Raising awareness for your amazing technology can feel a lot like screaming into the cosmic void.
Paid advertising and sponsorships are straightforward, old-school options, but without the proper customer insights, they are usually an insanely expensive way to learn a hard lesson.
Ideally, you want customers coming to you rather than you chasing them all over the universe. But how do you draw them in?
Well, if you’ll allow me to take this nerdy space metaphor way too far, you need gravity. And to get gravity, you need to accumulate lots of mass.
The amount of marketing mass you have can be represented by various space objects, ranging from a tiny meteoroid to a supermassive black hole.
Knowing where you are on this continuum can help you feel less crazy and choose where to focus your marketing efforts.
Your IP — Meteoroid
Where it all begins — your great discovery, invention, innovation. Possibly even your life’s work. So how could it possibly be just a small rock??
If this is your first attempt at bringing something to market, you may be confronted with a harsh reality — the vast universe of intellectual property (IP) is largely indifferent to your great invention.
Your IP is, despite the outsized space it occupies in your corner of the galaxy, merely your ticket into the arena of commerce. On its own, it is unlikely to generate any real awareness and thus has almost no marketing gravity.
It’s a tough pill to swallow considering how much of your own blood, sweat, and tears went into bringing this life into the world. But rest assured it’s not personal.
People (including your prospective customers) have a lot of things competing for their attention. And the status quo can feel pretty comfortable sometimes.
The sooner you come to terms with this, the easier it will be to embrace the challenges (and rewards) of taking your product to market.
Your Network — Asteroid
Your network will probably be the first place you go to build interest in your IP.
Whether you are seeking early investors to build a company or alpha customers to help develop a product, these connections will most likely come through people you already know.
Your network may look different depending on where you are in your career. Someone with many years of industry experience may have a strong network spread across several disciplines, making it easier to foster awareness and get early-stage customers.
But even an enthusiastic undergrad can leverage the network of their advisors, professors, and peers.
As with other types of marketing, a little creativity and determination can go a long way in building a network.
When it comes to marketing, a large network, like a large asteroid, may generate a small amount of gravity. But it’s probably not enough to sustain a business.
Conferences and Events — Planet
Conferences and other events can be a crucial first step outside your existing network. At a minimum, you should be able to get helpful feedback from the outside world and build your list of contacts.
With the right clout (or money), events are also an opportunity to present to larger groups of people, thus building your network even more and yielding a small boost in awareness.
Events also benefit from a positive feedback loop as your market awareness increases over time — people are more likely to attend your presentations when they know who you are and what you represent.
Basic Marketing Materials — Star
The solar level of marketing mass is reached when you create your first collection of marketing materials — pitch decks, datasheets, brochures, case studies, etc.
This step is significant because — unlike events and in-person presentations — marketing materials can speak for you without requiring you to be present.
They can also be easily replicated and distributed (especially digital versions), allowing you to selectively extend your reach across the known universe.
Marketing materials can also go a long way in clarifying your message and making sure everyone on your team or in your network knows how to give the pitch.
Having the right message becomes more crucial as you add more mass to your marketing.
Website — Neutron Star
You might think the website belongs with the basic marketing materials, as they are often built around the same time.
But there is a catch: early-stage websites are usually terrible and only useful for the most basic functions (name, address, contact info). Often, too little thought is given to the messaging or the paths visitors can take to become leads.
However… when done properly, your website will have gravity that reaches far beyond your standard pitch deck and brochure.
Other key advantages of your website over basic collateral are ease of access, searchability, and scalability. Simply being visible to search engines may be enough to put the website in a category of its own.
Content Marketing — Supermassive Black Hole
Scientists and engineers are good at solving problems and talking about how they solved those problems. Using these innate qualities to create massive amounts of useful and engaging content is the basis of a good content marketing program.
Every piece of content you create — articles, white papers, videos, recorded webinars, etc. — adds to the overall mass of your content marketing program. The resulting gravity generates awareness and draws leads into your marketing funnel from the farthest reaches of your market.
You’re also building serious brand awareness at this stage, which feeds back into other activities like events and networking.
Everything you learn from this stage (and you can learn a lot over time) can influence everything from product development to messaging.
Paid promotions become more effective as you learn what your audience is actually searching for and what kind of content generates the most interest.
Conclusion — How Do You Get Started?
Building a content program around your technology can seem daunting in light of your other responsibilities and business challenges. But you might be surprised to know you’re already generating a lot of content without thinking about it.
Check out our step-by-step guide to building a content marketing program for your technology and start creating massive marketing today!
Content Marketing Packages from American Lotus
We offer several content marketing packages designed specifically to help science and technology companies launch and grow their content program. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to talk about a customized plan.
Have questions about content marketing? Send us a message!
We typically respond within one business day.