The life sciences sector is a unique beast spanning numerous areas, from agriculture and biotech to cannabis and healthcare. Competition is fierce and the industry faces notoriously tough regulations, which makes developing a marketing strategy more challenging than other B2B fields.
What’s the key to marketing success for life science brands? The first step is understanding the unique nuances of the industry, then working with—not against—them to develop powerful brands that resonate with niche audiences.
Here are four major marketing challenges facing life science and health science companies today, plus solutions for how to overcome them.
1. Marketing Complex Products and Services in a Compelling Way
During my stint in the lab as part of my master’s, I’d flip through scientific equipment catalogs while my cell cultures were incubating. I’d see ad after ad featuring some sophisticated instrument along with a detailed list of its specs and features. Nothing memorable or creative, just a picture of the device with various measurements and acronyms.
Talk about boring. I remember thinking even then, before I got into marketing as a profession, that there’s got to be a better way!
Developing persuasive messaging is always tougher in B2B, but it becomes all the more difficult when you add a dose of science from a niche field and enough jargon to last a lifetime.
One trick is to remind yourself that an actual person is buying from you. Yes, scientists are people too!
The solution? Focus on storytelling—not product specs—to craft communications about your product or service. This means developing a narrative to tell your brand story and encourage your buyers to engage with you.
2. Finding Marketing Writers Who Know Science
Not long ago, I stumbled upon a health science research firm’s website. They had clearly undergone a redesign and were promoting it on LinkedIn. It looked pretty nice, but as I scrolled down the home page, I spotted a BIG error in their service description. It was a double-whammy of typo mixed with a logic/scientific mistake that made no sense (and yes, I checked to be sure it wasn’t just me!).
Content marketing is still king in B2B, so the written word matters more than ever. This is especially true in scientific fields where customers are paying you for your specialized expertise. In other words, what you know and how you talk about it can either help or hurt your business.
Writers are a dime a dozen, but an inexperienced marketer unfamiliar with your space will cost you more in training, editing time, and brand credibility.
For best results, seek out a marketer with scientific experience or hands-on experience in your sector. They will already know the basics and can write content more quickly and accurately than a generic copywriter. Plus, the chances of making critical mistakes are much lower.
Areas a science-trained marketing writer can assist with include:
- Website copywriting
- Article writing
- Press releases
- Case studies
- Proposal development
- Ghostwriting on behalf of technical experts
3. Coming Up With Content Topics That Aren’t Boring
There’s no way around it: even with great writing, technical concepts can be a little, well, dull. Sectors like manufacturing or equipment just don’t have that inherent “wow” factor to draw from creatively, making content creation an uphill battle. And with content marketing at the forefront of most B2B companies’ marketing strategies, the pressure’s on to keep churning out those blog posts, articles, and videos.
How can scientific brands create content that excites, rather than bores, their audience? Start with these 8 Surprising Sources of Marketing Content for B2B Industries. Let us know how it goes!
4. Gaining Marketing Buy-In From Technical/Scientific Management Teams
If you work in sales or have a business background, chances are you already appreciate the value of marketing for business growth. Marketing should have tight links with your business strategy and involve all areas of your organization – not just the business development team but also corporate management, operations, finance, and technical leadership.
That being said, it’s important to remember that not everyone prioritizes marketing or understands its purpose and benefits. Marketing skepticism is common in scientific fields where management teams may consist entirely of technical professionals. They may have no marketing knowledge at all, or have limited experience that impedes their ability to understand the true, measurable impact marketing can have on the advancement of their business.
Convincing management to invest in marketing requires an open and honest conversation about the benefits, costs, and long-term value of a marketing program. It should be viewed as a strategic investment, not a frivolous expense. To do this, marketing performance should always be measured so that adjustments can be made over time. Done correctly, a marketer will be able to report ROI to management and determine as a group whether objectives were met.
One caveat to remember is that marketing should never be viewed as a magic bullet that’ll solve all of your company’s issues.
If your organization’s target market isn’t well defined, your sales reps aren’t able to close deals, or your product or service has serious flaws, marketing is not likely to be your saving grace. Harsh? A little. True? Absolutely!
Is your business facing any of these marketing challenges? Get in touch with us to discuss your content marketing, website, or marketing strategy needs for the life sciences.