Amanda Jackson Promoted to Art Director

February 15, 2021 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Amanda Jackson was promoted to the role of Art Director on Friday, February 12th, 2021. Upon joining Forma in 2019, Amanda immediately got to work on establishing brand guidelines and improving Forma's look and feel. She quickly outgrew her initial role as Graphic Designer and began shaping design strategies [...]

A CRO’s Worst Nightmare

Here's a scenario: For the last four years, a CRO sold Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies to their Pharma Sponsor Client. The CRO was proud of their record; they delivered these studies accurately and on-time. The CRO offered all types of services for Phase 1 and 2 trials. To provide some of these services, [...]

5 SEO Problems That Are Damaging Your Life Science Website

SEO problems can devastate your rankings and cause you to lose customers Many life science brands don't prioritize search engine optimization. Whether they're massive billion-dollar clinical research organizations or small, agile startups in their first year of business, one of the most common issues we've seen is the lack of knowledge about SEO. It's understandable. [...]

5 Rules for Creating Killer Case Studies

This is a condensed version of David Chapin's original whitepaper, "8 Fundamental Principles for Creating Compelling Case Studies". Case Studies are Crucial Marketing Tools Case studies are one of the most powerful marketing tools in your arsenal. They can compel users to engage with your brand in a way that other marketing initiatives cannot. However, [...]

6 Aspects of Compelling Life Science Marketing Communication

If you're reading this, you're probably aware of how highly-regulated the life science industry is. If you're having trouble standing out from your competitors, you're not alone. Facilitating effective marketing communication is hard, especially in the life sciences! Marketing is one corporate function whose main responsibility involves clear communication. Communication is multi-dimensional, but most marketing [...]

The 5 Most Powerful Types of Digital Marketers

There has been an explosion of mobile applications in recent times, coinciding with the expansion and developments in the digital marketplace. As a result, companies of all sizes, in all industries and in every country have begun to appreciate how mobile applications can increase engagement with their customers. The efforts of app developers allow them [...]

The Art of Giving Feedback Without Being Hurtful

Jordan Eller, Digital Marketing Manager at Forma Life Science Marketing, was recently interviewed by Ben Ari on his experience with managing teams and giving constructive feedback. The original version of the interview can be found at Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit [...]

Choosing a Name for Your Life Science Company

Choosing a name for a life science company, product or service can be difficult. Any choice will generate a strong, almost instantaneous response, carry great emotional weight and (ideally) last a long time. How do you choose a name while avoiding the emotional rollercoaster that such choices often bring? In this post, we'll outline several [...]

3 Keys to Crafting Stellar Sales Emails

Sales emails are powerful tools for raising awareness about your brand and compelling your prospects to engage with your business. But how can you be sure your recipients are going to respond? Or even open the emails in the first place? Crafting effective sales emails is equal parts art and science. There are hundreds of [...]

3 Effective Tips for Working Remotely

Working remotely can be a serious adjustment if you're used to office life. The Coronavirus has forced millions of workers across the globe to set up shop at home so they can continue working without having to worry about catching this deadly illness. For many, it will be the first time they've had an opportunity [...]

Running a Life Science Social Media Channel

In the age of high-speed Internet, constant contact is considered normal. With a smart phone in almost every pocket, customers expect answers at the push of a button. Social media is a great way to communicate with customers quickly. According to Hubspot, 72% of adult Internet users use Facebook, 25% of adult Internet users use [...]

To Be a B-Corp… or Not?

As Forma Life Science Marketing continues to entrench itself within the Agricultural Sector and understand the issues unique to that sector it’s only natural that we ask ourselves if we are doing our part. As the saying goes, “If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem” so at Forma [...]

Peanut Butter & Science Sandwich

Perhaps I am more attune to agricultural issues these days, because I hear more and more about peanut allergies. Around the beginning of the school year, my Facebook blew up with angry posts on both sides of the issue. Certainly the concern is understandable, as at times this allergy can be so severe that without [...]

Can you have multiple archetypes in sales and marketing in life science, drug development and biotech corporations? Can you use one archetype for each division?

Two questions invariably come up when talking with life science marketers about archetypes. The first is: what are archetypes? I’ve answered that question in many places—here’s a good introduction: Gaining differentiation (and pricing power) through the use of archetypes in life science marketing. The second question is: can I have multiple archetypes, one for each [...]


In my last blog I mentioned that I recently had my sister and her two adorable twin boys stay with us. As I have been sinking my teeth into making Forma Life Science Marketing a major player in Ag-Bio marketing I remembered another very interesting insight from my family’s visit. My sister is an amazing [...]

Going for it: Forma expanding to Ag-Bio

I just spent the week with my twin two-year-old nephews. Needless to say, I am exhausted. However, it is a different exhaustion than I expected. I had expected to be physically exhausted from chasing them around and preventing them from hurting themselves. Instead, I am exhausted from keeping up with their curious minds and can [...]

Chapin presenting at Chiltern Symposium June 4, signing books at BIO 2015 June 16

Since releasing his first book last December, David Chapin, CEO of Forma Life Science Marketing and author of Making the Complex Compelling: Creating High-Performance Marketing in the Life Sciences, has presented at four programs since January and is gearing up for two more events in the next two weeks. Click here for more details.

Two trends that are reducing the power of the sales function in the life sciences, and what to do about them

There are two trends that are changing the importance of the sales role in the life sciences. I’ll outline these trends, which you’ll easily recognize, and then I’ll talk about what this means for life science organizations. TREND 1: Ubiquitous information is reducing the power of the sales department. It used to be that sellers [...]

Archetypes: ‘The next trend in high-performance B2B marketing’

The recent webinar, Using archetypes in life science marketing to increase sales and margins, included an interactive discussion led by David Chapin that shed new light on how life science organizations can set themselves apart from the competition and better engage their audiences in a crowded, highly regulated marketplace. In so doing, such organizations will benefit [...]

Virginia life science KOPs welcome David Chapin

Charlottesville, VA – February 26, 2015 - David Chapin, author and CEO of Forma Life Science Marketing based in Research Triangle Park, NC, will present at two industry gatherings in Charlottesville, VA on Thursday, April 2. Indoor Biotechnologies, a locally based global manufacturer of biologics for allergy and asthma, is organizing Chapin’s appearances. Dozens of [...]

Why ‘almost the best’ isn’t alright for life science marketing

"Market share as a first priority generally doesn’t end well. When you compete on quality, 'almost the best' will often still do pretty well. When you compete on price, 'almost the cheapest' always loses." The quote above comes from a recent post by Apple-centric tech blogger John Gruber. Though Gruber was specifically referring to the Smartphone [...]

People are talking. And so are we: Jan. 28 at NC COIN

"If you just want to read one book—and only one—to make your products or services more desirable, congratulations: you are holding it.” What began in 2008 as a monthly series of white papers extended into a full-length book. On the heels of its release last month, our CEO David Chapin will present “Learn How to Improve Your Life [...]

Visional Missionableness Strategery for Life Science Marketing and the World

Mission statement. Strategy statement. Vision statement. Value statement. Internal language. External language. And while we’re at it, is ours a platform or a product? A product platform? A productized platform service? Besides the financial statement or maybe the research statement, does any of this matter? Mostly no. And it almost never matters to your audience(s). Those who [...]

We are watching you: User and Customer Research

The terms User and Customer research are sometimes used interchangeably, and while there can be some similarities between these two types of research, there are distinct differences.  In general, both of these types of research focus on understanding behaviors, needs, and motivations through observation techniques, task analysis, and other feedback methodologies.  However, that is where [...]

If life gives you commoditization, expand (but don’t forget to differentiate!)

Frank Diana, Global Head of the Digital Enterprise Solutions Team at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), paved a road map for becoming an emerging digital enterprise. In this exceptional 6-part online series featured on Perspectives, TCS Consulting Journal, Diana presents a compelling case for organizations facing commoditization of their products and services. In his 2nd installment, [...]

Getting it right even before you start

"Perfect" is an emotion commonly felt when a researcher finishes crafting a question. The question is clear, the answer choices provided inclusive and mutually independent, there is no way this question will not return invaluable data! Unfortunately, this is sometimes just not the case. It is for this reason pretesting is an incredibly important, and surprisingly [...]

The importance of metrics in Life Science Marketing (told through the lens of one of the nicest guys ever in baseball)

Marketing's purpose is to inform and influence potential customers, to give those customers specific, low-risk, easy-to-take actions resulting in movement toward the next step in the buying process. Stories move people and are one of the primary tools marketers can use to bring potential customers closer. And everyone loves a good story. Numbers can tell stories, too. And [...]

Differentiate or Die

A recent deal between Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Ely Lilly shows where the life science industry is headed: Specialization. Novartis is moving exclusively to Oncology drugs, GSK to vaccines and Lilly to animal drugs. Differentiating yourself from your competition is how to grow sales and market share. Specializing is one way to differentiate. But what if [...]

David Storey is living up to his name at Forma

David Storey has re-joined Forma Life Science Marketing as Associate Creative Director. Before launching his own firm in 2004, he was the Senior Art Director (at what was then Forma Design) for five years. Storey has 25 years’ professional experience in corporate branding, strategic marketing, interaction and user interface design, and art direction. As his name suggests, he [...]

David Chapin: Best Life Science Marketing Consultant

It was an exciting Thursday last week when the Forma team gathered for Research Triangle Park's first Life Sciences Awards. David was hailed as RTP’s Best Life Science Marketing Consultant for his specialized expertise in the promotion and success of life science organizations -- namely through strategic differentiation, positioning, messaging, and branding. Sponsored by the [...]

When life science marketing is misaligned

Different 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 turnoverA confused marketplace and workforceA marketing effort with low ROILack of focus – in your target audience, specialization, business [...]

Making the Grade in Marketing Automation

Most schools across the Northern Hemisphere are letting out for the summer.  But when it comes to planning for and implementing Marketing Automation, some life science organizations might be prepared for year-round enrollment! Marketo’s Definitive Guide to Marketing Automation defines marketing automation as a system that “streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows … [...]

North Carolina biotech base takes a stage at BIO 2013

This Monday, the Biotechnology Industry Organization kicks off its 20th BIO International Convention in Chicago, the world’s largest event for the biotech industry. As part of its 25th anniversary in delivering life science marketing services, Forma is among the 58 partners in North Carolina Pavilion #2617. The pavilion was organized by North Carolina Biotechnology Center [...]

When life science sales are poor, turn to marketing

We’ve had a surge of new clients in recent months, and therefore a significant uptick in the number of diagnostic presentations to evaluate their current life science marketing strategy, positioning, and messaging. The driver for those presentations is a comprehensive intake survey, in which key decision makers share their impressions on a number of things, [...]

Maximize Your Life Science Trade Show

Marty Fitzgerald, Director of Business Development We’re at the CED Life Science Conference 2013 today and tomorrow, which brings to mind two of our past newsletters that focused on maximizing the life science trade show experience. I attended a show with a client last year and had the chance to visit a few [...]

Touchpoints: 10 tips for Life Science Marketers

Today’s life science marketers use ‘touchpoints’ to position their organization and communicate about its brand.  To make marketing more effective, there are 10 key aspects about touchpoints that you must understand. All touchpoints are audience-focused, but their importance varies by industry, company, and audience. Not all can convey the same message, and there are some [...]

Content Marketing: Strategy First

A seismic shift in marketing is happening right now. The Internet gives each and every company access to a stage with microphones on it. This is a tremendous advantage to small companies, because content marketing “levels the playing field” for these organizations. But unless these companies act quickly and begin to create compelling, unique content, [...]

Ours is not a “hard-science”

Many marketing professionals in the life sciences industry didn't start out as marketers. They were schooled in biochemistry, engineering, or physics. And while science seeks to understand, marketing seeks to sell; science seeks to describe, and marketing to communicate. Life science marketing isn't a "hard-science" but scientists often treat it like one. From that standpoint, [...]

The Challenge of Brand and Focus through M&A

In the September 12 issue of Advertising Age, industry exec Al Ries examined an important topic: the confusion between product brands and company brands. To illustrate his point, Ries hailed the brand strength of two companies: Apple and Disney. Both capitalized on being first in their respective industries – Apple as the first to deliver [...]

Marty Fitzgerald Joins Forma

Marty Fitzgerald Joins Forma Life Science Marketing as Director of Business Development Raleigh, NC – July 20, 2012 Marty Fitzgerald has more than 20 years’ professional experience in business development, marketing strategy and account management, and has spent most of that tenure serving the medical device, healthcare, biotech, and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, he was [...]

Differentiation, Content Marketing as Business Tools

In the life sciences, particularly among CROs, poor differentiation is the cause of many common marketing ills. But once meaningful differentiation has been established, content marketing is the perfect vehicle to reach your target audience. David Chapin is taking this message and others to ExL Pharma's 4th Annual Business Development Strategies for Clinical Trials Service Providers Summit [...]

Three Cities in Four Months

In the 4-month span from April to July, David Chapin will have presented to audiences in Durham, NC, Chicago, and Philadelphia to share his nearly 25 years' expertise in strategic marketing.  What makes his thought leadership so sought-after? Read more, and check out the Triangle Business Journal's take on his travels.

An invitation to the White House.

I've been invited to the White House to take part in a small business briefing this week. It's a great opportunity, and I'm interested in learning from clients and readers what issues they think should be raised. Please comment (respectfully, of course).

Social Media: There are no rules

The biggest rule of social media is…there are no rules. Social media is a fluid process that is ever-evolving. The most important concept is to do what is best for your brand. Develop a strategy and stick to it. If your audience is not on Facebook, as is the case with many life science companies [...]

How do you differentiate a CRO or CRM?

How do you differentiate a CRO or CRM? Vertical specialization is one answer, e.g., a therapeutic area expertise or a particular dosage form. Is your company a CRO, one that provides support to pharmaceutical, and medical device industries by research services outsourced on a contract to contract basis.

Influence and Educate

If buyers can learn about your offering anonymously, then you have to give away information if you want to influence what they learn. Don't require them to identify themselves; you'll lose the chance to influence and educate them.

Reason #6

Keep your marketing communications short. Why? Reason #6: You want your marketing to intrigue, not completely inform. Marketing shouldn’t answer every question that your prospect has.

Social Media starts with content

As I’ve discussed before, social media is the act of engaging your customers through interactive dialog. The key here is content.  Think of social media applications as the vehicle and content as the driver. The vehicle is useless, and in some instances dangerous, unless there is a knowledgeable driver to operate it. Social media applications [...]

Listen: Content Monitoring Tools

As I’ve discussed before, one third of your social media time should be spent listening or monitoring the web for relevant discussion and company or brand mentions. Content monitoring tools now make this seemingly overwhelming task easier and less time consuming. One of the best-known and widely used content monitoring tools is Google Alerts. As [...]

Content Marketing is like Mining

Content marketing is like mining. Both involve hard work, finding something of value in the midst of slag, and lots of refining. But there is one key difference. Drilling among the accumulated knowledge within your company yields something you can reuse or repurpose. The themes that started out as a white paper can be reused [...]

Confusing activity with progress

If you think of your life science marketing as a journey, then your strategy gives you a clear idea of the direction you will be taking. In other words, your marketing strategy is your map. In contrast, tactics are the motive forces that power your journey. Your tactics – the tools and techniques you use [...]

Credibility on the Web

B.J. Fogg and his associates at Stanford are looking at how you can make computer experiences more persuasive. Out of these efforts come principles for making your web site more credible. Just one good take-away out of many: Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site's credibility more than most people imagine. So one of [...]

The Hype Behind Social Media

The hype cycle of emerging technology implies that all new technologies pass through a “Peak of Inflated Expectations” on their way through a “Trough of Disillusionment,” eventually arriving at a “Plateau of Productivity.” See Gartner Research for a further understanding of this concept. I think Social Media in the B2B space is now at a [...]

Marketing Checklist: Touchpoints

Checklists are a great way to ensure that you cover all the basics. They are used daily by thousands of people in situations where the results really matter (like flying planes and surgical procedures). If you were going to create a checklist, what items are so important that they would appear on your life science [...]

Marketing Checklist: Social Media

If you were going to create a checklist of important items, what items are so important that they would appear on your life science marketing checklist? One item that would be on my marketing checklist is this: Use social media, appropriately. There is a lot of hype about social media. Social media is NOT the [...]

Marketing Checklist: Consistency

If you were going to create a checklist of important items, what items are so important that they would appear on your life science marketing checklist? One item that would be on my marketing checklist is this: Ensure the consistency of your messages, your tone and your image. Consistency is crucial in marketing. Why? Because [...]

Forma Life Science Marketing Thought Leader Presents in Charlotte

Forma Life Science Marketing joined forces with the BIG Council and NC BioConnect of the greater Charlotte area to present “Understanding Buying Behavior,” a lecture and interactive marketing workshop from Forma CEO and chief strategist, David Chapin. Chapin, a highly regarded thought leader who specializes in strategic marketing development for fast-growth and emerging markets, spoke [...]

Marketing Checklist: Ask the Right People

I’ve been thinking about life science marketing checklists and wondering: What items are so important from a marketing perspective that they should appear on a checklist?One item that would be on my marketing checklist is this:Ask your actual prospects and your customers for their opinions.I am amazed how few firms do market research. I’m even [...]

Marketing Checklist: Thought Leadership

I’ve been thinking about life science marketing checklists and wondering: What items are so important from a marketing perspective that they should never be forgotten, but are so simple that they are sometimes overlooked? I’d like to propose another item for our imaginary marketing checklist. Promote your thought leadership at every opportunity. Thought leadership (a.k.a.: [...]

Marketing Checklist: Segment Your Audience

I’ve been thinking about life science marketing checklists and wondering: What items are so important from a marketing perspective that they should appear on a checklist? My goal is not to reduce a situation that calls for a high amount of tailored specificity (such as marketing in the life sciences) to a rote activity, because [...]

What’s on YOUR Marketing Checklist?

Checklists are incredibly useful and a couple of recent books make a strong case for checklists in healthcare. In Safe Patients, Smart Hospitals: How One Doctor's Checklist Can Help Us Change Health Care from the Inside Out, authors Peter Pronovost and Eric Vohr discuss how a simple checklist helped reduce infection rates at Johns Hopkins [...]

The Need for Content in the Life Sciences

In the life sciences, many firms’ offerings are often very close to their competitors’ – almost identical in fact. This is due to many things; perhaps most important is the regulatory scrutiny that drives similarity in processes. If you are similar to your competitors, it’s not reasonable to assume that you can stand in a [...]

Interruption Marketing is Dying

Interruption marketing is dying. The history of the aptly named “commercial break”) which breaks into your attention stream), is a prime example of escalating sophistication. Despite the growing sophistication of marketers, the rules have changed, the power struggle between buyers and sellers has changed and the buyers are now winning the battle. Let me explain. [...]

Benchmarks for Marketing Performance

There aren’t a lot of benchmarks in life science marketing. For example, no one (that I know of) has researched the average bounce rate for (to pick just one business sector in the life sciences) all formulation companies by measuring the statistics for all the home pages in that one sector. Or measured the conversion [...]

Forma Life Science Marketing Selected Agency for Triangle Ophthalmologic Device Company

Forma Life Science Marketing, a leading marketing firm for biotech, pharma and medical device companies, has been selected agency for TearScience®, Inc. a privately-held medical device company, located in Morrisville, NC. TearScience recently announced the completion of $44.5 million of Series C funding, to commercialize medical devices used to diagnose and treat the most common [...]

Failing Fast

Business runs in cycles, both in economic cycles and in the cycle of ideas. Back when I was working in product development, a hot trend was the idea of making correctible decisions, rather than perfect decisions. This morphed into “making your mistakes early,” so you could learn from them during the beginning of the development [...]

A Difficult Test

Here is an interesting test; one on which most life science companies won’t perform very well. Gather all your branded marketing material in one room. This includes everything, your printed material, online material, ads, blog posts, pictures of your trade show booth, direct mail, email blasts, white papers, etc. Then read it, all of it. [...]

Referrals in the Life Science Sector

When we ask clients how they get new business, some life science firms respond: “We get most of our customers from word of mouth and referrals.” The implication is: “We are getting high quality clients and saving money on sales costs; isn’t that great?” This may be great in the short run, but in the [...]

Authentic Complexity

Authentic complexity (for example, a subject with lots of moving parts, lots of interactions, and lots of variables) can’t be made arbitrarily simple. Authentic complexity can’t be made arbitrarily simple – but it can be made digestible. In the life sciences, where we help companies tell their stories to drive profit and sales, we often [...]

A Key Diagnostic Question for Life Science Brands

When diagnosing your own marketing ills, it is hard to know how to differentiate the urgent symptoms from the important ones, and the important ones from the unimportant ones. Even trained professionals, like doctors, don’t diagnose themselves. Yet, everyone believes it is OK to diagnose themselves for marketing issues. I am not arguing that everyone [...]

When “Quality” Is A Commodity

Crisis and opportunity in the life science sector. Service providers in the life sciences (e.g., CROs, CRMs, core labs, firms offering preclinical services such as formulation, etc) work in a sector that is changing and changing rapidly. The Big Recession tore a big swath out of Big Pharma, leaving opportunities for smaller firms to come [...]

The Basic Steps of Marketing

Let’s face it, the basic tenets of marketing have remained the same, even though the technology we use to deliver it has changed. The basic steps are simple: Identifying what makes your offering both important to your prospects and different from the competition. Articulating your message and brand character in a way that is seen [...]

Who Can You Trust in Life Science Marketing?

Who can you trust? Apparently not your friends, at least not your online friends. “According to Edelman's latest Trust Barometer, the number of people who view their friends and peers as credible sources of information about a company dropped by almost half, from 45% to 25%, since 2008.” That quote from Advertising Age tells you [...]

Building an Effective Editorial List

Content marketing is the hot new trend in marketing, specifically life sciences marketing, and for good reason. Effective content marketing can help to position one in the space they strive to own, provide increased exposure, build brand awareness, establish and/or increase one’s reputation by generating thought leadership and help one achieve expert status in the [...]

What is Compelling?

At Forma, we work with companies in the life sciences to Make the Complex Compelling. In this sector, there is lots of subject matter that is complex. The borders of knowledge have been pushed back quite far, so the questions being addressed are often very complex. And the audience is often technically sophisticated. They have [...]

What are the Goals of Marketing?

What are the goals of marketing? Ask any marketer this question, and you’ll get dozens of answers: build brand awareness, increase referrals, drive web site traffic, motivate response, creating customer loyalty, etc. In the end, all these goals stem from one thing: getting your audience to self-select. That is, to get those who are interested [...]

Complex Science Doesn’t Make You Special

All bioscience today is complex. To understand the questions that are being asked, much less to tease out significant answers, the level of education required is considerably higher today than it was 150 years ago, when Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species. Complexity carries with it very little commercial value, other than the [...]

Why You Shop vs Why You Buy

Think for a moment about your best supplier – the one your bioscience company wouldn’t leave, even for a cheaper price, because your loyalty is so strong. If you are like most, the reason you started talking to them is different than the reason you eventually chose them, and that is different than the reason [...]

Forma Recognized in Triangle Business Journal

Forma Life Science Marketing was recently recognized by the Triangle Business Journal for its expertise and specialization in the life science, biotech and pharma industry. Forma's has crafted and honed it's proprietary process for developing strategically-minded products for clients over the years. A process that dates back 22 years and has been used for well [...]

Is DTC Worth the Trouble?

US pharmaceutical companies spent an estimated $3 billion on direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising in 2005. A recent study shows that the DTC’s effects on sales are negligible. Did the industry flush $3 billion down the drain? If you know much about advertising, you know that measuring ROI in advertising is extremely difficult. The study is a [...]

Hype Cycle

I originally saw a similar “Hype Cycle” diagram referencing emerging technology in the IT sector; the source was the Gartner Group. I have adapted their diagram for technology in the Life Sciences.

The Need for Clarity in Marketing

Clarity is needed now more than ever. Bringing technology out of the lab successfully means finding ways to have meaningful conversations about very sophisticated issues with non-scientists. The American Medical Association and Medco Health Solutions (a pharmacy benefits manager) recently surveyed more than 10,000 US physicians. A few of the results: the number of doctors [...]