Strategic Sales & Marketing Solutions

Making Your Ideas Stick

In the biotech world, we’re often challenged to explain our technologies, especially to those without scientific backgrounds. How does one communicate complex concepts without overwhelming the audience? How can we convince investors of our vision without making them feel like we’re in love with the science?

Chip and Dan Heath tackle this subject in Made to Stick, their book on “why some ideas survive and others die”.

Many of their lessons apply to biotech and can be remembered with the acronym of SUCCESS:

Simplify the idea by finding its core, perhaps using an analogy. Have you ever heard a tech start-up which describe themselves as “eHarmony meets XXX” where XXX is their particular space? Everyone knows that eHarmony connects interested daters so we can easily generalize to the new space.

Unexpected – instead of stringing out facts about your business, you can create interest by creating curiosity. Take your audience down a path where they guess—What will happen? and Was I right?

Concrete – The brothers tell a story about a UNICEF director who promoted the funding for diarrhea treatment in developing countries. He would place a packet containing a teaspoon of salt and eight teaspoons of sugar—the ingredients for their Oral Rehydration Therapy—before beginning his pitch on how investing in simple ingredients can save thousands of lives. Consider this the next time you need to pitch for funding. Is there a way to make your science more concrete?

Credible – Consider a spokesperson, use customer testimonials or quote authority figures.

Emotional- Make people care. Speak about how the concept overcomes challenges, helps to make connections, and features a creative twist. Instead of talking about your disease state, why not personalize it with a story about an individual who lives daily with such an affliction?

Stories - Tell stories about your concept. Stories stick.


Debra Kurtz is a marketing and sales consultant in biotech. She helps companies develop products, open new markets, and communicate in a way that sticks.

Debra Kurtz
Kurtz Consulting Inc
voice: 224.715.1538
email: Consulting@DebraKurtz.com

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