Even in R&D-focused industries, you don’t need to rely on a heavyweight to swoop in and buy your innovation.
Say you are an entrepreneur looking to make a big splash in the medical technology industry. Your new rapid test for bacterial infections will make emergency rooms more efficient and reduce how long it takes to train hospital staff. You are confident that big firms will want to acquire the technology-probably outbidding each other for the prototype.
As tempting as this sounds-and as sure as you may be that it will pan out-there are benefits to a more patient, self-sustaining approach.
Katie Arnold, the founder of SPRIG Consulting and an adjunct lecturer of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School, advises startups to design a marketing plan to take them from conception to commercialization-without relying on a heavyweight swooping in to buy.
In research-heavy industries such as medtech, pharmaceuticals, automotive engineering and military technology, a thorough marketing plan is critical for guiding products through development processes that can take up to a decade.
It also serves a second purpose. “Having a comprehensive marketing plan earlier in the development process makes discussions with potential acquirers go more smoothly because they can envision how the opportunity may come to fruition within their commercial infrastructure,” Arnold says.
Arnold shares three pieces of marketing advice for startups in sectors that have long R&D timelines.
The big fish in any R&D-heavy industry-for instance, Abbott, Baxter, and Medtronic in medtech-tend to prioritize external growth opportunities that can then be marketed via their existing channels for distribution and sales. These giants count on startups and smaller firms to feed them viable products in growing areas-and, if the product aligns with their priorities, they pay handsomely for those innovations.
Image pulled from original article.
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