B2B Tech Marketing: Marketing Embedded Imagers
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For embedded components of tech-products, the lore of the ‘Intel Inside’ ingredient branding is a ‘siren’s song’ promising strong consumer identification and untold sales. Like most stories of easy money and innovation in marketing, there is much more to tell. While Intel has achieved ‘brand nirvana,’ the initial capital outlay for the ingredient marketing co-op easily measured in billions of dollars. The advertising co-op that paid for a portion of computer manufacturers ads was heavily supplemented with television advertising, further increasing the cost beyond most marketing budgets.
A similar ingredient branding co-op is unlikely in today’s computing or mobile marketplace for a reason other than the marketing budget requirements, the commoditization effect it has on the entire consumer product. Computer manufacturers learned the hard-way that the intense branding of the processor severely reduced the distinction of their product to the market — it is unlikely that another advertising co-op would be accepted with this outcome as precedent.
Even if your brand is invisible to its end-user, their input is vital to ensuring your product is the ‘secret ingredient’ in their favorite products. Know your customers’ customers as well or better than they do. For the ingredient brand, segmenting the end-user market is the most critical step in a good go-to-market strategy.
Even if your brand is invisible to its end-user, their input is vital to ensuring your product is the ‘secret ingredient’ in their favorite products.
Segmenting is storytelling where the characters are the archetypal customers, high-quality images that speak to a broader reality. Key to defining the characters in the narrative of segmenting is that they spreads word-of-mouth referencing within the group. Successful customer-centric businesses like Best Buy push segmentation characterization down to the sales floor, training all associates to recognize different customers by their service needs, product associations, and sales conversions. For the embedded technology marketer, end-user segments should initially be divided along their acceptance of technological innovation as either innovators, early adopters, early or late majority, or laggards.
WHERE A CHIP IS NOT JUST A CHIP…
Most embedded technology companies have a diverse portfolio of products thanks to the technology treadmill of the product life-cycle and the increasing availability design or end-of-line circuitry changes to a volume part. While operationally minor, these additional products can be in vastly different consumer applications, targeting a different self-referencing segment.
Following the bell-curve, the median adopter of technology also represents the largest market segment while those who tech-up with each new product are in a smaller, although more vocal self-referencing group. Looking at the characterization of each of these segments can help in properly positioning each product in your portfolio to the most appropriate end user.
• Innovators – “The Techie”
– Guru endorsement & Tech Press Coverage
– Open-Source Access
• Early Adopters – “Key is Customer Service”
– Whole Product
– Positive Product Reviews
– Positive Benchmarks
• Early Majority – “Big Fish Consumers”
– Market Share
– Primary Product Placement
– Vertical Press Coverage
• Late Majority – “Your Mom”
– Company Recognition
– Full Product Line
– Strategic Business Partners
Due to their own innovative and contagious energy toward a product, innovators and early adopters can act as de facto product marketers capable of sidelining product adoption by the majority market. It is easier to market to people like us — techie’s who get it. Far harder is targeting the majority market that wants 360º-support, preeminent product placement, and vendor-supported applications.
It is easier to market to people like us — techie’s who get it. Far harder is targeting the majority market that wants 360º-support, preeminent product placement, and vendor-supported applications.
For each of the product adoption segments that you believe you have a product for, list those attributes that you believe they have (or better yet, that your research clarifies them as having). Weigh each of these attributes as to their importance to the end-user, your strategic partner in the manufacturing of the final consumer product, and in your business model. This weighted score of attributes is a critical component in a business model that ensures end-user needs are met within the structure of the channel.
BACK TO THE CHANNEL – SUPPORTING THE CONSUMER PRODUCT STRATEGIC PARTNER
Developing a marketing partnership with the consumer product manufacturer can assist in the strategic placement of ingredient products into the hands of the end-user. Key components in a successful embedded-technology partnership will be the:
• expansion of product services,
• development of systems that the end-users desire,
• and channel-structure that enables strategic sharing of advertising costs.
Targeting the consumer product manufacturers price sensitivity with shared advertising and service schemes while remaining diligent on marketing services that are desirable to the end-user will ensure a successful partnership — even without ingredient branding.
Aptina has numerous products in different positions on the technology adoption curve (see below) that could benefit from further segmentation and individual strategic positioning development to better capture market and partner with consumer product manufacturers. System-On-Chip technology offers much of what the end-user desires in ‘instantaneous darkroom’ and RAW image processing but requires strong partnering with camera manufacturers to enable longer R&D cycles of learning & more complex user interface.
Aptina is well-positioned to take advantage of an increase technical sophistication in camera products by diligently developing end-user segmentation and by partnering in the channel to develop whole-product strategies.
About the Authors
Justin Harnish is Marketing Consultant specializing in semiconductor and solar products where he has spent ten years as an engineer and marketer.
Stratus Launch Marketing is a leading international launch marketing firm that focuses on bringing new technologies to the global marketplace. Their clients include new product groups in Fortune 500 companies and hundreds of new technology startups.