A new project I’ve secured for a leading training provider has once again got me thinking about the massive amount of intellectual property (IP) out there that hasn’t realised its full commercial potential.
There really is shiploads of wonderful content sitting in the files and brains of organisations and individuals that is yet to take advantage of the amazing marketing, distribution and communications capabilities the digital world provides.
Chances are, this IP is still being delivered and exploited in much the same way it has been for decades; all when the web opens up markets that were simply too cost-prohibitive to either promote or deliver to.
All the world’s your stage
In fact, if packaged correctly, the revenue to be earned from a global market is many times more lucrative than local markets.
So if you’re an expert in widget manufacturing methodologies, you can now have your knowledge accessed from around the world in addition to the state and country.
But it can only be monetised if you prepare and plan your IP assets in such a way that you can market and distribute it easily.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Conduct an IP asset audit
The very first thing to do is make a list of all of your IP assets, whether they are courses, white papers, audio and video recordings, presentations and so on.
Then identify the various delivery capabilities of those assets given the various media that are available today. For example, a course delivered in person could be delivered online either in real time or self-paced. Or perhaps it can be delivered as a webinar that people are prepared to pay for.
2. What shape is the IP in?
Whilst your IP may be of considerable value, there is a strong chance that the longer you have been delivering it, the more dated it may be from both a content and presentation perspective.
Nothing impacts on credibility more than dated design, language and imagery. To this end, you may need to invest in making it more contemporary.
3. Prioritising conversion and release
So once you have identified which IP assets you can put on the market, how do you prioritise their production and release?
The purely commercial one is to prioritise according to a combination of ease and cost of conversion to a realisable asset, the size of the market and your ability to promote it widely – because one success will create funding to develop the next one and so on.
For example, the client mentioned above has invested in audio as a training medium. Personally, I love audio as a learning medium, but it has an inherent problem of being delivered in real time, unlike the written medium, which can be read at your own pace or skimmed easily. This is reflected in the sales of printed materials compared to audio materials.
But you may have strategic or other reasons to prioritise on a less commercial basis.
4. Sell and distribute individual assets online
Once your assets are ready to release, you will need to ensure that your website has the eCommerce capabilities to be able to order and purchase the item.
And if it’s in digital format, you will need to consider the best way to make it available to customers whilst minimising unauthorised duplication – a problem which could drastically affect your success.
5. Create subscription packages
Subscription is a brilliant model for the commercialisation of your IP because of its ability to create ongoing and potentially passive income streams.
Another advantage subscription offers is that if remunerated via direct debit, customers are less likely to delay payments or unsubscribe than if they had to handle the payment each time – thereby creating an ongoing and painless stream of revenue.
A great way to offer subscriptions is to offer sliding scales of benefits for increasing prices, allowing you to upsell and offer occasional upgrade offers.
6. Improve and multiply
Few income streams are truly passive as such, but the re-invention of your IP assets can provide you with unprecedented revenue streams which may fundamentally alter your business model. By updating and improving your assets, you are providing new reasons to either repurchase or subscribe, allowing you to realise a business model that Hollywood and the music and publishing industries have been tapping into for years.
How will you promote it?
A critical success factor of your IP commercialisation strategy is the ability to promote it to your chosen markets. Whilst a well-optimised website will deliver some qualified leads, it usually will not be enough on its own to deliver the results your IP deserves.
So make sure you invest some resources into promoting the availability of your new products to both existing and new markets.
Have you used the online world to monetise your IP? Tell us your story below.
In addition to being a leading eBusiness educator to the smaller business sector, Craig Reardon is the founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team, which was established to address the special website and web marketing needs of SMEs in Melbourne and beyond. www.theeteam.com.au.