Persuading Scientists: Marketing To The World’s Most Skeptical Audience – A Book Review Blog

“At its core, marketing is about creating value for something among a defined audience.” – Hamid Ghanadan

Of course, I cannot call each book I read a gem, but Persuading Scientists: Marketing to the world’s most skeptical audience, has to be one of the most informative reads in so many ways. I have studied marketing as a part of my MBA and also as a diploma program recently and I cannot stress more on how this is a book that you need to read if you’re a marketing student yourself.

This book by Hamid Ghanadan is special because it deals with the tough market of scientists. Opening with a case study, Ghanadan explores how life sciences companies can fail by employing the traditional marketing funnel – AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action) and the need to shift their focus when it comes to their audience – the scientists. This impacts how sales teams would eventually perform. A lot of the parts in marketing can be evidently visible, but it takes an expert to point in the right direction sometimes, and that is exactly what Hamid has done with this book.

“While some life science companies hope that the novelty of their technology will automatically translate to value, I have seen too many promising technologies fail because organizations didn’t translate that technology into value for their audience.” – effectively put by Hamid Ghanadan in the book.

Pharma, a part of the life-sciences industry, spends more than tech on ad spend. But if these efforts are not directed in the right methods, what’s the meaning of the big spend? Sales teams cannot achieve targets if these efforts are wasted in wrong methodologies. Now, the if the sales teams need to achieve the targets in this industry, and if you’re a sales specialist who is looking to do better each day in this sector, I have some observations from the book for you that might help you take the better approach while dealing with these critical thinkers.

  1. Marketing revolves around audiences: Never go on a call with just product knowledge and company vision and mission statements. If you need these guys to respond to you, you will have to understand this audience. Your product is resolving an issue they have – but have the recognised the need for it? It comes down to preparing a cold email or a cold call script that speaks of what they need to be resolved. You might want to first research before you jump on those calls.
  1. All scientists need logic alone – a big misconception: It’s pretty normal to think of scientists as thinkers who only respond to data. Yes, they need data to believe what you have to offer, but that’s not the only driver. The drivers for a “scientist” to make decisions are Logic (What is the truth), Emotion (How will I feel), and Ego (How will others view me). And if you are prepared with responses to these drivers, your call with your scientifically inclined audience is going to at least leave a mark on them.
  1. The scientific buying journey in phases – Recognition, Exploration and Evaluation: It is crucial to divide a buyer’s journey into phases as it tells you exactly where to jump in. Although this part involves marketing as a whole, you as a sales lead need to be aware of the phases of their journey to make an appearance at the right moment. So, the three stages are –
  1. Recognition: Generally, the needs remain latent and in this stage the marketing should invoke or create recognition of the need.
  2. Exploration: Once there’s recognition of need, a scientist would typically look around and about to satisfy the need or create something that can fulfill it.
  3. Evaluation: This is usually the phase where they are receptive and can listen to what a product has to offer and how it can help them fulfill the need they have recognised.
  1. Only awareness won’t help: There is a part where Hamid says, “It was the audience awareness that needed to be fixed, it was audience’s indifference.” You saw how you need for the scientists to understand what they need and until they are not acting on the recognition of need and exploring, your attempts to get their attention will wither. So, you must ensure they recognise the need, and therefore want to explore their options and thus are ready to evaluate what you have to offer.
  1. Content centric marketing efforts: One of the things that really helps me to deal with sales efforts for one of our clients – OurResearch is that first of all there’s a lot of data to show their use cases and how they are going to be a beneficial investment for the audience. There’s a lot of content that I share with clients when I reach out to them – of course without flooding the emails with words. And that is something that has supported my sales efforts. I have seen content centric marketing efforts winning more than not. If you won’t get the business, you will at least get the conversation started. 

So, these were my takeaways from the book, and I hope these points help you strategize your efforts to sell better. If you do need help improving your sales efforts, I am always ready to support here.

Persuading Scientists: Marketing To The World’s Most Skeptical Audience – A Book Review Blog