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Moore Has Spoken—Were RFID Vendors Listening?

In a free RFID Journal webinar, bestselling author Geoffrey Moore, the world's leading expert on understanding disruptive technologies, laid out a strategy for success in the RFID industry. The question is: How many vendors were listening?
By Mark Roberti
• The right strategy for RFID solutions providers, at this stage of the market, is to focus on a specific vertical industry with a compelling problem that RFID solves, and to build a product that can solve that problem and can be deployed in a repeatable manner. Then, they should look for people within that industry that have that particular problem.

• Solutions should be oriented vertically rather than horizontally, because while the problems RFID solves are common across many industries—lost or misplaced assets, for example—the balance-sheet issues can be very different. So companies buy vertical solutions at the "bowling alley" stage—when a "whole product" meets the needs of a market segment—and horizontal solutions during the "tornado" (period of rapid growth) phase.

• As technology providers develop their industry-specific solutions, they need to get close to existing customers to understand their needs. They should attend vertical industry events to understand the issues people in that industry are discussing.

• Marketing should be focused on the industry-specific issues companies face, rather than around the superiority of a solution provider's technology. "Eighty-percent of the messaging is you describing the problem, why existing technologies have not been able to solve them, and why this new technology called RFID should be able to solve them," Moore said. "Then, the last 20 percent of your messaging is 'Here's how we would go about it.' If you express an understanding of the problem, it resonates with businesspeople."

• Don't focus on the technology, but also don't avoid the term RFID. "I think it's a mistake to abandon the category name once it has become known, just because the category has fallen into disrepute," he said. "It is easier on everyone if you rehabilitate the category, because, frankly, having the name being known is a much harder problem to solve than having the name being respected."

• Don't attack your competitor's technology. "If you are in the middle of a tornado land grab, then knocking your competitor works," he stated. "Prior to the tornado, it slows adoption for everyone, and everyone loses. A much better tactic, prior to the tornado, whether it is early market or bowling alley, is to say 'This is a rich and wonderful technology with lots of great applications.' You pick an application where your competitor is good, and that you don't want to go after, and you say, 'Those guys are great for that application, but we're great at this application.' The message you are sending is, 'If you get out of my way, I'll get out of your way.'"

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