A large percentage of university and government technologies have niche applications. So it’s a treat to have an innovation with broad market potential. So how do you identify the potential licensees? And which do you contact first? Today’s Marketing Mondays post helps you answer those questions.
Prepare the List
To develop the list of prospective licensees, consult the value chain, which identifies where the technology fits into the market. (Note: You may have several of these for broadly applicable technologies.) The individuals who expressed interest in the technology during the ramp-up to technology marketing definitely go on the list.
But don’t stop there. Solid market research will reveal other potential licensees from similar organizations as well as the right people within the company to contact. The market research will also give you insight into the sizes of the different markets and the easiest/best applicability of your technology to each sector, which will be needed to develop the licensing strategy and prioritization.
For technologies that are broadly applicable, segment the target list according to the licensing strategy. In most cases, this will involve separating it by market or field of use. For example, Fuentek worked collaboratively with NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center to market a fiber optic sensing system. We began by working with them to identify which specific markets/applications to target first — aerospace vs. architecture vs. medicine vs. transportation — and then we prepared the list within the top segment.
And speaking of prioritizing…
When reaching out to individual prospects, it pays to be strategic. The order in which you contact potential licensees can greatly affect the outcome of the marketing effort. Therefore, prioritize the list of potential licensees to meet your needs.
One important component of Fuentek’s prioritizing strategy is to group a long list of prospects into A-, B-, and C-level lists.
The A-List has your “dream” licensees/partners on it. Of course, the characteristics that qualify a company as A-List material will vary according to the specific situation. In some cases, these are the companies with the largest share of the market. Other times, these companies have the right capabilities for a co-development partnership. Whatever the criteria for making it, the A-List is where to expend the greatest share of your marketing resources.
Companies on the B-List would be fine to have as the final licensee/partner, but they are not necessarily your first choice. These companies lack the strategic advantages that those on the A-List offer. You can reach out to them using less personal mechanisms (e.g., email rather than a phone call) until you deplete all possibilities on the A-List.
These are companies you would consider licensing to only after everyone on the A- and B-Lists has turned down the opportunity. Expend little to no marketing resources contacting the C-List. It is okay to engage with these companies if they contact you in response to the online technology listing. In fact, you may be able to leverage a C-Lister’s interest in the technology when reaching out to your A-List. A dream prospect may be more likely to consider your technology if someone else — especially a competitor — has expressed interest in it.
With this prioritized list of potential licensees, you can now prepare to engage with the targets and begin to cultivate the leads into qualified prospects using top-notch marketing collateral. BTW, this type of work is a core Fuentek service, so if this is an area where you would like to grow, contact us to discuss how we can help you achieve your strategic goals.