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10 Communications Tips for Quantum Tech Startups in the Covid-19 Era – Part 1

Aug 20, 2020

Covid-19 has created challenging economic times for every business. However, quantum technology companies continue to be funded at record levels by venture capital firms and governments worldwide while Fortune 500 companies continue to test the waters to ensure they are ‘quantum ready.’

That’s why it’s more important than ever that quantum technology startups continue to implement communications strategies that help them be seen, understood and attain success.

Whether it’s securing capital, attracting partners or securing initial customers, business success requires business communications. To meet the business goals of your quantum computing startup today and into the post-Covid world, now is the time to build a communications foundation that positions you for growth.

In that vein, HKA, the global PR and marketing headquarters for quantum technologies, has developed the following list of the best communications strategies for quantum computing companies to survive and thrive in the Covid-19 era:

1. Start a communications program now. Or if you have a PR and marketing program already in place, don’t stop. The fact is, with new legions of stay-at-home workers facing travel restrictions, there has never been a larger, more receptive online audience available. Take advantage of every digital marketing resource you can, from email marketing and social media to webinars and media stories. Take budgets you had set aside for travel and events in the 3D world and apply them to the 2D one for an even better return on investment.

2. Make your story comprehensible. Quantum computing might be complex but that doesn’t mean the narrative you tell in the marketplace has to be. It’s likely that the vast majority of your stakeholders are not quantum physicists. In fact, even non-quantum physicists have a difficult time understanding the field. Explain your company’s solution in terms that can be understood by a broad audience of business and IT professionals, investors, industry analysts and more. Using easily grasped analogies connected to everyday relatable settings is often the best way to achieve broader understanding.

3. Know your tech marketing history. In the early days of every nascent technology field, most people don’t understand its significance until it’s marketed to them in a compelling way. Mainframe computers weren’t automatically purchased by corporations until IBM explained their benefits to customers. Personal computers seemed out of place in homes until companies made it clear they weren’t. Semiconductors weren’t on everyone’s minds until Intel reminded them what’s inside. I’m old enough to remember when WSYIWYG was just another crazy technology acronym and then somehow became a household term. Complex technologies such as quantum computing can be effectively communicated and understood by everyone. It just takes work and imagination.

4. Avoid the hype. The quantum computing industry already has its share of companies exaggerating what’s possible today. Oftentimes, newbies to the PR and marketing discipline believe exaggeration is a smart strategy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The best communications program educates the market with factual information presented in interesting and accessible ways. Most experts believe useful quantum computers are a good five years away, so don’t add to the confusion. It’s also a truism in technology – the more something is over-hyped, the bigger the disappointment and the possibility of the so-called “winter of disillusionment.”

5. Map your milestones. While over-hyping quantum computing is bad, you should help people understand your technology’s path to success with a timeline of milestones you’re working towards. These clearly defined benchmarks can guide your audience by setting realistic expectations regarding where your technology will be in the coming years and the valuable contributions it will make along the way. Of course, when you meet a challenging milestone you’ve set, then trumpet that accomplishment all you can. Think Google and its “quantum supremacy” announcement but applicable to your market niche.

Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll explore more important tips on navigating the post-COVID world of communications.

By Mike Kilroy