Brand Report Identifies Potential RFID Gorillas

Regular readers of this column know I believe in Geoffrey Moore’s theories of technology adoption, as articulated in his books, Crossing the Chasm and Inside the Tornado (see The (RFID) World According to Moore and Moore Has Spoken—Were RFID Vendors Listening?). Moore says that new technologies achieve widespread adoption when there is a global standard, the technology does something existing technologies don’t do, there is a whole product and a “gorilla” emerges. (By “gorilla,” he means a company that dominates the market, gaining a 60 percent market share or higher. Think Apple for MP3 players, Microsoft for PCs and Intel for microprocessors.)

So who will be the gorillas in the market for radio frequency identification? It’s difficult to say, but our “2011 RFID Brand Report,” produced in partnership with Burnell Reports, provides some hints. Our survey of more than 500 RFID Journal readers reveals that Motorola is the most recognized brand, supplanting Alien Technology in that spot (see RFID Journal Releases Marketing and Brand Reports).

We looked at the top brand overall in RFID, as well as which companies are the top brands among those that offer passive tags, passive readers, active solutions and software. The results make compelling reading, and the rankings will get a lot of attention.

But here is one of the most interesting facts in the report: “Only eight firms are recognized as top providers by at least 10 percent of respondents.” In other words, most companies today are largely unknown. That’s not totally surprising. The RFID market is relatively immature, and most firms don’t spend a lot on advertising, so their brands are not widely recognized. That means that while those eight firms have an edge over other providers, there is still a huge opportunity to grab mindshare and establish your company as a potential gorilla.

RFID marketers need to be wise about how they spend their money, especially those that work for startups. If they spend a lot of money now, they could run out of cash before the market takes off. And if they wait too long, then all companies will be advertising, and it will be harder and more costly to establish their brand. Moore, I think, would suggest erring toward spending too soon rather than waiting too long and allowing another company to become established as the gorilla. (It’s not impossible to take the market away from the gorilla, he notes in Inside the Tornado, but it is very rare—and usually involves a major strategic blunder by the gorilla.)
The “2011 RFID Marketing Strategies Report,” a companion to the “2011 RFID Brand Report,” explains how survey respondents obtain information about specific RFID products. And this is where marketers can gain insights about how to spend their money most effectively.

The report makes it clear that people are hungry for detailed information sources, such as white papers and case studies, from RFID-focused news sources and from vendors themselves. They also value webinars and RFID events. Social media? Not so much.

On Feb. 10, RFID Journal will host a free webinar in which John Burnell, the report’s primary author, will talk about some key findings in the two reports, and what they mean for RFID companies. Bob Basmadjian, a principal at Spectrum Marketing, will present a case study on how to use white papers and rich content to raise brand awareness and position your company as a thought leader. To register, click here.

RFID technology providers can learn where their company stands in the eyes of end users and professional sources, which have a strong influence on how a firm is perceived. Smart marketers should digest the results in the “2011 RFID Brand Report,” and then develop a marketing strategy that leverages the insights in the “2011 RFID Marketing Strategies Report.” For more information on both reports, click here.

The RFID industry, according to the marketing report, is maturing. Clearly, now is the time to position your company for gorillahood.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark’s opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog, the Editor’s Note archive or RFID Connect.