Life Science Marketing - An Interactive Approach03.17.2010
By Yvonne Tocquigny
Scientists and medical professionals seem to have an insatiable appetite for information on new products and techniques. They also have strong preferences as to how and when they wish to interact with marketers. That said, they also tend to lack respect or trust for advertising. They resent the intrusion of marketing and want pertinent professional information, not clever or promotional ads. Believing they are above the influence of advertising, scientists and medical professionals want to make decisions based on technical facts that they generally believe are "beyond a copywriter’s understanding." Writing that resembles "ad copy" is seen as distasteful, and slick graphics are quickly dismissed as "fluff."
Regardless of what you have to say, this audience chooses not to listen to your marketing message unless it is tailored specifically to their information needs. Scientists and medical professionals have two types of information needs — “Heads-Up” information and “Heads-Down” information:
- "Heads-Up" information includes news on technological advances, the competitive environment, and industry trends. They are more likely to read printed articles, ads (particularly banner ads placed on sites they trust), brochures, and email newsletters for this type of information.
- "Heads-Down" information is knowledge gained on the job and consists of data, specifications, or technical information on how to solve specific problems. They are more likely to use websites and blogs to acquire this intelligence.
Take a Straightforward Approach
Scientists and medical professionals usually purchase products after carefully weighing facts and making relevant comparisons. They prefer straightforward message tones, characterized by factual, low-key, professional approaches. Advertising copy should appeal to reason first and emotion second — because, for the scientist or medical professional, purchasing is a measured process based primarily on technical data, not pleasant feelings. Furthermore, the conceptual language used should be familiar to this audience (e.g., charts, graphs). Using their vocabulary is important because it conveys credibility and makes them comfortable with their ability to fully understand the message.
Get It Right the First Time
Scientists and medical professionals are trained to question information. They apply a highly critical eye to the choices that a vendor company makes in designing and marketing their products, and they won’t revisit their decisions. Therefore, inadequately executed efforts to influence this audience may do more harm than good. We recommend testing marketing campaigns before their deployment to be certain that the messaging and tactical implementation will be effective.
Use Social Media Marketing
How should a company go about marketing to a target who claims to be immune to typical advertising and marketing techniques?
Social media marketing is an excellent way to inform and influence scientists and medical professionals. Since recommendations from colleagues are one of the most trusted and valued ways they receive information and make decisions, they are likely to solicit the opinions of a small community that they trust. These professionals are quick to discover that they can greatly benefit from the experiences of others and are often eager to share information. By developing, monitoring and contributing to the right online communities, companies can build trust and awareness more efficiently than most other channels. When social marketing is combined with search marketing, an informative website, and a targeted display advertising program, the results can boost a company’s growth and profits.
Other proven marketing techniques to reach the scientist and medical professional include:
- Appeal to the analytical, intelligent mindset through the use of interactive tools to deliver branding and key messages
- Demonstrate how technical features deliver value through interactive, technical demos
- Provide offers of intelligent information to reduce perceived risks
Used together as a comprehensive strategy, we have seen these techniques work to gain the trust and focused attention of cautious decision makers. One-off efforts will not, however, lead to long-term success. An effective marketing strategy in which each tactic ladders back to support a specific business goal is the best way to build a dependable approach for the delivery of measurable results.
A personalized Tocquigny business consultation can be obtained by contacting Tom Fornoff.