Here at EI, we see plenty of startups looking to evangelize innovations. From augmented reality and health tech to the Internet of Things, a slew of new products and services are revolutionizing responses to both consumer needs and industry pain points. But the unfortunate truth is that 75% of these ventures will fail due to issues involving the brand’s business model, approach or focus.
For those looking to break into the competitive technology space, avoiding these common pitfalls will serve you well:
- Don’t aim for disruption. Aim for enhancement.
There’s an old guard protecting the landscape and a variety of organizations who believe they can disrupt it. What most do not realize is that the marketplace is already experiencing immense changes that can be categorized as less of a “disruption” and more so “business as usual” with a twist. Sure, there are technologies and behaviors that are altering many aspects of the business. And of course, there are industry giants poised to take on specific elements in the space. But the bottom line is that there are very smart, well-financed and protected organizations that are capable of rolling with the punches. Smart startups will seek to pinpoint challenges within the tech sector and craft innovations to address them. They will not look to upend a very profitable system, but seek to enhance it. Ultimately, they will figure out compelling ways to affect positive changes while realizing that disruption is not the key to success.
- Proof of concept is king.
The technology world is a hype-filled place. The industry is fast-paced, ever-changing and offers plenty of monetary gain, so there’s plenty of people constantly trying to enter it. Some of them are great marketers, but that doesn’t mean their products will live up to the excitement they manage to create about them. If your organization is unable to provide a tangible product, all the hype in the world won’t help you. Even before promotional efforts begin, you must prove your technology actually works. There is no such thing as “we’re working out a few kinks.” If a product is ready, it’s ready; and if it’s not, it’s not. On top of proving this validity, a company must also prove the business case. In fact, this is the single most important task for any emerging tech brand. Your business case should be well-structured to perfectly capture the reason and need for your product. In this industry, the folks that live up to the hype and present a proof of concept are the ones that will flourish.
- Jump off the buzzword bandwagon for success that is not short-lived.
All too often, startups, innovators and well-established companies will create and innovate new products based on buzzwords alone. The problem with this approach is that buzzwords are fads, and by the time a product finally goes to market there may already be another buzzword in its place. Seeking to capitalize on specific trends is a short-term strategy based on novelty that doesn’t have any real staying power. Marketing a product solely built around a temporary buzzword is not only a giant gamble that typically doesn’t pay off, it’s also a crutch for the less creative to lean on. Instead of relying on words that may be huge today and gone tomorrow, create your own terms that will allow for profitable results.
Any promising startup can make these common mistakes, which is why we are here to help assist with creating and executing the best marketing strategy for your innovative product or service. By keeping these major blunders in mind while working to craft a paramount business approach, we’ll have the best possible chance of successfully launching you and your product into the technology marketplace.
In and Out of Home Connectivity
Brands were eager to show off their latest smart product innovations. Options were plentiful, from refrigerators to light bulbs to thermostats. The market for smart home products continues to grow and according to Parks Associates smart home monitoring and control systems are installed in more than 10% of U.S. households. 45% of U.S. households either own some smart home technology or plan to invest in it in 2016.
Not only are consumers embracing in-home smart products but the adoption for smart products out-of-home is finding its footing. The automotive industry stole the spotlight at this year’s show with General Motors’ recent Lyft investment of $500 million, revealing a long-term goal of creating an infrastructure of self-driving taxis. Drivers are intrigued by the idea of fully automated vehicles as a study by Autotrader shows that 52% of respondents would be comfortable riding or driving in a vehicle with self-driving technology. The same study also showcased an interest in interactive dashboards as 46% say they would pay up to $1,500 for an interactive dashboard. However, the challenge for auto brands will be to focus on connectivity and device integration as 57% seek better integration for smartphones with generic systems such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Consumer Electronics Association anticipates the wearable tech industry to grow 64% over the next three years with 245 million devices reaching $25 billion in sales. Marketers now understand that the wearable market is set to deliver a new source of endless data. Considering the long-awaited progression of mobile monitoring and tracking marketers will start to demand increasingly seamless capabilities for breaking down wearable data. Fitbit took one step in the direction of combining features from 2 different wearable products by introducing Fitbit Blaze. The device is branded as a smart fitness watch. It still remains to be seen if the wearable market can achieve an automated environment where unconscious behavior steers the utilization of wearable products.
The annual show was a prime example that VR is finally maturing into a game that now includes more than just a few players. TrendForce predicts that 14 million virtual-reality devices will be sold worldwide in 2016. High production costs and poor ROI projections have for years made marketers refrain from indulging in the virtual reality mania. As production technology evolves the production cost is reducing and the new options for 360 video has led to increased consumer interest in VR devices.
Nikon and GoPro are both developing new ways for consumers to capture their own 360-degree content. Content that they now can place on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook thanks to their recent installments. By enabling consumers to become content creators, the VR and 360 video industry has taken ground breaking steps in the proper direction. As the profit potential becomes much clearer brands will start to become less hesitant to use VR in new initiatives that can prove to be remarkably rewarding and exhilarating.
User-Generated Video Is Now The Norm
During his keynote YouTube’s Robert Kyncl stated that digital will make up 75% of total video viewing by 2020. During this statement a numerous amount of people were using vertical video platforms such as Periscope and Snapchat to streamline his message real-time to their respective audience. Companies like Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo all attended meetings with vertical video to show during CES. Throughout the event it was apparent that people are living their lives mobile-first and so were the brands showcasing their products. Live-streaming and vertical video is in full adoption mode, and it is controlling how we encode, decode and interpret messages around the clock daily.
Photo Source: Andrés Nieto Porras