by Herb Mitschele
When our media technology startup, Shodogg, launched in November 2011, we had unbelievable support from investors, advisors and media executives. Our patented technology allows people to access digital content from both local servers and the cloud on their mobile device, and instantly cast that content to any web-enabled screen in the world regardless of brand, operating system, network or location.
“Perfect for the living room,” we thought, “And for enterprise businesses, education, healthcare, gaming, government…” you get the picture. We were blessed and cursed with such a versatile technology, that we were standing before a maze of opportunity without a clear direction.
We launched our initial Shodogg application at CES 2012 as a B2C product. Soon after, we started to recognize some warning signs that the consumer space might not be the best entry point for our technology.
Recognize the Warning Signs that You’re in the Wrong Market
Our major warning sign was the barrier to entry: Our competition, as a second-screen technology in the living room, happened to be two of the biggest companies in the world: Apple and Google. Had we continued as a B2C service, our slice of consumer mindshare in the second-screen living room market would have been microscopic without major financial backing.
At that point, we took a hard look at the aspects that set our technology apart from our competition and then easily realized our target market.
Identify Your Business’s Major Differentiators
The two things that set us apart from the competition are mobility and analytics. Our technology allows people to use any brand of mobile device they want to access and cast content to second screens anywhere in the world. Our technology also pulls aggregated analytics like no other file-sharing solution, giving users insight into their presentation sessions at every level.
Knowing these important differentiators helped us to focus on key verticals where we solved major pain points.
There were many instances where our technology’s strengths didn’t apply naturally to the consumer market. For example, our ability to track in-depth analytics — or our capability to cast content from devices to many smart screens simultaneously – the average consumer had no immediate need for those features. Enterprise sales teams were a much more natural fit for our technology’s benefits.
Recognize where the target audience is a natural fit for your product or technology, and don’t try to force new behavior too much.
Identify Where Your Business Solves the Greatest Pain Points
We knew that people had a desire for devices to move content and communicate with each other more efficiently – we just needed to realize that B2B businesses have a greater need for our technology’s strengths of mobility and analytics than the average consumer. We realized we could reduce enterprise costs by allowing them a secure file presentation solution that is compatible with BYOD policies and provides useful analytics for executives to track presentation processes from beginning to end.
By keeping your focus grounded in the problem your technology or business solves, rather than the limitless possibilities you see for your product in the future, you’ll realize your present market potential and target the right audience.
Herb Mitschele, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Shodogg, leads the charge to introduce and deliver Shodogg’s innovative solutions within the business community. Prior to Shodogg, Herb was a senior executive in the toy industry. He has been involved with most of the toy industry’s top brands and has launched hundreds of products throughout his career. He recently served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Operations at CDI, a division of Jakks Pacific with well over $200 million in sales.