Posted by on Jul 15, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How Do I Choose the Right Marketing Tactic for My Project?

BWS Marketing Tactic TipsYou need a marketing campaign. But where do you start? And what tools should you use? There are so many options available to marketers today it can be hard to know which way to turn and which will work for your company. What’s the best marketing tactic to use?

I know the first thoughts that jumped into your mind. They were:

  1. What tools do we use?
  2. How can we get the most out of what we already have?
  3. How do we measure it?

 What is Marketing Success?

Before everyone starts enthusiastically yelling, “Social media!”Ads!” “Brochures!” let’s back up and start with creating a marketing strategy. What are your objectives and goals? Think about your goals in terms of campaigns. This will help you understand how to assign your budget to each tool and tactic you’re considering.

The next choice you’ll need to make is messaging. You’ll need to ensure that the messages you deliver in your marketing campaigns address the customer’s viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” (Otherwise known as WIIFM.) Do your marketing materials talk about features and benefits or do they talk about the value you provide customers? I sincerely hope they discuss the value!

After you’ve got your messaging nailed down, you’ll need to decide from where and/or whom the content will come. Will you use posters, white papers, publications, or subject matter experts to produce the content for your marketing campaigns?

The final (and key) question when thinking about marketing campaigns is: What results do you want? You’ll need to decide how you’re going to measure performance before deciding what tactics you’re going to use.

Say you’re trying to drive sales leads. What does success look like to you? Are you going to measure registered downloads of a white paper or webinar? Will you measure landing page visits? Or click rates for an ad?

Understanding what your goals are and how you can measure them gives you a head start on choosing the tools you need for your campaign.

What Marketing Tools and Tactics Are Right for Your Campaign?

The short answer to that question is: Everything that will work for your audience and your business that is within your budget.

You should start with the question: What does your audience read? This will help identify specific tools and tactics to use. For example, if your prospect or customer base doesn’t read trade journals (not very likely!) then you wouldn’t use print ads or article development.

You have a multitude of tactics and tools to use. A short list includes:

  • Public Relations – press releases, speaking opportunities, press interviews, article development
  • Conferences – pre-show direct mail, pre-show e-blasts, educational seminars, show graphics, booth development
  • eMarketing – eNewsletters, products/services e-blasts, banner ads, webinars, podcasts
  • Advertising – print and digital ads
  • Social Media – strategy development, blogs, social channels, video
  • Collateral – brochures, sell sheets, case studies, tech notes, white papers

Remember to always integrate as many marketing elements as possible to ensure that your campaign is everywhere your customer is. Keep in mind that people still need to see your message a minimum of 6 – 8 times before they remember or recognize it.

How to Integrate the Tactics Targeted to Your Audience

The most important step in using these marketing elements is proper integration. As I mentioned above, your customer needs to see your messaging a number of times before they act. And they need to see that same message in multiple places. Using only one tactic may not deliver the results you need.

How do you integrate your tools and tactics?

Here are 6 tips for integrating your marketing campaign.

Tip 1

Know what you want the customer to do. Only use urls or links that go to the next step towards your goal. This may mean a landing page or a sign up for a download or a registration for a webinar – not the Home page of your website or a product or service page.

Tip 2

Keep your message simple and consistent. Make sure you’ve delivered the WIIFM value. Don’t make the customer guess what your message is. They won’t come up with the same answer as you!

Tip 3

Your website is the hub of all your marketing efforts. Make certain it is responsive design, that all your activities drive traffic to your site and you use landing pages to finish your marketing message.

Tip 4

Tell stories so customers can see how your product or service will fit into their work environment.

Tip 5

Ensure your gated downloadable content is high value. Your customer is giving you a valuable piece of information (their email address) so you need to make sure that you are delivering value to them. A simple rule of thumb is: marketing brochures, case studies and sell sheets are all free. White papers, reports, eBooks have deeper content, are more valuable and should be gated for lead gen.

Tip 6

Develop and reuse content in multiple formats. For example the same content can be rewritten or reformatted for use on social media, eBlasts, advertising, landing pages, and display ads. It’s critical to ensure that ads in your campaign are all related – having the same look, feel and message whether they are print ads or digital ads.

Measure Your Results & Reassess Your Tools

Marketing success depends on measuring results. If the tool is working, keep it. But if the results don’t meet your goals then you need to reassess and change tactics. Doing the same thing that doesn’t work over and over simply because it fits within your budget will not suddenly create a marketing success. You’ll need to identify what does work and either ramp up that tactic – or change your campaign tools and test something new.

What Does This Look Like in Practice?

Let’s take one of our clients, MeMed for an example. MeMed is a diagnostics company dedicated to reducing the use of antibiotics. The company had a peer-reviewed and validated study scheduled for release in PLOS One and wanted to reach a larger audience in the healthcare community.

We developed a media plan specific to MeMed’s goal and market segment for both North American and international audiences. We started with a press release to provide trade media and researchers detailed information and to drive traffic to the PLOS One article.

The press release was both sent on a wire service and embargoed on EurekAlert for scientific writers and reporters one week before the PLOS One article was released. We worked with PLOS One to obtain permission for this strategy and to delay their article release in order to maximize MeMed’s exposure.

What were the results? We achieved:

  • more than 10 interviews and articles from trade and popular publications – both print and online
  • website press release pickup on more than 39 sites
  • articles in Time and BBC News Health
  • an interview on BBC Germany
  • an invitation to be part of a documentary on antibiotic usage
  • a story on Select Science ranking in the Top 10 most read news stories for 2015 (No. 6)
  • and more than 100 requests/orders for their ImmunoXpert product.

Choosing the right tools and tactics for your marketing campaign is based on your overall strategy, budget and goals as well as what your audience reads. Marketing success depends on ensuring you integrate all of your tactics properly. Have questions on how you can enhance your marketing campaigns? Give us a call!

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.

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Posted by on Jun 17, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips | 0 comments

How Can You Optimize Webinar Results?

Once your company has achieved brand awareness (and even while you’re still working on it!), lead generation is the most important activity for any marketing department.

What is one of the most valuable tools for B2B lead gen? Inside Sales.com’s Optimal Lead Generation Methods report states that “75% of respondents (B2B sales and marketing representatives) say a webinar is the best way to generate high-quality leads.”

 But to generate those high quality leads, you’ve got to design an effective webinar and follow-up marketing campaign.

Designing an Effective Webinar

For science-based businesses, a third-party webinar is a smart choice. When you hold your webinar via third party trade publications, it is viewed less as a direct marketing campaign and more as higher-value educational information.

You need to choose a topic your audience is interested in. Then choose speakers for the webinar who are not associated with your company, as that drives higher interest in the webinar for your target audience.

You should know that third-party webinars can be pricey. You’ll be paying quite a bit of money for their email list in addition to the hosting and all the marketing they will do to their audience. But sometimes their list isn’t complete, and you’ll want to supplement it with additional lists – including your own – to make the most of your investment.

Once you’ve held the webinar, I often say to clients, “Now what? What are we going to get out of the webinar?”

Yes, you’ve got a webinar. You’ve got this great piece of collateral that’s going to live on and be accessible for a year. You can market it, you can do eblasts reminding people to log on to the archived version of the webinar.

But what’s the next step in generating leads from a webinar?

Creating ROI from Your Webinar

Sometimes companies who hold webinars think that once they’ve created, promoted and produced the webinar the job is done. It’s not.

If this is what happens in your organization, you’re walking away from leads. Obviously, you don’t want to do that. You need to keep marketing.

How?

When a webinar is scheduled, many people will sign up. But only half – 40% to 50% – of that audience usually attends. This is when you segment the audience who was interested in the material. You’ll divide the list into “Those Who Attended” and “Those Who Did Not Attend.”

For those people who attended the webinar, you’ll create an email drip campaign starting with a “Thank you for attending” message along with a next step call to action. Your next email could include an Executive Summary of the webinar or the PowerPoint slides in a PDF format. The emails following that could include white papers, case studies or articles relating to the webinar topic.

But for those interested parties who didn’t attend, many times they are completely left behind by marketing and sales departments. You can’t assume they didn’t attend because they weren’t interested. Anything could have happened – life, emergencies, important meetings, etc. This situation calls for a different email drip campaign.

For these folks, you’ll want to create a starting email with a “Sorry we missed you on the webinar!” message. You can also include an executive summary with a call to action link to the archive for the webinar. Your next email in the drip campaign might be the PDF of the PowerPoint slides from the webinar along with a link to the the archived webinar – providing a way for them to attend at a more convenient time.

As this audience gradually attends the webinar, you’ll receive monthly reports from your webinar vendor identifying them.

What Happened With This Clinical Company’s Webinar?

One of Brandwidth’s clients in the clinical space did a webinar on PCT testing and Sepsis.

The first step? Identify the audience. In a hospital, sepsis falls under the antibiotic stewardship team. That team consists of three audiences: the laboratory director, the infectious disease director and the pharmacist. In every hospital, that’s the team for an antibiotic stewardship program.

The webinar was being run through College of American Pathologists. Now, CAP is an outstanding place to have a third-party webinar, but their list is specific to laboratories. They don’t have infectious disease doctors in their database, and they don’t have clinical pharmacists on their list either.

The next step? We rented two lists to fill out the audience – a clinical pharmacist list and an infectious disease doctor list. We gave the infectious doctor list to CAP so when they sent out the invite to the PCT & Sepsis webinar, both the labs and the infectious doctors received it.

The clinical pharmacist list rental required a different process. They needed an HTML version of the invite to send to their list. So we provided the messaging for the invite in HTML for them.

The set-up? We structured the webinar to ensure that our client spoke very little. While they sponsored the webinar, they chose a clinical pharmacist and an infectious disease doctor to speak about sepsis, why PCT testing is so important and how it affects diagnosing sepsis. In addition, we structured the presentation slides for both leading experts.

On the day of the webinar the company had 1,100 registrants for the webinar. It was a one-hour webinar, and more than 600 people attended. But what’s fascinating is this: that one-hour webinar lasted an hour and a half due to the questions the audience asked.

Post webinar marketing steps?

Now we had the list of registrants, and they included the clinical pharmacists, infectious disease doctors, and labs.

What we did first was create an email blast to those who attended from the registrant list. To those who attended the message was, “Thank you for coming.” For those who did not attend we crafted an email message of, “Sorry we missed you.”

And because we had rented the infectious disease doctors list for a three-month period, we were able to see which doctors did not register for the webinar. For those individuals we created a special email message around, “Sorry we missed you at the webinar. Here’s a link to the webinar archive.”

The ongoing email marketing campaign looked like this:

  1. The first email provided the webinar’s executive summary and PowerPoint slides.
  2. The second email provided an FAQ. This FAQ was created from the Q&A from the webinar.
  3. The third email provided attendees a white paper on PCT testing and sepsis.

By structuring the ongoing communications, we kept the audience engaged. It was obviously a very germane topic, because 1,100 people registered and even more importantly – 600 attendees stayed on the phone for an hour and a half. Not one attendee left the webinar before the end.

A Successful Webinar Delivers ROI

A successful webinar includes the right topic and the right audience. You need to make sure you’re reaching all of the audiences that pertain to the topic. If you’re producing the webinar through a third-party organization, they may not have the list for your entire audience – so go and rent more lists. Be sure that you have a plan for a proper follow-on marketing campaign.

Remember that in science-based businesses, sales numbers are not always immediately reflected. You won’t be in the position to have a “Buy It Now” button, so ROI can occur 18 months or more after an event such as a webinar. It’s important for your marketing and sales teams to track whether their conversions have attended and engaged with the webinar, or any follow-on marketing efforts.

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.

 

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Posted by on Jan 22, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Maximizing the Value of Trade Show Attendance Part 1: How to Exhibit, Promote & Network

What is the one event that makes even the sales and marketing departments work together in complete agreement?

A trade show.

Did you know that the minimal cost for a 10×10 booth at a tradeshow is $10,000- 15,000? Think about it – by the time you reserve the booth space, book hotels, ship your booth & products, and add your team’s travel costs, your all-in cost is around $10 – $15k. That’s not a small expense in the budget so it’s important to make it work for you.

Managing a successful presence at a conference or trade show has staff from every level of science-based companies working towards a common goal. (Click here to find out why this shouldn’t be the only time Sales and Marketing work in harmony.)

Why Trade Shows are Valuable

We can all agree that while email and other digital marketing efforts provide a solid return on investment, the value of face-to-face sales & marketing meetings (such as those at trade shows and conferences) is enormous.

It’s at in-person meetings where you build trust and engage deeply with your audience. Rob Murphy’s article cites a Meeting Professionals International report which states that “40% of prospects are converted to new customers via face-to-face meetings.”

How to Choose the Right Conference or Trade Show

Trade shows and conferences are key events where your company can get that valuable face-to-face time with prospects. In the U.S. alone, there are hundreds of science, medical and pharma trade shows each year. But with so many available to you, how do you choose which shows and conferences will be most beneficial for your bottom line?

To identify the best events for your company, you first need to look at your business goals. Are you focused on the U.S. market or is your market international? If it is U.S. only, you’ll need to build a list of all the relevant conference and trade shows in the U.S.

If you want to reach other markets, you’ll need a list of all of the international events applicable to your product/ service. Get a demographic list from the show organizers to ensure your target audience will be there.

These lists give you a starting point. The real work starts after you have the lists in hand.

You’ll want to research each event. Before you decided to exhibit, you should consider attending and walking the show to ensure that your audience is there. You’ll also want to make sure that the show has a good reputation in your industry and that it delivers:

  • Large numbers of attendees in your target audience (although what you’re really looking for is the right audience – quality versus quantity. Remember, some shows are for niche audiences and can the best ones!)
  • Attendees who make buying decisions

Once you’ve identified the conference or trade show to attend, you’ll need to put a plan in place to:

  • properly prepare for your attendance
  • take advantage of all the networking possibilities at the show
  • keep conversations going through follow-up after the event
  • build your follow-up campaign.

How to Prepare Before Attending a Trade Show

Of course, you’ll need an exhibit booth. (Make sure that your booth has both clear signage and excellent brief messaging- no one is going to stand and read your booth.)

Beyond putting your booth together, there are significant pre-show marketing actions to take in order to maximize your company presence.

  1. Communicate. You need to get the word out that you will be attending the show. Create postcard, email, & social media campaigns along with press releases to communicate to your list and your social media audience that you will be available to meet at the show or conference. Add messaging to any advertising you are doing before the conference. If no one knows you’ll be there, you won’t have visitors to your booth.
  2. Let your audience know where to find you. (I’ve seen companies tell their audience they would be at a show only once via social media – and then not give out their booth number!) But just telling everyone your booth number is not enough.

You’ll want to investigate the marketing options the show’s organizers have available to attendees. This may include marketing opportunities such as renting the list of attendees, sponsoring events or content in the pre-show communications or – depending on the conference – attendee swag. Send out newsletters to your list offering the option to pre-schedule meetings at the show. Create press releases highlighting new products or events and presentations you’ll be hosting while at the show.

If you don’t communicate and promote your presence, you won’t see the foot traffic you expect at your booth.

Need help putting together a comprehensive trade show promotion plan? Contact Brandwidth Solutions.

Take Advantage of Trade Show Networking Opportunities

Being in attendance at a trade show is not the same as attending a trade show. Your company has invested a great deal of time, energy and money to be at the show. Therefore you need to do more than sit in your booth and hope that leads drop by for a visit.

You want to have your A-list staff working the booth at the show. You want staff that engage prospects and expertly move them forward along the sales path.

The booth isn’t the only place you need your sales staff engaging with prospects. Make sure they are attending the cocktail receptions, presentations, education sessions, breakfast events or other special events being held at the show. Check whether the show’s organizers provide a ‘matchmaking’ service connecting potential buyers or partners with sellers.

Follow-Up Leads to Success

None of these trade show attendance efforts will mean anything at all if your company doesn’t follow-up effectively. If you don’t follow-up with leads you’ve collected, it will be marketing budget wasted.

After you’ve entered prospect information into your CRM, you’ll need to design a communications plan to ensure that your new contacts don’t feel you’ve forgotten them. (Although you should have created your first follow-up communication before you even leave the office to attend the show!)

Nurturing leads is critical to the ROI of trade show attendance. Be sure you have marketing assets such as white papers or case studies to send your prospects as follow-up. Once you return to the office, you may want to create webinars addressing audience needs, additional white papers and newsletter content to further nurture your leads and reinforce that face-to-face connection your team built at the trade show.

Trade show or conference attendance may be a bit more complex than most companies realize. But with a strong plan you can implement for each event you attend, your company can achieve a solid ROI from trade shows.

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.

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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.

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Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Integrated Marketing, Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Sales & Marketing Departments: Friends or Foes?

When a company launches a product and it fails to attract much notice or move the revenue needle, the result is always predictable – and unhelpful. The internal response is something like this:

Sales: “Marketing didn’t do their jobs.”

Marketing: “Nope, Sales didn’t do their jobs.”

Sound familiar? It should, because the push-and-pull between the Sales Department and the Marketing Department is as old as the Sales and Marketing structure itself.

So what should be the response? Sales, Marketing and Management should all be asking the same questions:

  • If we aren’t reaching our numbers, it can’t always be Marketing’s fault. So what aren’t we doing right?
  • How did we market the product/service?
  • How did we hand it off to Sales?
  • Maybe the product isn’t right?
  • Did we do enough due diligence when we were developing the product?

By working closely together throughout the entire sales & marketing process and asking & answering the same questions, your company could avoid contributing to the $1 trillion dollars per year lost due to the misalignment of these two departments.

Marketing & Sales: Different Perceptions

When newly-developed products are handed off from the product manager to marketing, marketing immediately looks at the product and wonders: “Why is this product better than the previous generation? How is this product different from everything else in the marketplace? What’s the value to the customer?

Product Managers can be so entrenched in the product itself that they tend to focus on new or improved features/benefits as selling points rather than why the customer will buy. Marketing, on the other hand, wants to focus on end user value – the real reasons why the customer will choose this product over a competitor or even upgrade their existing system.

Features/ Benefits Don’t Always Translate Into Value Propositions

When a product is handed off to marketing with a list of features, marketing must determine if they can be translated into value propositions. Marketing has a story it needs to tell and if the customers haven’t been brought into the story until product launch-time, it is often too late to craft a customer-focused narrative. The key to this is thinking about the product from the customer’s perspective. Marketing must find the customer’s ultimate: “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?” or WIIFM to develop that story.

Sales: We Want Leads!

The sales team, in order to meet their numbers, wants to get a hold of the product as quickly as possible. Their immediate reaction to the marketing team is to demand leads.

Marketing’s role typically begins six to nine months ahead of the sales cycle. To create an effective sales & marketing campaign, marketing needs to create collateral, including brochures, sell sheets, web pages, white papers, case studies, social media and more. These are the elements with which marketing builds the product story, being sure to weave in customers with their challenges and needs while delivering the WIIFM Value Proposition.

Too often, these elements – and the customer journey – are overlooked in the race to launch and start selling.

“We’re going to a trade show and we need the product ready for the show.”

With barely enough time to complete a key piece of marketing collateral, Marketing often pushes back at Sales when they ask why they haven’t been provided any leads. In many cases, Marketing has launched campaigns in advance of a trade show and provided leads to Sales, feeding them into the CRM – where the ball was dropped.

Creating a Sales & Marketing Relationship

For a product launch and subsequent lead generation and lead nurturing to be successful, there needs to be a solid working relationship between the Sales and Marketing departments – along with the realization that both teams have ongoing work to do and must nurture leads. Not everyone is ready to buy at the exact time you launch.

When marketing and sales work together to achieve the same goals, it’s not uncommon for companies to experience some stellar results:

Leads vs. Customers

Leads are often just that – leads, not customers. Marketing is constrained by how much information it can reasonably expect to collect from prospects – even more so now due to the EU’s GDPR requirements. It’s common to request a name, company name and email address to begin nurturing the relationship using the marketer’s toolbox of channels and tactics – requesting too much information up front discourages people from filling out forms. Limited information is preferable to no information.

Sales can’t just be closers – they have a critical role to play in lead nurturing too. With today’s tools (LinkedIn, Company websites, and the internet at large), leads can be filled out. There are many tools that can be used to find somebody’s phone number, or determine their email address format.

Here is an excellent example of the role Sales can play in lead nurturing:

If a lead comes in with only a first name, last name and company name, it’s quite easy to determine a particular company’s email format. It may be ‘first name.last name @company’ or ‘lastname.firstname,’ or ‘first initial.last name,’ etc. A company’s website might contain clues to the proper formula, as will LinkedIn. Sales can take the information Marketing has gathered and entered into the company CRM and to do a little research to begin the sales conversation with the prospect.

Teamwork: Collaborating to Improve Lead Gen

It’s very rare that Marketing can hand off a lead that is already a sale. In almost all cases, the lead requires nurturing and follow-up. Instead of finger-pointing between departments, Sales and Marketing should ideally work together to improve lead quality.

It’s not Marketing’s fault that there aren’t enough leads, and it’s not Sales’ fault that all the leads they were provided have been closed. In addition to collaboration being a more constructive approach, it’s also a way to ensure better leads.

The Sales-Marketing relationship becomes even more important in cases of long lead cycles. Some sales cycles have 12-18 month timelines. If you’re working in the contract pharma sector and you’re trying to lock down a contract with Big Pharma, it’s going to take 18 months to close.

Eighteen months is a long time, and both Departments will need to work closely together to ensure the lead is nurtured along the way. Sales can provide Marketing with valuable real-time feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. With that information, the two departments can work together to improve the quality of leads and further target marketing tactics.

The Importance of Customer Perception

People buy based on perception. If Marketing is helping raise customer perception about the company and the product, Sales has got to pick up their end to work the leads. Management can’t blame Marketing and they can’t blame Sales, they all need to work together and figure out a marketing and sales plan for success.

It’s never any one department’s fault that revenue isn’t generated – it could be a mutual problem. But when Sales and Marketing work together as a team to solve any issues, you’ll find that any challenges are solved far more elegantly than you might imagine.

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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.

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