Posted by on Jul 6, 2021 in Marketing Channels, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How to Sell More Through Distributors with Blog Content and Social Media

How to Sell More Through Distributors with Blog Content and Social Media

by Debra Harrsch

I read a fascinating report from AZO recently about the state of scientific purchasing in 2021. What they found matches the experiences of our clients who work with channel partners to increase sales of their products and services. This post will explore why a blog and social media amplification can be powerful tools for increasing sales through your distributors.

Many life science manufacturers rely on distributors or channel partners to help sell their products. While external sales organizations can sell your products more easily in different regions or countries, there are also some challenges that come with using a partner.

One of these challenges is how to educate customers who buy from distributors about your products. You likely already use advertising and a trade show presence (when available!) to educate your end-users. However, in today’s digitally focused environment, using only those two channels isn’t enough to create the sales you want.

Let me ask you, do your distributors create marketing content about your products? Do they rely on the content you’ve created for them? Or do they use your content and build upon that base to meet the needs of their specific audience?

Even if your channel partner does create marketing content, I’m guessing it’s not a deep, rich pool of searchable educational content – and it may not even communicate product benefits or the challenges your product solves beyond the simple specs. So, if they aren’t producing educational and sales and marketing information, how will potential customers know your product exists – let alone understand why they should buy it?

Life Science Manufacturers Still Need to Market

While you may have a great channel partner or distributor, this doesn’t mean you no longer need to market your products. One key marketing technique to help your distributors get the word out about your product offerings is through content marketing on your own website.

Which brings us back to the survey I mentioned earlier. AZO Network’s Scientific Purchasing Survey 2021 makes it very clear why scientific manufacturers must rethink how their websites are designed and what they should contain. Of those surveyed:

  • 90% said that a manufacturer’s website had an influence on their buying decision.
  • 81% said pages found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision.
  • 67% said that the distributor’s website had an influence on their buying decision.

Why Does a Manufacturer Need a Blog?

Perhaps you have web pages for each of your products. Good, that’s a start. But, content marketing goes much deeper than a product page with just the basic facts on the product.

The AZO survey states that the quality of the content provided, thought leadership, and the vendor’s website user experience all weighed heavily as important vendor traits.

One way to increase your website’s SEO – and its ability to educate your customers – is through a blog. If you don’t have one and your competitor does, you’re missing out on some major search engine mojo. Customers search and use a variety of digital media to understand products they are interested in.

Let’s review: 81% of those surveyed in AZO’s report stated that pages they found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision – 81%! And let’s not forget that search engines are no longer limited to Google or Bing. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn have also become major search engines, in addition to their social component. If that 81% of buyers isn’t seeing your blog content or hearing your voice on social channels, your product or service will not show up on their radar as they move through the customer journey – and their ultimate buying decision.

Many science-based companies use blogs as a way to increase brand awareness in the market. Blogs are an easy, cost-effective way to publish relevant content on your website to support your distributors’ marketing efforts.

They are an excellent way to share information about your product, discuss trends in the industry, and demonstrate thought leadership in your market space. You can update your blog regularly with new posts that address your end customer’s needs (which, if done right, will help you increase sales through partners while providing a stream of new content for search engines). For more in-depth information on how a blog can transform your marketing efforts, check out this blog.

Science-based Manufacturers Must Promote Content

A word of caution: having a blog on your website is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. The days of “if you build it, they will come” are long gone. Blog posts do need to be promoted. In fact, that step is critical to your marketing efforts.

One important way to share your content is through social media. This next statement may come as a surprise, but think about it. As our scientists skew younger in age, social media is growing in importance. In 2015, Leadspace stated that 84% of B2B execs use social media for information to make buying decisions – and that was in 2015!

The AZO Network Survey reported that 34% of those surveyed said social media had an impact on their buying decision. While that seems like a low number, there is more to unpack here, and it has to do with age group distribution – and the fact that social media has a subconscious effect on decision making.

How can you amplify your content using social media? Three ways are:

  1. Leveraging your relationship with your distributors to help share your blog content with their social audience.
  2. Sharing your blog content in snippets on your company’s social channels to drive readers back to your website.
  3. Employee advocacy – getting your employees involved in sharing your company content on their own

As we’ve mentioned in the past, social media is a key tactic your company can use to create brand awareness of the products sold through your partners.

While your social channels won’t grow as fast as a celebrity’s, keep in mind that many scientists have a personal following on social media. And their followers are likely interested in the same content they are. When they share your content, awareness of your products grows – and sales are likely to follow.

As a manufacturer, your content and marketing work sets the stage for product demand.

If you want to develop your blog and amplify your content with social media, but don’t have the time to devote, give us a call!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, 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.

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Posted by on May 28, 2021 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Storytelling in Science Marketing

Storytelling in Science Marketing

by Debra Harrsch

Remember when we were children? We were told stories, weren’t we? We’ve all experienced someone reading “Once upon a time…” to us. Some of those stories had morals. Others didn’t. Some were just nice, fun stories, while others were cautionary tales. But, any time we heard a story it usually made us feel uplifted. It engaged us.

Listening to stories has been ingrained in us from childhood. They never fail to elicit a response. So why wouldn’t you translate that into a conversation with your customer? Why not use that tool in your customer’s buying journey?

Storytelling in Science Marketing

There is a reason you read books to a child. It not only helps their mind develop, but it also helps them visualize what’s happening. It helps them see you. And that’s exactly what you need to do when marketing your company’s offerings.

You need to tell stories to your customers. While I don’t think you should be starting your B2B stories with “once upon a time,” stories are important to your marketing. (But, you never know – there may be a fun opportunity to do that!)

Stories for Scientific Marketing

For those of you who are used to straight scientific marketing, you’d be surprised at how successfully you can use stories. The whole point of storytelling is to engage your audience and help them along the customer journey.

Your job is to tell customers the story around why you have this product or service, why you are the company they need, and how you engage with your customers. What this does for your customers is this: it allows them to get to know you – and understand how your products/services can help them.

Actually, you’ve already started telling stories on your website. You tell your company story through the history of your company. You tell stories of how your product works on the main pages of your website and through case studies. It’s from those key pages that customers really get engaged and move forward.

How We Tell Stories

As marketers, we started telling stories a long time ago. Over this past year, with the lack of trade shows we’ve moved into a more strongly focused digital marketing world, making storytelling an even more important tool in your marketing toolbox.

Here are two ways we’ve helped science marketers tell their stories in the past year.

Explainer Videos

One word: YouTube.

How many times have you needed to know how to do something, and your first thought is “Oh let me go to YouTube?” All the time, right?

Well, it’s the same for your customers. They are used to learning through short videos. This is a perfect opportunity to use short explainer videos to tell a story about your products or services. Explainer videos can be made in a variety of ways.

For one of our technology customers, we created two different explainer videos. The first video focused on the product. This video featured a voice-over narrator walking the customer through their Analytics product, what it does, and how it improves a customer’s business.

The second explainer video we made for this client – while it does focus on a product – talks more about what the value of the product is. In this case, what a validated SaaS product means for a regulated industry and how it helps companies. This video features a combination of voice-over narration along with the friendly face of the VP of sales and marketing telling the story of how this service will benefit the customer.

Virtual Tour Videos

Customers are also used to exploring lengthy topics through video as well. One of our clients wanted to tell their story through a 360-degree tour of their pharmaceutical plant.  A tour is going to be far longer than an explainer video. At around ten minutes long, it provides a way for them to tell their story about what they do and how well they do it.

During the pandemic, pharma plants are locked tight. (And pandemic aside, pharma companies don’t really want anyone in their plants at any time.) Since outsiders could not be allowed onsite to film a video, we needed to get creative.

Using remote video capture via an iPhone and a lavalier mic, they took their customers on a tour of their facility – through multiple labs, instrumentation, and warehouses. We added B-roll to their facility video to create a way for our client to tell a complete story to their customers.

Enhance the Journey

It’s important to tell a story – and it’s even more important to tell stories that meet the needs of your customers along their buying journey. But, don’t forget to enhance their journey with supplemental marketing assets.

Be sure you include why they should buy your product – and show them the value of your product. Show them what it will mean for them at the end of the day. Make sure that the story you tell is engaging and that the customer can see themselves using your product.

Yes, our world is very scientific, but when people go to your website they need to know that you understand who they are and the challenges they face. Storytelling enables you to do that.

If you need help telling your stories, give us a call!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, 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.

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Posted by on Apr 30, 2021 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

How to Implement Integrated Marketing in Your Organization

How to Implement Integrated Marketing

by Debra Harrsch

Marketing covers a lot of territory these days, and it’s easy to get confused about what you should do and when – never mind the abundance of tools to help you execute your ideas. Perhaps more important than making all those individual decisions is launching your marketing activities with an integrated marketing approach.

An integrated marketing approach ensures that you provide a consistent experience with your brand to your customers. Think about it. If you deliver multiple messages across marketing channels, you’ll confuse your customers instead of achieving brand awareness or the leads you need to meet your revenue goals.

Integrated marketing always starts with your messaging

Whether you’re selling a product or a service, marketing always starts with your messaging. Your messaging must be targeted and remain consistent across every marketing channel from your website, to email marketing, to advertising, to social media, and across all of your content assets. It’s not until you have the messaging for all your buyer personas nailed down that you build out the engine to drive your marcom plan.

Building an integrated marketing plan

I love analogies, and I think about integrated marketing plans in terms of a car engine. There are many moving parts in a car engine, and we all know that a car will not work if a part of your engine is either missing or not working properly. You can’t move forward if every part of that engine isn’t running smoothly.

The same thing is true of integrated marketing plans.

You’re building a marketing engine to accelerate your business. In creating your marketing engine, you’ll need to assemble all your marketing choices and assets into a cohesive plan. You want to make sure all parts of that engine – from your social media and website to your white papers, case studies, videos, and podcasts – are working together to propel your business forward.

And you need to remember that while you can build an engine, you can’t expect it to drive anywhere unless you maintain it. It will need oil and gas (or electricity), and it will need to be monitored and tuned-up periodically.

Marketing is the engine that will take your sales team to where they need to be

You’ll maintain your marketing engine based on shifts in market trends and on what your sales team is saying. The business development team is closest to your customers. Because the marketing department isn’t always in the room when sales is doing their pitches, it’s essential to have ongoing conversations with them. Open communications allow you to understand what sales is seeing and what kinds of questions the customers are asking. One of the most beneficial moves any marketing department can make is to work together with the sales team.

(I find that going to trade shows with our customers and listening to them pitch is incredibly important, and it helps laser-target their marketing campaigns.)

Engine building sounds complicated

Do you need to build a turbocharged marketing engine to get started?

No. I think the best integrated marketing plans start simple and grow from there. We don’t start with a Lamborghini. We begin with a little Honda Fit. Marketing engines need to start simple, and then you can keep upgrading the plan. We do get to the turbocharged engine, but that level of work isn’t going to happen in a few months.

As you are building your marketing plan, you’ll need to keep in mind that you may need to create multiple engines. This will be the case if you sell into different markets or deliver products or services with a complex buying process (for example, many people in a company are involved in the buying decision). In these cases, you’ll need to build engines that speak to the different personas involved in that process. For instance, if the chemist, the IT department, and procurement are involved, you’ll want your brand messaging to address each of those people and their unique challenges or concerns in your marketing.

The point is to put the most efficient and robust lead-generating engine together. To do that, you need to review your assets, figure out where you are, and figure out what has to change. Ask yourself if there is anything that needs fixing, if you need to add assets to your mix, or if you need to repurpose older content?

What’s in a plan?

We know that the engine parts include all your marketing elements like social media, website, white papers, blog posts, case studies, videos, podcasts and ads, etc. But, it doesn’t just include the elements themselves. It also includes where you are placing those elements.

For example, you may decide to use print and digital ads to target that chemist I mentioned above. The marketing action isn’t just a matter of developing the creative for the ads.

When you use an integrated marketing approach it means that the ad in question has the right messaging for the chemist’s stage in the buyer’s journey, along with a landing page which completes the marketing message in the ad – and drives the chemist through to a back-end asset (such as a white paper) that moves them forward on their journey. It also means that the ad creative may be used in social media, and that the white paper may be developed into a blog post and organic social media content to drive the chemist to the landing page and white paper.

Do you see how by keeping your messaging tight and assets working together, you are able to explain the full story of your product or service to your customers and help them in the journey to buy? You’re also able to re-use and repurpose your marketing assets, which can help your budget stretch further.

Everything works together and drives leads

Let me share a case study with you. We have a software client who has seven distinct vertical markets. Those range from highly regulated pharma to oil and gas (O&G) to food and beverage (F&B). We need to build integrated plans for each of those verticals, so we treat them as separate engines.

When we built the plan for the pharma vertical, for instance, we didn’t just look at building ads. We built a messaging platform for the personas in that vertical. And then we built the assets for that vertical. In this buying process, there are multiple personas. They have a chemist and a senior lab director who both need to solve a scientific problem. There is an IT department that has to integrate the software with other internal systems. And there is the procurement office which is not intimately involved in the science.

Expanding this thinking across their business for each vertical’s plan, we created ad campaigns to use across all of their marketing opportunities – from Google display ads to digital and print publication ads, to podcast and webinar sponsorships. We also created videos, white papers, case studies, brochures, tech sheets, and PR based on new offers that have been launched in each vertical. We made sure that all of these elements worked together across every channel, from advertising to social media to trade journals to audio and visual media.

When we built their campaign for the year, that campaign flowed throughout all six verticals. It looked slightly different for O&G than it did for pharma, but it has the same theme and the same energy driving it forward.

(You may not realize it, but ad campaigns have longer legs than you might think. You don’t have to change your ad campaign every year. I know people will say to me, “oh, you know, we’ve seen that for a while.” Yes, maybe you’ve seen it for a while, but your customers/prospects may not have.)

The result?

Last quarter we generated more than 1,600 leads with 55 requests for demos and an RFQ from our digital pharma campaign. In addition, we had 64 Google search phone calls last quarter requesting demos.

Keep it running and producing leads

And just like tuning up an engine – to keep your plan operating smoothly and getting you everywhere you want to go – you need to run diagnostics on your marketing actions and measure performance.

When you’re measuring your ROI, keep in mind that the challenge in marketing is people need to see things six to eight times before they react to it or remember it. Your ROI may in fact be attributable to several of your activities. For example, you may not know if the first ad you ran made the difference or if it was the non-promotional thought leadership article that ultimately drove the lead conversion – or if it was a combination of four or five different marketing actions you took that made the difference in your prospect’s mind. This is why it is called a buyer’s journey, moving from “aware” to “consider” to “buy.”

Drive your business forward with integrated marketing

Marketing’s job is to produce leads to help propel your business forward. But, to drive anything forward, you need an engine. That engine is your integrated marketing plan.

If you need help developing an integrated marketing plan to drive your business forward, give us at call.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – that 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.

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2021 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Big Rebrand Versus Small Brand Refresh: A Look at Two Brands

A Big Rebrand vs. a Small Brand Refresh: A Look at Two Brands - From Brandwidth Solutions

by Debra Harrsch

If you’re thinking it may be time to revisit your visual branding, there are two ways to approach your update. You may only want to do a brand refresh or you may need a complete rebranding.

But, what do these terms actually mean?

The complete rebranding of a company is a large-scale project. It includes an entire overhaul of all the elements of your brand identity – your logo, tagline and potentially even your company name. Most often a full rebrand occurs when a company has changed significantly – for example, perhaps they’ve expanded services or gone through an acquisition or merger. A full rebrand typically pays homage to an old logo while delivering new branding aligned with the company vision that will take them into the future.

A brand refresh is a smaller-scale project. You might think of a refresh as a facelift. In these cases, the company has an existing identity and tagline that still fits the company and its vision, but needs modernizing. Brand refreshes usually consist of new font selections, color palette expansion or updates, and visual design tweaks to stationary, collateral, and digital assets.

Whether you choose to rebrand or refresh your brand, the strategy and the creative process remain the same (we discussed the creative process for re-branding last month here).

Two Brands: What to Expect When Rebranding or Refreshing a Brand

The LGM Pharma Rebrand

LGM Pharma is a client for whom we recently completed a full rebrand with a new creative platform. The drug intermediate and API sourcing company had expanded dramatically through acquisition, adding contract development and manufacturing capabilities. Their change in service capabilities and company vision meant that a full rebranding was in order.

LGM Pharma's New Logo - From Brandwidth Solutions

In LGM’s case, while their name remained the same, they needed a new tagline because their offerings had changed. In addition, they went through a full messaging platform exercise and development to match their “new” brand.  After the logo and tagline rebrand process, we began developing the core assets the company needed to launch a new brand. When we do this, we break the project into a couple of buckets. The first bucket includes all corporate communication materials – the stationary suite which is comprised of letterhead, envelopes, business cards, email signatures, and PowerPoint templates.

LGM Pharma's New Brand Assets - From Brandwidth Solutions

The next bucket is all of the marketing tools. This bucket is more in-depth, covering everything from collateral like case studies, white papers, product sell sheets, brochures and trade show booths to digital assets such as email templates, landing page designs, icons, the photo library, and the website. The website is a huge critical component of a full rebranding.

When your company implements a new creative brand platform everything changes and that change needs to be driven across your company at the same time. This is not a project for the faint of heart. It is an immense undertaking, and it means digging out every single asset and changing each and every one of them. This is the time to make sure your collateral and content match the updated messaging, tone, and value proposition of your “new” brand. It’s also an excellent way to review all of your content – giving you the opportunity to decide what to keep and what to update.

The Brandwidth Solutions Brand Refresh

There were two main visual reasons we decided we needed to refresh our own brand. The first was our tagline. We knew it worked. We knew that when our market saw it they immediately understood what we can do for them. We had trademarked it, but it wasn’t integrated into our brand. The second reason that drove us to refresh our brand was our services graphic. There simply weren’t enough spaces to cover everything we provide anymore. Overall, our brand was solid – the logo and the colors still worked for us, but the logo type wasn’t aging well.

Even though we’ve worked together for years, we decided to put ourselves through the same creative process we take our clients through. Everyone was involved in the discovery process to refocus on who we are, what we are, and where we are going. The process is important – whether you do a refresh or a rebrand.

During a brand refresh, we work with some of the pieces that already exist and eliminate those that don’t fit in anymore. Then we go to work refining and reshaping those pieces – essentially giving the brand a facelift.

For Brandwidth Solutions we knew that much of what we had was going to remain. The logo, the color palette, the tagline, and name all stayed. We refreshed the logo with new typography, and changed the scale and relationship between the company name and the mark. We also chose a new color and typeface for the tagline.

Logo Refresh for Brandwidth Solutiions

These refinements to the brand meant a fresh new look for all of our key communication tools – from our stationary, proposal covers, and PowerPoint presentation templates to our business cards and blog masthead. Typically, a smaller scale brand refresh also means a reskinning of the website. This is when the new visual brand platform is applied to a current website without changing architecture or rewriting the content. In our case, we’ve chosen to reskin our site for the short-term while working on a larger website revamp to roll out later in the year.

Brand Refresh Elements for Brandwidth Solutions

Whether you choose a small refresh or a rebrand, all of your communications materials must change. Everything from the most basic email signature to your website gets a new breath of life when it is updated with your new branding.

Need a brand refresh? Or a completely new creative brand platform? Give us a call to talk through how we can help you bring your company into the future.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, 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.

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Posted by on Feb 15, 2021 in Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

Going Further with Google Display Ads

by Scott Fuhr

As we’re well into month two of our 2021 journey we’re seeing incredible shifts to digital channels as ways to reach customers through our marketing efforts. Let’s continue to re-evaluate our marketing approaches in this all-new pandemic world.

One way to join the digital shift is by leveraging the power of Google.

It’s widely acknowledged that Google is the best and biggest search engine in the world and it could hence write its own book on creating and managing paid digital ad programs. As such, the fact remains that digital ads can be a major force in creating differentiation – especially in an environment where an online presence is paramount in lieu of in-person events.

We’ve already touched on getting started with Google search ads (formerly known as “AdWords”) – and these ads should, without a doubt, be included in today’s mix to create exposure for your business-to-business company. A mix that further includes many other vehicles in your ad spend, social media and of course email marketing.

As a reminder, Google search ads are text-based and appear above the organic listings on the search engine results page when you search for specific terms in the Google.com search window. Here’s an example of what a paid Google search ad looks like after typing in “office chair” into the search box:

In a nutshell, the organic search results are the naturally occurring listings served-up by an online vehicle’s content and SEO optimization (think your website) and are not paid placements.

Introducing the Display Ad

Another type of Google ad is the display ad, and that’s what we’ll look at now.

Google display ads are graphics that show up on websites in its network. They will appear while you’re on your bank’s website, for instance, to increase awareness of a product that Google believes you’ll be interested in.

Here’s what a display ad can look like, in a billboard style:

Google tries to determine which sites are most relevant to your audience. It does this based on what it knows about an individual’s profile, search history, and what the ad creators have submitted for examples of sites they believe your demographic would be interested in or have already searched for in the past.

The technology is complicated. However, if we take a step back and realize that just ten years ago many considered this type of “matching” technology to be relatively new, Google has committed every year since to consistently improve the targeting technology.

As such, this is where the power of display ads can be seen. These ads can offer a much cheaper CPC (or cost-per-click) than search ads. And, if you have a goal to build awareness for your brand, these ads can reach prospects as they travel around the web and will keep you – not your competitors – top of mind.

Tip: An example from one our clients shows a Google display ad last quarter in a particular category had a CPC that was five times less than the CPC of the Google search ad.

When creating a display ad, set some time aside. Google requires four graphic images, and text for a short headline (up to five versions), a long headline, and descriptions (up to five versions). All of these elements depend upon what your ad is offering. For example, are you offering a white paper download, or a free product trial, or a way to contact a representative for a conversation?

Here’s another example of a Google display ad, in a box style:

Tip: To see many more samples, try Googling “examples of Google display ads” and comb through a few to get an idea for what your ads should look like. Make sure the look and feel match your organization’s overall branding guidelines to create a more seamless experience for the user.

Selecting the Audience

For the audience, you input key terms (formerly “keywords”) that describe topics you believe your prospects are interested in or have purchase intentions around, and you can even list other websites you believe they would be likely to visit.

Tips: For help with determining what key terms to input, research terms that are popular with visitors and that are being used by your competitors. One tool to use for this is SpyFu, which has a free option. Just sign-up, put in a website, and take a look at its available ad data. Another tool is Google’s own keyword planner – which can even estimate what the historic search volume is for a term.

What Am I Supposed to Do?

While you’re creating your ad, it’s also time to think about what you want your prospect to do when they click on your ad – your call-to-action (CTA). This will depend upon the thinking you did a few paragraphs back, where you determined what you’re going to offer in the ad.

At Brandwidth Solutions we most often create Google display ads for companies that offer an exclusive piece of content, like a white paper download. We take them to a landing page in their marketing automation system, and they can complete a form on that landing page to download the white paper (a PDF document). In the process, we track them in their marketing automation system as a lead and the information can be uploaded automatically into the client’s CRM.

Your CTA may differ if your ad is about registering for an event, for instance. In that case, your ad may take a prospective attendee to an event registration page.

Time to Bid

As we mentioned above, Google Ads are based on a CPC model. This means you only pay for each click on your ad.

You can start your bidding by selecting a bid strategy that is based upon your campaign objectives. Your goals might be to garner impressions or to simply get web visitors. While bidding consists of some mix of trial and error, analysis, and constant adjustment, a good place to start is with the “maximize conversions” strategy. Google will help you constantly adjust to the best maximum bid automatically by leveraging its growing machine learning engine.

You can learn more about bidding here.

Google Power

Ready to try the display ads? Let us know how it’s going. If you’d like us to help you out and devise a strategy for your B2B goals, contact us now.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing that 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.

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Posted by on Jan 29, 2021 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

The Messaging Platform and Why It’s Essential for Your Marketing

by Deb Harrsch

Marketers talk a lot about messaging platforms. They talk about the need for one, and how to use it in marketing. But, not everyone understands what a marketing message platform is or why it’s an essential part of your marketing strategy.

What is a Messaging Platform?

A messaging platform empowers you as a marketer, and it empowers you as a business. It is the basis of everything you need to communicate with your buyers. Your integrated marketing plans are built from the information in your message platform.

Any message platform should include:

  • Your target audience and their needs
  • A position statement
  • A long elevator pitch
  • Your brand (or product) pillars and headline benefits
  • Support examples
  • Tone of voice

It doesn’t sound like much, but it delivers deep ongoing value to every area of your business – from the C-suite to sales to marketing. If you think about your business today, each department is likely delivering different messages about what you do and what benefits you give customers. In addition to those mixed messages, each person is probably using different language and support examples to demonstrate your value. They may even be chasing customers outside of your target audience. None of this is helpful to growing your company – or its revenue.

A marketing message platform gives everyone in your company very clear language, proof points, and positioning – ensuring that your brand is consistent in every engagement with a potential customer. It tells everyone in your company:

These are our brand pillars. This is how we talk to our customers. This is what we do.”

That’s what a messaging platform is.

Developing a Message Platform

The six elements of a message platform are the basis of all communications and they do take some significant upfront work.

Who is involved in creating a message platform? Everyone.

  • Your C-suite needs to be in the room
  • Sales needs to be in the room
  • Marketing needs to be in the room
  • Every department with customer-facing communications needs to be in that room

This may sound like there will be too many cooks in the kitchen, but what actually ends up happening is this: it brings your entire team together. It is an outstanding exercise for your company, and everyone ends up on the same page.

No, it’s not a bing, bang, boom, five-minute conversation. It’s a process. I’ll be honest, it can take weeks to get this done right.

Developing this platform gets to the core of what your company does, what you want to be, and how you want your customers to perceive your brand. Those are big questions, and you may think you know the right answers, but when you dig down deep everyone may have different viewpoints.

I understand that as a marketer you need to move fast and it’s hard to take a step back, to spend time and money on messaging. But, you can either set yourself up for success by focusing now and getting it done right, or you can go on about your business and find out that your messaging isn’t right and lose your audience.

Your messaging is critical to your business. If you don’t follow a solid proven process and develop the right messaging, you’re going to lose out.

How do You Create a Message Platform?

Every messaging process starts with discovery. Whether you’re working on a company brand messaging platform or a product messaging platform, you need to have a discovery session to begin figuring it out. What are you going to talk about?

The discovery process digs deep into your business. Here are the areas that you’ll explore to create your platform:

  • Define the background of the product or in the case of a brand platform the company. What are your business goals for your company or product or service?
  • Ask what exactly does the company or your product or service do. You’ll work on listing out all features and benefits and how they solve customer pain points.
  • Talk about the target market and your buyer. This is where you’ll spend considerable time. You want to confirm who your target markets are. Who’s your audience? Who are your buyers? If you haven’t developed your buyer personas, do it now. You’ll look at what their roles are and what their individual journeys are in moving from awareness, to consideration, to buyer. Analyze your customer’s pain points.
  • Develop competitive positioning. Where do you fit in the marketplace and where do you want to fit? Explore your business intelligence. Look into anything that you can get from third parties or marketing trends or information you may have inside.
  • Explore why your product or service or company is different from your competitors. What makes you better at addressing your customer’s pain points? Develop your SWOT analysis. What are your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats? What makes your company or product/service special?
  • Determine the value you offer. You need to know what the value proposition is for what you’re doing – whether it’s for a product or service or your company. The value could be all wrapped into one proposition, or there could be multiple value propositions. For example, big companies tend to have multiple value propositions for multiple products or services, while smaller companies may be much more integrated. Develop a short value proposition and a long value proposition.
  • Figure out what the brand pillars and benefits are for your messaging – what’s important to your company and customers. For example, if one of your brand pillars is security, what does that mean? Is the benefit reduced risk?
  • Each of your brand pillars must be substantiated with support examples. Use cases are a good source for this information. These support examples are what sales and marketing will use to talk about your company or products and services. In the case of the brand pillar – security – above, the support examples could be end-to-end solutions, or geographic diversity, or an alternative supply, or all of the above. All of this supports your security brand pillar and you’ll need this information when you develop your content.
  • While everyone is in the same room working on the big vision for the company, it’s also a good time to figure out what the sales strategy is and what the marketing goals are. Sometimes the marketing goal is just developing a message platform or web copy or a brochure, but you need to figure out what your marketing goals are for the near-term and long-term.

For brand platforms, the process does deviate somewhat and is much more visionary in nature. You need to develop clear vision and mission statements. Everything else remains the same in terms of your target audience, value statements, brand pillars and benefits, as well as the support examples.

If you have a messaging platform from a corporate standpoint, the information in your brand pillars needs to flow through all of your content and assets, including your graphics. We also work on the tone of voice, which ties directly into content development. It skis into your social media and into your website copy. It skis into ads and all your marketing collateral. All of this work is done in service to your buyer personas – to get them from awareness, to consideration, to buy.

What Does the Application of a Messaging Platform Look Like in Practice?

We had a recent example where a client was developing a sell sheet. The copy was essentially a bullet list. When they showed it to me, I said, “Wait a minute, we just did a messaging platform. Tell me, how does that sell sheet relate to the message platform we just worked so hard on?”

Can you guess the response? It was, “Oh, my, it doesn’t.”

My next question was, “What does that mean?”

“We can’t use it.”

Ouch. No one wants to spend time and money developing collateral that doesn’t meet the needs of customers.

Messaging platforms give you a way to be consistent in your content and how it is used. It does everything from give you the keywords you need in your copy (especially digital copy) to how you build your integrated marcom plan.

A messaging platform that everyone in your company has weighed in on and worked together to develop is essential to your sales and marketing efforts. Yes, it takes work, but the ROI far outweighs the investment.

Sometimes it helps to have an impartial outside firm facilitate the discovery process and develop the platform. At Brandwidth Solutions, we have a proven approach to building an integrated marketing plan – one part of which is a brand or product messaging platform.

Our approach takes your team from discovery into strategy development. After those two critical steps, we build the plan and implement branding and marketing tactics. Give us a call to learn more about developing your marketing message platform.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – that 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.

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