Many biotech companies approach marketing as if it were some Field of Dreams-style fantasy world where their science alone would make all their dreams come true.
Unfortunately, the biotech industry, like most, is super-competitive, requiring effective marketing to allow the novelty of the science to shine for all to see.
Often, the founders or executive teams behind biotechs are so focused on their science that they are misinformed about how rolling out a digital marketing strategy can fund their ability to continue their research.
Accordingly, I'll provide areas to consider for prioritization of digital marketing efforts.
Ready to Emerge From Stealth Mode. Now What?
Now that your clinical trials have provided some positive outcomes and you've decided to promote your brand, the focus shifts to the biotech audience you wish to attract—likely investors, partners, and healthcare providers (HCPs).
Each of those buyer personas has different buying habits, so your initial focus should be to determine the channels they hang out in most, so you can get in front of them. Here is a quick primer on how to create B2B buyer personas:
- Determine who the decision-makers are as they relate to your offering.
- Interview a decision-maker to get insights into what goes into their purchasing decision.
- Find out where they spend their time on digital platforms.
Once you compile the information, you can focus on digital marketing tactics to target one or two examples of who your buyer persona might be, whether partners or investors.
Multichannel Marketing Opportunities in Biotech
B2B sales reps get about 5% of a prospect's total purchase time, on average, according to Gartner. That's because buyers are performing a large portion of their research ahead of that initial call; they gather information, observe you on social media, and engage via various channels before finally engaging through a contact form.
Buyers, whether investors or partners, therefore need multichannel touches to gain familiarity and trust with your biotech.
The following four sets of channels tend to work best in biotech.
1. Events → Email
Biotech conferences are still one of the most popular places to network. Though swapping business cards can go a long way, what you're really after is holding on to and nurturing those prospects.
Once you've had an in-person interaction, add your contact to your CRM and segment them. Next, create a monthly newsletter catered to your target segment so you can keep your brand top of mind, share company updates, and remind prospects why you are relevant.
For example, if your goal is to impress potential partners, regular updates on your clinical trials, scientific progress, or influential team members might be relevant. Include a call to action in your newsletter to push readers to your website; those who click through will likely be your most engaged contacts.
2. Social Engagement and Thought Leadership
Most of the people who follow you on LinkedIn, the premier B2B social networking platform, will likely never engage with you. However, that doesn't mean they aren't interested in what you are sharing. LinkedIn can be a frequent reminder that you are a subject-matter expert, thought leader, and someone in your industry who should be trusted.
The best advice for marketing your biotech on social media—whether on LinkedIn or other platform where your prospects hang out—is to focus on one central message. For example, I focus 100% of my LinkedIn posts on biotech marketing for emerging companies; that way, I attract an audience laser-focused on that topic.
If you are using social media to talk to everyone, then you are talking to no one.
3. Paid Content Distribution
Most brands these days need a leg up getting their content in front of the right audience. Paid content distribution—whether via social media, Google Search, or industry journals—can give you the boost you need to get in front of your buyer personas.
I recommend native advertising in industry journals to make the biggest splash.
Native content opportunities—where your promoted content lives seamlessly within the media site—are offered by most industry publications. Due to the prestige the journals inherently have, native placements have the benefit of appearing more trustworthy than if the content were on your own site.
4. Content Marketing
Of all the options included here, content marketing is perhaps the most likely to drive clicks. The best content marketing is backed by SEO-focused content, where keyword research has revealed a large monthly volume of searches for your topics.
For example, a McKesson blog post on viral vector manufacturing ranks for nearly 300 keywords (according to Ahrefs software) and takes the top spot for the primary keyword, driving search engine traffic, engagement, and brand awareness.
This sort of top-of-funnel content does two basic things really well:
- It introduces previously unaware visitors to McKesson.
- It provides a pathway for visitors to learn more about McKesson's services related to the topic, potentially helping move prospects down the sales funnel more effectively than a paid channel alone would.
* * *
The biotech market is challenging enough to navigate without marketing in the mix. Raising capital, working through clinical trials, and developing novel science all come with their own set of hurdles.
However, given the core need to generate or raise revenue anywhere you can, marketing can help biotechs capture more opportunities than if they relied on the science—and, well, swung for the fences—alone.
More Resources on Tech and Biotech Marketing
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