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TMCVocabulary

How to Launch an Opinion Leader Solution

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By Sudhakar Raman

Sudhakar RamanSituation
The Company, a manufacturer of laser-based semiconductor manufacturing equipment, was the market segment leader in a semiconductor chip package application called substrate-interconnect.   At one point our position in manufacturing tools was severely threatened when a competitor introduced a product that had a 25% price/performance advantage.  We had to quickly define and launch a new product to re-establish leadership. 

At the time competition was threatening in the existing market, our chip packager customers were evaluating a new packaging technology called flip-chip in graphic chip processors.  We determined that if we could execute new product development on a very aggressive schedule, and win the right customers, we could use the flip-chip packaging wave to block the competition and to fuel significant growth.

How Strategic Marketing Course Concepts Apply
The marketing team realized that our Asian customers would be early to adopt flip-chip technology, and specifically that the Taiwanese would be first to incorporate new flip chip packages as they invested in technology differentiation to pursue high end applications like graphics processor chip packages.  We decided that it is absolutely essential to identify and partner with the opinion leader in the early adopting segment, to use this account as a “teacher customer.” 

This early adopting opinion leader account would become our “teacher customer” to speed and validate our new product definition.  We believed that if we could help the teacher-customer grow quickly in flip-chip with our new product that our sales would also quickly spread to other accounts in the region.