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Life sciences marketing lifecycle: The six stages

Life sciences marketing cycle : 6 stages

A guide to the marketing lifecycle for the life sciences

A key success factor for any business is being customer-centric — and the life sciences sector is no exception. In this article, we discuss how you can ensure your life sciences marketing strategy centres on your customer.
We cover all 6 stages of the marketing lifecycle. In addition, we discuss how to refine your plan and optimise tactics to ensure you include all aspects of the customer’s journey.
Indeed, although life sciences marketing is considered B2B, it has some unique characteristics that come as a result of the behavioural approaches of scientists, something we’ll touch on in this article.

Overview of the marketing lifecycle

The marketing lifecycle, (sometimes referred to as the marketing funnel), is distinct from the sales funnel. While the latter is a breakdown of the customer journey up to the point of purchase, the marketing lifecycle goes well beyond that. Critically, it also covers how to improve the customer purchasing experience using post-sale support, and importantly, methods to retain their custom. The latter include engendering loyalty and encouraging repeat sales. In addition, creating brand advocates amongst your customer base to amplify your marketing reach.
The length of the lifecycle can vary depending on the product or the customer. For example, the time to purchase for expensive research instrumentation will often be considerably longer that lower price point products, like lab consumables or reagents. Academic customers testing for a specific application on a research grant, will differ significantly in their interactions and requirements to say, a bulk purchase for a screening project or previously untested application in the Pharma industry. The latter project may require lab involvement and technical support for example, prior to conversion.
For convenience, we have segmented the marketing lifecycle into 6 different stages, each being unique in terms of customer needs and behaviours. Your duty as a marketer is to carefully analyze each step stage of the lifecycle and create a tailored marketing strategy that attracts new customers, retains current ones, and incentivises your advocates.

The stages of the marketing lifecycle

1. Awareness

At this point in time, you’re trying to get your brand onto the radar of your potential customers as a solution provider. If you haven’t already created your customer personas, this should be your first step and there are several sources of information you can use. One key approach is talking with the sales team. Use methods to reach out to your existing customers and understand what drives their purchasing decisions, what information they consume and through which channels. See our life science marketing plan article for more detail on personas.
It’s too early to speak about specific products yet, so try addressing any challenges your audience face instead. Alternatively, create specific educational material relevant to the scientific field in question. Always keep your target audience in mind, craft engaging content focusing on SEO and use the channels you identified above to disseminate it. Always keep your target audience and their challenges in mind. For example, if you’re targeting academics and the price point of your products is low enough for graduate students to buy, why not implement a new student starter pack? This is a great way to welcome them into their research life, while grabbing their attention and creating a positive rapport.

  • Understand and define personas
  • Craft appealing targeted content (e.g educational, addressing challenges NOT product content)
  • SEO optimisation
  • PPC campaigns

2. Engagement

At this stage, you want to start creating a desire for your product or service by differentiating from the competition. Your content should become more specific, but never self-centred. Always keep the problem first. Bear in mind that scientists are conservative and make evidence-led decisions, so make sure that your content is objective and accurate. They are also a lot more likely to trust their peers than commercial sources, so think about leveraging scientific publications in a white paper or case study. If your existing customers are allowed to talk about their work that involved your product or service, ask them to do so in a webinar or video Q&A and share enticing snippets in your social media. Tip: avoid “death by powerpoint” on your webinars and plan them more as a lively discussion. This not only makes it more engaging, but also allows you to repurpose your content as articles or podcasts.

  • Product content with a focus on scientific credibility
  • Testimonials & Peer-review publications
  • Expand opt-in customer database
  • Social media, webinars and events


3. Evaluation

You’ve attracted enough attention to your solution and it’s time to entice your customer into taking action. Make sure your sales team has all the materials they need to make a conversion possible. You wouldn’t build a website without carefully considering the design and User Experience (UX), so put the same effort into those sales decks to make sure they look professional and impressive. Use email nurturing to make sure that customer interest doesn’t fade away, and if your business model allows it, entice them with demos or free trials.

  • Present your product
  • Marketing content and collaterals to support sales team (clear product value proposition)
  • Email nurturing for sales conversion (automation)
  • Re-marketing

NB: Extended conversion criteria for some product sales – technical team input, bespoke use case testing and data. Examples include bulk purchases for specific or non-tested applications of reagents / biologics, or alternatively, high ticket research instrumentation items for specific applications.


4. Conversion

This stage is the point at which your customers engage directly with the sales team, or alternatively, use your e-commerce platform to make the decision to buy. This is a result of the trust they have in your brand in stages 1 and 2. Furthermore, the relevant product knowledge they have gleaned, at stage 3. After evaluation of the suitability of your product for their application, they have decided it is superior to competitor products (or unique on the market if competing products do not exist). Ensure that all key customer demographics are captured electronically at this stage, (if they haven’t been earlier in the lifecycle), alongside research areas and applications field. It is fine balance between capturing the relevant demographics, and ensuring you don’t ask too much that it makes the process arduous. Also, if they havent opted-in to date, present a double opt-in option again to receive content ( or follow the relevant GDPR compliance relevant in your region). This serves several purposes. You can send highly relevant marketing and product content to them in the future, which they are much more likely to engage with. In turn, you increase the chance that they hold your brand in mind for future product purchases – which links in to our next step below.

  • Ease of purchase
  • Excellence in customer experience – process and delivery
  • Capture key demographics (including research areas – if you haven’t already!)


5. Retention

Retention is all about building long terms relations with your clients to ensure they keep coming back. For many life science companies that sell e.g. a product plus follow on support in the form of consumables or a software license, the attention that needs to be dedicated to this step is self-evident. In the case of other models, don’t make the mistake of forgetting your buyers and focussing all your energy into new customer acquisition. Existing customers should be made to feel valued and looked after. Make sure you have a comprehensive strategy to tackle customer support that involves FAQ and troubleshooting pages, Live Chat or Chatbot functions with well-thought out decision trees and of course a well-trained customer service team. Set targets on query answer times and vigorously measure customer satisfaction. The Net Promoter Score is a good metric to adopt for the latter, but also think what other factors are important for your business and incorporate them into your Customer Satisfaction Survey.

  • Excellence in technical and customer support
  • Troubleshooting, FAQ and technical support pages and documentation
  • Customer satisfaction
  • New targeted content for regular re-engagement (owned media – social, online, literature and webinars)


6. Loyalty

Loyalty is not simply about a satisfied buyer making repeat purchases. We mentioned above that scientists are peer-led, so this is the stage where you want your client talking to his peers about the positive experiences with your brand. Small gestures go a long way into establishing that positive rapport. Establish touch points with your customers post-purchase. A simple way is to ask about their satisfaction with your product or service. Alternative ideas, particularly relevant to the life sciences are to scan the scientific literature and send congratulatory messages to your clients when they publish. Another approach would be to offer incentives to your existing customers when they act as advocates. For example, when they act as referrers, agree to provide testimonials, or engage in your marketing activities such as webinars or case studies.

  • Ongoing customer satisfaction
  • Loyalty schemes and offers
  • Incentivise

In Summary

The marketing lifecycle is a continuous process, and each stage is equally important for your company’s success. Here, we’ve outlined optimal marketing actions and activities to take at each stage of the marketing lifecycle for a B2B life sciences environment. There is often a focus on tactics to reach your customers and enable a sales conversion. However, due care and emphasis must also be given to retention by providing exemplary customer support, and giving incentives for ongoing loyalty. The latter stages are sometimes neglected, but are fundamental to the key goal of any successful business – a growing loyal and engaged customer base.

If you need help in planning a coherent marketing strategy that includes tactics around each marketing lifecycle stage, don’t hesitate to contact us

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Life Sciences Marketing Plan Preparation

Life Sciences Marketing Plan : Stage 1

Why use a life sciences marketing agency?

If you’re in the early stages of formulating your B2B biotech, or life sciences marketing plan, or alternatively need some pointers to get started, you’ve come to the right place. Working with a life sciences marketing agency (like Onyva) can provide you with added resource due to our extensive experience in the industry and access to relevant tools, which can complement in-house staff and often provide better financial value. In addition, our life science marketing consultants can save you time by helping you implement an effective marketing plan rapidly. We increase your customer base in the life sciences market and nurture them into qualified leads for your product.

Stage 1: Fundamentals and Foundation work

>This article covers key background work that you need to do, before you formulate any effective life sciences marketing strategy. It’s important that you take time to ensure you have these fundamentals in place as a solid foundation to direct you. You will need them on both inbound and outbound aspects of your marketing. Dedicate this time in advance before outlining all the specific plan details, including marketing channels and scheduling.

1a. Customers

You need to have a clear insight into your current customer base, and specifically 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 subscribers to comply with your country’s data laws. Ask yourself — can you split them into different personas, or demographic groups? Do they need a different marketing approach and campaign? What are there pain points? 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?

1b. Personas

Personas, from a marketing point of view, represent distinct customer groups that require different messaging to convince them to buy or use your product or service. For personas specifically, we recommend preparing a centralised resource that all team members can refer to for customer communication. This ensures all messaging is consistent.

Some examples of life science roles that could require distinct personas depending on your product:

  • Academic research: Lab technician; PhD Student; Post doctoral researcher (Postdoc for short); Senior researcher; Assistant Professor; Principal Investigator (or PI)
  • Pharmaceutical or biotech companies: Research Scientist; Senior Scientist; Group leader; Team Leader; Director

Data sources for personas:

  • Combined knowledge of sales and marketing team. Customer facing team members should have the greatest input and collate knowledge from the conversations and interactions they have with customers
  • Your CRM and accompanying data can help you identify trends for the distinct personas your company is dealing with. Also, any data and knowledge gaps you have
  • Use a short interview format with any customer interactions, or set up new ones to help collate the relevant data

What information should persona resources include for life science sectors?
This will be different for each use case, but here’s an indicator for B2B life sciences marketing:

Job title (skills, experience); Preferred method of interaction; Challenges they face (relevant to your product); Their goals (relating to your product); What can your product do to help achieve their goals; What problem is your product solving; What objections would they have to our product; What reason would stop them buying; Key marketing message; Key short sales (elevator) pitch.

Store your persona as a centralised PDF or presentation that all the sales and marketing team can access.

2. Products, market positioning and price

Product USP and lifecycle phase

If you’re 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, it’s common to invest considerable time and money for R&D, testing, QC and compliance. An alternative is the use of an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) model. Here, you opt to buy and source a product or technology from a smaller supplier, and rebrand it to sell to your customer base.

In-house development versus OEM

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. As a result, 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 also selling the product directly to customers.

So, how do you differentiate your product to the customer? Critical to success are your brand reputation in the area, and out-manouevering your competitor on customer reach in the target market. Other ideas include further in-house testing, more expedient delivery, and better support to help your re-branded product get ahead. You need to communicate these advantages clearly in your marketing messages.

You should be also be aware of the product pipeline for the upcoming year, including 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. This also feeds into determining your USP. 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

A critical task is to establish annual projections for growth for product offerings to help prioritise your marketing activities. This will help you allocate marketing time and budget effectively as well. 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 approach. Alternatively, they can be the result of a company priority designated by the executive board, or the revenue you require to recoup R&D costs of a new product. This will help direct your strategy. The latter two reasons may require more initial time and effort allocation than the former. Especially if your product is 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. These could include unseen market factors, a new offering from a competitor for example, 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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Or get in touch with us for life science marketing consultancy now.

Celebrating 6 years of marketing science

This month marks 6 years of Onyva The Agency marketing science.  We’d like to thank our global clients, partners and friends in the scientific industries for the trust they’ve have placed in us. As a result, we’ve been able to continue doing what we enjoy best. That’s transforming brands, producing the best scientific copy, using digital marketing knowledge to ensure audiences find and engage with clients, and raising brand awareness. Happy 6th Anniversary to Onyva The Agency.

Seema and the Onyva Team

Although the last year was not without challenge, our client partners have grown, with unique projects including the brand transformation of a national cancer charity. We will be looking to recruit new members of the team this year. Thanks to family, friends and clients for their ongoing support.

Dr. Seema Sharma, MD at Onyva The Agency.


Adapting our life science marketing during Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in many changes in the way we all work, as well as the drastic health consequences we have been unfortunate to experience or witness. In this short video, our MD, Dr. Seema Sharma describes some business challenges that have presented to us as an agency focussed on the scientific field, and how we have adapted our life science marketing services.

IWD2021. Women Scientists. Nobel Laureates

IWD2021: Women who changed science

In celebration of this year’s international women’s day, we’ve taken a look at some of the women who have changed science over the last century.


Women who’ve changed science

Marie Curie: Physicist

Year: 1903, 1911: Double Nobel Laureate for Physics, and Chemistry

  • Crucial study in spontaneous radiation (Physics)
  • Investigation in radium and polonium (Chemistry)
  • “We must have perseverance, and above all confidence in ourselves”
    Marie Curie

    Joan Clarke: Mathematician, Cryptanalyst

    Year: 1941

  • Joint codebreaker of the ‘The Enigma Machine’ used by the Nazis to transmit messages in WW2
  • Admiral Grace Hopper: Computer scientist, Naval Officer

    Years: 1941, 1952

  • Developed COBOL, one of the world’s first high-level programming languages
  • Invented the first compiler, to translate programming code to machine language
  • Received US awards- the Presidential Medal of Freedom (posthumous), National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

    Rosalind Franklin: Crystallographer

    Year: 1952

  • Discovered and photographed the helical structure of DNA (Photo 51)

    Rita Levi-Montalcini: Neuroembryologist

    Year: 1986 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or medicine

  • Discovery of nerve growth factor
  • Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard: Geneticist

    Year: 1995
    Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

  • Genetic control of embryonic development
  • Linda B. Buck: Neurobiologist

    Year: 2004 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

  • Discovery of odorant receptors and advances in the olfactory system
  • Elizabeth H. Blackburn: Cell Biologist

    Year: 2009 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

  • Co-discovery of telomerase
  • May-Britt Moser: Neuroscientist

    Year: 2014 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

  • Discovery of grid cells in brain for positioning and navigation
  • Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier: Protein Biochemists

    Year: 2020
    Nobel Laureates in Chemistry (joint)

  • Development of the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tools
  • For further female pioneers – take a look at our infographic “Pioneering women in science.”

    5 years anniversary Onyva The Agency

    5 years anniversary

    We’re celebrating 5 years since our launch this month! Onyva the Agency, founded by our MD Seema Sharma, officially launched in September 2015. We have been providing marketing services to the scientific sector for half a decade! During that time we’ve partnered with diverse clients in scientific publishing, biotechnology, medical diagnostics, research instrumentation and cancer charity sectors, to name a few.

    ‘We’re very proud to have reached this milestone, and provide our marketing expertise combined with our scientific and industry-specific knowledge to our growing client base. The recent challenges faced globally with the Covid-19 pandemic, have meant that we’ve had to work more closely to support the health, medical and life sciences sector in rapidly emerging situations with tight deadlines. We’re looking forward to the next 5 years, and expanding our Public Relations and bespoke marketing software offering.’

    Dr. Seema Sharma. Founder and MD, Onyva the Agency.

    For further information contact the team on

    Continued marketing support_Onyva_Covid19

    Continued marketing support

    During the recent challenges, we would like to assure existing and new clients that we will continue to support them with all marketing projects.

    We are fortunate to be able to work remotely, and have all the infrastructure in place for our team. We are keeping abreast of,and adhering to all of the government advice issued on Covid-19.

    We are infinitely grateful to all those working in the medical and healthcare sector who are at the frontline of keeping everyone well, and don’t have the option of working from home.

    Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any queries you may have directly, and stay well.

    Life science marketing short survey CTA

    Survey poll: Marketing support for the life sciences sector

    Over the next few weeks, we seek to get your input on the marketing resources and support, that could help you with your business goals in 2020! If you’re a life science company, or work in a related scientific sector, it would be great if you could fill out our short poll.

    It’s embedded below and should only take a minute or two – we promise! We greatly value your opinion – and in the future this will help us deliver the best free content and marketing consultancy services.

    What’s more, there’s an optional opportunity to provide your email for entry into a prize draw for office goodies at the end of the survey. *Extended* We will select and announce the winner on Mar 31st 2020.

    Marketing support for the life sciences sector

    Interested in getting more marketing tips for the life sciences sector? Take a look at our recent article ‘Toolkit for life sciences marketing: Strategy, email & SEO.’

    Toolkit for life sciences marketing: Strategy, email & SEO

    In this summary article, we’ve collated insights and tips into key marketing tactics, if you’re working in the scientific sector. These include the fundamentals needed for a life science marketing plan, email marketing advice for the scientific sector, and an SEO checklist.

    Life science marketing article link

    Life sciences marketing plan: Fundamentals and Infographic

    This article, includes a useful infographic and covers the key background work you need to do, before you formulate an effective life sciences marketing strategy. These fundamentals, that cover customer personas, product, targets, form a core basis for both inbound and outbound marketing tactics.
    Email marketing article

    Email marketing for the Scientific Sector

    In this post, we cover prerequisites for getting your email marketing up and running optimally. We consider relevant content ideas for the life sciences, biotech, medical and related sectors — with tactics on how to grow and establish your subscriber list. We summarise the key email platform providers and provide insights on layout. In addition we cover approaches to lead nurturing and cadence.
    Navigating SEO article link

    Navigating SEO: Tips and infographic

    Navigating SEO in a B2B scientific product marketing setting is business critical, but comes with its own unique challenges. In this post, we provide key pointers on starting your SEO plan. This is complemented with an infographic SEO checklist into tactics and resources, to ensure you’ve got the key things covered.

    In summary

    Doing your groundwork is essential to provide direction and a solid foundation for your overarching marketing plan. It’s important to take time to choose your platform, consider subscribers, plan content and optimise layouts for effective email marketing. Similarly, SEO for the scientific sector often sees you competing for similar technical terms, so optimising iteratively, is essential to get ahead.As your first quarter progresses, you may need to modify to account for changes. This could be due to market factors, a new offering from a competitor, for example, or sales underperformance.
    Adaptability is a key skill for life science marketing success.

    If you need life science marketing consultancy Email us today!
    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!

    Scientific Marketing

    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 Founder and MD‘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 2018 — let’s talk
    e: T: +44 1223 790557