eMarketing activity related to your prodcut and adding value that links back to you – no pitching BUT value for the consumer of that feed – those who like will come looking (existing )

fithly ) targetting specific consumers – identify your core love to have as customers Prospects and then target your marketing to win them ( see David Ogilvy or Chet Holmes for the dream 100 approach )

6th ) PR. use media placement strategies to raise the profile.

ps. if you cant find time to sell it – why on earth did you make it ?

And, finally Tim Northcutt, Director, Sales РAmericas at Dow Reichhold Specialty Latex LLC said:

One of the best ways we have found to get integrated quickly into a new market is to find the primary industry conference for the market, assuming one exists and connect there. Either attend the annual meeting to identify key industry players for partnership, or use the event organization to conduct an eblast introduction of your technology. The choice depends on your strategic intentions whether to choose a small development partnership versus a broad market approach. The small partnership approach requires diligence on IP ownership. Experience has suggested that development partners tend to over estimate their contributions if not clearly defined as the process unfolds. Both methods have generated positive results. If a large enough audience can be gathered, we have had success with introductory webinar events coordinated through an industry organization. Alternatively we have had success in hiring a credible, usually retired, industry executive who can immediately provide us with access to the highest levels of targeted customers. This contract employee gives us immediate credibility and access to key decision makers. Compensation is done on an hourly basis for consulting fees.
Either way, the key is quick and credible access to the right people at the right potential partner at reasonable cost. Best of luck!

So to summarise this advice, key strategies to get your technology more widely known are:

  • Clarify¬†the market area you wish to target
  • Identify and attend primary industry conferences for your target market. Alternatively, link up with the organisers and get them help you promote your technology
  • Partner with key players in that market, i.e. who either already deal with your target customer or offer something parallel/complementary. If these are development partners, be careful to protect your IP
  • Target your prime customers and aim your promotional material at them, consider running introductory webinars or hire a credible, usually retired, indutry executive to help
  • Get some sales help from people who already have the skills¬†