Back to School—It’ll Be Worth It, We Promise.

Middle school English class. Don’t run! Let’s go back for just a moment. You may not recall the end to the Catcher in the Rye or To Kill a Mockingbird, but hopefully you do remember one thing: the five Ws and one H.

So while you don’t have to fake it anymore on a Lord of the Flies book report, you can apply some of those English class skills to your tech transfer marketing plans. When thinking about the five Ws and H, we were told to first figure out which ones were most important. That is, prioritize them. That too applies to tech transfer marketing.

According to Danielle McCulloch’s post on Fuentek’s blog, you need to start with prioritization. Your TTO office likely has more projects to market than it has resources to market each effectively. Trying to spread limited resources is like trying to be best friends with every single kid in gym class—you’ll know a lot of names, but you won’t have anyone to count on come dodge ball time. Instead, listen to your English teacher and prioritize your projects by the potential each has to reach a deal. This will focus your resources right where they should be—on the most viable projects.

How do you start prioritizing projects?

Begin by weeding out two types of projects—those that are already being marketed successfully and those that aren’t viable. Then, determine which projects are still relevant to the current environment. The market need may have changed or even vanished by the time the product reaches the marketing stage. Cut these projects from your docket too. Finally, use market data to rank the potential market impact of each remaining project and apply your resources to those that rank highest.

Now that you’ve prioritized, it’s time to look at those five Ws and H. Jack Spain argues on Fuentek’s blog that the 5 Ws and H will help you develop an effective marketing plan by using market assessment and analysis—the same information you used when prioritizing your projects. By answering these questions laid out by Spain, you will have the information needed for a focused marketing strategy:

Who are the most promising markets and target licensees (or partners for joint R&D if further development is needed) for the technology?

What is the optimal message that will trigger their interest?

When is the optimal time to promote the target technology?

Where should you invest your promotional resources to obtain the greatest return on investment?

Why would they be interested in the technology?

How will you efficiently connect with the target licensees?

How much should you invest in the marketing campaign?

What other middle school lessons do you find have remarkable application in your professional life? Let us know in the comments!

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