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The Pragmatic MBA for Scientific and Technical Executives

The Pragmatic MBA for Scientific and Technical Executives

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The Pragmatic MBA for Scientific and Technical Executives

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Lançado em:
Oct 5, 2012


This primer enables professionals with technical expertise to collaborate with their business-side colleagues.  Emphasizing brevity and clarity, it gives technical staff answers to their most pressing questions about economics, finance, marketing, strategic decision-making, accounting, management, and related subjects.  It does not offer condensed 1st year MBA courses; instead, it presents streamlined concepts and insights that are easy enough to be accessible and challenging enough to hold one's interest.  Its examples from pharma, IT, aircraft/navigation, and other industries highlight problems that technical professionals face daily. Written by "one of them," its credibility makes it more useful than Internet resources. Because it concentrates on pragmatic (as opposed to academic) approaches to business, it empowers technical staff to stay with the conversation--and take it to a higher level.

Bertrand C. Liang, MD, PhD, MBA, is Managing Director of LCC Ventures and Executive Director of Pfenex, Inc.  He is trained in molecular biology and genetics (PhD) and is a clinician (MD) with subspecialty training in neurology and oncology, and serves as a Visiting University Professor at Liaoning He University, Shenyang, China.

  • Creates frameworks and builds concepts enabling technical staff to work with their business colleagues
  • Delivers content for pragmatic, immediate use, not condensed presentations of subjects from first year MBA curriculum
  • Extends readers' grasp by posting additional resources at a freely-available website 
Lançado em:
Oct 5, 2012

Sobre o autor

Bert Liang is trained in molecular biology and genetics (Ph.D.) and is a clinician (M.D.) with subspecialty training in both neurology and oncology. He possesses an MBA as well as corporate experience (currently Executive Director of Pfenex Inc.) and has more than 50 publications in both scientific and business subjects.

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Amostra do Livro

The Pragmatic MBA for Scientific and Technical Executives - Bertrand C. Liang


Chapter 1


Table of Contents


Market Segmentation

Economic Utility

The Marketing Mix





General References and Websites Related to Marketing

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter F. Drucker

Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.

Milan Kundera


In many organizations, there is often a distinct physical and ideological separation between the technical part of a firm and its commercial component. In part because of this, there has been minimal overlap between the respective units of R&D and marketing with a limited working relationship between the functions; indeed, this at times requires a specific linkage group to be established (e.g., technical support; medical affairs) to bridge the gap between these areas. Nonetheless, it is clear today that regardless of the strategic paradigm used within a given company, an organization needs be commercially focused, with a clear understanding of customer needs and wants, and with the ability to respond to environmental changes quickly and efficiently in order to maximize the chances of marketplace success. Arguably, an organization must be sophisticated enough to understand and anticipate the technical needs of a customer, and be able to provide solutions to those needs earlier and in a robust fashion in order to sustain competitive advantage. Hence, an understanding of the marketing function is paramount in the role of the modern technical executive (and staff). Indeed, the R&D executive may (and should) be exposed to various components of the marketing plan and strategy, including the marketing mix and microenvironment. These components of the marketing strategy, and the detailed communication thereof, provide an approach by which the needs of these customers will be satisfied, via responsive products having been conceptualized and developed by the R&D function of the organization, and offered by the commercial component into the appropriate settings.

Many studies have shown the importance of a strong relationship between marketing and R&D. It is also clear that often there is a distinct tension between such groups, impairing the working relationship and overall productivity. This disharmony can be a function of a fundamental distrust between the groups, and a lack of appreciation of the other’s function within the organization. Moreover, this can be due to limited interaction between the groups during product development, with a minimum of communication, and that often occurring only late in the process.

In contrast, more successful efforts of the technical and commercial parts of the organization are a result of a ‘harmoniouspartnership of trust between marketing and R&D. This can take the form of an equal partnership, where diverse aspects and activities from workload to rewards are shared equally, or a dominant partnership where one group or the other leads, but where there is a basic trust in the ability of the other group to perform their respective function – these relationships between marketing and R&D may exist with less complex technologies, lower R&D requirements, and/or in situations where less intensive customer interactions are required. Indeed, the more harmonious states reveal a significant value to the organization; most projects succeed commercially in one of these states, whereas in the disharmonious state projects fail over five times more frequently (see Souder, 1988)! For an organization, this very much suggests the need for the technical executive to actively manage the relationship between the technical and commercial groups, with frequent communication, monitoring, and understanding of the team dynamics, lest the multifunctional team go down the pathway of a disharmonious state. It is clear that the technical and commercial parts of the organization, working together, have the best chance of communicating the value proposition to the customer, and gaining customer acceptance of the product offering. Indeed, it is this alliance between the technical and commercial functions that is key for the company to successfully compete for the future.

Market Segmentation

A market represents a group of customers for a particular product or service offering. Within this market, there are those who have the resources to transact a purchase or use, and have the need, willingness, and ability to effect such a transaction. This constitutes a market segment. Indeed, there are typically different components to a market, and one of the most important aspects for the marketing team is to identify those market segments which are attractive to pursue. The actual goal behind using a segmentation approach is to identify subsets of customers who will be the most attractive for the firm to create value propositions of its offerings (within the resource constraints of the company). By identifying these subgroups for targeting, a more homogeneous and smaller group can be targeted within a marketing mix (see below) putatively with a higher chance of success of being able to deliver a resonating message resulting in a transaction (viz.

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    Key concepts have been explained in a very simple language.