Part Two: What’s New in IoT
On its face an announcement on a new product portfolio from a leading technology company, addressing the hot topic of the Internet of Things, should be an easy story to garner interest. And the truth was I could easily have gotten a lot of briefings for them from editors and analysts. But briefings don’t always translate into coverage, and those influencers were going to ask the same question I was asking right out of the gate. “What is new here?” It turns out several products in the announcement were “new.” But I pressed, what is new here, in terms of new for editors and analysts, i.e. we have not publicly announced it before? In terms of products the answer now became there was no new product that hadn’t been announced in the past few months. That was going to be our big obstacle.
When you promise to talk about something new and it turns out your news is already old, there is a potential for editors to see this as a bait and switch. Editors don’t respond well to companies promising something new to get an editorial briefing, but just slapping a new trendy IoT-related name on a bunch of existing products. That can not only hurt chances for coverage, but damage relationships for future announcements. But as I probed deeper with the product team it became clear that wasn’t what was going on here.
Yes, there were mostly existing products in this IoT portfolio, but many had been extensively re-engineered specifically for IoT edge-device applications. Others were especially well suited for edge devices, where performance needs must be met with a premium on low cost, area and power consumption. Synopsys was a company that typically didn’t talk about its market strategies, but there was a coherent strategy embodied in this portfolio to lead and drive the emerging IoT embedded-device designer market. So, for the first time we would offer to talk about that strategy, the trends in the market and highlight what was truly new, particularly in terms of re-engineering solutions, in this portfolio.
We started off with a draft presentation, involving a lot of recently announced products that were new in a customer sense. But for our editorial briefings we ended up with a presentation focused on our IoT strategy, market trends and highlighting what was technologically new in terms of not having been previously announced by the company. Just like the USB announcement, we ended up not leading with our product announcements, in order to get product coverage. Instead, we would talking about an innovative strategy to re-design with new technology a portfolio of solutions, expressly for the emerging needs around IoT edge devices. This would matter not just to designers seeking solutions, but also to those interested in how IoT challenges were reshaping the design ecosystem in terms of technologies and the competitive landscape. Plus, we wouldn’t be upsetting any editors by portraying something as new product news that they would consider old news.
Armed with our new story angle, pitch and presentation, we were able to setup several embargoed briefings. Many of these resulted in substantive coverage on our IoT announcement, including with EE Times, Embedded Computing Design, JB Systems, SemiWiki and Tech Design Forum. We also placed a written contribution around our announcement in Electronic Component News. But big challenges for garnering coverage, were not just around the need to repackage the announcement or to pitch on top of our recent USB announcement we had recently approached folks about, but the fact that I was now simultaneously pitching other Synopsys announcements to key influencers that also required some creative thinking.
Lesson: Leverage what is new and compelling at the company-level to talk about products, including strategies, technologies or vision on a hot topic.