The tangible result of an effective marketing strategy may be a licensing deal, research collaboration, or any other metric that is important to a technology transfer office (TTO). There are also intangible benefits of broader marketing campaigns—demonstrating your tech transfer know-how. When successful, these marketing efforts can elevate the profile of your office and cultivate a productive relationship with your organization’s researchers, management, and potential partners/licensees.
To help TTOs be successful with their broader marketing efforts, this post shares the best practices that Fuentek has found to be effective time and again with our clients.
Start with the End in Mind
We recommend that you begin every marketing campaign by identifying the outcome you want to achieve. Then select the rest of the strategy that will help you reach that outcome. For example, if your desired outcome is to improve the quality of invention disclosures, offer inventor-focused training sessions that help researchers understand why a solid—and timely—invention disclosure is important. Also consider presenting to their department leaders to achieve top-down support from management.
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Use Your AMMO
At Fuentek, all marketing campaigns begin with the AMMO strategy for effective communication. We developed and have been applying the AMMO strategy with our clients for years. The AMMO sets up guidelines to ensure that you identify not only a target audience but also effective communication strategies to reach that audience. Check out this webcast to hear how the AMMO works.
Knowing what you are trying to accomplish also helps to evaluate how a marketing effort is progressing. For example, when hosting an event to market innovations to potential licensees, use market research to identify and invite the right people at the right companies. Then monitor signups and be prepared to reach out again, perhaps through different channels, if key targets have not registered.
Consider All of Your Audiences
Who is your audience, what do they care about, and where do you find them? These answers will guide your choices for the message and the mechanism to connect with them.
For example, potential licensees and collaborative R&D partners might respond to direct contact, while you may reach investors and legislators by speaking and exhibiting at conferences or publishing articles and white papers.
Don’t forget about your internal audiences. Newsletters are a great way to keep researchers, management, and administrators informed about your TTO’s activities and successes.
Craft Your Message and Mechanism to Match the Audience
I want to thank you again for sharing your thoughts on technology transfer with us. I can confidently speak for our board by saying that you helped us clarify our vision for [the TTO] and set some strategic initiatives.”
Frame your message in terms that will resonate with the audience. This is especially important when conveying TTO metrics to management. Year-by-year data charts might be confusing or make accomplishments hard to recognize. Using effective graphics and regularly sharing metrics help set expectations, allow you to identify and tout successes, and provide context if there is bad news to deliver.
Share Content Across Mechanisms
Whenever possible, communicate your message using more than one mechanism. The more you repeat your message, the more likely it is to sink in. With inreach to researchers, consider online training videos, formal and/or brown-bag presentations, newsletter articles, posters, etc.
Also, use what you have already developed in multiple ways. For example:
The reports went over really well… The board members liked them, and [management] was impressed as well.”
- If you post content on your website, share it on social media as well, which then drives traffic to your website.
- If you have several individual listings for related innovations, consider bundling the technologies for portfolio marketing.
- Success stories posted on your website should find their way into annual reports and presentations.
- Leverage all this content for awards applications, which are a great way to highlight accomplishments and boost your organization’s reputation.
Form Follows Function
A wealth of technology marketing tools is available these days. Whatever tools you choose, pay attention to quality. First impressions matter, so it’s worth investing the time and resources into producing effective and compelling marketing collateral.
A few tips:
I really, really appreciate all the counsel and support that made our exhibit much more effective and productive and also more meaningful than ever. Without your help, it definitely could not have been successful like this…. I’m honored and feel lucky to have a chance to work with you and Fuentek. Thank you.”
- Webinars/Briefings: These are a cost-effective way to reach potential licensees and partners.
- Online Listings: Invest in quality writers who can work collaboratively with engineers and scientists to prepare persuasive content.
- Presentations: Whether it’s at a conference session or a board meeting, keep words per slide to a minimum.
- Conference Displays: Increasing your presence at industry events can be a smart investment at significant commercialization turning points. Consider key sponsorship and branding opportunities and compelling booth designs to raise your profile.
- Infographics: Since a picture is worth a thousand words, infographics can help you simplify a complicated subject or turn an otherwise boring topic into an attention-grabbing experience.