You may know I was trained as a scientist and realized about ten years ago that combining this knowledge with marketing know-how could help me make what I hope are significant contributions to life science. Marketing gets a bad rap because it is used incorrectly by some, but its tenets are designed to help provide customers with items they need and want, and in the process advancing technology in many areas. One of the most basic ideas is that of value–professionally and personally, it is an excellent guideline for success.
The picture for this post is from the Art Institute in Chicago–I knew immediately when I saw it that I wanted to write this post about it, as I think about the concept a lot. What is value? It is the simple answer to the question ‘what’s in it for me?’ that we’re programmed from birth to ask ourselves during many of the decisions we’re faced with. For life scientists, this often relates to saving time or achieving more meaningful results. Successful life science companies provide value to their customers, and also build a brand that has a very positive image.
For product development, I think many life science companies do a great job of identifying what is valuable for their customers and developing new technologies to meet needs. However, I currently see a disconnect in some of the online marketing strategies being used, especially in the social media area. Some life science companies have put significant resources into creating games and contests, perhaps with the thought that they will ‘go viral.’ While it’s true that some amusing life science videos have gone viral, and some games on Facebook spread like wildfire, consider our target demographic: they are highly educated, busy, and under a lot of stress to publish. Do they have time for games? Not likely.
Social media is unlike broadcast advertising, where a funny Ad can get a chuckle but requires little interaction from scientists. Consider that games and contests require significant participation from researchers, so they must provide a lot of value to be successful. Now, more than ever, people are short on time, and there are myriad games that are likely more sophisticated and fun that they could spend their time with. Contests are similar, as they require participation–if you’re asking your customers to upload videos, be sure that they are comfortable with this medium.
Instead, as we will cover in our Social Media for Life Science and Biotechnology Workshop 3, life science companies should focus on developing online tools and resources that provide value to researchers, addressing pain points that their products do as well. As we’ve covered earlier, use what has worked in the past as a start and produce ‘2.0’ versions of them. I suggest leaving the games and contests to the larger brands, as there is much value we could be providing to life science researchers.
I’m also a fan of marketing because its ideals help me personally, and the value theme is important here as well. With many interactions I make, whether it be a simple email or a proposal for work, I try to ensure that I provide significant value to the other party. Of course, a positive response is much more likely when the recipient sees the value of continuing a relationship with you.
What is the best way you’ve found to provide value to your customers and/or colleagues?
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