Posted by on May 20, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Are You Stealing from Your Future Revenue? The Risk of Cutting Marketing Expenses First

When it’s time to tighten the belt on the budget, what’s the first thing that goes? Other than employee perks like free coffee, that is. It’s marketing.

Why? Because it’s easy.

It’s hard to cut operating costs, research investments, or sales expenses. But it’s easy to cut advertising and PR campaigns, social media, email marketing and even content marketing. Those are simple nos.

To the CFO, marketing looks like a line item. It doesn’t show direct revenue – it just shows an expense, making this category an easy target to draw a line through. But it’s getting harder to do that now because there are marketing communications tools that can show ROI for a range of activities.

Don’t Cut Marketing Expenses First.

The economic market is always changing. We’ve had bull and bear markets. And now – after enjoying a long bull market – the forecast is that we’re headed into a down market. It’s anybody’s guess at this point. But once the bad news begins, your CFO will take a harder look at expenses and the first thing he may want to cut is marketing.

Just because it is an expense doesn’t mean that it isn’t an important expense. The way we look at it at Brandwidth Solutions is that it’s a critical investment in your future.

Remember the classic studies done on companies that invested in heavier advertising, radio program sponsorship and creative pricing tactics during the Great Depression? Those companies ultimately became the market leaders in their respective industries: Kellogg, Procter & Gamble, MGM Studios, and Yuengling among them.

The companies that cut marketing? They disappeared.

During a depression, money is tight – much tighter than in a bear market. But guess what? Human behavior remains the same and therefore this dynamic hasn’t changed. So if you’re thinking that you can eliminate your marketing budget with impunity, you may want to think again.

4 Reasons Why Cutting Marketing Spend Puts Future Revenue at Risk

There are solid reasons why you really don’t want to cut investments in marketing. Marketing activities make an impact nine to 12 months ahead of sales. If you cut marketing now, you will lose your momentum nine to 12 months later.

  1. The Challenge with Long Sales Cycles

For most of our clients, long sales cycles are the norm. If your sales cycle is 12 to 18 months long, it can be really hard to match the marketing expense you made 12 to 18 months ago to the actual sale of your product or service today. Calculating your ROI in this case is difficult.

Sometimes you can easily understand marketing ROI if your CRM is used properly or if you’ve submitted a quote. But sometimes, even when you are presented an opportunity or a request for proposal, you don’t know how or from where it came. You won’t always have a handle on exactly what marketing event generated enough interest to ask for a quote.

If you have a sales force that’s well-trained, they’ll know to always ask, “How did you hear about us?”

But let’s face it, usually the sales person is so excited about the opportunity that they’re not thinking about how a simple question like this can drive future sales. Instead, they’re thinking, “How do I get this sale? What are the things I need to do to get this sale?”

For long sales cycles, the marketing ROI is usually in the form of lead generation. If you cut marketing, you’ll cut your lead generation activities – ultimately, cutting your sales.

  1. Lasting Brand Awareness Takes Time

Your customer isn’t going to remember you just because they saw your product once. It takes time to build awareness of your brand. It takes time to build your product’s reputation. It takes time for your potential customers to understand your expertise. It takes even more time for them to make a buying decision.

It used to be that it took 5-7 “touches” (meaning exposures to your brand) before a prospect remembered your brand. Today, that number is even higher. This means that building your visibility and thought leadership is an ongoing process.

If you cut your marketing budget, you won’t be able to capitalize on the marketing investments you’ve made and like those companies in the Great Depression who cut their budgets, you’ll also disappear from the conversation in your industry.

  1. It Takes Money to Make Money

There’s a reason why this adage exists. When sales aren’t fully funding operating expenses, or when the economy looks bleak, the tendency is to try to cut costs and save your pennies to ensure your survival.

Let’s look at it another way. If no one knows about you, you don’t exist. Or, if you’ve disappeared from view (say, all of the advertising or articles you used to publish are discontinued), the assumption is you went out of business.

Not a good feeling, is it?

If you are not participating in your industry’s conversation in some fashion, you won’t be able to generate any leads. If you can’t generate leads that convert to sales, you really will cease to exist. You’ve got to continue to market your product or service even in lean times to ensure that you stay top of mind for prospects that need your product.

  1. Stand Out: Do What Everyone Else Isn’t Doing

Let’s go back to the successful companies in the Great Depression, or we can look at examples of some of the greatest investors like Warren Buffett, Jim Rogers, or John Templeton. In both cases, the choice was made to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. That choice ensured visibility and created immense success.

If your product is “best in class” but your industry is experiencing a pull back, get out there and keep marketing. When you stay visible during downturns, your customers will see you and confidence in your company will increase. When they are ready to buy, they’ll remember you.

What Can You Do To Reduce Marketing Costs without Harming Your Business

All is not lost if you absolutely must make changes in your marketing budget. You can look at that line item and say, “Okay, we need to reduce spend.”

There are certainly elements that will keep you visible and in the decision-making mix. Your customer audience is shifting and getting younger. They search for products and services in the B2B space like they do in their personal life. These are the behaviors you’ll want to take into account when you seek to reduce your marketing spend.

What do you cut and what do you keep?

When you think about your customer profiles, you’ll want to keep social media and advertising. Maybe you decide to not do any print and you chose more digital advertising. Perhaps you use Google display ads instead of Google AdWords to cut your spend.

You should never cut down on your content because your content is your thought leadership. You can reuse it over and over. And certainly, you need to stay in the press and you’ve got to keep attending trade shows.

To make marketing a line item expense and then just put a line through it and say, “I’m not going to do this anymore,” puts you in the position of losing out on your future sales.

Don’t steal tomorrow’s revenues by cutting your marketing efforts today.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Apr 19, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Where Did Life Science Innovation Go?

The good old BHAG had quite a run in the ‘90s, but in large part it seems to have disappeared – along with true innovation in larger companies.

I’m not seeing larger life science companies shooting for Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs) anymore. Lately, it seems the only growth plan large companies have is acquisition. They’ve left their vision at the door. Instead they watch and wait. They let all the innovation happen at small and start-up level companies. Then they buy them.

Psst…acquisition is not a BHAG.

I think we’ve missed an opportunity, or we’ve lost sight of the opportunity. When Collins and Porras wrote Built to Last, they included visionary companies such as Johnson & Johnson and General Electric but look at where we are now. Did we not follow the rules of Built to Last? Did we not pay attention to the value of BHAGs?

I’ve been wondering why this is happening. Are you?

A Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)

Granted, it’s not the most appealing of names but it does deliver the concept of outside-the-box thinking and long-term objectives quite clearly.

In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras introduced the business world to the BHAG in their book “Built to Last.” The book set the business world on fire and got companies thinking – and acting.

As Jim Collins states:

A true BHAG is clear and compelling and serves as a unifying focal point of effort—often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal … A BHAG engages people—it reaches out and grabs them in the gut. It is tangible, energizing, highly focused. People “get it” right away; it takes little or no explanation.

Passion/Best in the World/Economic Engine

The bottom line is your company’s BHAG has got to have passion. It’s got to be ‘best in class’ and it’s got to be a financial driver.

Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

While every goal has an economic driver, are we developing ones with passion? Are they high energy goals with clear finish lines?

For some companies, marketing plans aren’t approved until mid or end of Q1. Due to the delay, marketing teams struggle to get plans in place, editorial opportunities are missed and overall marketing momentum is lost.

Large companies seem to be simply playing with numbers and managing to stockholders’ expectations, shooting for quarter-to-quarter earnings.

You can say BHAGs were a 90’s thing, but I disagree with that assumption.

You can still find companies shooting for BHAGs. Some may be small start-ups who have created their entire culture and product delivery based on BHAGs. And then there are large companies like Netflix, Virgin and other visionary companies shooting for their own BHAGs.

When Built to Last was published in the 90’s, we – as a nation – were doing well. We had great economic growth, the stock market was thriving, and we were building funds in our treasury. In 2000, we had a surplus. So, what happened?

When did goal-setting move from long-term vision to quarter-by-quarter earnings? I have a feeling maybe we got lazy during the good times. It escalated when we had the bubble, and shifted after the dot-com bust. Then everyone started thinking, “Okay, what’s the next quarter? What’s the next quarter?”

Unfortunately, we are living in a month-to-month, quarter-by-quarter environment. I get it. Everyone is hanging on the earnings report. The market is volatile and worldwide trade uncertainty seems to be the order of the day.

But somewhere there has to be a vision for what a company needs to look like 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now.

There’s got to be a roadmap.

Long term economic growth doesn’t come from stockholders whose sole focus is “What’s my return on investment? How much did we make?” It comes from C-suite vision and shareholders who are willing to care about the long-term health of the company they have invested in.

But really, would you need stockholders’ goals if you had Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

Is This Our Opportunity for Big Hairy Audacious Goals?

I think when companies stop striving for BHAGs – whether in product development or larger global impacts, like the moonshot – we all lose.

Here we are in 2019 and it’s the end of the first quarter. Half of the companies out there probably haven’t had their marketing budgets approved yet, and many companies don’t even have their sales quotas out for their sales teams.

Now is the time. You’re planning what you are going to develop during the course of the year. What big challenge needs to be overcome?

It’s time to think about that next revolutionary product or service. It means you need to start to do your homework and create that product based on real information and research. Then market it.

What are we waiting for?

Set Your BHAG

The great thing about big hairy audacious goals is you can set a BHAG any time you want. It’s not driven by a start of the year; it’s not quarter-by-quarter. A BHAG has nothing to do with the quarter.

It has to do with vision. Passion and vision.

These projects can take longer than a year to achieve. But the results will impact future years.

It doesn’t matter when you set them.

Netflix was founded on a BHAG and has continuously set them as part of their growth plan. From “becoming the Amazon of something” at their founding, to transforming movie viewing through streaming to their latest BHAG of “becoming HBO faster than HBO can become Netflix,” Netflix is a perfect example of industry innovation through BHAGs.

Go Get ‘Em

Right now it’s all about enabling your teams to have BHAGs – to want to have BHAGs. So, perhaps now while you’re putting your budget together, you put some money aside to explore BHAGs. And this year, you say, “In 2019, I’m going to encourage our teams to come up with a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.”

You could say, “Look, I want each division to pitch me a BHAG. What’s in your back pocket that you’ve been thinking about that you’re too afraid to talk about?”

Start small, or start in a small market, but encourage your people to think outside-of-the-box. It’s your team that will come up with the Big Idea. There might be a voice in your team that’s very quiet, but there’s a BHAG in there and you’re missing the opportunity.

Are You Ready to Create Opportunity & Innovation?

What are your thoughts about BHAGs? Where do you think we should be going?

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 3: 4 Best Ways to Generate Leads from Trade Shows

We’ve covered a lot of territory on the topic of maximizing trade show attendance in my two previous posts in this series. We talked about the value of choosing the right shows and conferences and how to prepare for them. We also discussed how to drive traffic to your booth.

But let me ask you this.

What is the single, most important result of attending a tradeshow or conference?

It’s solid sales leads, right?

With 84% of trade show attendees looking for products and services – and also able to make a buying decision, a successful trade show is critical to your company’s sales cycle.

Lead Development Before, During and After Trade Shows

Lead development is a process. There are actions you and your sales team can take in the weeks prior to the show, at the show and following the show to ensure that your company’s attendance has a significant ROI.

It’s helpful to view a trade show or industry conference as one big sales meeting. You wouldn’t walk into a sales meeting unprepared, would you?

Before you head out to your next trade show, make certain you put your lead generating plan in place.

Make Connections

Few people are comfortable working a trade show, and conference promoters know this. That is why virtually every industry gathering has networking tools attendees can use before the conference.

Sometimes these tools allow you to meet fellow attendees and engage in conversation using messaging channels. Some trade show promoters provide matchmaker services using the criteria you give them. And sometimes the show promoter provides private networking groups on social media channels such as LinkedIn or Facebook for attendees to connect with each other.

You know who makes the buying decisions for your product or service. Get into those pre-conference apps and start looking for your target audience. Start your conversations now so by the time you meet in person at the show, you’ll already have a relationship in place.

Ask for the Meeting

Now is not the time to be shy. There is no need to be obnoxious either. Everyone attending a tradeshow is there for a purpose. Most attendees are looking to purchase products or services to solve a problem and they want to do business.

Prior to the show is a perfect time to reach out to your prospect list and re-start conversations by inviting them to your booth. If they will be attending, ask to schedule time with them. Check in with current customers too.

Work through the list of attendees the conference promoter provides and reach out to your decision-makers. Whether you send personal emails, tap the conference networking apps or use social media channels, request a meeting to discuss the challenges they face.

With almost half of all face-to-face meetings converting to a sale,  asking for meetings is critical to your success.

Walk and Work the Floor

Your booth isn’t the only place connections can be made and conversations can convert to sales (or at least take the next step in the sales process). There are many networking opportunities – from cocktail parties to educational sessions where you can meet prospects.

Have you considered how easy it is to strike up a conversation during a lunch break? Get out and get involved in the show’s other activities.

Meanwhile … back at your booth … staff should be focused on diving deep with booth visitors – and taking good notes. It’s not enough to scan a badge and call it a lead. Everyone needs to be trained in asking questions. Here are a few that can move the sales conversation forward:

  • What product or services are they interested in?
  • What challenges are they experiencing that drive them toward this product or service?
  • What timeframe are they envisioning for their purchase?

It’s critical after each interaction booth staff make clear notes which can be entered in your sales database. These notes provide the key steps to personalized tradeshow follow-up.

Nurture Your Relationship with Meaningful Follow-up

I talked about tradeshow follow-up in Part 1 of this series and I simply can’t stress how important meaningful follow-up actions are for your trade show ROI.

Before you leave for the show, you should already have a follow-up plan in place. Your marketing department can create an automated series of segmented emails targeting people you may have missed connecting with or new contacts. They can also build nurturing email campaigns for prospects with longer purchasing lead times. In addition, they can craft follow-up emails that can be adapted by your sales force.

When you return to the office, it’s easy to take pre-scripted follow-up emails and add personalization. By including key information discovered during your conversations and sending targeted whitepapers, case studies or product information, your conference follow-up becomes a valuable email your prospect will be happy to receive. It helps deepen your relationship and move your sales conversation forward.

Your company has invested significant budget in exhibiting and attending trade shows and your team needs to produce ROI. Be sure you use every tool in your toolbox – as well as the conference promoter’s toolbox – to maximize ROI.

What are your most successful trade show tactics for lead gen?

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Feb 20, 2019 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 2: Make Your Trade Show Booth the Most Popular One in Town

Have you ever noticed that there’s usually one or two booths at every trade show that always seem to be mobbed by attendees?

Maybe it’s the giveaways (who doesn’t want the latest VR glasses!) or the cool free t-shirts, but it’s usually because a company got their pre-show promotion plan right.

Why Should Anyone Visit Your Booth?

The reason to visit your booth shouldn’t be because of what you’re giving away.

You need to make your message compelling. Let’s think about the question “What’s in it for me?” Only, let’s turn that around a little and ask instead “What’s in it for my customer?” Why should they visit my booth? When you answer that question correctly and turn that answer into your exhibit messaging, you have a compelling reason for your prospects to visit.

Your booth should allow your potential leads to quickly self-identify. Your message needs to target those who are looking for what you offer and draw them in.

Some other ideas that give your potential customers a reason to visit your booth include:

  • introduction of a new product or service
  • show-related discounts
  • sponsored events at the trade show
  • presentations

Present Your Expertise

Most trade shows have educational tracks providing ongoing learning opportunities for attendees. One of the best ways for you to gain visibility at a show is to lead a session or present research to establish your thought leadership. Look into signing up to be a presenter, teach a session or an exhibitor workshop.

Demonstrations and lectures can also occur at your booth. You should consider designing a short presentation educating potential customers about your product or service. Plan to deliver the presentation several times during the show and post the schedule at your booth. Don’t forget to invite people to attend. You may even want to hand out your presentation schedule at the show.

Contact trade journals and let them know about any new products, services or research you’re rolling out at the show. When you have news to share, you should always send out a press release and invite the press to your booth for interviews. An article about your company published after the show is a great way to keep your visibility high and new leads coming in!

Make it an Event

High energy, fun – and knowledgeable – staff is your first ingredient to making your booth the place to be. A great theme and ongoing interactive events provide visitors with an enjoyable experience they won’t forget.

You can offer a demonstration of your product or service which is always valuable. But have you thought about providing an interactive tour of your facilities or a key piece of equipment? Or how about setting up a white board and asking booth visitors to comment on a question?

Don’t forget simple things like games, giveaways and drawings. These are always excellent ways to draw traffic to your booth and and gather leads for your sales staff. Creating an overall theme for the show that relates to your offering gives you a unique opportunity to make your booth an event.

How Do You Drive Traffic to Your Booth?

You can have the best message in town, but if you don’t promote it no one will know you’re exhibiting – and they won’t visit and engage with you.

As I mentioned in last month’s post on how to exhibit at trade shows, communicating and promoting your attendance at a show is critical to getting the foot traffic you need.

It’s all about the pre-show prep and how you carry out your plans while at the show.

Trade Show Tools
Your first step in driving traffic to your booth is using the tools trade show promoters make available to exhibitors. Typically these will include:

Exhibitor lists
Show floor maps
Company listings
Show-branded email campaigns

Make sure that your listing and all information you submit to the show promoter is correct and up-to-date. You’ll also want to be sure that your benefits messaging is clear and concise. This should be a very short elevator pitch – what benefit does your product or service give your customer. And don’t forget to include a persuasive reason why they should visit your booth!

Many trade shows also offer the option for exhibitors to send customized email campaigns to their email list before the show. This is an important tool to consider since it provides a way for you to promote your booth & services to potential customers who are not already on your own email list.

Let’s not forget that conference attendees are at the show for a reason. They are looking for the products and services their companies need. They are serious about identifying the companies that can deliver the right products and services.

That means they’ve been scouring the listing of exhibitors, researching your company and putting together a short list of companies to talk with at the show.

You need to be on that list.

Use Every Promotional Channel
Promoting your trade show booth goes beyond using the tools the promoter has available. There’s a reason why the phrase “an oldie but goodie” exists. It’s because the ‘old’ ways of promoting events still work – and work well.

Direct Mail Campaigns
I think we can agree that scientists and lab personnel are probably not spending every day glued to their computer screens. Even those of us who are glued to our digital lifelines still respond to direct mail campaigns. Once you choose your trade show theme, put your graphics department to work and create eye-catching direct mail pieces that start a conversation with booth visitors.

Email Campaigns
In addition to the custom emails you can often send through the show promoter, you have a very valuable email list of your own. Your CRM holds targeted lists of your customers and prospects you’ve identified and email is the fastest, easiest way for you to get the word out about your trade show attendance and your booth.

Create interest in your booth with a series of creative, informative emails that invite your customers and prospects to visit and participate in your activities.

Social Media
Have I told you about the company who put up a single post on a social media channel and expected the world to see it and show up? It doesn’t work that way.

Social media is an excellent channel to use in concert with email campaigns and direct mail campaigns.

We always recommend an integrated approach to promoting a trade show presence. Social media can use the theme, images, and can re-purpose the content from your other campaigns to create a campaign that will extend your reach beyond your mail and email lists.

A social media campaign is not limited to just one post on one channel. By using multiple posts on multiple channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can reach new audiences, reinforce your direct mail and email campaigns and build interest in the activities you have planned for the trade show.

In addition to concentrated efforts using these 4 promotional avenues, don’t forget to promote your presence on your website as well as through digital ads and print ads. Putting your pre-show plans in place and executing on them is a sure-fire way to see the booth traffic you want and to ensure that you haven’t wasted your marketing budget.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Dec 17, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

4 Tips for Choosing the Right Life Science Marketing Agency

The trend toward outsourcing marketing activities among B2B companies continues, with marketing budgets climbing higher for the third straight year. But how do you protect your marketing investment and ensure you get the greatest value possible?

The first step is finding the right life sciences marketing agency for your organization. Choosing the best partner isn’t easy, and there is a great deal at stake once the decision is made.

Here are the top 4 things to consider when you are shopping for a new marketing agency:

  1. Work with an agency experienced in your market space & sector.

Easily the most important tip on this list is working with an agency that has experience in your space – and preferably has actually worked with your customers. If the agency has operated in that space then they know how to develop solid value propositions and precisely target your customer base.

  1. Find one agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.

The key reason for finding an agency that can expertly create and manage every type of marketing communication you’ll need is simple: you don’t want your message diluted. You need your message to stay strong and not be filtered through too many different companies, all of whom are creating marketing assets.

When you have one agency handling just PR and another who does your digital advertising and yet another creating social media, your message can become very disjointed. If you’re working with four different agencies, managing them will require significant time & effort to keep everyone on point and knit everything together – time which could be better spent elsewhere. This also means that all four agencies probably won’t be able to do as good a job as they otherwise could due to that split in focus.

From an agency perspective

It’s difficult to cleanly integrate all marketing assets when four companies are doing different pieces of the work.

How we integrate all the marketing communications to power your marketing is the key. When a customer uses someone for PR, someone else for layout and a third person for content creation, how do any of the agencies know what’s happening in all of those other buckets if the customer does not communicate it?

The person tasked with those communications is typically a Marketing Communication Specialist or a Director of Marketing, and neither have the time to clearly communicate all of the details to me. You’ll want to avoid inadvertent blind spots. That’s why it’s important to find an agency that can handle all of your marketing communications needs.

  1. Know how the agency measures results.

During your exploratory conversations with a new agency, you’ll need to have them explain how they measure results – and how they course-correct based on those results.

It’s not enough to just build an ad and say: “Look how great the ad is. We sent it out and it’s gotten an award.” Awards are wonderful, but if I were you I’d want to know how my marketing agency was measuring the ad’s performance and what they would do if it doesn’t work.

For example, at Brandwidth Solutions, we recently worked with one of our clients on digital ads. We did a side-by-side comparison of Google AdWords and Display ads. The AdWords per click cost was $2.80 and the Display Ad cost was $0.50 per click.

We ran the two ads and looked at the data for one week. For the AdWords ad, the client received 77 clicks. You’d say that was a really good result. With the Display ad, in 48 hours the client had 111 clicks – and they paid a lot less for those clicks.

So can we course-correct? Absolutely.

But without measuring these digital ad scenarios, I wouldn’t have the data to prove to the customer that the Display Ad was a better route to results.

Remember that testing is also key. You have to test things that you might think may not be as effective. You might be surprised by what you learn.

Sometimes you have to test for a longer timeframe than one month. We did a Google Display Ad for a client. One ad was designed using red and the other was designed using blue. During the test we rotated the ads. (We never keep the same one in place so that when a visitor returns to the page it looks different.)

The results were interesting. One month the blue ad did far better than the red one. The next month the red ad did markedly better than the blue ad. What this told us was that both ads are working and we didn’t need to change the color of the ad.

If I had only looked at one month’s data, I would have said we shouldn’t be using the red ad at all. But by testing longer and looking at all the data, we understood that both ads were working. And since they alternated we didn’t need to make any program changes.

So be sure to dig into how the agency measures results – and how they plan to correct course when the marketing activities aren’t delivering results.

  1. Understand how the agency will integrate all of your marketing needs.

The final tip I give people on choosing the right marketing agency is this: have the agency explain in detail how they will integrate all of your marketing tactics.

This can be difficult to do on paper. Clients will ask me, ‘Can you write down how you’re going to integrate all of our marketing activities?’ It’s hard to take these three dimensional activities and translate that onto a one dimensional surface. For us, it’s far easier to explain the integration in a conversation.

Having that integration conversation with an agency you’re considering gives you a chance to ask specific questions and work through marketing channels you may or may not choose to use. But one question you definitely want to ask is: How are you going to create an asset (such as a white paper), and what are you going to do with it once it is created?

If you’re comfortable with the relationship you’ve built with the agency through the exploratory process, you’ve found the right marketing agency for your organization.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Science & Social Media: Does it Work?

Wheels create power and movement – and you definitely want to have movement in your marketing! So far, in recent blog posts we’ve talked about all of the sections of the Brandwidth Solutions marketing wheel except for one – social media.

Sometimes I hear, “Well, scientists don’t use social media.”

But that’s just not true.

Scientists & Social Media

Social media not only works in the B2B space but also in our science-based world. Our clients are talking to (and want to talk to) decision makers in pharma, healthcare, life science, and in the energy sector. They’re interacting with lab directors and managers, bench scientists, doctors, practice managers, I.T. administrators, C-level execs and others.

Scientists are just like the rest of the population.

They behave the same way we do when we’re searching for information. They all have smartphones, tablets and laptops, and they use them when they’re looking for the tools they need. They search the web for information – and they also search social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

That means they are looking at white papers, case studies, blog posts, conversations – all of which can be found online.

Social Media and Science-based Marketing

When I talk to potential customers about social media, I use this analogy because I think it helps science-based marketers understand how social media will fit in their marketing mix – and how it works.

Think about social media as a tree. You have the tree trunk, you have the branches and you have the leaves. For me, the tree trunk is the blog. That’s where all of your information resides – it’s your knowledge center. The branches are all of your social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the leaves are your customers who over time, through engagement with your brand, convert into leads.

The Blog Content Feedback Loop

Using analytics, you get ongoing feedback on the content you create. The more people who read certain posts and certain types of posts – whether it’s channel choice or content type – the more likely you will be to post that kind of material and continue the conversation.

Many brands want to push the conversations they are interested in promoting, rather than learning what the customer wants to know. But the analytics rarely lie, and the implications are clear: don’t post things people won’t read or share.

Here’s how that social media tree fits into your marketing mix.

Say you’ve created all of your marketing collateral about your product or service – your whitepapers, your case studies, your sales sheets, etc. You’ve done a press release about the new product or service, you’ve attended a trade show, set-up your e-marketing, and started doing digital and print advertising.

The key to making it all work is telling your story cohesively across all the marketing channels your customer is using to learn about your company. You need to provide information through your blog and social media that ties in all of your other content marketing elements, from white papers to press releases to awards to what you’re sending out on e-marketing as you’re generating leads. (Another bonus of a blog? Continually updating your website can improve your organic SEO!)

If you miss a marketing channel (on the ‘branches’ we talked about earlier) your customers are using to gather information, you risk ceasing to exist – and you won’t be part of the conversation when your buyer gets ready to make a decision about the product or service you offer.

All of this information needs to link back to your website. That’s where your customers are going to go before they even talk to you – especially scientists, since they always research their questions before they talk to a sales rep. It’s just their way.

Social Media Works

In the science and healthcare worlds, the sales process isn’t 24 hours.

We’re not selling a pen – we’re selling a $300,000 bit of kit or a $600,000 that’s an enterprise software platform. In some cases (outsourced drug manufacturing, for example) you may be selling a long-term relationship.

Sales cycles can run 6 – 18 months, and that means you need to nurture your leads.

If you’ve got that long of a sales cycle, you want to remind potential customers that you’re still there. You don’t need to talk to them every day (that’s not good), but you’ve got to stay in front of them and nurture them with useful information. It might let them do their job better, educate them, or provide them key information to make better business decisions. But you need to give them a reason to keep your company in their sights before they make a decision.

This is where your blog and social media excels – long-term lead nurturing and ongoing brand awareness.

For one major analytical equipment firm, a number of competitors had seized the online & social space and were driving the conversation in key markets. Several competitors had established blogs which were attracting hundreds of repeat visitors each month in search of relevant content. We implemented a social media program designed to (among other things):

  • Increase their visibility to analytical equipment decision makers in the life science industry
  • Establish thought leadership
  • Educate scientists and decision makers on new technologies
  • Increase reach in the life science industry.

We integrated the social media program with their overall marketing program. Via in-depth research, we identified the key content topics of particular interest to prospects.

In the first year, we increased their online reach to 100,000+ prospects each month, grew LinkedIn referrals to website from 0 to 300+ a month, increased social media referrals to the website 40-fold, and saw blog visitors expand to 1,000 per month.

The company established a dominant presence in the online space in fairly short order – all due to the use of targeted, well-researched content that appealed to readers. Scientists like information, so the use of the blog as a content anchor turned out to be a key success factor – giving the company the ability to expand the discussion beyond the short-form content common to social media.

The goal of marketing is to help drive sales.

It doesn’t mean you don’t need a sales force – you do. But marketing should partner and integrate with the sales team to increase brand awareness, identify & convert leads and grow revenue. Given the role social media plays in our lives today, it is a key tool in furthering these objectives – especially when your competitors are already there.

Read More