Research: By Any Other Name

I consider myself an expert marketer. And I have no reason not to. I understand the value of market and customer segmentation, how to apply pricing strategies, what can be gained from effectively designed promotional campaigns, and how to leverage product, geographic, and distribution advantages (or disadvantages) to win against the competition.  I understand sales cycles and integrated communications and advertising because I’ve been doing it successfully for nearly 20 years. For manufactures, for software companies, for financial corporates and retail, there’s no market I haven’t conquered.

Then I joined InfoEd.

It was after a few weeks working with our President, Mr. Johnson Jr., that I began to question a few of the basic “laws” I’d come to rely on.

“Why can’t I find a consistent term for a Grants & Contacts office,” I asked?  “You’re telling me that Principal Investigators won’t ever look for software on the web?” That just didn’t make sense. “Eddie, I’m having a hard time finding keywords used with any prominence that describes what our clients do!”

Sure enough, in an industry (loosely defined) spending over 240 billion in US grants; across more than six thousand universities, colleges, and research institutions; the phrase “research administration software” was used a paltry 170 times in a month – across the entire globe! As a marketer, I was astonished.

Here’s a few more global examples: based on Google Adwords Analytics:

  • Grant management software                  1,600
  • Post award contract management              73
  • IRB software                                                   480
  • Clinical trials management software         590
  • IACUC software                                                36

Thirty-six searches for IACUC software globally! I have a hard time finding any word or phrase that’s been searched only 36 times.

If there’s a single, foundational characteristic that I can count on; the single force that unlocks the key to a successful marketing strategy, it is “predictability.”  Predictability stems from a few simple rules: People typically behave the same, organizations (companies, etc.) with the same attributes and goals typically seek the same outcomes, and there is only one “best way” to do something – and everyone is looking for it.

Apply these rules and you get a lot of consistency – similar strategies, similar “best practices,” similar (if not industry-accepted) terms. Best practices bring about greater efficiency, better quality, and lower costs – and what self-respecting organization doesn’t want that?

Over my five months at InfoEd I have discovered that the most consistent set of characteristics I could ascribe to the audience that InfoEd is attempting to reach is, “independence and individuality.” For a seasoned marketer like me, it presents challenges I have never encountered.

Fortunately, there are other characteristics to this audience as well. Dedication, creativity and most of all, trust. Specifically, trust in the expertise, knowledge, science, and experiences of fellow researchers and institutions. This leads to a willingness to share ideas and information (albeit in often inconsistent ways) with their colleagues – a true community – and one rarely seen in the world of corporate boards and shareholder values.

I am a marketer. It is my job to raise awareness of InfoEd, and position us as the best option for those that seek to benefit from what we do. And I still believe there are more keys to be found somewhere – be it words or phrases by any name – that will work like magic in the world of Research Administration. As I find them, oh boy, you’ll definitely know it!

p.s. Please share this article with your colleagues 😉

Share This Post