Studies show that in the coming years, companies in innovative industries like life sciences, physical sciences and information technology, will need to demonstrate more than ever before their ability to respond to the changing needs of society. In an interconnected world, new business models emerge, and companies with a strong R&D component will have to be able not only to create disruptive technologies but also to promote them in an ever evolving marketplace.
Most innovative spin-offs are created by gifted and passionate researchers and scientist spending years in laboratories to perfect their idea, while most funds come from private or public investors. For most companies, the first encounter with the market is tough. Having an outstanding product is not enough, they need to make the world know about it. At this point, they realise that some marketing is needed, but where to start?
From our experience, the marketing addressing these companies is the noblest of all: is the kind of marketing that unlocks the true potential of a great product, a product that could shape the future. Below are a few common challenges experienced in bringing innovations to market and how to start overcoming them.
A. The product’s market value is unclear
At this point, it’s time for scientists to look at their innovation with an objective eye and ask these questions: Who is the customer, who, why and how will use the product? What is the need it fulfils? Are there other similar products that could address the same needs? Who are the competitors and how are they promoting themselves? A competitive analysis will reply to all these questions.
B. Unclear objectives
Although the research purpose is self-implied, most innovators have a very unclear business purpose. At the beginning, it’s all about creating an outstanding product from a technical perspective. Before launching it into the real market, the entrepreneurs should draft a clear business plan with achievable objectives on the short, medium and long term. Based on the findings from point A there are few things that need to be decided, like the targeted annual turnover, estimated operating costs, R&D costs, etc.
Read here about the steps of a comprehensive business strategy.
C. The lack of an organizational structure
Besides the team that actually works in R&D, there are usually very few people involved in other operational activities. However, even the smallest of startups needs an organizational structure. The current company structure should be drafted and, based on the business strategy and company’s objectives, other positions should be added, to ensure the future development. Usually, these posts refer to marketing, sales and business development but there are many other to consider.
D. The lack of consistent business tools
Developing a business from scratch or just sustaining its growth requires some new tools and processes configured around the core business, like a CRM system, a Project Management system, a Document Management System to name only a few.
Although it may not seem important, by using the right tools, many operational tasks can be automated, leaving more resources for the core business, as the company grows.
Are you the owner of a spin-off? What challenges are you facing? Leave us a comment below.