Why you sometimes need to put your marketing hat on

In this episode, I am diving into a topic that might seem a bit unexpected for us number crunchers: marketing.

Yes, you heard it right! But before you hit that pause button, let me tell you why sometimes, you need to put your marketing hat on.

As the great Seth Godin once said, “Don’t find customers for your product; find products for your customers.” It’s all about understanding your audience and delivering what they need, not just pushing your agenda. So, why should we, as statisticians, consider marketing to be an important part of our job? Well, think about it this way: we could have the most groundbreaking statistical methods at our disposal, but if we can’t communicate their value to others, what good are they?

Marketing helps bridge that gap between complex data and real-world impact.

Who are your competitors?

How do we define them, and why does it matter? Knowing who else is out there doing similar work not only keeps us on our toes but also presents opportunities for collaboration and differentiation. It’s all part of the game of staying relevant and valuable in our field.

What is marketing differentiation?

Being different and unique is key in today’s progressive form of marketing. It’s not about shouting the loudest; it’s about standing out in a meaningful way. Showcasing what sets you apart can attract the right kind of attention and build stronger connections with your audience.

Listen to the episode now: 

What can you learn in this episode? 

Marketing helps bridge that gap between complex data and real-world impact.

What are the key takeaways here?

  • Marketing is more about listening than it is about broadcasting. Understanding your audience’s needs and preferences is crucial for effective communication.
  • Know who your stakeholders are and what they expect from you. Meeting (or exceeding) those expectations builds trust and credibility.
  • Keep an eye on your competitors, but don’t let them dictate your strategy. Use their presence as motivation to innovate and improve.

Putting on your marketing hat now and then can elevate your statistical prowess to new heights. So, embrace it, experiment with it, and watch how it transforms not only your work but also your impact on the world.

Transcript

Why You Sometimes Need To Put Your Marketing Head On

[00:00:00] Alexander: Welcome to another episode of the effective statistician. And yes, this is another Friday episode. So it is just [00:00:10] me talking about a couple of different thoughts I have about how you can become more effective. In last [00:00:20] week’s episodes, I talked about what you need to do to create value. And I talked about a couple of different roles [00:00:30] you need to have.

[00:00:31] Alexander: To actually drive value, create value. And one of these roles is [00:00:40] marketing. And you may think like, well, marketing? Well, I’m not doing advertisements. [00:00:50] Yes. And this is where a pretty big misunderstanding is about marketing. Marketing is [00:01:00] much more than advertisements. Advertisements is what you see as a consumer as one of the [00:01:10] outputs.

[00:01:10] Alexander: of marketing. There’s much more to marketing than the advertisements. And some people even say marketing is too important [00:01:20] to just leave it to the marketeers. And I completely agree with this. Now, marketing is let’s kind of [00:01:30] First discuss how it is different from sales. And here I have my very easy, my own solution here.

[00:01:39] Alexander: And that is [00:01:40] just by the number of people that you talk to. Sales is one to one. You have one person that you want to convince. Marketing is one to many. You [00:01:50] talk to a whole Market. Marketing. Yeah? Very easy. Now, what also is included in [00:02:00] marketing? First, marketing is also a lot about listening. Not just speaking.

[00:02:08] Alexander: You need [00:02:10] to understand the needs, the pain points, the challenges of your stakeholders. That you want [00:02:20] to market to. So, in the last episode, we talked about who are your stakes, stakeholders. So, this is also people [00:02:30] in your direct line of management. But also, also people that you help with your studies, with your analysis, with [00:02:40] your trainings, with your communication, all these kind of different things.

[00:02:46] Alexander: You need to understand their pain points. You need to [00:02:50] understand their constraints that they work in. There are time limitations, there are budget limitations, there [00:03:00] are goals, there are incentives. How do they work? What are they allowed to do? What aren’t [00:03:10] they allowed to do? All these kinds of different things.

[00:03:12] Alexander: You need to understand that. And that is very, very different from stakeholder to stakeholder. [00:03:20] That is also something that good marketing helps you understand, you can segment your market into, okay, these are the people that [00:03:30] want high quality for a reasonable price. These are the people that want to have speed.

[00:03:38] Alexander: Cost isn’t [00:03:40] a problem and yeah, quality is just a given. And then there’s others that completely think differently about. What [00:03:50] you need. So the other things that marketing has is you need to have Competitive [00:04:00] insights and when you know think like well, I work as a Within a company. I don’t have competition.

[00:04:08] Alexander: Well, actually [00:04:10] you do So first of all, you’re probably not the only statistician. The second thing is, [00:04:20] you probably have competition from other functions. Who else could do certain things? [00:04:30] Yeah, maybe you say, well, I, I’m the only one who has access to these data. So that is, I have a monopoly [00:04:40] here. Yeah.

[00:04:41] Alexander: That is for these things, but of course your customers probably want a lot of more [00:04:50] things than just the analysis of these data where only you have access to. Maybe they want to understand what the [00:05:00] competition is doing. Do they ask you about it? Or do they ask someone else about it? Maybe someone, maybe someone even outside of your [00:05:10] organization, outside of your company.

[00:05:14] Alexander: These are competitive insights. Understanding what are all [00:05:20] the problems. The pain points that your stakeholders have, that are [00:05:30] fulfilled, that are serviced by people other than you, that maybe have similar skill sets to you. [00:05:40] And maybe they even charge much more than you. And maybe even they deliver less quality than you, at a [00:05:50] slower speed than you.

[00:05:51] Alexander: Oh, I see that all the time. Yeah, that there are certain parts like, let’s say marketing and [00:06:00] they spend a lot of time. money on understanding why the other study is different from the competition is [00:06:10] different than your study. And they don’t ask you because they don’t even know that you exist. Or the [00:06:20] Rural evidence department, they might outsource all kinds of different analysis of observational data [00:06:30] just because they don’t think that you can do that as an organization.

[00:06:36] Alexander: Or maybe they have some bad experiences, or they think like, [00:06:40] well, I’ll always be treated last because you, you know, your stats organization always focuses on clinical trial data. And whenever there’s some kind of [00:06:50] pressure, well, you know, the observational data falls over and therefore the real world evidence people always outsource their work.[00:07:00] 

[00:07:00] Alexander: There is competition. There is definitely competition for you, unless, yes, for some areas where you have a monopoly. [00:07:10] But if you just want to work in this monopolies setting, well, you can’t create more value. [00:07:20] You restrain yourself. Now. As we are talking about marketing in this episode, I want to talk [00:07:30] about some great quotes by one of my favorite marketing gurus.

[00:07:36] Alexander: And he’s also probably one of the [00:07:40] most famous marketing gurus in the world. And I’m talking about Seth Godin. If you have never heard about Seth Godin, that’s completely fine. You [00:07:50] don’t work in marketing. If you work in marketing and you have never heard about it, That would be a little bit strange. That is like being a [00:08:00] statistician and never have heard about Fisher or Gauss or.

[00:08:05] Alexander: Some of these guys. Yeah, so it’s that kind of level. So, [00:08:10] Sesgo then has a couple of different quotes that I want to talk about in this episode. The first is, if you can’t state your position in eight [00:08:20] words, you don’t have a position. If you can’t state your position in eight words, you don’t have a position.

[00:08:28] Alexander: And here position means, [00:08:30] your position compared to your competitors. What kind of [00:08:40] value you create better, faster cheaper than your competitors. And [00:08:50] there you of course need to understand who are your competitors and what is the market that you are in. And so you [00:09:00] need to understand what value you create and which markets you operate and what is your unique position [00:09:10] there.

[00:09:11] Alexander: And that is of course something that you choose. That is not something that is God given. That is something that you can [00:09:20] design. The second really interesting quote is people don’t believe what you tell them. [00:09:30] They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell [00:09:40] themselves.

[00:09:40] Alexander: Yes, just because you go to someone says, and you say, I’m right. I know how to do these kinds of things. [00:09:50] Doesn’t. Convince the other person,

[00:09:53] Alexander: they might be more convinced if you have a track record, [00:10:00] they might. And then they will be even more convinced that you can do these nice cool analysis and you can do these great presentations [00:10:10] in front of key opinion leaders. If. A colleague of them, a friend of them, tells, hey, I love to work with Fred [00:10:20] the statistician because he’s always a great presenter and he interacts really, really well with key opinion leaders, with the FDA, with the EMA, with [00:10:30] senior management, whatsoever.

[00:10:32] Alexander: Always bring him along. And they always believe what they tell themselves. And if you can make [00:10:40] them believe that it was their idea to pull you in, then you have already won. Because of course they will act on their idea. [00:10:50] So, that is the second thing. The third is, build a trust and earn attention. The [00:11:00] entity that gets the most trust will get the most customers.

[00:11:05] Alexander: Yes, everything starts with trust. [00:11:10] And I speak about trust. Gary and I speak about trust a lot in our leadership program. You need to build [00:11:20] trust. And he also says build trust and earn attention. People need to know you. If they [00:11:30] don’t know you. They don’t like you. They don’t trust you. You don’t, you can’t create value because they will [00:11:40] not want anything from you.

[00:11:41] Alexander: They will not want your advice. They don’t want your tables. They don’t want your design suggestions whatsoever. [00:11:50] They will only get something from you. If they know you, so you need to create attention like you [00:12:00] and trust you, you, your organization, your group. Yeah. If they [00:12:10] trust the CRO more than you, they will give it to the CRO.

[00:12:17] Alexander: And then you can run to your management and say. [00:12:20] These, you know, these stupid people, they give it to the CROs, but why can’t they do this? Yeah, of course they can do [00:12:30] that. Because from their point of view, it obviously is a better solution. Well, people always take the best solutions that [00:12:40] they have. So, if they go with the CRO, that is the best solution that they have.

[00:12:47] Alexander: Next quote, and that is one thing that I [00:12:50] really, really love. Don’t find customers for your product, find products for your customers. Don’t find [00:13:00] customers for your product, find products for your customers. So, if you are the data visualization [00:13:10] guy, the Bayesian expert, the multiplicity expert, the whatsoever expert.

[00:13:18] Alexander: You have a problem. [00:13:20] Because very often you will try to sell your services without understanding what exactly is needed. [00:13:30] And you will try to sell your patient designs to everybody and you will try to sell your data visualization to everybody and whatsoever. This [00:13:40] is not how it works. You need to understand what exactly is needed and then you can design your [00:13:50] products, your services to exactly fit to these needs, to these opportunities.

[00:13:57] Alexander: So it’s that way around. By the [00:14:00] way, Steve Jobs said something very, very similar. Quote number five. The organization that succeeds realizes that [00:14:10] offering a remarkable product with a great story is more important and more profitable than doing what everybody else is doing just a bit [00:14:20] better.

[00:14:20] Alexander: Just a bit better. This is not a differentiation. You need to have something that [00:14:30] is remarkable with a great story. Stories are really, really important. [00:14:40] Great marketeers! Always have great stories. They tell a story around their product. They tell a story [00:14:50] on how it helped other I just wanted to say patients, but other stakeholders similar like the stakeholder you [00:15:00] want to convince.

[00:15:01] Alexander: And they differentiate. One way of course to differentiate is by having a strong [00:15:10] brand.

[00:15:11] Alexander: Think about Apple. Think about Coca Cola. Think about Starbucks. Think about [00:15:20] whatsoever. Yeah? These are very, very strong brands. And people decide for these brands because [00:15:30] they differentiate. They do something very, very different to what all the others do. And so [00:15:40] that is why they become much more profitable than the competition.

[00:15:47] Alexander: So you [00:15:50] need to have a great product. And you need to have great marketing. Great product is not enough. If you think like, [00:16:00] Oh, I’m doing really great stuff. People will kind of see it automatically. No, that’s not how [00:16:10] our world works. You can only get your services, your deliverables into the hand of your stakeholders [00:16:20] if you get their intention.

[00:16:23] Alexander: If you Make them like you if you make them trust you and if they’re really [00:16:30] really convinced that they need to do something with you. Now the next one is stop advertising [00:16:40] and start innovating. Yes, you need to differentiate. You need to be different. You need to [00:16:50] be creative. And if you do something like this, then it becomes.

[00:16:56] Alexander: Much more easy to talk about it, [00:17:00] and it is not about pressing messages down the throat of your stakeholders. We are the [00:17:10] best. We have the power. best quality. We have the best prices. We have the whatsoever. We are the best in the world. We [00:17:20] forget about these kind of different things. You want to have something that is unique, that is innovative.[00:17:30] 

[00:17:31] Alexander: And then the advertising comes from itself. Yeah. The best advertising is [00:17:40] through word of mouth. Yeah, if all your customers, you know, advertise for you, that’s best [00:17:50] advertising you can have because it’s first it’s for free. You don’t need to spend any time for it. And it is much more trustworthy [00:18:00] than if you talk about yourself.

[00:18:03] Alexander: So that is stop advertising. And [00:18:10] the last is, the only way to be indispensable is to be different. The only [00:18:20] way to be indispensable is to be different. If you work within a pharma company, within a [00:18:30] university, You can be replaced by another service provider. And if you are a [00:18:40] service provider, you can be even easier be replaced by another service provider.

[00:18:47] Alexander: So you need to [00:18:50] differentiate. You need to be different. You need to have. Much better client relationships. You need to [00:19:00] provide value in a way that is different to all the others.

[00:19:06] Alexander: And if the only One way you [00:19:10] can think about being different is, well, our branding colors look different than the one from the other company. I guess [00:19:20] you have a problem. So think about how you are different to all the [00:19:30] others. How your team, how your department is different to the competition. So, this was a little [00:19:40] bit longer of these short episodes about marketing.

[00:19:45] Alexander: And I hope you have understood that marketing is really, really [00:19:50] important for you to be successful. As an individual contributor, as a group leader, as a department head, you [00:20:00] need to invest in marketing. If you want to learn more about how you can do that as a statistician, as a team [00:20:10] leader, even if you’re at a university.

[00:20:13] Alexander: Yeah, I also work with universities that university departments that are really eager to [00:20:20] Expand their value and increase their value and provide more and better services. Then just reach out to me. [00:20:30] Just connect with me on LinkedIn or just send me an email to alexander at the effective statistician.

[00:20:37] Alexander: And then we can have a chat of [00:20:40] how I can help you. So stay tuned for more of these Friday episodes to come. In the next one, I will talk about [00:20:50] sales and if you sales of something being really icky and no, I don’t want to be salesy. Yes, I completely [00:21:00] understand you and you’ll be surprised what you learn about sales in the next episodes.

[00:21:06] Alexander: But just a reminder, if you want to learn about marketing, [00:21:10] just reach out to me either via LinkedIn or via alexander@theeffective statistician.com.

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