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From Bench to Business: Unveiling the Path to Scientific Marketing

Discover how former bench scientists transitioned to biotech marketing as discussed at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM) event.

5 min read

From Bench to Business: Unveiling the Path to Scientific Marketing

How three PhD Scientists Transitioned from Academia to Scientific Marketing

A unique forum at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine hosted by Diane Safer, Director of Career & Professional Development for Graduate Students and Postdocs at Albert Einstein College of Medicine opened up a dialogue about an exciting and new trajectory for PhD scientists. The event, “Discover a New Path: A Career in Scientific Marketing,” held on February 20th, highlighted the fusion of scientific acumen and marketing prowess, presenting an enticing career avenue for those steeped in the biomedical sciences. 

The panel, featuring Jenna Gallegos, Kaley Mientkiewicz, and Matias Jaureguiberry-Bravo from Samba Scientific, shared their transformative journeys from the lab bench to the forefront of biotech marketing. This narrative begins to unravel how the confluence of science and communication is not just possible but increasingly vital in driving the adoption of innovative technologies in the biotech landscape. 

When PhD scientists envision their career trajectories, scientific marketing often doesn’t make the list. Yet for Matias, Kaley, and Jenna, combining their science backgrounds with business knowledge led them to exciting roles driving adoption of cutting-edge technologies. 

Their journey shows how scientists can pivot their skills to accelerate scientific progress through effective communication. As Matias explains: 

“Marketing allows you to be in the forefront of science, learning about the newest technology before others. You also get to develop strategies that communicate that science and may enable its adoption to create change.” 

Early Interests: Finding the Intersection of Science and Communication 

The seeds for a career in scientific marketing were planted early for our three scientists. Tutoring peers in complex concepts during undergrad, Kaley discovered her knack for finding creative ways to ignite that “a-ha moment” of clarity. 

Jenna was similarly fascinated by how some academic seminars utterly engaged students, while others lost them in the details. She realized it wasn’t the topic but the way it was presented that made the difference. 

For Matias, it was the sheer joy of teaching itself that called him. He seized opportunities to instruct grant writing courses and loved awakening scientific curiosity in others. 

Career Pivot: Making the Leap to Scientific Marketing 

Yet their bench careers beckoned, with Kaley and Jenna continuing into PhDs while Matias secured an academic teaching fellowship. When COVID-19 upended academic research, it became the catalyst for their career pivots. 

Having tested the marketing waters with an industry internship mostly involving data analysis, Kaley was primed to dive deeper. 

“I wanted to influence messaging decisions – to be the one determining why a company chooses certain images or words,” she explains. 

Jenna’s pivot point from postdoc to scientific writer was when she realized that she was able to communicate and translate complex science to others.  She decided to pursue a career in scientific writing, which allowed her to use her writing skills to help scientists share their research with the world. 

After his teaching fellowship ended Matias was as a Director of an Artificial Intelligence startup before he saw Samba Scientific and their mission as the perfect fit for his skill sets and interests. 

“Scientific marketing combines science communication, teaching and staying connected to the latest research,” he recalls. “It was exactly what I wanted.” 

Challenges and Solutions: Adjusting to a New World 

Transitioning from academia to industry marketing brought a steep learning curve. Accustomed to self-directed work in the lab, they now needed to collaborate within large, cross-functional teams. 

Client management also brought its stresses, requiring both scientific expertise and intuitive marketing sense to create compelling narratives. Finding the right “blue” to please a client isn’t always straightforward! 

Immersing themselves in marketing fundamentals while leaning on teammates’ specialized skills eased the transition. Maintaining scientific rigor amidst client demands relied on open communication, empathy and levity. 

Key Insights: Skills That Set Scientific Marketers Apart 

From Bench to Science Communication: Unveiling the Path to Scientific Marketing For PhD scientists considering scientific marketing, Matias, Kaley, and Jenna agree certain attributes set you up for success: 

  • Curiosity: A thirst to continually learn emerging technologies and convey them creatively. 
  • Communication: Explaining complex concepts simply yet accurately. 
  • Collaboration: Engaging cross-functional teams and clients as partners. 
  • Rigor: Applying evidence-based decision making for strategic impact. 

 

Beyond inherent skills, demonstrating passion for science communication in your career and personal brand can make you stand out, Kaley advises. 

Future of Scientific Marketing: Driving Cutting-Edge Innovation 

Our scientists are buoyed by the momentum they see in biotech innovation, predicting even more pivotal technologies emerging. With their insider view into pre-launch products, they feel privileged to play a key role ushering those discoveries through strategic messaging. 

Jenna sums it up best: 

“It’s incredibly fulfilling to apply our backgrounds in driving adoption of new solutions that improve health and lives.” 

Want to join the movement advancing scientific innovation? Explore open roles in scientific marketing and other biotech careers on the Greatness.bio job board today! 

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