When Less is More: Lessons from the Livestock Genomics Industry

One of the problems with our industry is that we let ourselves get fooled by the various products. We buy into the illusion that the more products a company has, the more problems they are capable of fixing. This is what happens when marketing gets in the way of Science, as it does sometimes.

I remember saying to a colleague a few years ago in reply to the number of Genomics Options that we were talking about: 'the more options you give, the more confusing the technology is perceived to be and the less the customer wants to adopt it'.

Unfortunately, even after all of these years, I still find myself asking the following: "Who built this product? Did they bother asking people in the industry what's needed? Do they even understand who the possible customers are?" Maybe they just rolled out of a truck and hit this tree, hoping that it was a magical cash-cow tree.

We are progressing faster and faster, with cooler gadgets and products, but there is still an adoption path that we must walk on. No shortcuts allowed. Unless, of course, you want to pick up the broken pieces later on.

If you are in a specific industry and you understand it well, then you should be able to pinpoint the main problems that it has and what you are trying to solve. You can’t solve everything and your product is not for everybody.

If I am talking to someone about a product or service and they can’t boil it down to simple reasons as to why I should do X versus Y, then they don’t get it. Which means that I want to talk to someone who does. This comes from the realization that my time - and that of my customers - is important. We can always make more money, but we can't make more time. It's finite.

Related: The Path To a Successful Technology Commercialization

So, find an organization that understands the problems they are trying to solve and that can provide a great onboarding and customer experience. These are organizations able to walk you through the process to get you what you really need in a timely manner. They don't typically have '17 different options' that they themselves don't understand the purpose of.

Less is More, in this case.

Less is more because now their product development team can focus on a useful product that works.

Less is more because now they have time to fix any problems with the products.

Less is more because now they can train their team on the benefits of the product and how it will solve their customer's problems.

Less is more because now they can focus on a few SKUs and their purchasing department can have a better idea of inventory.

Less is more because now their billing department will not have to issue refunds because of the incorrect billing code and amount.

Less is more becomes possible because those Organizations have properly segmented their customer base to understand who they are and what they really need.

When Less is NOT More

A major discussion and battle between the many companies involved in genotyping services is that of SNP Chip/Array sizes.

What should I buy? A low density or high-density?

More or Less SNPs on a chip or array DOES NOT equal a better product. Better SNPs and the Right Process equal a Better Product. Better means you have considered their breed effects, their location on the genome, their effects on many traits AND you use a trusted evaluation system. The Whole Shebang.

A low or high density product that follows some of the steps above, and then goes around a trusted evaluation is beyond subpar. It's not less. It's a fail. It shows that those organizations don’t care about the industry, much less the customers. They are temporarily in it to make a buck or two.

If you are in the AgBio Industry and you knowingly ignore Science, STOP.

If you are currently in the business of squeezing money out of producers to fund your marketing campaign at the expense of science, STOP.

A Breed Improvement Program is too important for the survival of the livestock industry to be left in the hands of Organizations that have repeatedly shown that they do not understand the process.

Related: 3 Golden Rules for A Stress-Free Breed Improvement Program

Our efforts of showing producers what better looks like will continue, both domestically and internationally. We will block any attempts to circumvent science. It's just the right thing to so. #SorryNotSorry


Genetics & Genomics Made Easy


About the Author Elisa Marques

An advocate for lifelong learning. A self-admitted textbook collector. I have been traveling around the globe since the tender age of 16 and have lived in 3 different countries. Some say that the 90's cartoon character "Carmen SanDiego" was loosely based on me, but who knows. I am a nerd at heart with a huge passion for science, marketing and teaching.

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