…and What You Can Do About It
I vividly remember having to sit through dull seminars at a science conference one time.
Which surprises me, because you rarely remember boring events so clearly.
Please don’t misunderstand. It’s not the science that was boring. As a scientist, I’m always interested in hearing about the work of other researchers. But the speakers, and how they presented… drab, to say the least.
If you’ve ever attended some of the research presentations at scientific conferences, you can probably relate – session after session of long-winded talks where the presenter seems determined to bore the audience to tears.
Of course, they’re not all like this – some talks can be interesting, engaging and informative.
But we can all agree that scientists, engineers and techies aren’t the best at creating excitement or engagement during a talk. Remember: technical people get bored just like everyone else, and if this happens, they switch off.
And this lack of empathy for the reader (listener?) extends into written communications too. For example, so many science company websites are boring, hard to read, and look like they were put together by a programmer.
I was talking to a prospect over the phone last week – a company specialising in data security for scientists and IT managers through quantum computing technology. And they were complaining their brochures, white papers and articles were way too technical.
They actually wanted someone to take their copy, and re-work it into a more reader-friendly “business” tone.
The good news for this company is they know they have a problem. They know their copy needs fixing. But how many companies truly know they have a problem like this? How many companies are blind to their problems, and so aren’t doing anything about it?
Rhetorical question, because I already know the answer: too many!
Boring, over-technical communications = failure
As a science marketer, the burden falls on you to get your message across.
I talked before about having a dedicated resource that brings customers back again and again – a resource that builds trust and loyalty. You cant do this with technical data, or a shoddy looking website.
Scientific software and big data companies seem to get this more than their instrumentation counterparts.
Not sure why.
Could be because many instrumentation companies are run by scientists and engineers, who don’t like simple language and deliberate marketing.
Just a guess.
White papers are another example.
If you want a great example of how a white paper should be written, take a look at the big data white papers from IBM.
Are they loaded with technical mumbo jumbo? No. Are they laden down with scientific data? Nope. Do they weave together a cohesive story with simple language that clearly explains a solution to a problem? You bet they do.
Why can’t more science marketers write communications like this?
Many scientists see a white paper as an opportunity to regurgitate a pile of research data, throw it up on their website, and call it a day. That’s what an academic paper is for. And those who do this are leaving opportunity, leads, and revenue on the table.
Remember: a white paper should be seen as an opportunity to present a solution to a business or technical problem.
As an added bonus, it can position your company as a provider of valuable information. The benefits of this alone should be enough to convince you to use a more story-driven approach in your marketing.
Until next time,