Marketing TRIZ In The Global Marketplace: A Primer
Editor | On 20, Jul 2005
By: Joseph P. Cool
President, Cool & Associates, Inc.
921 Village Green Ln #1068, Waterford, MI 48328 USA
While this presentation is general in nature, specific tools can be developed for the successful expansion of TRIZ. While TRIZ is a problem-solving process, it is also in the services-oriented industry. This presentation is based on utilizing TRIZ principles and provides “food for thought” for the optimum development of marketing “tools” and models in the various market sectors found throughout the world where services can be marketed successfully. The presentation will elaborate on the following sub-topics:
• Motivational aspects of the marketing process through the Wheel of Self-Worth and Key Success Factors from a Global Perspective will be discussed. A rather simple anecdotal example will be provided to demonstrate the power of understanding Key Success Factors when interacting with various cultures.
• The Business Trident and Marketing Trident which were developed based on success on projects throughout the world will be discussed. These Tridents will be presented with a view towards success and optimization in the global marketplace for not only the manufacturing sector but also for the service sector.
• Tangibles vs. Intangibles dilemma that all service-oriented industries must understand in order to develop a successful marketing strategy will be presented.
• Practical marketing goals and resources will be discussed where TRIZ can be effectively utilized in developing countries and areas of emerging technologies that are currently being developed. A practical example of the principles described is provided using real-world statistics.
1 BACKGROUND OF MARKETING TRIZ
With the premise that all countries and/or economies drive growth with the manufacturing “frame of mind” and process, successful marketing techniques are developed and utilized to market/sell the manufactured product throughout the global marketplace. At some point in time as the local economy grows and flourishes, the size of the manufacturing sector reduces through a myriad of reasons, cost being extremely relevant. The economy tends to move to a service-oriented “frame of mind” with the outsourcing of production facilities and labor bases to other countries with lower costs. This has been an increasing concern for the United States and many Western countries. While the methodology of marketing/selling manufactured products has been well developed throughout the world, it is felt that methodologies for marketing/selling service-oriented products have been “hit and miss”, at best.
In the manufacturing “frame of mind”, marketing/selling principles have become very effective and well known. The approach is based primarily on “mass marketing” techniques. It is felt that the primary reason for this success is that the product is of a tangible nature and, as such can readily be seen and handled. The old adage of “kicking the tire to see if it is good” has been used throughout the world. With the advent of changing to service-oriented industries, it is rather difficult to “kick the tire” and marketing/selling services in the global marketplace has become increasingly difficult. It is the purpose of this paper to describe a methodology to market/sell intangible serviceoriented products to the global marketplace using principles that have been widely known but have not been widely used. The process is basically one which is “target-specific” in nature as opposed to the more conventional mass distribution methods.
In this paper, a methodology for marketing the intangibles (TRIZ being the topic of interest) in the global marketplace is presented and illustrated with a practical example.
Prior to the practical example, definitions of key concepts will be presented to illustrate the point being made. It is proposed that the methodology presented herein can be applied to other service-oriented products with slight modifications.
2 THE WHEEL OF SELF WORTH
Prior to beginning the study and development of a new business model, it is felt that a degree of motivation is required by the beginner to permit a broader degree of understanding. It is felt that the concept of “thinking outside the box” is required which will permit the ready acceptance of ideas that are not in the paradigm of the beginner. A few requirements for “thinking outside the box” include:
a. Willingness to accept new perspectives
b. Risk Taking
c. Do things differently
d. Strive to create value
e. Listen uncritically to others
The Wheel of Self-Worth is presented herein as a motivational tool. As individuals and organizations progress into the global marketplace, they all begin with the basic fear of the unknown. Fig. 1 shows the Wheel of Self-Worth.
In many endeavors, individuals and organizations approach a problem or issue with a fear that is borne from lack of understanding. This Fear creates Self-Doubt which can be overcome with Knowledge and Successful Experience. This Knowledge and Successful Experience creates the Courage to overcome the original Fear. An understanding of this principle will lead to success in the global marketplace.
3 TANGIBLES vs. INTANGIBLES
The concept of Tangibles vs. Intangibles is the heart of the dilemma of marketing/selling TRIZ throughout the global marketplace. TRIZ is not the “tire to be kicked” rather it is an intangible process that applies principles of problem solving to tangible products and/or intangible processes/dilemmas. Thus, methods have to be developed which fully understand the process of marketing/selling the tangible and transpose those methodologies into the intangibles. Listed below are the relevant key areas that typify the tangibles and the intangibles.
Tangibles (Manufactured Products) Intangibles (Services)
Easy to Market/Sell in Most Cultures Harder to Sell in Many Cultures
Physical Product Create the Need
Easily Recognizable Develop the Requirements
Use Concept of Synergistic markets
Create Perception of Tangibility
4 KEY SUCCESS FACTORS
A Key Success Factor is defined as a Performance Area of Critical Importance in Achieving Consistently High Productivity. While there are many factors that are important in successfully marketing/selling service-oriented products in the global marketplace, based on experience there are a few critical success factors which are very important in the successful marketing of TRIZ throughout the world. These include but are not limited to:
b. Problem Solving
c. Customer Service
e. Conflict Management
f. Cultural Understanding
g. Embracing Change
Let’s look at the Key Success Factor of Communication. While employed as a Director of Systems Engineering at a US company, one of my responsibilities was to “entertain” foreign customers during times they were not at the factory. On one such occasion, a Far Eastern customer wanted to attend a US baseball game and “learn” the game. There was a minor league team in the area so one evening I invited my Guest and we went to the ball park. During the game, I was describing various aspects of the game and suddenly, I noticed that a runner had advanced a base. I said: “Look at that, he just stole third base”.
It was based on reaction with no forethought. Upon that, my Guest inquisitively asked:
“Why did he steal it? Will he get in trouble?”
The point of the anecdote is that we both were speaking English but had different meanings of selected words. All languages have “nuances” and different word meanings that may not be understood. Be certain that when communicating, full understanding is attained by all parties.
5. MARKETING GOALS
Prior to the definition of the model for marketing/selling TRIZ in the global marketplace, marketing goals should be established to include:
a. Be perceived as a value-added product
b. Combat global competition through identification of “niche” markets coupled with exceptional customer service
c. Provide global capabilities in the global marketplace through mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures
d. Provide technical access to the global marketplace through Transfer of Technology
e. Investigate and capitalize on training opportunities internationally
6 MARKETING RESOURCES
There are many resources available which can be utilized in the marketing/selling of TRIZ. The key when identifying and utilizing these resources is to develop market expansion and identify synergistic markets and competition. Some of the more powerful resources include:
a. Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC/NAICS)
b. Existing Clients
c. The Internet (e.g. Google)
d. World-wide databases
e. Professional associations
F. Thomas Register
g. Presentations and Seminars
7 FOUR PERIODS OF THE SYSTEM
To develop a methodology for the successful marketing/selling of TRIZ, the Four
Periods of the System will used. The Four Periods of the System include:
Period #1: Selection of Parts for the System
Period #2: Improvement of the Parts
Period #3: Dynamization of the System
Period #4: Self-Development of the System
This system is described in a classic book on TRIZ (1) and in the book, it is suggested that “the inventor’s effort should be concentrated in the beginning on finding the best combination of a system’s parts”. This principle will be utilized in developing a successful approach for the marketing/selling of TRIZ in the global marketplace. For this discussion, the System is defined as one which has the following characteristic: a client in the global marketplace where the Principles of TRIZ can be successfully utilized.
7.1 SELECTION OF PARTS FOR THE SYSTEM
The major part of the system being described and discussed is what I refer to as the BUSINESS TRIDENT. It is the identification of the actual Client to which TRIZ principles will be utilized for a project in the global marketplace. Each and every culture throughout the global marketplace has components of the Business Trident. The methodology described herein can be utilized in virtually every country/economy in the world. Figure 2 shows the Business Trident.
7.2 IMPROVEMENT OF THE PARTS
Once the actual client has been identified, a means must be developed to communicate the principles of TRIZ. This is referred to as “targeting” and is diametrically opposed to the conventional marketing/selling techniques of mass mailings and distribution. Figure 3 shows the Marketing Trident.
Activities associated with each of the parameters in the Marketing Trident include:
Planning: Knowledge Acquisition, Organizing, Strategic Planning
Communicating: Networking, Prioritizing, Motivating
Decision-making: Testing, Evaluating, Analyzing
During this process of Planning and Communicating, one thing must be made perfectly clear. The potential client you are “targeting” already recognizes you are an expert because the client cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise. It has been succinctly written: “If you’re selling a service, you’re selling a relationship”. (2)
7.3 DYNAMIZATION OF THE SYSTEM
Dynamization of the System includes utilizing the marketing resources identified above, directed to the identified clients above and utilizing the Planning, Communicating and Decision-making concepts of the Marketing Trident.
7.4 SELF-DEVELOPMENT OF THE SYSTEM
This is defined as the future of implementation of the principles identified herein and applying them to synergistic markets in a logical, clear and concise manner. With progressive usage of the system, insights will be developed that will enhance the power and effectiveness of this system.
8 PRACTICAL EXAMPLE
Challenge: Locate a suitable client in the manufacturing market sector to market/sell a specific TRIZ concept to that client. For this example, let’s assume the TRIZ principle under consideration has been found applicable by previously successful project applications in the Plastics/Rubber manufacturing industry.
The data that will be used was developed prior to traveling to Latvia as a member of the Michigan Civic Leaders Tour in April-May 2004 on the occasion of Latvia’s entry into the European Union. The purpose of that analysis was to identify specific companies and individuals to meet and through subsequent discussions, determine if there were mutually agreeable and beneficial areas of interest.
The first step in the process is to develop a listing of the market sectors currently in Latvia. This is, in effect the purpose of the Business Trident described above, i.e., determining Clients which would accept my service. Through world-wide databases, the following distribution was found and graphed according to percentage of total registered companies in Latvia. Figure 4 provides the graphical representation of this analysis.
As is noted, 20% of the total registered companies are in the manufacturing sector. Figure 5 provides a detailed breakdown of the various manufacturing industries.
Rubber and Miscellaneous Plastic Products is Market Sector # 11. From this analysis, we see there are eight (8) registered companies in Latvia that are in the Rubber and Plastics industry. Incidentally, it is noted that the market sector which has the largest number of registered companies is # 1: Food and Kindred Products. From this information, we may wish to further investigate the possibility of “targeting” this market sector instead of the original sector due to a larger number of potential clients if the TRIZ principle is applicable.
The next step is to utilize the Market Trident: Planning, Communicating and Decision- Making.
Planning: Develop a profile on each company from available world wide data bases including key decision-makers. Many such resources have been described above. Develop a matrix on the pros/cons of each company.
Communicating: Develop contacts in the specific industry as “referrals’ are the best form of introductions. Remember the keywords:
Network – Network – Network. Utilize the Business
Trident to locate these contacts. In Latvia, I contacted the
Latvian American Chamber of Commerce prior to the Tour.
Decision-making: After appropriate contact, develop the contractual agreements as applicable.
In this paper, a methodology for marketing/selling TRIZ is presented. The marketing/selling model is based on the TRIZ principle Four Periods of the System as presented in the book “And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving” (1). Initially, the concept of the Tangibles vs. the Intangibles is presented. TRIZ is then introduced as an example of an Intangible service-oriented discipline. The methodology for marketing TRIZ is basically a “targeted” approach in that specific clients are identified through the utilization of the Business Trident, the Marketing Trident and Marketing Resources. In the Business Trident specific clients are identified by geographical area and market sector using world-wide databases. The Marketing Trident provides a “roadmap” for the execution of the marketing/selling to identified and selected potential clients.
It is expected that with usage of this methodology for the “targeted” marketing/selling TRIZ in the global marketplace, additional resources and further refinement will be identified and incorporated into the business model. It must be stressed that networking and developing business relationships are the key to the successful marketing/selling of TRIZ in the global marketplace and, coupled with exceptional customer service success is inevitable.
(1) Altshuller, Genrich (1994) And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared: TRIZ, the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving
(2) Beckwith, Harry (1997) SELLING THE INVISIBLE: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
About the author:
Joseph Cool, President of Cool & Associates Inc. specializes in assisting small to medium size companies in the expansion of existing markets and introduction/expansion into the global marketplace using synergistic market analysis. Having worked in 54 countries throughout the world (most recently in Bosnia and Latvia as a member of the Michigan Civic Leaders Tour, April-May 2004), Cool brings a unique view of the many varied cultures that all organizations must adapt to in an effort to enter and maintain a presence in the global market place.