A recent survey of life science marketers found that 52% plan to increase their level of new and social media advertising in 2011. The study, conducted by life science consulting firm Comprendia LLC, was comprised of thirty-three respondents working in the non-FDA regulated sector, dealing with products for research use only. When asked which social media applications were most utilized, Twitter and Facebook were the top results, with 58% and 39% using them daily or one or two times a week, respectively. Respondents indicated that social media monitoring is also prevalent, with more than 60% indicating they track mentions of their brand on social networks. The long term effects of these trends are unclear, but it is possible that increased interaction between these life science companies, their customers, and independent science communicators portends the development of better products and increased progress in biotechnology research.
These results indicate a shift from traditional, broadcast marketing such as print advertisements and even online banners to new, more engaging methods such as social networks and blogs. Are life science marketers fully ready for this drastic change, which involves much more engagement with their scientific customers? When asked how they’d create the additional content needed for new and social media, 67% of life science marketers indicated that their existing staff would allocate time. Anticipating this unreasonable expectation, respondents were also asked about partnering with existing websites such as science blog aggregators. Initial interest in collaborating with existing entities was low, but respondents indicated a willingness to work with web 2.0 sites such as Benchfly, LabSpaces, Science 3.0 and Scientopia, and events such as ScienceOnline.
The results of the survey were presented at the ScienceOnline 2011 conference in January, where several involved in the ‘science 2.0’ movement expressed interest in working with life science companies. These blogs and sites are filling an important niche as scientific content is becoming scarce on traditional sources such as newspapers. Some bloggers expressed concern with corporate content intermingling with their own, an issue that does not exist with traditional media where distinctions between editorial and advertising content are usually clear. However, ideas for creating new boundaries emerged from discussions at the conference, and all of the findings from the meeting and this report can be found at http://comprendia.com/lifesciencesm Support from life science companies could bolster the independent science entities, resulting in more scientific information being disseminated to the general public via these routes. Company representatives, bloggers, or writers who are interested in participating should fill out this form.
Mary Canady, Founder of Comprendia, said “Life science companies appear eager to embrace social media, and it is clear that forming close partnerships with independent science entities such as blogging networks and open science conferences are necessary. New advertising models that will meet the companies’ needs while not sacrificing the integrity of the science communicators will result in a collaborative environment benefiting all involved.”
Comprendia is a California-based LLC which develops social media marketing plans for life science and biotechnology companies. Comprendia is actively implementing related strategies and tactics in a variety of projects and also provides monthly life science social media workshops and customized training. Based on the results of the survey, we’ll begin with a Twitter Workshop March 10th.