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Marketing Help for RFID Companies

A new blog on the RFID Journal website aims to help RFID solution providers do a better job of reaching potential buyers.
By Mark Roberti
Nov 18, 2013

When I was a reporter for the Industry Standard—the dot-com bible that famously flamed out a year after making $350 million in revenue—I would receive invites from savvy marketing people to have lunch at the 21 Club in Manhattan (the magazine was based in San Francisco, but I worked out of our trendy office in downtown Manhattan). Inevitably, the company would be a startup that had raised $50 million in venture capital, and the marketing person wanted to introduce me to the CEO (who was half my age), so he could tell me how his company (it was almost always a man, and often an immigrant from the Indian subcontinent who dreamed up the idea while at Harvard) was going to revolutionize this or that industry.

The problem was these companies had a great deal of cash and good marketing, but no product. They often aggressively marketed "vaporware" or "slideware"—products that did not exist, or that existed only as a concept in a PowerPoint presentation. Almost all of them failed, some spectacularly so.

The radio frequency identification business is almost a mirror opposite of the dot-coms. RFID providers have good products, but very little money or marketing. The CEOs tend to be engineers who can do magic with electronics, but who are distrustful of marketing and uncomfortable with self-promotion. While I admire the hard-working folks who have launched RFID companies, the truth is that not marketing a good product is almost as fruitless as cleverly marketing no product.

Since the recession, RFID Journal has been trying to help companies better understand the RFID market—what buyers are looking for and how to reach them. In 2009, we introduced targeted marketing on a pay-per-click basis, so advertisers could show their ads to very defined market segments, such as people in Germany interested in an RFID-based kanban system, or folks in Asia interested in container seals.

In 2010, we launched a marketing service—headed by RFID Journal's director of marketing, Sonja Valenta—to recommend tactics for achieving marketing goals cost-effectively. We can create ads for RFID companies at a fraction of the cost of an advertising agency.

In January 2013, we introduced The RFID Marketer's Handbook: Smart Strategies for Finding Potential Buyers and Converting Them Into Customers, which uses RFID Journal readership data to explain the state of the market, the industries adopting the technology more quickly and the best ways to reach specific market segments, such as health-care executives interested in real-time locations systems.

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