In our Work Stories series, we highlight examples of our recent client work. Today’s work story covers a recent project where we assisted a leading laser optics company in finding and analyzing new market opportunities. We’ll call this company OpTechCo.
Industry: Laser Optics
Ownership: Privately held
History: Founded early 2000s
HQ: U.S. (Midwest)
OpTechCo was created in the early 2000s by a group of PhD laser optic physicists. Since its creation, the majority of OpTechCo’s success has been with research grants with various branches of the U.S. government. While the grant research funding provided an initial business foundation, OpTechCo was keenly interested in leveraging its expertise and intellectual property to develop commercial products that solved important industrial problems. To support this effort, OpTechCo brought in Fletcher&Co. to train its staff in the best practices of searching for attractive market opportunities.
The search for financially compelling market opportunities is not a process with a step-by-step formula – e.g. follow these steps and you’ll get this guaranteed outcome. That said, there are proven best practices based on many decades of business research and experience. The search for market opportunities is a mix of capabilities including business skills, marketing expertise, analytical skills, judgment, persistence, and discipline. During this initiative, OpTechCo was concurrently evaluating a number of potential product/market ideas.
The search process training was broken down into 3 distinct phases:
Phase 1: Strategy
The training emphasis in the first phase was building skills to strategically assess OpTechCo’s core competency, unique expertise, competitor offerings and it’s target audience. The training objectives were identifying market niches where it could fill a market void or solve a unique problem.
Phase 2: Discovery
The training emphasis in the second phase was building the internal skills necessary to lead a marketing research initiative. The training objectives were identifying the target audience, designing an interview script, and conducting the research interviews.
Phase 3: Evaluation
The training emphasis in the third phase was developing the internal expertise necessary to evaluate the financial merit of each market opportunity. The training objectives were establishing financial metrics for assessing opportunities, building an evaluation methodology, and evaluating each opportunity on its financial attractiveness.
During the course of our work together, OpTechCo narrowed its focus to one particularly attractive industrial problem that fit very well with its technology. With training assistance from Fletcher&Co., OpTechCo evaluated the competing solutions in the industry, segmented the market and identified a target audience. According to OpTechCo’s CEO:
“Doug worked with me and my leadership team to analyze and develop strategy for an exciting market opportunity for our company. Doug’s approach was well planned and leveraged the thoughts and practices of the leading experts in market research, product hypothesis, customer interaction, and competitive strategy. Doug added his own valuable thoughts and ideas specific to our particular opportunity. Our regular discussions were fruitful and enjoyable. By the conclusion of our project, we had developed a sound strategy and pathway forward for our future product offering.”