Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

6 Tips for Writing Technology Listings for Tech Transfer

I recently had the pleasure of joining two of my Fuentek colleagues to present Drafting Technology Listings for Marketing University IP. Available now as a recording, this webinar offered by Technology Transfer Central provides practical tips and keen insights into this important element of the marketing toolbox for technology transfer offices (TTOs).
Considered the core part of almost any marketing campaign, a Technology Listing is a written description of an innovation and/or intellectual property (IP). Although a variety of terms have been used to describe them, Listings are strategic descriptions intended for specific audiences of potential licensees or R&D partners.

Today I’d like to share with you some of the tips and tricks discussed during the webinar.

1. Determine Your AMMO

As with all communications efforts, we at Fuentek consider the AMMO at the outset of developing a Listing:

  • A Is for Audience: Explicitly identify the specific audience that the Listing is being directed toward. Put yourself in their shoes and think about what is important to them and what about the technology they are likely to care about.
  • M Is for Message: Tailor your core message to the audience—that is, what do you want them to know and what will matter most to them.
  • M Is for Mechanism: Determine the best channel for delivering your message to your target audience most effectively. The Listing can take many formats: a simple email message, an online posting, a basic flyer, or a more elaborate brochure.
  • O Is for Outcome: Think strategically about what you hope to achieve with the Listing. Include an explicit “call to action” to try to make it happen, like asking them call you to discuss licensing interest.

The webinar includes several examples of AMMOs, and you can read more Fuentek insights about using the AMMO in technology transfer marketing here.

2. Start the Overview with “This Technology Is…”

We at Fuentek usually start the Technology Listings we write for our clients with the words “This technology is…” This technology is software. Or This technology is a material. Taking this approach helps the reader know right off the bat what you are talking about. Then, as the description goes on, focus on what the technology does for the user rather than how it does it. We have a free webcast with more on effective technology overviews.

3. Express Benefits, Not Features

Focus on the elements of the technology that will be a benefit to the market. For example:

  • Feature: This material absorbs less than 1% of water.
  • Benefit: Effective moisture barrier that absorbs less than 1% water

Yes, it’s important to be concise. But don’t let that stop you from explaining why a particular characteristic of the technology is important. Some benefits are obvious (e.g., faster, costs less), but some need to be explained. For example:

  • Making Assumptions: Unlike conventional systems, ours uses optical fibers.
  • Spelling It Out: Our system uses lightweight, flexible optical fibers, eliminating the copper wiring, coating materials, and metal parts of conventional systems

4. Use Images That Show Off the Potential Applications

Although you might have nice photos of the technology itself, in most cases potential licensees will be more intrigued by images of where the technology could be used. For example, rather than the photo of Kolon’s colorless polyimide material on the left, we used a photo of its applicability to flexible electronics.

5. Have “Fresh Eyes” Review It

In addition to having an inventor review for technical accuracy, ask someone unfamiliar with the technology to read the draft Listing. Ideally, you want this done by an editor who has the skills needed for this kind of review, but there might be someone else in the TTO who can give it that careful read-through. That person should look for mistakes and ensure the Listing makes sense to someone unfamiliar with the technology.

6. Always Post the Listing Online

Regardless of the type of marketing effort, an online posting of the Technology Listing is almost always essential. Here’s why:

  • Online postings allow you to leverage social media tools, which can link to the Listing.
  • Online Listings build the credibility of your TTO and demonstrate the depth and breadth of the organization’s IP portfolio.
  • Posting it online allows you to capture the serendipity of a potential licensee looking for relevant technologies.

Most of the resources needed to create a Technology Listing are invested in developing an understanding the technology and writing the text. It doesn’t require much more to post it online. Put it on your website as well as on free sites like Flintbox and the AUTM Innovation Marketplace.

This is just a sampling of the wealth of advice and guidance we cover during the 1-hour webinar, which included an excellent Q&A discussion. So you can get much more there.

Or feel free to peruse our other insights on preparing marketing collateral for technology transfer. And if you would like Fuentek to help your TTO develop clear, concise, and compelling Technology Listings, contact us today.