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Advanced Concrete Pavement Technology (ACPT) Program-ACPT Products Marketing Plan

Chapter 2-ACPT Product Marketing Strategies

Introduction

The success of any new innovation lies in its successful implementation. In the commercial arena, implementation in the marketplace of new innovation is driven by the profit motive. That is typically not the case in the public arena, where many innovations are funded by public money and there is no direct monetary incentive to drive implementation of innovative products. As a result, implementation of new products or technologies by public agencies can take many years. In recent years, FHWA has tried to overcome this limitation by showcasing promising advanced technologies, supporting the concept of lead-states groups, and supporting funding for construction that incorporates innovative products. An example of a successful campaign for implementing new products is the CPTP, which has resulted in numerous ACPT products. Many of these products have been implemented by highway agencies and construction organizations as standard or best practices. The successful product marketing strategies from the CPTP and other related programs have been reviewed to develop the ACPT product marketing plan presented in this report.

As discussed previously, the promising ACPT products have been categorized by focus area in the ACPT Status Report. The advantage of this categorization is that the products can be marketed more effectively by targeting specific stakeholder groups that would benefit from implementing products within each focus area. This concept was used successfully in marketing the CPTP products.

The ACPT products are expected to be available in one or more of the following formats:

  1. Technical reports-Research reports incorporating study findings.
  2. TechBriefs and technical summaries-Highlights and findings from technical reports.
  3. Software-Analysis, design and construction, construction management, construction traffic management, and pavement testing software.
  4. Guidelines-Best practices guidelines on all aspects of concrete pavements, from materials to design and from construction to repair and rehabilitation.
  5. Test standards and test protocols.
  6. Specifications-Draft construction and materials specifications.
  7. New and improved construction, repair, and rehabilitation techniques.
  8. Equipment-Refinements to construction equipment.
  9. Testing equipment.
  10. Video documentation-Case studies.
  11. Presentation materials-Case studies and best practices.
  12. Workshops-Formal training material/courses.

The marketing strategy for each product will be formulated based on the target audience and its level of experience and education as well as its need for information.

Target Recipients of ACPT Products

New product implementation requires interaction with decision makers and implementation groups. Decision makers are the key parties, as the leadership for championing innovative products is derived from them. Decision makers are also responsible for allocating funding and setting priorities and schedules. Therefore, the marketing strategies for each promising ACPT product must address securing early buy-in by decision makers.

The target recipients of information related to ACPT products include the following:

  1. Senior management and supervisory staff.
  2. Engineering staff.
  3. Technicians and field crews.
  4. Academia.
    1. Students (as future users of technology).
    2. Professors (as mentors to the students).

Successful implementation of ACPT products will require partnerships between FHWA and State departments of transportation (DOTs), local highway agencies, academia, and industry groups (contractors, suppliers, and trade associations). The creation of "Lead Highway Agencies" to champion specific product deployments and to monitor progress and performance will greatly facilitate adoption of ACPT products. Building a network of "product champions" is very important to any new-product implementation program.

Proposed Marketing Strategies

It is proposed to develop an Implementation Package for each ACPT product that has been authorized by FHWA for implementation. The Implementation Package will incorporate the following items:

  1. Brief description of the product.
  2. Benefits of the product as a new, improved, or replacement technology.
  3. Identification of the caretaker (party or group responsible) for the implementation.
  4. Product details.
  5. Product use restrictions, if any (e.g., proprietary product).
  6. List of appropriate software, protocols, standards, guidelines, draft specification provisions, etc.
  7. Need for staffing, expertise, candidate project availability.
  8. Need for funding.
  9. List of training resources.
  10. Product evaluation plan-Describe the metric for evaluating the success of the implementation over the short term and the long term.
  11. Plan to move product from field trials into standard practice.
  12. Implementation Road Map.

The Implementation Package will be a document about 10 to 15 pages long, but a one- to two-page executive summary will be prepared for each selected product to help facilitate the implementation process.

A number of methods can be considered for effective implementation of the ACPT products, including the following:

Collaborative Efforts and Stakeholder Involvement

  • Working with AASHTO, American Concrete Institute, and ASTM committees to develop, as appropriate, standards, guides, and specifications.
  • Working with academia to promote ACPT products among students and to encourage graduate students to conduct research that evaluates the products and to present their findings.
  • Involving the industry, including contractors and material producers, in the training and implementation of relevant APTP products.
  • Meeting with DOT and industry decision makers to seek champions among States and industry to implement the ACPT products.
  • Following up on product implementation via visits, communication, and workshops to seek feedback on successes and challenges of implementing the products.
  • Utilizing FHWA technology transfer resources such as the Resource Center and National Highway Institute.

Publications (Print and Electronic Media)

  • ACPT Product Matrix-Identifying clearly and concisely the available ACPT products and the delivery mechanisms for each product.
  • CD-ROMs-Descriptions and details on the ACPT product collection or individual products.
  • Web site postings-The FHWA's Concrete Pavements Web site, which provides an overview of various concrete pavement technology programs, will be updated with the most recent ACPT project information, including the ACPT Product Status Report, the Product Marketing Plan, individual project information and updates, product implementation reports, a calendar of events, and other pertinent information.
  • Case studies-Descriptions of successful product implementations in highway agencies, noting challenges faced and lessons learned.
  • Draft specifications and test protocols.
  • TechBriefs-Short (two to six pages) descriptions of the problem, research undertaken to address the problem, research findings, recommended changes, and anticipated benefits.
  • Background material for FHWA Technical Advisories related to concrete pavement.
  • Technical bulletins-User-friendly, concise technical presentations.
  • Best practices guides on various topics based on CPTP products and findings.
  • Periodic electronic and print newsletter, similar to the CPTP Update, to pass on information, updates, successes, and implementation news.
  • Writing and placement of articles in key magazines, such as Public Roads; development of pamphlets, brochures, and fact sheets; distribution of product press releases to industry and highway agency news organs.

Trainings and Other Educational Venues (Direct and Electronic)

  • On-site training for DOT as well as industry personnel. Promote the concept of "Train the Trainer" to develop a network of experts assisting in the training and facilitating implementation at the State level.
  • Field demonstrations of new testing equipment.
  • Equipment Loan Program for new testing equipment.
  • Field demonstration of new construction equipment and processes.
  • Open houses in the field during trial implementations.
  • Distance learning through Web-based courses and video-conferencing.
  • Technical presentations at national and regional workshops, conferences, and technical organization meetings, as appropriate.
  • Best practices workshops that incorporate ACPT products and project findings.
  • Topic-specific Webinars.
  • Topic-specific national conferences on best practices.

In the current economic environment, most State DOTs have administered severe travel restrictions and have cut back on training and technology transfer activities. Therefore, this marketing plan incorporates various mechanisms for personalized technology transfer activities. We will explore the use of innovative approaches such as distance learning or Web-based courses (Webinars). We have experience in these areas, including the use of interactive CD-ROMs that have self-contained programs that walk the user through a lesson and often contain active links to industry or State Web pages on a particular topic.

Distance learning formats include asynchronous Web-based training, synchronous Web conference training, and blended approaches of these methodologies. The benefits of distance learning include convenience, flexibility, effectiveness, affordability, multi-sensory learning, and interactivity. However, the implementation of distance learning requires careful planning. The process begins with the conduct of a needs assessment that not only looks at the desired content of the training, but also assesses the target audience, including their background, knowledge, and capabilities. This is followed by the development of an outline on the instructional goals and objectives, which leads to the preparation of the instructional materials in the format and delivery mode determined to be most effective. We plan to make use of FHWA's National Highway Institute's enterprise-wide Web conferencing system to host ACPT product-specific Webinars that allow users to meet virtually via the Internet and a teleconference line.

Overall Approach for the Marketing Plan

The proposed approach for marketing the deployment and delivery of the ACPT products is summarized below:

  1. Develop a Briefing Paper on ACPT products based on the ACPT Products Status Report, for publication in FHWA's Public Roads magazine.
    1. Develop a TechBrief based on the Briefing Paper.
    2. Develop the ACPT products program logo and header/banner for use with ACPT program documentation. The ACPT logo and banner will provide a common reference for marketing all ACPT products and help maintain credibility and public acceptance of the ACPT program. This approach was very productive for marketing the FHWA CPTP products.
  2. Develop a baseline PowerPoint presentation on ACPT products, based on the ACPT Products Status Report, for presentation at State DOT and concrete industry meetings, subcommittee meetings of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, and at national meetings, such as the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting.
  3. Obtain buy-in from the ACPT Products Expert Task Group (ETG), to be established during 2009.
    1. Identify ACPT products champions from the ETG, State DOTs, and industry.
  4. Initiate meetings with senior State DOT and industry management to review the benefits of implementing and to seek buy-in for deployment of one or more products.
  5. Prioritize the ACPT products for deployment.
  6. Develop an Implementation Package for each ACPT product, based on the prioritized list and as authorized by FHWA.
  7. Carry out the Implementation Package activities for the selected ACPT products.
  8. Obtain periodic feedback on the implementation activities for each ACPT product.
  9. Update the Implementation Packages based on feedback from earlier implementation activities.

This approach should afford the maximum overall benefit from the marketing program, while also allowing significant stakeholder input.

Summary

No single strategy will be used in marketing all of the ACPT products that are selected for implementation; rather, tailored strategies (ones that are determined for the specific product and selected for the target audience) will be employed. A number of different marketing efforts are available for this effort, ranging from the development of technical documents, specifications, and standards to the presentation of workshops, formal training courses, and Webinars. An implementation package will be prepared for each product that clearly identifies the plan for moving the product into mainstream practice. Throughout the process, key stakeholders will play a critical role in providing input to help guide the marketing effort.

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Updated: 04/07/2011

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