How to Leverage a Science Background for a Stellar Marketing Career

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The world of science marketing is filled with former researchers — scientists who’ve decided to trade in western blots and standard curves for creative roadmaps and brand strategy documents.

If you fall into this category, you probably already know that the transition from the lab is not as easy as it might first seem. Your focus must turn from the details of experiments and grant applications to tasks such as writing compelling headlines and developing valuable content.

However, your science background also gives you a great advantage as you work toward growing your career in marketing. Here are some of the top tips that will help you excel in science marketing.

1. You have a unique perspective on science, so use it. Complex science concepts are not easily learned, so someone with years of formal training and experience has a unique advantage in crafting messages that speak to scientists on their level. Not only do you have insight into scientists’ personas, but you also have an understanding of their purchasing behaviors. However, it’s still very important to survey your target customers to create a plan that addresses their specific needs.

2. Hone your verbal and written skills. If you were ever in the science field, odds are good that you wrote research grants and peer-reviewed papers. As a marketer, you need to take that highly technical information, simplify it, and deliver it in a new way that an outsider can quickly comprehend. Marketing is all about being able to communicate in a concise manner that drives your audience to action.

3. Look beyond the details. You’re an expert at analyzing a set of data. But can you speak to that information at a higher level? Scientists tend to identify a problem and examine it in great detail — a skill set that is useful in the lab. However, in your new career, you must also look at the bigger picture. Understanding the differences in communication is extremely important if you want to appeal to your audience.

4. Unlock your creativity. Marketing can offer former scientists a chance to step outside of their analytical world and be more creative. Marketers need creativity and imagination to develop campaigns that engage consumers, and they also need an analytical side to measure and calibrate marketing strategy. Appreciate the strengths of being both an artist and a scientist, and apply them together.

5. Find a mentor. It’s so helpful to have someone who can show you the ropes. Also, seek out continuing education. It’s not an easy transition from science to marketing, but there are plenty of resources that can guide you through the process, such as the Business Marketing Association or the National Association for Science Writers.

Science takes patience and persistence, and so does marketing. Things aren’t always going to work on the first try. Just like you would have in a lab, hypothesize, test, and refine your strategies.

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Are you a former scientist who has made the switch to marketing? What advice would you give others who are looking to transition out of the lab and into a marketing career?

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