Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

When You Know the Answer, Stop Asking: Stories from the Field

U turnAs you ramp up for technology marketing, it’s important to keep an open mind—and open ears. I say “ears” because Fuentek interviews industry experts to gain extremely valuable market information that guides decisions about how, where, and when—or even whether—to begin marketing the technology. Listening carefully to what industry experts have to say about the market’s needs with respect to the technology lets you know which action is most appropriate. And in some cases, this means not merely holding off on marketing but actually stopping the assessment early. Let’s take a look at a real-world example.

As we assessed a client’s technology that was useful for high-precision manufacturing applications, we were looking for marketplace feedback on two key questions:

1. Was the technology mature enough for industry to seriously consider it or did it need to be further along the development life-cycle?

2. Did the innovation meet the market’s key requirements for adopting it, especially considering the expense of replacing existing equipment, implementing new processes, training, etc.?

The second question is particularly important. It isn’t enough for an innovation to advance the state of the art from a scientific or engineering perspective. To be attractive for potential licensing, the technology needs to be valuable enough that industry would abandon the current approach in favor of the new approach.

In this case, a prototype had been developed and tested for one potential application, but a second application in a different industry emerged as a significantly larger opportunity. During interviews with just a few experts, we quickly realized that the second market would require further development and testing of the innovation before the players would willing to convert to it.

This early information yielded a clear recommendation: Rather than press on with marketing, we advised the client to conduct further R&D for the second, larger opportunity. This not only saved time but also allowed our client to redirect the savings into marketing for other technologies.

The key take-away from this situation: Once the market expectations and needs are clear, accept that you have your answer. Gather enough information to make sound decisions without wasting time and resources gathering more data than is needed. In the process, you’ll free up resources that can be used to better manage the rest of your technology portfolio. This is a key part of what we do at Fuentek and it has paid off for our clients.

If you would like Fuentek’s help in gathering market information to map out the technology commercialization path, contact us today.