Your Web site is the doorway through which licensees, collaborators, and innovators enter your office, so make sure it enhances the perception of your organization and aligns with your tech transfer goals. This was the message that came through loud and clear from panelists at a session of the recent Association of University Technology Managers® (AUTM®) annual meeting in Anaheim, California.
We at Fuentek have blogged often about how well-designed Web sites are critical marketing tools. (Find these past blogs in our Your Online Presence insights section.) So it was a real thrill to see the hands-on examples and site tours offered by the panelists at this standing-room-only session.
I was proud to host Tailoring Your Web Site to Match Your Technology Transfer Office’s Goals. The panel brought together Stephen Kinsey of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Cameron McCoy of the University of Oklahoma, and Terry Stout of Georgia Technology Research Corporation to discuss how TTO Web sites can be structured and optimized to align closely with the specific objectives of the office.
The panelists brought details about their past or forthcoming site revamp efforts, and all three agreed that knowing your audience is critical. Before embarking on any Web site design, know the answers to these questions: Who are you trying to reach out to? What message do you want site visitors to leave with?
Terry Stout of Georgia Tech led off with a success story about his organization’s recent Web site redesign. The goal of the site is to align business units with partners and provide better customer service for faculty and industry partners. The site has a formal look and is intended for three evenly-weighted audiences: internal innovators, external business partners, and outside information seekers. (Watch a video tour of Georgia Tech’s site.)
In contrast, the priority of the tech transfer Web site at the University of Oklahoma is to reach out to students and faculty, so the site has a more casual and approachable look and feel. According to OU’s Cameron McCoy, the TT staff leverages social media in order to reach the younger audience. Kudos to Stephen Kinsey for bravely pointing out the flaws in the soon-to-be-redesigned tech transfer Web site at the University of Maryland. Cluttered pages and confusing navigation tools make it difficult for innovators and licensees to connect.
The panelists also recommended developing a social media strategy to help drive traffic to your Web site. For help in this area, check out Fuentek’s webinar, How I Rode the Social Media Wave: Lessons Learned from a Technology Marketing Effort for an insider’s peek at the use of blogging and tweeting in real-world technology marketing campaigns.
If you’re looking for even more follow-up reading, consider our insights on TTO Web sites, as well as our white paper, How to Build an Effective Technology Transfer Web Site.
Do you need to redo your Web site? If so, which audience will you focus on first and what content is most important to post first?
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