The art of explaining life sciences software: Q&A with Catherine Kidd

Catherine is Director of Marketing at Eagle Genomics. In this article she shares her advice on communicating the complex, reaching the right audience and what it takes to create a successful marketing strategy.

Cat_2020_2 webCatherine Kidd, Director of Marketing

Q: What is your role at Eagle Genomics?

My role is Director of Marketing, so I’m in charge of our marketing team, planning out the strategy for all of our marketing activities and raising the company's profile, both in terms of our brand and product. Heading up a small team, my responsibilities range from leading on communications and product marketing to organising events; it’s a full spectrum! Essentially my job is to increase brand awareness, help the company meet commercial objectives and communicate our message to a range of stakeholders, all on a global scale. Eagle Genomics’ scientific and technical expertise and the international nature of our customers and audience certainly keeps us busy!  

Q: What’s the trick to successfully communicating complex subject matter, such as software and life sciences?

I think the trick is to understand your audience and relay the relevant message in a style that appeals to that audience. Obviously we work in a very complex field; life sciences, artificial intelligence and big data are each very significant topics, so that’s an extra layer of challenge! 

From a marketing point of view I would say the trick is translating what we do to make it relevant to peoples’ personal experiences. Content such as case studies and use cases are very important for this. For example, I like to convey the challenge faced by our customers through a story most people could relate to, such as a large global organisations’ quest for a new anti-aging cream! The organisation wants to explore the most promising potential new ingredients and formulations associated with slowing skin aging but is struggling with data management - data is stored in disparate places, siloed within different teams, projects and studies. For the team looking to develop the new anti-aging cream, there is potentially a wealth of relevant data collected from other studies both inside and outside the organisation which could provide crucial new insight, but for now that information is hidden and inaccessible. This is where Eagle Genomics’ knowledge discovery platform, the e[datascientist], steps in. It enables researchers to unify and connect organisation-wide data together with public data so that they can access the full knowledge and insight surrounding a particular area of interest to better inform research. As a result, we all benefit with the development of a magic face cream!

Ultimately good marketing is all about connecting your audience with what you do by linking it to a narrative that is relevant to them.

Q: Why did you choose to get into marketing within life science?

I come from a technology background, previously working for an enterprise software company within the energy sector, so there was a lot that was similar in terms of translating big data into insight and knowledge. But I think life sciences is the field that has the biggest potential to have the most impact on peoples’ lives. The different areas that Eagle Genomics is working in, such as functional food, sustainable agriculture and healthcare, all help to address some of the world’s grand challenges and make it worth getting out of bed every morning (as cheesy as that may sound!).

Life science is also a really vibrant community, there’s breakthroughs and exciting discoveries happening all the time! Working at the Wellcome Genome Campus, we’re also in a hub of globally-renowned institutes at the forefront of science and it’s just really inspiring to be in that environment. 

Q: For you, what is the single most important factor for creating a successful marketing strategy?

Similarly to what I’ve already said, it has to be understanding your audience. I think that cuts across everything, from outward facing communications, to product materials and talking to people and partners face-to-face at events. You have to remember that each demographic you are communicating with has a different level of understanding and, because what we do is complex, it’s really important to tailor our content to people’s different levels of specialist knowledge and interest.

A marketing strategy has to be tailored around an understanding of each persona that you are working with; their background, context, the pain points and challenges they face and what might be important to them in their day-to-day job. Essentially you have to understand the goals of your audience demographics and communicate how a product or service can help to achieve them. 

Q: What are your hopes for the future of the e[datascientist] platform?

I’d like to see it become the go-to platform for sharing and interpreting the world’s life sciences data. I would like to see scientists across the world using our platform to inform pioneering research, leading to exciting new scientific discoveries.

I look forward to seeing the development of more innovative products as a result of widespread use of the platform, and I hope new areas of research that can’t even be dreamt of right now will be exposed as a result of the platform’s capabilities. What’s exciting is that the information to challenge and inform our current understanding is likely already out there, particularly in exciting new areas such as microbiome, but isn’t being leveraged properly because there is no platform like ours that’s bringing all the data together and connecting the dots.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I was once told that if you choose to work in something you enjoy, you’ll never have to work another day in your life. I’ve definitely found that to be the case in marketing, I love the variety it offers and the creativity it demands - every day brings new and diverse challenges requiring new solutions. It’s also very rewarding to be part of a company early on in its journey. Eagle Genomics is on a very exciting path and to be part of such a fantastic team with a valuable mission is a highlight of my career so far.

Q: Tell us one thing about yourself we couldn’t find out from Google.

I was once mildly insulted by the Duke of Edinburgh! Oh, and I also used to play the drums!


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