When life science marketing is misaligned

By David Chapin

misalignment in life science marketingDifferent wavelengths. A disconnect. Out of sync. Marching to a different drummer.

Call it what you will, but misalignment in life science marketing can have significant effect on your organization, inside and out:

  • Poor employment engagement, including high turnover
  • A confused marketplace and workforce
  • A marketing effort with low ROI
  • Lack of focus – in your target audience, specialization, business opportunities – any of which can lead to an unfocused message

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Misalignment is a common problem in life science marketing. There are four key types of misalignment and their symptoms can be similar, making them hard to see and fix.

When there’s misalignment between:

  • your position and your audience’s needs, prospects won’t consider your offering important, believable, or compelling. What differentiates you from your competitors? Do you compete as much on price as on capability? This can be common among small-to-medium life science service providers, such as labs or CROs, and is one of the most fundamental challenges in life science marketing.
  • your position and your brand (or story), prospects will be confused by or unaware of what makes your life science organization truly unique. The roots are tactical, but the challenge is subtle and often subjective: some of your customers won’t like the graphic design of your communications; others may not like the words or tone you use to tell your story.
  • your brand/story and your touch points, audiences will come away with a different impression of your organization depending on what they saw at a trade show booth or what they read on your website.  This is the most common type of misalignment and the cure – consistency – sounds simpler than it is.
  • your internal and external audiences and communications, prospects will hear a different message – or even get a different impression of your organization’s values – depending on whom they speak with.  This is common in large companies and organizations with multiple layers of management. The ‘democratization of marketing’ has made virtually every member of your workforce an ambassador for your life science organization — pick up a copy of To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink for more on that — so getting employees aligned with your core message and values is critical.

Finding and fixing misalignment in your life science marketing is no easy task. But bridging any gaps between your story, your customers, your employees, and your multiple touch points is key to developing and executing a strategic marketing initiative that generates growth and sales.