As universities have realized the importance of licensing their innovations, they have scaled to become more entrepreneurial. Given that there is not a universal playbook, universities have been tasked with developing their own models for technology transfer. The restrictions on the allocation of resources forces TTO’s to prioritize certain areas for development over others, but it can be tough to know which ones. This can make managing the myriad of moving parts involved with the tech transfer process very complex and often times frustrating.
Still, at the end of the day, the primary concern of any TTO is to get their innovations out the door. This now requires a significant investment into marketing to find fruitful partnerships. Finding willing partners to take a look at the innovations available requires an acute understanding of the marketplace and the technologies themselves. It’s important to look into some of the techniques that marketing departments can utilize to automate some processes and ensure that their outreach will bear fruit.
One of the first things that a marketer might consider when looking to establish those connections is the positioning of the technologies. The term has different meanings to different people, and you would be surprised to learn how often many miss the target. Positioning is not a tagline, a brand statement, or any other sort of messaging. According to April Dunford (positioning guru extraordinaire), positioning is about setting things into context.
When we apply context to the innovations, it makes it significantly easier for licensees to make the decision of whether or not it is the right fit because it removes the guesswork of trying to interpret the value themselves. Though you might see your offering from one perspective, they might contextualize it through their own lens, thus missing the value.
Dunford uses the simple example of a cake pop to illustrate this. Ask yourself what sounds better: a piece of cake on a stick (which is technically what it is, and probably leads to more questions than answers) -or- a cake pop (which leads you to picture a lollipop, on-the-go style cake). I’m grabbing the cake pop! While they refer to the same item, each reference conveys completely different ideas. That is one of the reasons why positioning is so important to anyone looking to get eyes on their product. Simplifying the evaluation process will put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and increase efficiency.
Though positioning might seem like a static thing to many (e.g. a mission statement), it is meant to change throughout the process. As demands shift, sustainability is dependent on the ability to switch gears to match the desires of the industry. Understanding when and how to adjust your positioning will help to keep the technologies relevant while simultaneously opening up new opportunities. Like technology and innovation has life cycles, market positioning is meant to be something that is always in progress and updating.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic and start to implement some other solutions as well, reach out to me and find out how KISSPlatform can help. Keep your eyes peeled for our webinar on marketing, coming up soon!
We here at KISSPlatform believe that April Dunford has created one of the best books available for marketers, "Obviously Awesome." We refer to these techniques on the daily and you should absolutely check out her website!