As you may have guessed, I’ve been working at BioStrata for twelve weeks now, and boy has it gone fast! Five years ago, I got my PhD in genetics at the University of Kent and was preparing for a move back up to Cambridge to start my new role as a technical sales rep (I knew halfway into my PhD that a life at the bench wasn’t for me).
I then became a headhunter at a life sciences recruitment agency (a bit of a random move I know) but I got to have some really interesting conversations with people in the biotech and med-tech communities about the cutting-edge research they were involved with.
Knowing I wanted to really maximise my passion for science communication I moved into medical communications, developing a whole host of materials for pharmaceutical companies. After two and a half years, I started to miss the life science industry—and that’s when I came across BioStrata.
I’m now a ‘recovering scientist’ (a term we often use to describe those of us who love science, but longed for a role that allowed us to play an active part in the industry without needing to work at the lab bench) or, more formally, a Junior Account Manager.
In this role, I'm really getting to grips with the ins and outs of life science marketing. Below I’ve picked out the top three things I’ve learnt since working at BioStrata.
1. Marketing isn’t what I thought it would be
Just in case you were wondering, this isn’t a bad thing and is actually one of the reasons I joined BioStrata. I knew from the outset that the way marketing is approached here was different from many other agencies, I just didn’t know exactly how. Now, I’ve discovered precisely what that difference is—an integrated mix of outbound and inbound marketing techniques that put the customer at the heart of all activities, and is focussed squarely on what we can do to deliver business results (often raising awareness, generating leads and helping to produce sales revenue!).
In particular, my first few weeks have been filled with learnings about the best practices of inbound marketing, and how these enable us to generate great content for everybody who is likely to interact with a company’s brand. Essentially, if the content you’re generating is of no value to your target audience, then don’t generate that content!
(On that note, to learn more about inbound marketing, you can watch this webinar series about the need for inbound marketing in the life science industry, what inbound is, how to do it well, and the type of results you can expect from it).
At BioStrata, we use a platform called HubSpot to help us manage and analyse the success of all our inbound-related activities for our clients. As part of this, the tool has a fantastic array of training materials for getting to grips with the world of inbound marketing, and how to implement these tactics in your client-based activities. I’ve spent a lot of time watching training videos on how to generate great content for clients and am already using the HubSpot platform to put some of my learnings into practice.
All this great training has left me slightly obsessed with watching reruns of the presentations from Inbound 2016 (an international conference on the topic). The presenters are just so enthusiastic you can’t help but share their passion for what inbound marketing can achieve. It’s like spending an hour in front of a motivational speaker—you come away raring to get your hands on the nearest HubSpot portal you can find! They also give some great hints and tips on the approach too, so I’m really looking forward to what Inbound 2017 has to offer (in fact, many of the talks are now live—I recommend this one on 26 tips for creating compelling and persuasive content, which I really learned a lot from).
2. How to blog effectively
Blogging has always been something I wanted to get into, but short of talking about baking or my cats, I was a bit stuck with what to write about. It’s great that I now get to do this as part of my job.
One big surprise about blogging has been finding out how strategic it is. Every blog has a purpose (as I said before, if your content isn’t going to be of interest or benefit to your customers then don’t write it). As my HubSpot and BioStrata training has taught me, there are several 'best practices' to follow to ensure ultimate blogging success:
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – In simplistic terms, make sure your blog is written in a way that ensures it’s at the top of somebody’s Google/Bing search results when they’re looking to answer a question that your content addresses
- Calls to action (CTAs) – Make sure the reader knows what the next steps they need to take are (once they've finished reading the blog); i.e. by guiding and showing them where to go next on your website
- Emailers and social posts – Raising awareness of the content you’ve published is key. Even if the blog is search engine optimised to the hilt, you can’t just rely on people searching for it. That’s where emailers and social posts can help you share your content with a wider audience.
3. Working in the life science sector is amazing and rewarding
So, this is a bit of a cheeky one, as I’ve always known this was the case, but having been out of the industry for a few years, I’d forgotten just how great it was!
I’ve always loved science, and live to learn about up-and-coming innovations from the people who are working to develop them. The diversity of products on offer and the number of cutting-edge technologies that could one day become standard practice is simply astonishing.
Whilst I know I’m not cut out for hands-on research, I love being able to have a scientific conversation with the people who are. That’s one of the great things about BioStrata. Because we’re an agency working within the life science industry, I get to learn about so many different research areas, technologies, products and services. Right now, I’m immersing myself in the fantastic world of early-stage drug development, but next week I’ll be working on cutting-edge discoveries within stem cell biology, and the following week I’ll be delving into manufacturing offerings from CMOs. How cool is that?!
As I’m sure you can tell, I love to learn—especially when it’s related to the life sciences. I know that working at BioStrata is going to provide me with plenty of opportunities to keep me learning as I go, whether that’s keeping up to date with the novel marketing techniques we’re talking to our clients about, or developments in the life science industry as a whole. I know there is simply no possibility that I will ever get bored—having had just had a taster of what’s to come!
Does the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of life science marketing appeal to you? Then visit our careers page to find out more about working in life science marketing, and the career opportunities we have available at BioStrata.