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Abstract

KM is experiencing the steep downward slope of the "hype cycle" and some organizations are rushing to abandon KM as quickly as they rushed to adopt it. Unfortunately, much of our understanding of what KM can do for organizations is still limited to academic treatises and small pilot studies. Managers therefore realize they must market KM more effectively in order to communicate its potential and build a coalition of support while KM matures and evolves. To explore this issue, the authors convened a focus group of practicing knowledge managers. After examining how KM groups currently market themselves, this paper constructs a framework for marketing KM in an organization that integrates the experiences of KM managers with basic marketing principles. It concludes that KM faces many marketing challenges, including lack of understanding of the need, lack of brand awareness, and a negative brand attitude. It recommends that knowledge managers must see themselves as internal entrepreneurs, first building a market for their product and then developing an effective marketing strategy. It also suggests there is a hierarchy of knowledge needs in organizations that must be addressed sequentially in order to develop trust and credibility among general business managers.

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