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 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 13, 2014 in Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Marketing Budget Season Has Arrived!

Business Hand Clicking Budget Button On Touch ScreenIt’s that time of year when every marketing manager has to look into their crystal ball and determine what the marketing communications spend will be for the next year. It can be a very daunting task to try to figure out how you will spend your precious marketing dollars – and also show your boss how this year’s spend produced quantifiable results!

How to Define Your Marketing Budget

You need to start with the Assessment. My first suggestion is to take a very deep breath and review what you did during this last year. Dig into what marketing tools and channels worked and find out what could have worked better. This yearly marketing assessment process will lead you to discover the even more important answers to what did our company not do that we should have?” to produce better results

Here are a few marketing assessment questions to get you started:

Assess

  • What was last year’s budget and where did we spend it?
  • What were the core and key components to last year’s spend?
      • How did we measure them?
      • Did we course-correct when our measurements showed steps weren’t as productive as we wanted?
      • How would we have done things differently?
  • What works best?
      • How will we know
  • What tools did we use in the MarCom Elements Wheel?
  • Where is our audience going for their information?
  • Are we moving with them?
  • Can we show direct lead to sales, and what were the sales amounts?

It’s only after you’ve assessed the performance of your marketing success throughout the past year that you can truly create a realistic marketing budget for the next year.

What You Need to Develop Next Year’s Marketing Budget

To develop the overall plan for next year, you’ll need to start thinking about the big things such as the channels you need to use. After that, you’ll need to look at company planned events, refine your channels and fill in the details. One of the key ingredients to any MarCom budget is showing what worked based on your measurements matrices’. These measurements enable you to prove what worked, what didn’t and how you will adjust your spend.

Here are some questions to think about as you develop your budget:

  • What elements do we think we will need? Choose from broad stroke categories like:
      • Website updates or development
      • Public Relations
      • Conferences
      • Collateral
      • Social Media
      • Advertising
      • eMarketing
  • What are our objectives and matrix for measurement for each component?
  • What is the cost per element?
  • Can we course-correct if needed?
  • Are there any big product/service introductions for next year? What is the launch budget?
  • What MarCom elements will we use for this launch and what is the cost per element?
  • How will we measure success?

Marketing Is Constantly Changing

We all know that marketing is changing, and you need to determine how you’ll handle it going forward. That’s why doing the assessment is so important. You’ll also need to remember that social media will likely play a big role in your plans because that is one way people learn about products/services. Social Media doesn’t preclude using the other elements at all. It’s those other elements that help feed your social media.

The best part of developing next year’s budget is you get to find out what worked and what didn’t. Once you have that 20/20 look-back, you can plan for the future. It also enables you to show that – while marketing is considered an expense category for accounting – you can drive leads that sales people use to close business. With the right tracking tools you may even be able to show actual sales based on leads you brought in.

What is your biggest challenge in creating your marketing budget?

For over two decades Debra Harrsch has been providing marketing expertise to Fortune 500 and other companies and contributing to brand recognition and profit growth, even in a declining economy. Serving in executive, directorship, and consulting positions in healthcare, life science, biotech, energy, and chemical industries, Debra has structured research, marketing and PR plans, and online and print media advertising campaigns.

As CEO of Brandwidth Solutions, LLC, Debra provides marketing and brand management expertise to domestic and international companies, often driving paradigm shifts that contribute to significant and unanticipated growth.

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Posted by on Apr 14, 2014 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels | 0 comments

E-Marketing is Evolving!

Although e-marketing is defined as marketing using the internet, it is not as easy as the definition suggests.  There are multiple ways to use this digital medium for your integrated marketing strategy.  Key components that make up this marketing segment are:

  • E-mail
  • Analytics
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Banner Ads
  • Google Adwords

Now, you might say social media should be added as well, and most companies do lump social media into their internet marketing.  But Brandwidth Solutions believes that social media is so extensive that it deserves its own section in our MarCom Wheel.  That’s the best part of an integrated marketing plan/strategy—you can cut it up any way you like as long as you cover each of the channels and integrate them together.

E-mail

E-mail is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your clients. By using e-mail to send out e-newsletters, you’re reaching your clients and keeping your company fresh in their minds.  There are many things you can use e-newsletters for: company news, tips and tricks, promotions, etc.

Another option is an e-blast, which differs from an e-newsletter because it is not sent out on a regular basis.  It’s used to engage with your clients about a variety of things. For example, if you have a booth at a trade show you can have a link in an e-blast that goes to a landing page where potential visitors can fill out an appointment form.  You can also use e-blasts to provide new product information to clients and link back to your website/microsite where they can download brochures or white papers—and you can generate leads.

Analytics

One of the greatest benefits of digital marketing is the availability of tracking data.  We can look at how many people click on a link, where and how far they follow it, what they are looking at on a website, and when and where they leave the site.  It is imperative to know how to analyze the data that results from looking at your analytics report.  You can maximize your ROI by understanding this data and tweaking and testing your campaign and website(s).

SEO

SEO is what drives your online marketing campaign because it directly affects how you are ranked by search engines like Google.  When you are writing anything for the web – like a webpage or blog – it needs to be optimized with keywords and key terms.  This helps search engines find you and places your company closer to the top on search engine result pages (SERP).

Content Marketing

Content Marketing includes information you want to share with your audience (e.g., white papers, application notes, e-books, videos, a blog).  These items help you engage with new and existing clients.  They can also be used and shared via social media channels. This helps maintainbrand loyalty, and can result in you being viewed as a thought leader in your particular industry.  The more you can share, the more visible you are—and the more visible you are, the more important you become.  (It’s all perception. This is—after all—marketing we’re talking about!)

Banner Ads

Banner ads work like your traditional media buying, or ad buying, but instead of print or TV, they’re online.  The same rules apply, as with traditional marketing—banner ads need to be placed where your target market will see them.  There are different types of banner ads and placement. Just like in a publication, better placement is going to cost more money.  There is a huge benefit to banner ads— and yep, you guessed it, they can be tracked!

Google Adwords

Google Adwords fall into your pay-per-click (PPC) category.  PPC gives you more control over certain things in your campaign unlike SEO.  You can target certain words and geographic regions.  This helps bring more visibility and traffic to your site, especially if your SEO isn’t quite there yet. Adwords can seem confusing, but Google is very helpful when planning an Adword campaign.

Technology is constantly changing, with more and more channels opening, which create fun challenges for your marketing efforts.  Sometimes it feels like these new ways of marketing are a marketing ploy to deceive marketers into thinking they have to have the latest and greatest thing.  It is important to stay ever-present in your target audience’s mind so staying on top of your marketing and integrating each channel together is key.

Check out what is trending for 2014 (hint: mobile marketing is the next big thing) in 10 Online Marketing Predictions to Inform Your Strategy in 2014.

So, tell us, is e-marketing as easy as you thought it was?

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