Life science marketing is tricky. We work in a vast, fast-paced sector that is always changing and, let’s face it, often we have lots to do and very little time to do it. You may have a large team to manage, are relied upon by other departments, are expected to always put strategy first (and strategy takes time) and ultimately, you are always expected to be reporting—whether that be to the board, shareholders or other business units within your organisation. That doesn’t leave much time for participating in relevant industry committees, building your own brand (and fitting in time for your personal life!).
As a life science marketing pro, you have to constantly adapt to new situations. But as marketing continues to evolve rapidly, new challenges present themselves—and we all need to be ready to overcome them.
To help with your busy schedule, we've brought together four of the key challenges that we face as modern marketers, and have provided some tips on how to overcome them.
Challenge 1: Keeping up to date with new technology
Every day, new digital channels and technologies appear that have the potential to sweep the world and change our lives forever. As marketers, major developments often force us to reconsider the way we communicate to our customers and prospects. For example, the exciting new technology of the late 80s and early 90s—caller ID—posed an issue for inside sales teams. In the 00s, spam filters significantly limited email blasts to purchased lists. And recently, streaming services are reducing the number of television adverts placed in front of customers.
It’s not all bad news, however. Technology may present us with challenges, but it also offers us new ways to be truly awesome marketers. Mobile devices enable frequent touch points with our audience, social media enables us to handle customer queries in real time, and search engines are giving us more options than ever to get our online content seen.
So, how do you overcome the challenges of new and emerging technologies? You don’t—embrace them instead! Our advice is to just ensure you stay well-informed. The HubSpot blog is one of our favourite places to access information on new and emerging technologies, and they even provide a handy ‘read length’ indicator on each blog post to help you manage your time effectively.
Challenge 2: Finding the time for real-time analytics and reporting
If it’s not being measured, it’s not modern marketing. Instead of launching a campaign and carrying out a period of reflection at its conclusion, the modern marketer should continually track performance—turning insight into immediate action. If visitor numbers accessing your blog has dropped in the past month, stop what you’re doing! Look at the data and identify where the problem is. This could be a content issue (your material is not resonating with your buyers), a user experience issue (maybe the blog header has moved from your main navigation), or it could be something else entirely!
These analyses may sound like a lot of work, but automation tools like HubSpot make them easily achievable. You can use HubSpot to launch, track, adjust and report on campaigns by tracking customer interactions and touch points with your content, website and social posts. Modern tools allow us to follow all online visitors—every time they return to your website. Use this data to make better, more informed decisions.
Our advice? Start using an analytics platform today. Tools like HubSpot allow for full automation and tracking, but they do have an associated cost. You can achieve similar results by making better use of your free Google Analytics platform.
Challenge 3: Managing budgets and proving return on investment
Budget and return on investment (ROI) have always been key factors in measuring the performance of marketing, which can be a challenge in itself (after all, not all marketing activities are undertaken to provide a positive financial return). We all know the feeling of a shrinking marketing budget alongside increasing expectations around ROI—expectations that place yet more pressure on you and your team.
So how do we overcome this challenge? By exploring new tactics created to take ownership of marketing budgets and demonstrate value—tactics like inbound marketing. The Inbound methodology has provided us with a structure and a set of tools that can be used to produce awesome campaigns using smaller budgets. Not only are inbound campaigns often more cost effective than traditional marketing tactics, but they also can provide great results for life science companies.
Challenge 4: Developing high-quality content
How do you create enough material to service each business unit within your company that is of high quality, portrays your key brand messaging, and is mapped against your buyer persona and their stage of the buyer’s journey?
The first step may be to hire specialist writers, but recruitment can be difficult and takes time. Maybe you could encourage your marketing team or your team of scientific specialists to write more, but do they have the time to write, and do you have the time to train them? In addition, they may be apt scientific writers, but can they create short-form content, or creative outlines for infographics, animations or video scripts? One thing an effective inbound marketing program requires is a good variety of content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
So, how do you overcome the challenges associated with content development? You plan and you repurpose. Firstly, look to create a content calendar that aligns to your buyer personas, each step of the buyer’s journey and your existing marketing materials. You may quickly find that a whitepaper your team developed two years ago perfectly aligns against your biotech buyer persona, and can be used at the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey with a slight rejig and a change of wording.
With minimal time investment, you can create a content calendar that maps out every piece of content to be repurposed (or that will need creating) in order to achieve business objectives for the year. As many of us working in marketing know; tackling challenging tasks becomes much easier when you have a plan like this in place.
What’s the trick to meeting these challenges?
There’s no trick, just solutions to save you time and help produce great results!
Plan effectively, look at systemising processes and bringing on board new technology to help you manage the workload of your marketing team. Ensure you are always exploring and implementing new strategies, and always keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies by dedicating time to reading and training.
To get started with your planning, we have created a handy eBook on developing a strategic life science marketing plan.