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My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Jun 28, 2019, 6:47am
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Awesome Stuff

Friday, July 30, 2010

As more and more of my academic scientist friends become disillusioned with their prospects for a balanced life or financial freedom, moving to industry seems the logical choice. If you really want to make the big dollars, you'll want to move out of the lab and try out marketing or sales.

Now, you won't be able to go directly to a marketing position from the lab without some marketing experience or maybe having taken a few marketing classes. But scientists can transition from an industry lab position to a marketing position or go straight into sales, which only really requires that you are a scientist that is outgoing and friendly to others. (An oxymoron, I know).

If you do make the change to a company, even as an R&D scientist, you'll be interacting with marketing a lot. To aid in your understanding of your first marketing meeting, I’ve put together a list of marketing lingo that would be good to know. This isn’t so much a jaded article as much as my attempt to help those of you, who despite my bitching, still want to cross over to the dark side.

So here you go and please let me know if you have anything to add or need further explanation.

In alphabetical order:

Bandwidth: People
When used: To get out of doing something someone asks you to do.
Sentence: "I'd love to help you with your project, but we just don't have the bandwidth right now."

Booth: The space you rent at a scientific conference (aka tradeshow) and everything you put in there to make it look good.
When used: Talking about tradeshows
Sentence: "How big is our booth this year?" "Did you see Life Technologies' insane 40 foot booth?"

Booth Captain: The person responsible for making sure the tradeshow at the scientific conference goes smoothly and that every knows what to do. They usually do all the work while everyone else takes it easy.
When used: When organizing tradeshow schedules.
Sentence: "Who wants to be the booth captain?......*silence*...... Anyone?...Is anyone else on this conference call?"

Campaign: All the activities involved in the launch or promotion of a new product. This typically includes: email blasts, banner ads, full page ads, stuffers, mailers, promotions, giveaways, basically every venue available for getting a message out to the marketplace.
When used: Planning and launching a new product
Sentence: “Why is this campaign tanking?”

Collateral: Selling material- the stuff we put out on tables to attempt to entice you to look and talk to us.
When used: Also planning for tradeshows or when launching new products.
Sentence: "The collateral didn't show up. Where is the nearest Kinko's?"

Copy: The written words for a new brochure, flyer, banner ad, or email blast. It is the first draft for a piece of marketing collateral.
When used: When creating a new piece of literature.
Sentence: “It is obvious you've never written copy before.”

CRM: Customer Relationship Management; a computer program for saving all the information the company has collected about you- how many times you’ve called, what you asked about, where you’re from, what samples you’ve received. CRM programs are used for sales managers to check up on the sales teams to make sure they’re actually working.
When used: Looking for customer contacts or information.
Sentence: “How many contacts did you enter in CRM today?” “I can see in CRM that you only visited 10 labs yesterday. You’re not meeting your quota of 20 a day.”

Desk Jockey: A marketing person that never travels. They are always at their desk.
When used: Not used that much actually, but someone said it to me once and I thought it was funny.
Sentence: Upon accepting my first marketing job, my friend said, “don’t be a desk jockey.”

Download: Receiving all the information on something (event, meeting, or data) from someone else.
When used: By your boss when he’s unprepared.
Sentence: “I need to get the download on the meeting last week that I missed.” “Once I get the download on the results from the survey, we’ll give you a better answer.”

EOB: End of Business
When used: When giving a deadline for an assignment
Sentence: “I know I gave you that an hour ago, but can I get that by EOB today?"

Forecast: The prediction of how much money the company thinks you should be able to make with the products you are assigned. Product or marketing managers have to give a forecast for revenue by the month, quarter, and year. Another forecast marketing people do is to tell production how much product to make. Since they don’t know what promotions you have planned, they need marketing to tell them how much product they think they will sell each month. Backorders are the result of poor forecasting by marketing.
When used: On a daily basis. Marketing lives and dies by the forecast. I would check the revenue every day to see how close I was to forecast.
Sentence: “You are going to miss your forecast by $100,000 this quarter. How do you plan to fix that?”

FTO: Freedom to Operate- this means that the new product you are working on does not infringe on any patents.
When used: When considering a new product, you first need to make sure you have FTO. Otherwise you need a license or may need to pay royalties to patent holders or you’ll get sued.
Sentence: “An FTO search for a new product can cost thousands of dollars."

IP: Intellectual Property – all your inventions and trademarks
When used: When discussing whether a new product has FTO. Usually R&D does a preliminary search of the patents first. It is also used when discussing another company’s technologies.
Sentence: “Applied biosystems owns all the IP for qPCR except for the chemical hot-start patent which is owned by J&J and some of the HRMA IP which is owned by Idaho Technologies.”

IP Landscape: The portfolio of IP of a company or a technology- all the IP around a certain technique.
When used: In discussing who are all the players a company needs to talk to before embarking in an area covered by IP.
Sentence: “The IP landscape of qPCR involves at least three companies.”

Leads: Sales leads. Potential customers. Leads are generated at tradeshows when we scan your badge. They are entered in CRM so that we can all see if the sales rep is doing their job and trying to sell to you.
When used: Mainly when talking about tradeshows.
Sentence: “How are we collecting sales leads at AACR?” “The scientists are all out sight-seeing and not coming to exhibits, so we didn’t get many leads.”

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer, but this is often used as a verb. Rather than manufacture something from scratch, it is sometimes easier to re-label the same piece of equipment from the original manufacturer but make it look like you make it.
When used: When talking about who makes what in the biotech industry.
Sentence: “Find out who they OEM that robot from.” “They OEMed it from a company in China.”

Push back: Someone doesn’t want to do what you ask. They are “pushing back”.
When used: Explaining to your boss why you aren’t accomplishing some of the goals or objectives for the product launch.
Sentence: “I asked R&D to generate microarray data and I’m getting a lot of push back. They want to know how many more kits I’ll sell if they do it.”

"Rich discussion": An argument. People are arguing and it seems that no one is going to budge or back down.
When used: During marketing meetings and product development meetings.
Sentence: “OK. This has been a rich discussion. Let’s table this topic for now and discuss it at a separate meeting in my office later.”

ROI: Return on Investment; how much money will be made in return for the investment of time and R&D money.
When used: When discussing whether to develop a new product idea
Sentence: “That market is so small, the ROI will take 10 years."

SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats: When working on a new product, SWOT analysis will help you strategize for positioning your product among the competition. Based on this, it may help you decide what proof data you need to sell the product – so you know what you need to ask R&D to do.
When used: In marketing meetings and product development meetings.
Sentence: “Based on SWOT analysis, we should just drop this product idea.”

Tactics (as in tactical marketing): These are each of the individual actions that make up the campaign. For example, an email blast is a tactic. A banner ad is another tactic. Tactical marketing is design and execution of the pieces of marketing material and the channels (web, direct mail, tradeshow) you will use to deliver them.
When used: Planning a new product launch or trying to rescue a product when sales are dropping.
Sentence: “The reason you get so many emails from companies is because it is the one tactic that cost them almost nothing."

Quota: The minimum amount of sales required of a sales person out in the field. Sales reps have quotas, their managers have quotas, and the VP of sales has a quota.
When used: When referring to how a sales person is doing at work. It’s always about the quota.
Sentence: Me: “Hey, how are you?” Sales person: “I’m 10% below quota this month.” Me: “Oh- sorry to hear that. Hey, customer service is open for another 3 hrs. There's still a chance...." Or: “The quota is unreachable."

Visibility: How well you know an area or how much access you have to information in an area.
When used: As an excuse for not knowing something you should know.
Sentence: "We don't have visibility into that market. Let’s do a survey." "We need better visibility as to why people are not using our product anymore.”

VOC: Voice of the Customer; what people think
When used: When you want to stall marketing, give them a hard time, or make them do more work.
Sentence: "What does the VOC say?" "How much VOC do you have?" "Your VOC = 1. Ask more people and I'll consider doing the experiment."

"Working from home": Taking the day off
When used: On Fridays, Mondays, and sometimes Wednesdays and after coming back from vacation or travel.
Sentence: "The boss is working from home today...again."


Marketing people: Any additions? I’ll keep adding to this dictionary if people send me their favorite marketing speak.

Scientists: Any questions or further explanation desired?

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Blog Comments

Genomic Repairman
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We did a department retreat a few years ago and we had to fill out that SWOT analysis. I swear I'd rather sandpaper the asshole of alligator in a cramped phone booth than do that again.

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Really? On your project or area of research? It doesn't seem like doing SWOT analysis on your research would be helpful. Would the outcome change the direction of one's research? I doubt it.

Guest Comment
'On Friday's, Monday's, and sometimes Wednesday's'.... should be Fridays, Mondays, Wednesdays. Sorry! :)

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Fixed- thanks. I hate editing. Glad you read it all the way to the end!

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Ugh, I need you on speed dial text so that I can ask you what all this crap means during meetings.

I have to say, I was utterly dumbfounded with all the marketing stuff that I have to deal with.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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That twitter widget lies, I've tweeted this at least twice. It's hilarious. I really love your stuff Jade Ed.

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Geeka- let me know if you hear any verbiage we can add to this list.
I just added two more words- EOB and ROI.

Brian- thanks, glad you like it. I find the whole culture of biotech and marketing humorous. Whenever you have that many big egos in one place at any time, you can count on comic relief.

Genomic Repairman
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The SWOT was more on the department as a whole. It was really targeted to what areas of research to build up and things that we could better (training programs, equipment, etc.) to make us more prestigious and facilitate recruitment of students and faculty.
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