Our latest look at the protein science market

Over the years I’ve been intrigued by the concept of convergence – that blurring of distinctions between markets or technologies or even between suppliers and their customers.  In a report just published by BioInformatics LLC in collaboration with the American Chemical Society, we look at protein science as an area where we’re observing convergence in terms of the techniques used, as well as increasing overlap between how biologists and chemists approach their research.  Understanding where convergence occurs — and where it does not — shows suppliers “seams” where market opportunities can be exploited, as well as barriers to be avoided.

A more in depth understanding of the needs of scientists who are studying protein research is of growing importance as the field continues to become more complex and funding sources become harder to obtain.  Suppliers of analytical instrumentation continuously look for key insights that can help streamline marketing efforts while gaining a better understanding of their clients needs.  Protein Research: Strategies for Marketing to Biologists and Chemists is designed to help identify principal areas of investigation among protein researchers along with the relationships between them, perceived bottlenecks, potential budgetary implications, customers perceptions of the leading providers of instrumentation, and the drivers of purchasing behavior of both chemists and biologists.

Scientists are continuously faced with the challenge of doing more for less.  With that increasing pressure, there appears to be a growing overlap in the tools and technologies they use for their core areas of investigation.  Understanding that biologists have a greater tendency than chemists to use a multiplicity of tools, techniques, and areas of investigation, can help shape the design of integrated solutions aimed directly at meeting these research needs.  Additionally, marketing efforts can be adjusted to appeal to the way biologists and chemists approach their research and the products they use to support it.

While major equipment purchases have always been critical investments, labs continue to keep a close watch on all purchases that ultimately impact their bottom line.  By exploring the purchase drivers behind both the higher dollar mass spectrometry and HPLC instrumentation, and the less expensive electrophoresis equipment products, manufacturers and scientists alike can understand what, in addition to cost, is influencing these purchase decisions. For example, why is after-sale support more important to chemists for chromatography machines, yet hardware performance more critical to biologists?

Ultimately, this uniquely designed benchmarking study allows suppliers to gain keen insight into the evolving needs of their protein research customers, while more closely defining certain industry-wide best practices, a tool also valuable to scientists in the lab. The information in this report can be used to provide insights into how suppliers may be able to increase new sales volume through innovative product offerings while continuing to provide the best services to their current customers.

For this study, the survey population was drawn from the American Chemical Society and The Science Advisory Board. For ease of description, respondents from the American Chemical Society are referred to as “chemists” and respondents from The Science Advisory Board are referred to as “biologists” in the report. Given the nature of research that these scientists conduct, there is bound to be a degree of overlap in their research focus, practices, and preferences. Furthermore, we recognize that they are not strictly “discrete” populations and that there actually exists a continuum of research between pure “biologists” on one end of the spectrum and pure “chemists” on the other end. However, for comparison purposes, the survey responses are presented as two discreet groups. While both groups conduct protein research, they likely come to the lab bench with different training and experience. For example, the majority of biologists indicate that they are molecular biologists, biochemists, cell biologists, and/or biotechnologists while the majority of chemists indicate that they are solely biochemists.  Furthermore, biologists concentrate their efforts in four times as many research areas than chemists, suggesting that biologists tend to conduct their research across multiple disciplines while chemists tend to focus on only one or two.

Ultimately, this report will help suppliers of protein research instrumentation better understand:
– key bottlenecks in the research process
– core drivers of purchasing decisions
– existing overlaps in research techniques
– core differences between biologists and chemists in purchase behavior and lab practices.