Three Wise Dames

Marketing in the Life Science Industry

Let’s be Crystal Clear April 22, 2012

Filed under: Betsy — betsymerryman @ 3:57 pm
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Photo Credit: Clear Water At Lipe Island by Sura Nualpradid

Marketing and PR is core to a start-up business strategy, so much so that more and more venture capital firms are beginning to offer these services to their portfolio companies with in-house staff.  In working with a myriad of start-up healthcare companies over the years, I’ve always said that it’s never too early to begin branding.  According to Christina Lee, head of marketing and PR at Kleiner Perkins who was quoted in a recent article in TechCrunch:  “…communications has risen to a strategic level…. PR is expected to play a big part in building brands and more and more startups are thinking about PR and branding at an earlier stage.”

Even if it’s too early to market your company or your products to your end customers, you still have business goals to achieve.  Be crystal clear in your communications to all your stakeholders – the investor community, the FDA, future investigators or key opinion leaders, to name a few — about your company, your products and the potential impact in the marketplace.  Being crystal clear will help you achieve them.

Here’s a short checklist of things to consider as you frame your brand strategy, positioning and messaging:

  • First impressions matter.  From a business perspective, it’s all about building credibility about why your company and your team have what it takes to bring your product successfully to market.
  • Your science or technology is interesting but no longer enough. Think of your product as more than a technology – it’s a solution to a problem that nothing else is adequately addressing.
  • Communicate your value proposition – both clinical and economic – and frame your economic value proposition as early as you frame your clinical value proposition.
  • It’s never too early to think about launch!  What are you calling your product in its development?  How are you positioning it?
  • FOCUS on the right things first, especially with tight budgets.  Sure, you can tweet, blog and go social, if you think it will support your business goals.  But first you need to have the go-to traditional vehicles that convey your story in a crystal clear way.  Even though social media is the big trend, don’t overlook the tried and true traditional story-telling vehicles first.

Most importantly, begin with a deep understanding of your stakeholders as you build your corporate reputation or product brand, and develop positioning and messaging.  Such strategic fundamentals haven’t changed, despite the proliferation of new ways to reach your audiences.  It’s still all about determining who to influence and how best to influence them.  And, of course, being crystal clear.

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Marketing From on High July 6, 2011

Domenico Ghirlandaio – The Visitation 1491

Recently, I had a very special experience. My best friend was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. The ordination was lovely and stirring. The offerings of support and affirmation of worthiness were abundantly proffered on her behalf by the many whose lives she has touched, mine especially.

 We have many conversations about the parallels in our respective career paths. We come from the same humble and rewarding beginnings – nursing. Her path took her to the spiritual side of wellness while I’ve followed the therapeutic path. The director of our nursing program drilled into our psyche that each patient must be cared for wholly. This tenet stuck with us, a foundation we spring from as we pursue our particular sliver of wellness expertise. And, it comes in handy to have complementary expertise to reach for, when needed.

 Although the nature of the work we do is different there are two things that are the same. There is a person who needs care and to provide care we must connect with the personConnecting with the person is the very definition of marketing.

In today’s world we are regularly pummeled with information, brands, and messages. See the very cleverly demonstrated example by an arts group ‘Studio Smack’ [cool name] in their video report. Lots and lots of noise – visual and auditory, all designed to capture and keep our attention. So much so, we are becoming blind and deaf to much of it. This presents obvious challenges to the marketer who wants to connect with the person who needs that which we offer.

A priest and hospital chaplain – her former manager, delivered a homily of her work. The consistent thread throughout the history of her work is her ministerial style. Whenever considering how to reach the ever-so-slightly-out-of-reach individual, she sought input by inviting her manager to walk and talk with her. This ‘walk and talk’ method, out of the office, away from the walls, distant from a sanctuary has become her trademark.

To reach the individual in need, she goes to them. She does not wait for them to come to her. She goes to where they are.  She doesn’t require they come to a defined and assigned place. From her time within the sanctuary at the altar she knows that there are few inside, many more are not. And from her work in the field she knows that those outside of the traditional space are no less in need or of wanting. To connect with the person and provide service, she must be where they are, when they are there. She has identified how to market her services. She knows that what she has to offer can benefit many however, it is the one-on-one relationship that is most impactful. And her most effective marketing is word-of-mouth from those she has served. She has more than mastered the ‘P- Place’ in the marketing mix.

My work in life sciences involves specialized and sophisticated technologies. The value of the technologies can only be realized when applied to the person in need of the particular care the technologies provide. It is a long way from development labs to patient care. To get to the right patient at the right time in the right place is my favorite challenge.

Successful contact with the right patient requires mastering the right marketing mix. I invite you to read examples of highly effective marketing in the postings by my blog partners.

Should you find yourself faced with business challenges reflected in their postings I encourage you to connect with them – Debbie Donovan and Barbara Kowalski.

My best friend – the newly ordained Reverend and I do different work. She cares for the soul and spirit; I care for body and mind. However, we both use marketing to promote our type of care. And I am reminded by observing her trademark style that to reach the masses, I must connect with the individual – a highly specialized method of marketing.

(C) 2011 pH Consulting; all rights reserved.

 

Marketing Tool Kits: Easy To Complete Tactics October 1, 2010

From: http://easilyamusedinstitute.blogspot.com/2009/02/that-was-easy.html

Great news. You’ve organized your content and are able to deliver the latest and greatest electronically. So why are your customers STILL not using your tool kit?

Going above and beyond

Providing the template is just part of the effort needed to have customers utilize your marketing tool kit. Most health care providers are busy doing their job–delivering specialized health care services.

Where to begin?

The health care provider is not familiar with marketing strategy or how to implement successful tactics that drive revenue. They have no idea where to start or what vendors to use.  Most have a printer for their business cards and stationery. A few might have mailed a postcard when they changed locations. Some have run print advertisements by enlisting the help of the publication’s art department to create the graphics needed.

“Help me, help you,” Jerry Maguire

From prior experience, your customers may or may not have been satisfied with the creative work by the vendors they used or the ROI from their efforts. Here’s where your company and its great tool kit can really help:

develop a turn key package of tactics for your customer
at a pre-negotiated price!

This allows the tool kit materials you’ve created to ACTUALLY be used by your customers to build their professional reputation and business.

What does turn key look like?

  • Patient brochures personalized with your customer’s logo, photo, bio and contact information $xxx for 1000
  • Direct mail postcards to promote a new procedure to a targeted demographic that is geo-located around the practice $x,xxx for 2,500
  • Practice website or specialized micro-site with pre-written, patient-facing content for a set-up fee of $x,xxx  + $xx/month for hosting

How do you build turn key tactics?

  1. Research and vet vendors that understand practice marketing and how to scale their pricing and customer service for individual health care providers.
  2. After supplying your tool kit, negotiate a preferred price for exclusive offerings and create a sales sheet detailing the turn key package.
  3. Launch the program and introduce the vendor to your sales personnel so they feel comfortable handing off customers that are interested in the turn key package.

It’s a good thing

Just imagine how effective the sales organization will be in getting customers to use the tool kit? They can walk into their accounts with activities that are truly turn key. It should be obvious that the less time your sales team spends on tactical logistics, the more time they have to meet their objectives (admit it, you’ve seen sales personnel get sucked into logistical details only to dump them on the marketing department for completion).

(c) 2010 eGold Solutions

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