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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: info@onyva-agency.com T: +44 1223 790557