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A Marketing Plan for Scientists: Building Effective Products and Connecting with Stakeholders in Meaningful Ways
Ojo, C., K. Mulvaney, M. Mazzotta, AND W. Berry. A Marketing Plan for Scientists: Building Effective Products and Connecting with Stakeholders in Meaningful Ways. Solutions. Solutions, Burlington, VT, 9(2):n/a, (2018).
More than ever before, scientists are under tremendous pressure to demonstrate the usefulness of their work. While millions of dollars are spent yearly to fund the production of various scientific tools and resources, they often do not end up in the hands of those they were created to help- either because stakeholders didn’t know they existed or didn’t think they would be of much help. Marketing, a field commonly ascribed to business, can provide scientists and scientific institutions with methods they can utilize to strategically build products for higher rates of buy-in, usage, and exposure.This article presents the core components of marketing, explains how to integrate them into scientific research and provides scientists with the 4Ps+1 marketing plan, a template they can use to more effectively get their research products and findings into the hands of their desired audiences. In particular, this paper presents a case study detailing how U.S. EPA scientists used the marketing plan template during the development of their Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) research product, a resource created to help stakeholders assess the societal benefits of ecological restoration using non-monetary indicators.
A disconnect often occurs between the creation of scientific research outputs and their use by intended stakeholders. Even with the diligent efforts of scientists to create products of value, many scientific outputs are underutilized by intended stakeholders. Marketing methods can help scientists and scientific institutions more strategically build products to garner higher rates of buy-in, usage, and exposure amongst intended stakeholders. Effective marketing incorporates methods that are utilized before, during and after product development to keep intended stakeholders in mind throughout the process and present them with a product or resource they will want. The 4Ps +1 marketing plan template can be used by scientists to more effectively create and distribute their products. Framed within the context of the 4Ps (product, promotion, price, place), a fundamental marketing principle, scientists can use this template to delve deeper into the field and apply its tenets to their own work. The level of application of the 4Ps +1 marketing plan is up to the scientist, and can become more complex or more simplified with each project iteration. No previous marketing experience is necessary to use it. A team of U.S. EPA scientists applied the 4Ps+1 marketing plan template during the development of their Rapid Benefit Indicators (RBI) research product and found it to be a useful approach towards scientific product development and dissemination.