Portable Power for Business Travelers
Wicker demonstrates newest fuel cell products to Board of Directors.
Fuel Cell Palm Power
cell and smart phones, GPS, Camera, MP3
· 3x run time vs battery
· Instant refill at low cost
· Environmentally friendly
Perfect for executive travelers
Cells and the Art of Mixing Engineering and Marketing
Electrical Power for Mobile Executives
Engineering Company Needed Expert Marketing,
Business and Product Development
In 2007, a well-known Fuel Cell company was an R&D group with
excellent engineers, but they needed help with marketing, finding sales partners,
and matching their technology to customers’ needs.
Fractional Ownership of an outside Expert
They contacted us and were intrigued. “You really know your
marketing and development stuff, but how do you get along with
engineers?” They soon discovered that we not only got along
great, but they loved our infectious enthusiasm and team spirit.
as a 3-month proposed consultation led them to ask for a
full-time commitment that ran for almost a year.
What We Did
Our motto is “Aim First – Then Shoot”, so we
started by understanding everything there was to learn about the
company’s technology, and then analyzing the marketplace.
Most of the details of the Intellectual Property are highly proprietary
and covered by Non-Disclosure Agreements. But suffice it to say,
the company had developed a very sophisticated concept that combined
the sciences of electronics, mechanics, and chemistry into a small,
handheld power source (see summary at left). It was impressive
work, created by a team of talented people, and we soon got to
know them very well.
The next step was to see if the world was interested
in this, so we created a series of successively more detailed research
First we wrote and conducted nationwide Internet surveys and in-depth
focus sessions. We met with leaders in the consumer electronics
industry to get their perspectives. We analyzed data and met extensively
with our engineering and marketing teams to improve our plans.
And from start to finish, we dove in head first to experience life
using the product (see photo at CES, left).
On the sales and business development front, we researched hundreds
of prospects, made dozens of sales presentations all across the
country, managed or worked trade shows, and conducted negotiations
with several major national and international sales partners.
What We Accomplished
• Defined the market, its potential, and the critical marketing plan
elements needed to achieve success
• Built a strong relationship between engineering and marketing teams
that led to a high tech product that matched the needs of the marketplace
• Developed business partnerships with major brand names to market
and distribute the new fuel cell product.
Where Are They Now?
is still on track to commercialize the product. (See June, 2011 Popular Science,
shown at right.) As an R&D
company dependent on outside investors, the parent company was hit hard by
downturn of 2008.
Substantial cutbacks in staff and budgets were made, but the
core team continues on and is making excellent progress. We
expect to see the little fuel cell product, complete with the marketing and
we worked on, available soon.
Back to more Portfolio
(Or go forward to Next Page to see how a
Small Inventor grows from scratch.)
Choppy, with booth staff,
at the Fuel Cell EXPO in Tokyo, 2008. Unlike competitors,
we demonstrated a table full of actual working prototypes
that were powering a variety of smart phones and other
and Marketing Teamwork Testimonial
"I had the pleasure of
working with Charles Wicker (“Choppy”)
for nearly a year while he was consulting with
us as Director of Market and
Business Development. We are a technology driven
company working on the development of direct methanol
cells for business and consumer
use. We have an established team of several dozen
expert engineers and scientists, but needed help
with the business and marketing aspects of moving
our technology into commercial products.
hit the ground running and quickly set up interviews
my key personnel to learn the
technology of our electrical, chemical, and mechanical
product intricacies. Although he’s primarily
a strategic marketer, he worked to learn the unique
aspects of our technology and how to leverage that
into our product design requirements.
"He then conducted
a series of market research surveys, focus sessions,
and brainstorming meetings that gave us a far better
view of the marketplace than we’d ever had
before. He analyzed the results and recommended numerous
product improvements and enhancements for our business,
marketing, and financial sales plans. On the business
development side, he conducted extensive prospecting
and trade show activities, bringing several major
players to the negotiating table.
it all, Choppy was a great team player. He
has extensive experience
in bringing corporate
marketing and engineering groups together. He is
always the optimist, he always looks for the upside
of any situation and works to move the product forward."
--James Prueitt, VP of Engineering & Operations
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