life science market research

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Did you play Go Fish growing up? It’s a great card game for kids because the rules are simple. The goal is to collect pairs of cards to lay down on the table. If you need an “8,” you ask for it, and the next player has to give it to you if they have it. If they don’t, they tell you to “Go Fish” – and you need to pull cards from the deck until you find a blasted “8.” The first player to get rid of their cards wins.

I’m in the midst of a life science marketing research recruit that reminds me of Go Fish, only it’s not nearly as fun or as simple as the card game. I’ve learned a lot from this experience that I’d like to share – and I’ll certainly have a Fish Story to tell when our research is complete.

At Forma, market research is a crucial part of any strategic rebranding engagement. Effective positions need to be important, believable and compelling – and there’s no better way to successfully develop such a position than by testing it with your prospective life science audience. And face it: in the end, their opinion is really the only one that matters.

We’ve had a long-term engagement with a client whose customer footprint is made up of life scientists with very specific areas of expertise. As a general rule, scientists – particularly those with the research specialization we need – aren’t easily identified on the standard market research panels.

With the panels eliminated as a potential source for life science research candidates, we began our game of Go Fish. We dealt the cards and started asking. We asked current and past clients, colleagues, and business associates where we might find these scientists. Nearly everyone we asked replied with what amounts to “Go Fish.”

So we moved onto other fishing holes, including social media. We Tweeted, posted, pinned and blogged with descriptions of the candidates we were looking for. Facebook was an unexpected resource, with several participants successfully qualified and interviewed found in Facebook groups. LinkedIn yielded modest results, but it took a lot more effort to reel in candidates.

We kept testing new waters, using the information we gleaned from respondents to locate life science and biotech conferences and shows that these scientists often attended. From there, we sought speaker and attendee information with some success, but we still kept fishing.

So we tried some new bait – The Referral, and it’s yielded our best catch to-date. If we were put in touch with a qualified candidate who completed an interview, we gave the referrer a bonus. Incentives for both referrer and referral have proved to be the enticing equivalent of a fat worm on a hook.

There are still many cards to play and be played, but Forma has nearly 30 years of experience in course correcting on behalf of our life science clients, so I like our odds.

We still have room for more players! If you or someone you know works in bioprocessing with Chromatography media or membrane adsorbers, we want to speak with you. We also need to speak with scientists who work in in vitro diagnostics, with Magnetic Beads, Latex Beads and Exosome Isolation Kits. We’re conducting interviews on a global scale, particularly in Europe. If you have interested colleagues, there’s a referral bonus in it for you and a participation incentive for them!

In the meantime, we’re gonna’ keep right on fishin.’

You don’t happen to have any “8s,” do you?