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Journalism - Quicklook Commercial Assessment: Quicklook - Step 3

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Quicklook - Step 3

Step 3 - Contact experts and companies

Approach

  • Call the identified contacts

When contacting the identified manufacturers and/or users of the subject invention, it is important to remember that you are contacting the companies to get their expert opinions on the viability or usefulness of the product. Most people are happy to talk about anything if you treat them as the expert they believe they are. Also, you are calling about something that could potentially help their company, so there is something in it for them. Let them know that their company could be a potential licensee of this product.

When talking to companies, emphasize the potential benefits of the invention not just the features. It is rarely necessary, and usually impossible; to describe how an invention works, but you must be able to describe why it would be important in the marketplace.

Usually, the best people to talk to are in marketing or R&D. Marketing is good because they have a global view of the market place. R&D is good because they usually have a good idea about similar products or on-going research.

Sample question areas:

  • Would a product that had these performance characteristics be important?
  • Is there a large market for products like this? Who would use it?
  • Are there similar products on the market? Who makes them? What is their share of the market?
  • What is an appropriate price point?

It is always a good idea to reconfirm data that has been collected from companies in primary research. If you get a piece of information that may be useful, try to reconfirm it with the next phone call. Also, when asking about the potential market size, it is always a good idea to offer some scale examples if they are reluctant to make a guess on their own. For example, ask them if the market would be closer to 10,000 units or 100, 000 units. When the choices are so different, they are more likely to say whether the market is closer to one size or the other.

Usually, only 8 to 10 productive phone calls or e-mail conversations are necessary to complete the Quicklook commercialization study. It will not take many conversations with industry experts to find out if the invention is a star or if the product will face an uphill battle in the marketplace.

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