Friday, 21 September 2012

Marketing fun for NGS

There has been a battle going on between Life Technologies and Illumina for NGS supremacy, especially over the personal sequencer market. I am sure you saw the "PGM vs MiSeq" videos on YouTube (1, 2 & 3)? If you didn't they are worth a look.

However I'm sorry to say Illumina still don't gift wrap!

Illumina and Life will always spend a fair proportion of income on marketing. In their 2011 annual reports they spent $261M and $1023M respectively on "selling, general and administrative" which I guess includes marketing somewhere. As a percentage of revenue this is 24% for Illumina and 29% for Life Technologies.

Where is the money being spent today: two recent marketing activities caught my eye, I don't prefer one over the other and they both target very different audiences. Both companies are doing much more than these two examples.

Illumina MiSeq grant:  Illumina are hoping to tempt potential customers by awarding three grants to use the MiSeq system. Awardees will receive a MiSeq, 10 sequencing kits, a sample prep kit (Nextera or TSCA) and access to BaseSpace. It does not matter where you are based or if you have experience with NGs, just submit your idea and keep your fingers crossed.


Ion Torrent's Mini tour: The Ion Torrent bus is still touring the USA, what better to tour the UK than a Mini (shame their German now). The tour is coming to my Institute next week and due to the quick run time of the PGM you can watch a run being setup, listen to a seminar and talk to the sales team, have lunch (I am not sure if lunch is included) and see the results from the run. All in about 2.5 hours. It should be fun and I hope to see some of you there. Register for the 24th of September visit to the CRI.


  • 12.30  Meet the PGM in the back seat of a Mini
  • 12.45  Start the PGM run 
  • 13.00  "Enjoy" a technical seminar, no heckling about MiSeq or GS Junior please
  • 15.00  See the results from the PGM run


I am not endorsing either of these particular marketing events. I hope you like them though because we are all paying for them with the instruments and kits we are buying! Think about how much of the fun at AGBT is sponsored by PacBio (Gold), Agilent & Roche (Silver) and Caliper, Illumina, Complete Genomics, NuGen, RainDance and Advanced Analytical (Bronze). Life Tech were sleeping over in the bus and sneaking into the bar!

PS: If Ion want to get rid of a Mini after the event I need a new car. I'd prefer them to follow my lead on a BMW R1200GS motorbike fitted out as a mobile sequencing lab though!

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