Best Practices for Technology Briefings for Tech Transfer
Technology briefings can be a cost-effective way for a technology transfer office (TTO) to reach potential licensees and partners. These briefings typically include a technical presentation from the inventor as well as details on the licensing/partnering process from a TTO representative. Experience has shown that an online/webinar technology briefing:
- Can dramatically increase the efficiency of the marketing effort since it eliminates the need to convey the same information multiple times in individual discussions
- Allows you to set a specific timeline for receiving and selecting licensing/partnering applications
- Eliminates travel costs and provides a recording to post for interested parties who missed the live event
Of course, technology briefings require extensive planning and preparation. And not every innovation is suited to a technology briefing. For the greatest success, Fuentek offers the following advice as part of our Marketing Mondays series.
Conducting a technology briefing requires a significant investment of time. Therefore, it is crucial to choose projects for which a reasonable return on that investment is anticipated. Review the intellectual property (IP) portfolio to identify high-potential technologies that lend themselves to a briefing. Consider these factors:
- Is the technology easier to explain with dynamic graphics and/or demonstrations?
- Do potential licensees need to hear a detailed explanation and/or ask questions to understand how it will benefit them and their customers?
- Does the licensing strategy involve securing multiple non-exclusive deals?
- Will creating a competitive environment and/or a sense of urgency benefit the outcome?
If a technology is applicable across a range of fields, you might need to do several different briefings targeted at each specific market. (The majority of the information will be the same.)
Plan Your Promotional Strategy
Identify your target audience and develop appropriate marketing collateral, following the AMMO strategy for effective communication.
In particular, develop a new (or revise an existing) web page for the technology and the briefing. This site serves as the central repository for all available information. (Depending on the webinar system, you might have to link to a separate page for the online registration.) Remember to lay out the page in an appealing manner. Begin with concise, high-level material that engages the reader and entices them to “drill down” into more the available details.
Carefully identify your target audience. Then use a strategic mix of channels to reach out to them with a compelling invitation. Leverage social media and direct contact as appropriate.
Collaborate on the Technical Content
Work with the inventor to develop the slides, graphics, and other media to create an effective technology presentation. Keep these tips in mind:
- Use the AMMO to explain who will attend the briefing, their knowledge base and interests, and the main “take-aways” for the briefing.
- Let the inventor know how much time is allotted for the technical portion of the briefing.
- Develop and share the briefing’s overall outline so the inventor knows what information the other presenter(s) will convey.
- Work collaboratively on the technical outline before slide development to focus the content appropriately.
- Help the inventor make judicious use of animation to create visual interest. Keep in mind that webinar-based presentations often have a time lag.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Some people can make an effective presentation from bulleted notes. Others do better with a more detailed script. Regardless, all presenters should be comfortable with their presentations.
Therefore, run at least one practice session well in advance of the briefing date. This ensures there is time to implement changes and have a second (or third) run-through if revisions are extensive.
If a section is particularly troublesome during practice — for example, if demonstrating the technology is time-consuming — consider presenting an edited pre-recording during the live briefing.
Don’t Forget the Follow-Up
Require registration for the event as well as to view the recording. This allows you to follow up with selected targets deemed to be of high importance.
In fact, webinar systems allow presenters to see company names, titles, who asked each question, how long attendees stayed logged in, and how many times they viewed the recorded content afterward. All this information helps identify appropriate targets for follow-up.
Check out this advice for engaging with your prospects.
Fuentek was helping a client commercialize a suite of software and patented technologies to improve non-destructive evaluation of composite structures. In developing the licensing strategy, we recommended holding a webinar-based briefing. The client agreed, and here’s what happened:
- In marketing the briefing, we posted in key LinkedIn discussion groups to efficiently reach the target audience.
- Our tech transfer consultant and publications specialists worked extensively with the inventor to focus his presentation on the technology’s benefits, capabilities, and other relevant details.
- We posted the recording and answers to questions raised during the briefing, notifying attendees and other invitees of the online information.
- Our strategic follow-up with targeted attendees focused on high-priority prospects.
We had more than 100 attendees who actively engaged during the Q&A period. Several expressed keen interest in licensing when we conducted our post-briefing follow-up. For example, one company engaged with our client to have the inventor test samples, which led to a non-exclusive license for the software. Another attendee eventually entered into negotiations for an exclusive patent license.
It’s worth noting that Fuentek’s “recipe” for briefings has been applied with great success for other clients as well. In fact, the most recent briefing led to three signed deals.
Technology briefings provide consistent and fair information dissemination. They also allow the TTO to find the best combination of licensees/partners while accelerating the deal-making process. Following the above advice will help ensure your briefings are successful.
If you want help in marketing your technologies — either through briefings or via other means — contact us today to discuss how Fuentek can support your TTO.