Life Sciences Marketing Plan : Stage 1

Getting started with your life sciences marketing plan…

Stage 1: Fundamentals and Foundation work

If you’re in the early stages of formulating your a B2B biotech or life sciences marketing plan, or alternatively need some pointers to get started, you’ve come to the right place. Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing a series of short articles and infographics to help highlight key steps. They’ll be based on our direct and extensive experience of marketing in the life sciences and biotech industry. We plan to cover key marketing channels, goals and how to measure success.

Our first article covers key background work that is needed in advance, before formulating any effective life sciences marketing strategy. It’s important that you take time to ensure you have these fundamentals as a solid foundation to direct you — on both inbound and outbound aspects of your marketing. Dedicate some time in advance before outlining all the specifics plan details, including marketing channels and scheduling.

Life Sciences Marketing Plan Preparation

1. Customers and Personas

You need to have a clear insights into your current customer base and what qualifies them as leads for your products. Ensure you know what lead qualification data you hold and where the gaps are — e.g email, job titles, location, life science research or technology areas of interest, sector (academia, Pharma etc.,), purchasing history to name a few. Note that the latter should be captured through active opt-in from the customer, to comply with your country’s data laws. Ask yourself — can you split them into different personas, demographic groups? Do they need a different marketing approach and campaign? Who makes the purchasing decision? How do you keep in touch with your customer base and inform them about your products? What is the current approach used to retain customers and make them loyal to you?

2. Products, market positioning and price

If your responsible for a specific product or product portfolio, you need to have a clear vision of the product USP. Which stage of the product life cycle is it at — introduction, growth, maturity or decline? Different approaches are needed for each stage. It’s common for a product that’s developed in-house to be preceded by a lab to launch stage. After initial feasibility and idea generation, considerable time and money may be invested for research and development, testing, QC and compliance. Alternatively, an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) model may be used, where a product or technology is bought and sourced from a smaller supplier and rebranded to be sold to your customer base.
If you’re offering a unique product that you’ve developed in-house, you have an advantage in the market. However, you may also need to recoup considerable development costs with your pricing.
A rebranded OEM product can have smaller margins but you forfeit development costs. Market positioning could be very different to an in-house product. Especially, if your competitors are doing the same thing or the OEM manufacturer is selling the product to customers directly as well.
How do you differentiate your product to the customer? Critical to success are your brand reputation in the area and a better reach to the target market of customers. Other ideas include further in-house testing, more expedient delivery, and better support to help your re-branded product get ahead. What’s more, this advantage will need to be clearly communicated in your marketing messages.
You should be aware of product pipeline for the upcoming year, including any planned new product releases prior to starting your annual marketing plan.

3. Competitor Analysis

You need to have a clear idea of the position you occupy in the market with your products, before you embark on marketing activities. Hence, a competitor analysis is a fundamental part of your marketing plan. You need to identify your competitors and evaluate their strategies to have a thorough understanding of their strength and weaknesses, relative to your offering.

4. Your sales growth targets

Annual projections for growth for product offerings need to be established to help prioritise your marketing activities and relative allocation of time and budget. Depending on your company structure, this may be the remit of the sales team. It’s important you have a clear understanding for the basis of sales projections. They may be based on year on year growth trends from previous performance (so-called bottom up), a company priority designated by the executive board or revenue required to recoup R&D costs of a new product. This will help direct your strategy. For example, in some cases the latter two reasons may require more initial time and effort allocation than the former — a product already in a sustained growth phase.

5. Available Budgets

You need to have an idea of your allocated fiscal marketing budget. If you have a joint budget pool for your team it’s common to have to submit a plan as justification for the budget you receive.

In summary

Doing your ground work is essential to provide direction and a solid foundation for your marketing plan. As your first quarter progresses, you may need to modify to account for changes like unseen market factors and sales performance. Indeed, adaptability is a key skill for marketers who suceed. However, researching thoroughly at the planning stage provides you with clear justification for the strategies adopted.

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Onyva Scientific Marketing Journey

Our journey, as a scientific marketing agency

Onyva The Agency launched in September 2015, as a specialist scientific marketing agency. Founded by our Managing Director, Dr. Seema Sharma, our aim was to provide marketing excellence for life sciences, medical and technical fields. Since then, we’ve had an exciting journey working with several clients in diverse fields. These include medical diagnostics, scientific publishing, software and biotech, to date.
It’s been a busy and creative time at Onyva. To give you a flavour, here’s a selection of some of the things we’ve done for our clients over the past year:

What’s been keeping us busy…

  • 9 bespoke cell culture kit label designs
  • 6 content marketing articles
  • 5 e-mail campaigns (beta-testing software launch, medical product marketing)
  • 5 medical, software and life sciences marketing flyers
  • 3 medical infographics
  • 2 medical and life sciences company branding projects
  • 2 biotech white papers
  • 1 e-mail platform consultation, integration and launch
  • 1 medical PR release
  • 1 web redesign and content creation
  • 1 life sciences catalogue
  • 1 medical case study video

and a whole lot more!

The feedback we have to date suggests we grasped technical product concepts quickly. Clients stated that this saved them time in explaining concepts, and their campaigns benefitted from this understanding. This was particularly valued for content creation, infographic design and targeted email campaigns. We’ve always ensured the latter were tailored to our clients customer base, taking time to discuss individual customer personas and messaging.

‘Onyva The Agency has provided concise, targeted and well crafted articles for the Mendeley Careers website: the content has bolstered the site’s reputation as well as its Search Engine Optimisation. Seema is a consummate professional and a pleasure to work with.’ – Dr. Christian DeFeo, Product Marketing Manager – Mendeley | Elsevier.

During the last year, our clients have varied considerably. We have worked with start-ups, possessing no marketing infrastructure, who are at a preliminary stage of establishing their brand, product and customer base. In contrast, our marketing agency has also helped established companies, founded over a century ago. As a result, we have had to take a highly adaptive approach to our clients. Critically, we’ve always taken time at the start of a project to assess a client specific needs. We’ve communicated this in depth with our partners, to ensure we focus on the right marketing channels with content relevant to their phase of growth.

Seema Sharma‘Since our launch, we have worked successfully to bring a diverse range of marketing solutions to our clients in the life sciences, tech and scientific fields. We look forward to the year ahead, with the aim to provide the best possible scientific marketing services.’ –
Seema Sharma, Founder and MD, Onyva The Agency.

If you need scientific or tech marketing expertise in 2017 — let’s talk
e: T: +44 1223 790557

Navigating SEO Checklist Infographic

SEO checklist infographic Marketing services
SEO is an iterative process. You need to keep abreast of multiple ranking factors and their potential weighting in proprietary search engine algorithm updates. Our infographic provides a straight-forward SEO checklist into tactics and resources, to ensure you’ve got the key things covered.
Navigating SEO in a B2B technical product marketing setting is business critical. It comes with its own unique challenges, versus B2C or retail. You need to ensure your ranking is once step ahead of your competitors. If you are at the early stages of formulating an SEO plan, here are some key questions to ask:

  • What are your goals for SEO, and how much budget do you have to assign to it?
  • What are customers searching for, to find your product or services?
  • If the answer here is “we are not sure,” or “we are subjectively guessing what it is,”, you will need to dedicate time for search term and keyword research. When you’re marketing B2B, as a life sciences, biotechnology, medical or tech company, you’ll undoubtedly have considerable in-house expertise. As a result, it can be tempting to second guess and assume you know how a customer will behave.
    Whilst, your specialist knowledge will serve you well, we’ve encountered many instances where clients have been surprised to learn how their users are finding their products. Remember, subtle differences and variations in keywords can have a profound impact on SEO. Keyword research tools (e.g Google Keyword Planner , Moz’s Keyword explorer and SEM Rush, to name a few, can be a huge help. Tie these in with information from search term reports from PPC, Google Trends , or other similar tools and you have a great start.
    One issue you may face in a B2B environment with specialised products, is a lack of search volume for definitive data. One approach here would be to supplement data with direct user interactions from focus groups or surveys.

  • What keywords do you want to rank highly for?
  • What are competitors ranking highly for?
  • Are you tying in your SEO research with a content marketing and distribution plan, relevant for your target customers? Will it help you earn inbound links? Whose linking to your competitors?
  • Do you have a social media plan?
  • How are you going to measure success? What metrics are key?
  • Are you just launching your new site? Have you got the site technical basics covered to ensure search engines trust your site? (SSL certificate, optimised speed of page delivery, mobile-version, privacy policy, Robots.txt, Search engine SiteMap.XML, verified postal address and a custom 404 page etc.,).

    Still need more help with implementing website SEO? We offer a comprehensive service to help improve search rankings. Get in touch with our team now.

Marketing services SEO
B2B marketing, biotech marketing, Life sciences marketing, search engine optimisation, SEO services, SEO tactics, tech marketing,
New Report Technology Advances

Our New Free Biotech Whitepaper: Mergers, Acquisitions and Technology Advances

Our new biotech report: Free to download

In our new free report we give a year’s retrospective on mergers, acquisitions and technology advances in the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical (PBM) sectors. The report, prepared by our specialist life science marketing consultants, includes a full M&A reference chart and key emerging technologies that have driven partnerships and growth including CART-Cell therapies and CRISPR genome editing.

See the full report

CRISPR Technology Blog

Groundbreaking Biotechnology Advances: CRISPR

CRISPR technology allows for the precise, efficient, and flexible editing of genomes, from bacteria to humans. This has tremendous implications in many industries, including basic research, drug development and validation, curing genetic disease in vivo, agriculture and biofuels.
Although, the gene-editing potential of CRISPR-Cas9 was first reported three years ago [1], it was in 2015 that it moved out of academia and into the commercial world. There was significant interest from big pharmaceutical companies. Novartis announced collaborations with leading CRISPR technology companies, Intellia and Caribou, hoping to make strides in immuno-oncology and drug discovery/development. AstraZeneca jumped into the game by partnering with academic and private institutions also eyeing the technology’s potential for drug validation. Finally, Bayer entered into a joint venture with CRISPR Therapeutics AG to discover, develop and commercialize new therapeutics for a variety of diseases and to develop in vivo therapeutics for genetic diseases.
Juno Therapeutics, a leader in immunotherapy, partnered with Editas Medicine with plans to use CRISPR technology for their work on the development of CAR-T therapies for cancer. Outside of the pharmaceutical space, DuPont also entered into a collaboration with Caribou, with a specific interest in agriculture.
Amid the frenzy of commercial interest, a patent dispute over the technology is in progress. Additionally, the potential of the technology to ‘easily’ perform germ-line editing has also created significant controversy with some fearing its use to make ‘designer babies’. Whether for scientific, financial or ethical reasons, CRISPR will not be leaving the headlines anytime soon.

See our full report here

[1] Jinek, M et al. A programmable dual-RNA-guided DNA endonuclease in adaptive bacterial immunity. Science. 2012 Aug 17;337(6096):816-21. PMID: 22745249

Groundbreaking Biotechnology Advances: A year retrospective

Biotechnology Advances Blog
Welcome to our new blog series ‘Groundbreaking Biotechnology Advances: A year retrospective’. We’ll be featuring some of the key emerging technologies that have gained significant momentum in the biotechnology, medical and pharma fields in the past year. First up we’ll be taking a look at liquid biopsy…

– With sequencing technologies becoming cheaper and more sensitive, minimally invasive liquid biopsies are becoming a reality for the detection, monitoring and treatment of cancer. The method relies on the capture and sequencing of DNA from circulating tumor cells (CTCs) or floating freely after release by dying tumor cells (ctDNA) in the bloodstream or urine.
Commercially available tests, such as those offered by Guardant Health and Trovagene, are already being used in late stage cancer patients to monitor their response to treatment and have shown favorable results. In addition, several high-profile studies were published in the last couple of years showing the feasibility and utility of liquid biopsies.
They have the potential for providing oncologists with:

  • 1. Quicker tests
  • 2. A non-invasive procedure
  • 3. Cost savings
  • As a result, it wasn’t a surprise that 2015 showed an increase in commercial interest in the area from both new biotechs as well as established diagnostics and pharmaceutical companies. Qiagen is making deals with pharmaceutical companies to use its already available tests for companion diagnostics. Roche acquired CAPP Medical and invested in Foundation Medicine, a company currently offering tumor sequencing, to help develop its liquid biopsy test. Other major players in the field include Genomic Health, Pathway Genomics, RainDance Technologies and Biocept, to name a few.
    Many of these companies predict to launch a series of new tests in the next few years. Furthermore, sequencing technology leader, Illumina announced in January 2016 its plans to launch a new company called GRAIL, dedicated specifically to this mission.
    Given all of the attention and investment that liquid biopsies are getting, it would not be surprising that in the next 5-10 years, such testing would become part of everyone’s routine physical. In fact, some estimates predict the cancer application liquid biopsy market will reach $1.9B by 2020 [1].

    Ref: [1] Liquid Biopsy Research Tools, Services and Diagnostics: Global Markets. January 2016.

    Back to main Onyva Blog – for marketing tips and tech news

    New Year: A great time to review marketing tactics

    Happy New Year Marketing
    We’re laying out the welcome mat for 2016 here at Onyva and are excited about the challenges it brings. It’s a great time to review your current marketing strategy. A quick check-in on the best ROI from last years budget can definitely put you ahead for this one. Are you using the most appropriate channels that work for your sector? Got your SEO in check? Using Email marketing effectively? Creating shareable content? Making the most of Social? Confident with your brand representation? If you need help with a review and tangible actions —
    Why not contact our team now