The Best is yet2.com
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The Best is yet2.com

In approximately one month, Schwartz would launch the yet2.com site as the first global marketplace for the exchange of technology intellectual property, building worldwide recognition.

Paul Holmes

 

Remember when you were a kid and you made the coolest fort out of the living room chairs and some blankets? Didn’t you want everyone¾your mom and dad, your siblings and your pals¾ to come check it out? Fast-forward to adulthood: Imagine you have invented a kind of steel that is deep-hardening and has an improved fracture toughness. Not only are you proud of your creation, but you know that steel is used by many different industries¾automotive, aviation, architecture and so forth. How can you effectively market your invention to a broad range of industries?

In January 2000, Schwartz Communications, Inc. was retained by an unknown online technology marketplace, yet2.com (yet to come), to introduce the site to a broad target audience. In approximately one month, Schwartz would launch the yet2.com site as the first global marketplace for the exchange of technology intellectual property, building worldwide recognition. 

The idea behind yet2.com is simple: technology that has never been commercialized and lies hidden on the corporate shelf could be applied in ways never imagined by its inventor. For example, the compound that makes spandex stretch could then potentially give medical bandages extra strength and flexibility. In essence, these are technologies that have more to offer—the best is yet to come

OBJECTIVES

The objective of the yet2.com launch was to introduce the site to the business, trade and general media as the first global marketplace for technology exchange on the Internet. Through media coverage, Schwartz would educate yet2.com’s target audience of leading corporations and individual inventors about the benefits of the site, encourage intellectual property managers to register at the site and drive traffic to the site. 

Audience: The target audience for the yet2.com launch was enormous—from the general public and individual inventors to corporate intellectual property managers and chief technology officers. Because yet2.com includes a broad array of technologies across every industry, it could interest the lone inventor working out of his basement or the scientist in the lab who developed an innovative chemical compound.

RESEARCH

During the research phase of the campaign, Schwartz Communications conducted interviews with CTO’s of large companies to gain an understanding of the current technology marketplace. Schwartz also spoke to individual inventors to understand the process they undertake to expose their technologies to the world at large. Schwartz investigated the history of technology marketplaces and how yet2.com would make the process of licensing easier for companies and individuals. 

Schwartz also conducted research to determine possible competitors of yet2.com and to develop an understanding of how the competitors differentiate themselves in order to shape the messaging for yet2.com

Schwartz Communications developed targeted media lists to ensure that the information would reach the appropriate media contacts. 

PLANNING 

Once the initial research was completed in December, Schwartz began planning an effort that would expose yet2.com to the general public and the targeted audience in a quick, massive campaign. To reach such diverse audiences, Schwartz needed to secure coverage in general business publications as well as narrow vertical media.  

Schwartz worked to create a message that would convey the idea and thought behind yet2.com while interesting the chemist, the lone inventor and many more. 

The goal of the launch campaign was to create awareness about the importance of technology transfer on the Internet and how this new process would revolutionize the way companies and individuals license technology. 

Specifically, the plan was for yet2.com to be acknowledged as the first global forum for technology exchange on the Internet. Open to all buyers and sellers of technology, yet2.com’s marketplace truly leveled the playing field to facilitate the exchange of intellectual property worldwide.
Schwartz also determined that a key aspect of the messaging was the experiences of yet2.com founder and President Ben du Pont. Du Pont left the 200-year old DuPont Corporation, founded by his great-great-great-great-great grandfather, because he saw the enormous potential to accelerate technology transfer worldwide. His experiences at DuPont convinced him that current IP departments were grossly inefficient and there was a better way for corporations such as DuPont to take advantage of the assets invested in their intellectual property. 

To validate the messaging, Schwartz secured Senior Analyst Lara Abrahms of Aberdeen and Analyst Steve Kafka of Forrester as positive industry experts.  

STRATEGY

The strategy was to create maximum exposure for yet2.com among businesspeople. Schwartz targeted the general business press to maximize reach to this audience. 

EXECUTION/TACTICS

In December 1999, Schwartz worked closely with the client to develop press materials that told the yet2.com story. To launch the company Schwartz recommended announcing with several partners. The partners, all of whom had agreed to post technology on yet2.com’s marketplace included household names like Dow, DuPont, Boeing and Procter & Gamble and collectively represented 10 percent of all global R&D spending. 

In January, Schwartz began to distribute embargoed press releases announcing the February 7 launch of yet2.com to key business press to arrange advanced briefings about the company’s announcement to give them opportunity to “discover the company.” Schwartz then worked to prebrief these media outlets to instill a sense of urgency and stimulate coverage on the launch date. Interviews were arranged with editors, writers and producers at The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, USA Today, Forbes, The New York Times, C/Net-TV, Harvard Business Review and Inc. Magazine, among others.

On February 7, 2000, Schwartz distributed the press release over the wire announcing the launch of the yet2.com site. Schwartz then followed up with the media outlets that had been previously briefed and reached out to others.

Coverage appeared in all key media outlets and beyond, including but not limited to, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, C/Net, Red Herring Online, Forbes Digital Tool, The New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, Technology Review, The Associated Press and The Financial Times. 

OBSTACLES

Educating the media about the difference between yet2.com’s marketplace for intellectual assets and sites to search for patents was a tremendous challenge. The media needed to fully understand the impact that yet2.com would have on the exchange of intellectual property. Schwartz worked closely with the client to develop clear messaging in this area. 

Large, well-known companies had already signed up to offer technology on yet2.com. To leverage these partners, Schwartz worked hand-in-hand with the public relations departments of these bureaucratic Fortune 100 companies. Schwartz was faced with the challenge of preparing these customers to speak on yet2.com’s behalf rather quickly. 

In addition, HelloBrain, a competitor of yet2.com, had already launched in December. yet2.com was not the first to enter the space. yet2.com had to be quickly perceived as the leader. 

EVALUATION OF SUCCESS
The success of the PR campaign was measured by traffic to the site and impact on partner acquisition. On the day of the launch traffic jumped 250 percent. To date, the number of founding sponsors has grown from 12 to 57. 

Article tags
Technology-New Media
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