Science seeks the truth; marketing doesn’t care. Experiments, mathematics and logic show whether something can be assumed as fact, and are the hallmark of science. If a well-designed experiment is done, repeated numerous times and shows a certain result, then we have an established local truth. It maybe expanded or modified over time but is still taken as true.
Marketing on the other hand, doesn’t care if it is true or not; so long as it can sell an idea, a product or a dream. Celebrities make good marketers as they don’t seem to have any qualms as to whether products should in fact be marketed.
So, can or perhaps should scientists be good marketers. I think not, as it defeats the basic purpose of science. Scientists can advertise, but not market. They should not be trying to sell their work but instead they should loudly advertise it. Once we fall into the trap of marketing, we stop being scientists.
As a professional geophysicist working as a seismic interpreter, I used all the data I could to create an accurate view of the subsurface as I was able, with no regard to how others thought it should look. I then presented my best story on how the geology worked and where hydrocarbons were likely to be found. Luckily, I got it close enough to reality often enough to survive in the job for 40 years.
During that time, I was often asked to beef up my results in order to sell the acreage, but always refused. If someone else wanted to market my work, then that was their job. Mine was to establish the probability and risk associated with each target to the level the data allowed, not to embellish it.
Can there be such a thing as marketing science or is it an oxymoron? The science of marketing is essentially psychology or quite possibility the study of hypnosis. Or at least I think that is likely to be the case.
No one really understands what is going on during hypnosis. It is associated with receptiveness, mindfulness, sensory processing and those sorts of things (however they are defined). Best theory at the moment is that it involves an induction phase and a suggestion phase. You are lulled into a receptive state and then it is suggested that you do something in particular, and hey, it seems to work. It is also thought that you do it to yourself rather than it being done to you.
Religions, politicians, leaders have been proficient at lulling and suggesting for years and marketing science seems to be catching up using data to establish what works best. There we go, learning science from religion. So, should science do the same?
My answer is an emphatic no. Science requires non scientists to process the data for themselves to some degree at least. It is about discovering reality, not about being convinced something is true. Scientists need to question everything, not go along with a suggestion from someone else.
For my part I believe scientists should not use celebrities, soft voices, shiny objects or other ploys to manipulate or hypnotise people to believe. That is not the way of science or scientific progress.
Instead, scientists need to be enthusiastic about their work and describe it honestly. Its logic should stand up for itself (eventually).
So, do I market my science novels or just advertise them?
Sublime Murder and Signs of a River are available as ebooks.