Many life science companies are shifting from a focus on technologies to be more focused on their customers. I asked Jeff Mazzeo, VP of Marketing at Waters Corporation, “What’s driving that shift?”
He told me, “Customers are changing.” They are no longer technical experts, but people who are being asked to analyze huge numbers of samples of increasing complexity. What matters to decision makers now is how an investment in technology from a company like Waters will improve their business’s financial results.
Waters has broken their market into four segments and works to create solutions specific for each of those segments. This means a change in the way they do product marketing and how teams are organized.
Success is coming from:
- Recognizing past success
- Challenging developers to solve big customer problems
- Incorporating feedback from sales and service
- Bringing in adjacent technology
Most importantly, Jeff talked about what Waters is doing to get their employees to think differently about how they approach their jobs. He gave examples of what has worked to create a new culture. One thing that worked was that Waters had been successful with this approach in the past when they had a champion that said, “You know, I really want to deliver to my customer a complete solution with everything that’s required for them to get the answers they need.” and worked to make that happen.
Next, they challenged developers to think about how to solve specific problems as expressed by a customer. As an added bonus, I think this creates a new level of engagement from their own scientists who have a mentality of continuous learning.
Third was using the feedback from their sales and service people who are with customers every day.
Finally, bringing in technology that’s not part of Waters’s core competency but adjacent can help solve a problem. We had a little aside about how combining two ideas from different areas often leads to breakthroughs as opposed to incremental improvement. For more on that you should listen to Shane Snow on the James Altucher Show.