In the current edition of IMPACT magazine, David Chapin, CEO, details the importance of developing a unique positioning by what you say about your company on your website.

Words you should never use on your website  

by David Chapin

What you say about your company on your website can reveal whether or not you are building a unique position in the minds of your prospects and customers.

Creating a Unique Position

If your company is involved in providing products or services to the ‘drug development chain,’ that is, the chain of companies devoted to discovering, developing, and testing new pharmaceutical compounds and medical devices, you know that the market is undergoing significant changes. Key functions that used to be controlled primarily by large organizations are now being outsourced to a growing number of smaller pre-clinical and clinical firms. Competition among these smaller firms is increasing, and is coming from a wider area; some of the highest growth rates among CROs are now in India and China.

Marketing can disrupt this increasing competitive pressure. But to do so, it must create distinctions among competitors, and too many firms in the life science services sector do a poor job of distinguishing themselves. For proof of this, you need look no further than their web sites. The following quotes are taken directly from the website home pages of various companies all providing similar services in the life sciences:

“Based on such experience and expertise, Company W will provide faster results of their high-quality service at very affordable prices.”

Here’s another: “Our commitment to operational excellence allows us to quickly and securely deliver the highest quality results to our clients. We are an extension of our client’s laboratory by providing outsourcing solutions with the quality and trust expected from an in-house provider.”

In Plain English

In other words: We have experience and expertise. We provide quick results. We provide high quality results. We are very affordable (cheap).

None of these claims is unique. If asked, all competitors would say they provide quick results, all would say they are affordable, all would say they have high quality and all would say they have experience. These claims are non-differentiating. But if marketing does only one thing, it should create differentiation in the eyes of prospects. These claims do not create distinctions, so what possible purpose do they serve, except to waste the prospects’ valuable attention?

The Symptoms

It is easy to identify whether your firm has done its marketing homework related to defining a unique position, articulated through unique claims. Simply examine the language on the home page of your website. If you see the following (non-differentiating) words, the chances are high that your audiences will not see your offerings as unique: affordable, high quality, partnership with our clients, reliable, caring, attention to detail,  high standards, quick results, experience and expertise. These are the words that you should never use on your web site, precisely because they do not differentiate your services from those of your competitors.

Many life science sectors suffer from a lack of truly differentiating claims. CROs, core labs, CMOs, and management consultants are just a few examples. This problem is more pronounced for service providers, but can be found in product-oriented companies too.  Ironically, many of the sectors with the least differentiating claims are sectors where the FDA does not regulate marketing claims.

The Solution

If your company is making non-unique claims, what should you do? The solution is simple, but not necessarily easy. Begin by identifying those aspects of your business that are truly unique. These differences DO exist for most firms, but they are not always easy to identify or harness. Ask yourself the following question: what unique benefits do our clients receive from working with us? Once you have the list, cross off all those benefits that your competitors provide. If nothing is left on the list, go back and ask again: what unique benefits do we provide? The list of unique benefits will help you develop an exclusive (and defensible) position. Once your position has been identified, you must then articulate it, test it and promote it. The most important of these is identifying your unique position, and in many firms too little attention is being paid when creating this foundation for effective marketing.

IMPACT is published in partnership with BioNetwork, the North Carolina Community College System’s statewide initiative for workforce training for the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, is an IMPACT partner.

To download the complete magazine, please click here.