BioProcess Technology Company

Fractional Marketing Engagement

A venture capital backed start-up sought to revolutionize the way biopharmaceutical drugs were developed and manufactured with its breakthrough technology. The company had transitioned from “garage” stage and was preparing to go to market, although much of its technology was still in prototype stage. We were engaged as a fractional “director of marketing” to manage and execute all aspects of the marketing mix, and to assist management with strategy, investor relations, salesforce development and more. During the course of this five-year engagement, the marketing budget under management grew from $50,000 to $2 million, and the company’s revenue grew from the low six-figures to $50 million. The company and its brand were celebrated for their impact on the biomanufacturing marketplace, and the company’s technology is the cornerstone for a major changeover in the way biotech drugs are made. The engagement culminated with the successful acquisition of the company by a Fortune 100 market leader.

Educational Software Start-Up

Market Assessment, Segmentation and Launch Plan

An early stage educational software start-up, founded by two active university professors, needed help taking their software product from concept to launch. We helped them through initial market assessments, market segmentation and strategy development, and business plan development. The business plan was successfully used to raise more than $2 million from an angel investor, leading to a successful launch. We continued to support the founders and management by overseeing the marketing function and building the sales department, and ultimately helped them market the company, leading to a successful acquisition by a national educational software firm.

Biopharmaceutical Start-up Firm

Fractional Marketing and Management Role

A small team of executives from large pharmaceutical companies started a new biopharmaceutical firm that would combine the technical competency of large pharma with the agile culture of a start-up. With just 5 employees at the time, they engaged R.C. Gregory & Co. to help improve the way the company presented itself to potential partners and investors. Our role expanded and evolved, with Rick Gregory serving as a member of the company’s management team. Seven years later, the firm has successfully launched an IPO and continues on a steep growth trajectory with several of its drug candidates in clinical trials. Our involvement has included all aspects of marketing and investor communications, employee communications, hiring and recruiting, market analysis, partnering support, HR support and many ad hoc projects that the company did not have the expertise or bandwidth to execute.

Insurance Compliance Services

New Business Launch

Two prominent insurance lawyers elected to leave their partnership positions at a prestigious global law firm to start a new boutique legal practice and a technology-based insurance services firm that they believed would provide better regulatory compliance outcomes for their insurance clients. The services company was built around a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. We were engaged during the first year of operation and have handled all marketing planning and execution, as well as assisting the leadership team in business strategy and planning, launch planning, product planning and working closely with software contractors during product development. The company is currently in “soft launch” stage and is attracting excellent interest from prospective customers.

Innovative Chromatography Technology

Fractional Marketing Management & Strategy Engagement

The developer of a breakthrough chromatography technology with applications in drug purification, water purification and other industries had suffered from poor management by its founders. A new management team was brought in to re-start the company and engaged R.C. Gregory & Co. to manage the marketing function and to supplement the management team. Initial efforts involved rebranding the company, establishing a messaging platform, launching a new website, and reintroducing the company to the marketplace while supporting a new round of fundraising with investors. Subsequent support has ranged from developing new product nomenclature to new product launch strategy and support to technical marketing (papers, posters, webinars) to market profiling of new market segments. We also worked with the company’s technical team to develop a Dollarization/ROI model that would help the sales team demonstrate the economic impacts of the company’s flagship product. The management team successfully exited the business via an acquisition by a strategic buyer in the industry.

Commercial Laundry Equipment Company

Market Opportunity Analysis and Marketing Plan Development

The leading provider of laundry equipment to U.S. colleges and universities had achieved dominant market share in its trading area. In order to find new growth, the company sought to identify new market segments to which the company’s offering would be of interest. We led the company through an exercise to identify and prioritize potential segments, conducted research to understand the needs and commercial dynamics of each segment, developed segment-focused marketing plans, and assisted the company in launching its offering into each market segment. Based on our research, we also excluded segments that were determined to not fit the company’s strategic requirements.

Manufacturer of Electrical Connectivity Products

Market Sizing and Opportunity Analysis

A leading global manufacturer of electrical and communications connectivity products suspected that a potential market for outdoor versions of their products might exist. The market would comprise a completely different set of end-use customers than the company currently served. We first brainstormed with a cross-section of company personnel to identify their “hunches” for where opportunities might exist. We then identified several potential segments, including universities, municipal parks, casinos/resorts, outdoor retail complexes, and stadiums. We conducted in-depth telephone interviews with facility managers, electrical specifiers, engineers and other professionals involved with each segment. Once a general understanding of issues and opportunities had been generated, we designed an online survey to be completed by a broad cross section from each industry. Separately, we conducted secondary research to quantify the number of each facility type in the US, by region. Together, the market sizing and online survey generated a detailed snapshot of the high probability products for each segment, as well as well-reasoned estimates for the market size opportunity for each product concept.

Global Commercial Office/Conference Rooms

Market Sizing and Opportunity Analysis

The project started with a seemingly simple question: “How many conference rooms exist around the world?” With no available data to answer this question, a leading global manufacturer of electrical and communications connectivity products turned to R.C. Gregory & Co. to help figure it out. That simple question turned out not to be so simple. Conference rooms ranged from small interview rooms, to board rooms, to auditoriums. Very little data existed, especially on a global scale. Yet, the information was crucial to supporting a major new business investment decision. The company believed their technology could be applied in commercial office conference rooms (a market segment unfamiliar to them), especially as connectivity and interactivity were becoming more essential elements of the workplace. Understanding the scale and dynamics of the opportunity would be essential to securing management support.

After weeks of intensive investigation, a research plan was crafted that would collect and extract data from a variety of sources to feed an innovative model that would generate estimates of the number of small, medium, and large conference rooms, as well as auditoriums and other meeting rooms. Raw data on commercial office square footage was collected from a variety of government and real estate industry reports. R.C. Gregory & Co. then worked with architects and space planners to study hundreds of blueprints for commercial offices. This analysis yielded metrics on the prevalence of conference room types per square foot of total space. These initial prevalence estimates were later validated and refined with a broad-based survey of office architects, space planners and real estate brokers. The end result was a model that detailed the number of rooms by type, by region, as well as the frequency of new construction and renovation activity for such rooms. The research also identified several emerging office design trends, including the expanded use of collaboration space, which would further validate the opportunity and inform the client’s product development team. The project results were presented to the company’s U.S and global executive teams and formed the basis for the launch of a major new growth initiative.

Manufacturer of Construction Access Equipment

Market Potential Evaluation

A European maker of vertical access equipment for commercial construction had struggled to establish a viable business base in the U.S. Use of the company’s technology had become standard practice in Europe, but adoption in the U.S. was slow. Their Board sought to understand whether the U.S. market merited further investment, and if so, what the priorities should be. Our research consisted of in-depth interviews with masonry, window and exterior cladding contractors, equipment dealers, competitive equipment makers and other industry specialists. We also conducted a quantitative study to measure regional differences in the way contractors viewed and used the equipment. We concluded that the technology had achieved near saturation in the only two U.S. regions that were likely to accept the technology (due to construction methods, climate and other reasons). Further, we advised that projected slowdowns in the residential building market (in 2007) would negatively impact retail construction, which represented a core segment for the technology. Our research led the client to emphasize other segments of its business in its growth plans and enabled it to avoid investment just as the residential construction market collapsed.

Water Purification Technology Manufacturer

New Market Opportunity Assessment

A manufacturer of industrial water treatment technology was seeking opportunities to develop applications for its technology in other markets. We worked with the management and technical team to identify and prioritize potential targets. We then assisted the firm’s lean management team in assessing the market opportunity for applying the company’s core technology to the commercial swimming pool market.   The comprehensive project included complete a quantitative market profile, detailed interviews with industry players and decision makers, identification of required product and service attributes, pricing strategy implications, channels to market and identification of potential JV partners. The study ultimately identified a technology gap that would have led to sure failure if the company entered the market unprepared.

Mining Equipment Finance

Customer Satisfaction and Perception Study

The finance arm of a manufacturer of capital equipment for the mining and rock-crushing industry engaged R.C. Gregory & Co. to conduct customer satisfaction and perception research among key decision makers to support its strategic planning process. The project commenced with several planning conversations and meetings, during which we helped the client develop the project scope and to articulate and structure the following objectives:

  1. To gain an understanding from customers about the role vendor finance plays in their decision to purchase mining and construction equipment.
  2. To gain feedback from customers about how they perceive the overall service package received from the firm, including comparisons with other finance options (banks, other equipment vendors).
  3. Understand why non-customers chose not to do business with the firm.
  4. Understand dealer (channel) opinions on the role finance plays in equipment sales.

To answer these questions, we developed and executed a research plan that combined qualitative and quantitative elements, securing input from multiple stakeholder segments (users, non-users, dealers). The research involved extensive in-depth interviews with customer decision makers (primarily CFO and CEO/Owners) and with principals from mining equipment dealers, as well as a broader online survey. The study identified several strengths that were not being exploited as well as barriers that would need to be overcome to ensure future growth.

Private Equity Owned For-Profit College

Evaluate Market Dynamics to Confirm Investment Premise

A leading middle-market private equity firm had built a platform investment in for-profit education, largely based on the premise that the professional nursing market would be facing a labor shortage as the baby boom aged. The investors became concerned as the “great recession” of 2007-2009 created havoc in the labor markets. The firm had heard commentary that, due to the recession, older nurses were delaying retirement, resulting in reduced hiring of new nurses. The firm asked us to confirm this market dynamic and to help them understand it short and long-term impact. We conducted a comprehensive study, featuring interviews with nursing professors, deans, and students; hospital hiring managers; professional nurses and hospital management; as well as state nursing associations and labor economists of who had studied the well-documented “nursing shortage.” Our study confirmed that the nursing market was in fact being impacted in the short-term. With the majority of nurses being female, and the economic downturn disproportionality impacting males, we discovered that older female nurses were delaying retirement and even working more hours in order to compensate for work lost by their spouses. We also discovered a new trend – that an even more severe shortage of nurse educators was on the horizon – which created both an operational issue but also a potential competitive advantage for the firm.

Petroleum Industry Equipment and Services

Pre-Acquisition Brand Assessment

An established company in the petroleum equipment industry was concerned about marketplace perception if it proceeded with the acquisition of a competitor. The acquiring company, which occupied the premium end of the market, was concerned that an acquisition of the “low-end” target company would tarnish and dilute its premium brand. The company asked us to assess the likely market response, and required that we do so without revealing the potential transaction. We designed and executed a market-wide brand assessment study that cleverly profiled the marketplace’s views of the companies involved. The study paved the way for a successful acquisition and also guided the company as it presented the acquisition to customers.

Private Equity Firm

Emerging Risk Assessment

A leading private equity firm was evaluating the acquisition of a national pet supply retailer when a major consumer products marketer announced the acquisition of the premiere specialty dog and cat food brand. The brand, which was heretofore sold only at specialty pet supply retailers, was the highest revenue line for the pet supply chain and also a strategic item for bringing consumers to the store. Expectations that the consumer packaged goods company would expand the brand into its traditional distribution channel (supermarkets and discount stores) raised serious concerns about the pet supply retailer’s growth prospects. In response, we devised a fast, creative marketplace study, interviewing a broad range of consumers and retail specialists and observing consumer behavior in various retail environments. Our study identified several dynamics that would blunt the impact of the brand acquisition on the specialty retailer. The acquisition proceeded and a few years later, the equity investors successfully exited via an IPO.

Manufacturer of Construction Access Equipment

Market Potential Evaluation

A European-based, private-equity owned maker of vertical access equipment for commercial construction had struggled to establish a viable business base in the U.S. Use of the company’s technology had become standard practice in Europe, but adoption in the U.S. was slow. Their Board sought to understand whether the U.S. market merited further investment, and if so, what the priorities should be. Our research consisted of in-depth interviews with masonry, window and exterior cladding contractors, equipment dealers, competitive equipment makers and other industry specialists. We also conducted a quantitative study to measure regional differences in the way contractors viewed and used the equipment. We concluded that the technology had achieved near saturation in the only two U.S. regions that were likely to accept the technology (due to construction methods, climate and other reasons). Further, we advised that projected slowdowns in the residential building market (in 2007) would negatively impact retail construction, which represented a core segment for the technology. Our research led the client to emphasize other segments of its business in its growth plans and enabled it to avoid investment just as the residential construction market collapsed.

Angel Investor Group

Pre-Investment Due Diligence

A group of angel investors was planning to make an investment in a start-up technology company that had developed a device that would virtually eliminate the need for engine oil changes in large marine and truck engines. The investor group engaged us to help validate the market opportunity and to develop initial marketing strategy. The study concluded that the company’s technology was not commercially viable, on both technical and economic grounds. Ultimately, the investors chose not to back the company as a direct result of the research findings.

Pharmaceutical Development Technology

Dollarization Calculator Development

A maker of freeze-drying (lyophilization) equipment for the preservation of pharmaceutical formulations developed a software tool that would automate the erstwhile labor-intensive, iterative trial and error process of developing an optimized protocol for lyophilizing a new drug formulation.  The traditional process took time (several weeks), specialized manpower, consumed valuable drug product, and often resulted in an sub-optimal protocol.  The new software product could generate a highly optimized protocol in hours.  We worked with the developer to price the new software as a function of its high Dollarized value. However, because customers had never purchased software for this function, no budgets existed. Further, the value derived pricing (high 5-figures) resulted in sticker shock for many customers. To support the launch we developed a simple interactive calculator that a salesperson could use with a customer to demonstrate the enormous savings that could be achieved despite the initial upfront investment. We then generated an even simpler web-based calculator that a customer could operate, which provided a flow of pre-qualified prospects for the sales team. The detailed calculator proved to be the lynchpin of the marketing of the software product for several years.

smart_calculator

Industrial Lighting and Electrical Products

Dollarization Workshop

A team of top salespeople from a Fortune 100 industrial products company attended a customized Dollarization Workshop and were asked to evaluate the session afterwards.

As part of the session, the attendees worked in teams to apply Dollarization to three key products as well as one key account opportunity that each person was currently pursuing.

After the workshop, each participant was asked to rate their confidence in selling each product or opportunity before the workshop and after the Dollarization exercise. This chart shows their average scores on a scale of 1-5.  The average confidence score improved by 140%.

Dollarization-Workshop-Rating

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