Marketing through the Microscope of a Microbiologist

When I decided to go for my MBA, people asked me having done your PG in Microbiology why are you going for an MBA. They asked me why not a PhD in Microbiology?? Why into MBA?? How do you relate Microbiology with an MBA?? Well people had their point. But yes I had mine too.

I spent a good part of my 5 years studying and exploring the world of microorganisms. To say the least, they are abso-lutely fascinating. Present all over the world and probably the universe too, so small yet so difficult to understand. There are the good ones which have proved to be of immense importance to mankind and there are some really notorious ones which have been responsible for a whole lot of damages to the human race.

After completion of my PG in Microbiology it was by chance that I happened to work in the field of Marketing. Market-ing requires meeting a lot of people, in other words going and meeting your customers to promote your products. On my first day in the field, our Area Sales Manager who was accompanying me asked me whether I had a girlfriend. To his surprise the answer was no. He told me, “boss you need a girlfriend”. I was wondering how to find one. He told me that if I could deal and manage my girlfriend, then dealing with customers would be a cakewalk. He said that the customer‟s needs & demands keep changing at a rapid rate similar to one‟s girlfriend!

I was left pondering as to how true this was. During my two and a half year stint in the field of marketing, after interact-ing with different customers, I agree to one of the claims of my ASM – that of the changing needs & demands of the cus-tomers.
Customers in a lot of ways are similar to microorganisms! Just like microorganisms have life cycles, customers have them too. Identifying the life cycle is important from the point of view of both a microbiologist and a marketer. The en-tire strategy depends upon the stage of the life cycle.

The most important part in marketing as we all would agree is that customer service plays a very important role in maintaining/retaining the customer (Even a novice „RocketSingh‟ understood that). Microorganisms were no different. As a microbiologist, once you have isolated the micro-organism of your need, the job does not end there. It has to be given proper nutrients to continue its growth and extract the benefits/requirements from them. If you do not cater to their needs of nutrients, they would progress to the death phase of their life cycle and thus it would be-come difficult to revive them back to the level of your requirements.

The job of the marketer is to identify the needs of his customers. As a microbiologist my job was cut out regarding this. The unfortunate thing though, was that the microorganisms did not communicate with me. But just as the customers re-spond to the promotional plans by way of giving orders, the microorganisms too responded by showing growth and the desired results when provided with the appropriate growth medium. Microorganisms mutate if not provided proper grow-ing conditions or at times due to certain exposures. Consumers however don‟t mutate but yes they change their prefer-ences if the marketer does not fulfill the promises made to them or when the competitors offer a more value added product.

A microbiologist collects samples from various places to isolate the microorganism of his choice. A marketer scans the entire market place to identify his target audience very similar to the job of a microbiologist. The ultimate goal being, Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning.

A marketer, I feel, is no different from a microbiologist, both in constant search of „new‟, the former searching for the customers and their needs while the latter searching for the organisms and their benefits. The logic remains the same but the arena changes. One works in the field while the other, in laboratories.

I have moved from micro to macro and I am enjoying every bit of it!!!


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