The Essential Marketing Checklist for Life Science Companies

In the fast-paced and competitive landscape of the life science industry, effective marketing strategies are essential to stand out, reach the right audience, and achieve sustainable growth. Life science companies, whether they're focused on pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, or research, must navigate a unique set of challenges while promoting their products and services. Download Forma's [...]

The Power of Tone of Voice in Life Science Marketing – Part 7

Tone of voice (and the archetypes that can help define and guide it) is a powerful tool for differentiating an organization and a set of offerings. Given its power, it’s surprisingly underutilized by life science organizations. Keep in mind, however, that like all tools it can be powerful when used correctly—and cause significant problems when used without care. Since the team at Forma has been deeply involved in using tone of voice and archetypes as part of our marketing toolkit for several years now, I’d like to offer a few cautions.

The Power of Tone of Voice in Life Science Marketing – Part 5

Tone of voice is a powerful tool for differentiating your life science offerings. In the previous issue, I discussed how tone of voice can be guided by archetypes. I also reviewed some experiments demonstrating the self-reinforcing nature of archetypal patterns. This self-reinforcement plays a crucial role both in enabling archetypes to guide tone of voice and allowing a particular tone of voice to be understood as a component of an archetype’s pattern. In this issue I build on those topics by looking at other patterns, biases and heuristics that support the need for consistency when using tone of voice in your life science marketing efforts.

The Power of Tone of Voice in Life Science Marketing – Part 4

Tone of voice is a powerful tool for differentiating your life science offerings. In the previous issues in this series, I examined the benefits of harnessing tone of voice and offered a new system for defining tone of voice: archetypes. In this issue, I discuss some experiments which demonstrate the self-reinforcing nature of archetypal patterns. This has many positive implications for marketers who wish to harness tone of voice as an effective tool for differentiation: enabling clear communication, driving consistency, and even improving team alignment.

The Power of Tone of Voice in Life Science Marketing – Part 3

Tone of voice is a powerful tool for differentiating your life science offerings. In the previous issue, I presented a new system for defining tone of voice: archetypes. In this third issue on tone of voice in life science marketing, I discuss the different components of tone of voice, and reveal the results of experiments done to test the link between archetypal patterns and vocabulary.

The Power of Tone of Voice in Life Science Marketing – Part I

In marketing communications, tone of voice is not your content or message, but it is crucial nonetheless. While tone of voice is a powerful tool to differentiate your offerings, it is often ignored. In this first in a series on tone of voice in marketing, I tease apart some of the interesting aspects of tone of voice, reveal a multi-dimensional scale that can be used to classify different tones of voice, and outline one possible system for defining your specific tone of voice.

Gaining Differentiation (and Pricing Power) Through the Use of Archetypes in eClinical Marketing

Archetypes are one effective way to manage the meaning of your brand-story in the minds of your audiences. Doing so effectively leads to greater differentiation and pricing power. Studies have shown that careful selection and maintenance of archetypes is related to higher profit. What are archetypes? In this and subsequent issues, we’ll introduce the basics of this fascinating topic.

Culture eats strategy for breakfast – Part 2

Culture eats strategy for breakfast – Part 2 Recent research we conducted with life science companies shows that leaders in the life sciences believe they establish corporate culture, but they do little to document this culture in a way that lasts once they leave the room. In this issue, I reveal several other surprising insights [...]

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

Culture eats strategy for breakfast - Part 1 If it's true that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and if we think about what that really means, then we'll conclude that life science leaders should spend as much time planning and documenting culture as they do financial performance. Recent research we conducted with life science companies [...]

CRM: Getting the most out of your sales and marketing technologies—so you can sell more in the life sciences. Part 2.

Your CRM is the lifeblood of your life science business’ future. CRMs can be complex beasts to install and manage, but that’s not the most critical challenge. All the technology in the world won’t help if your sales team isn’t using your CRM correctly. In this, the second of a two-part series, we look at improving the adoption of your CRM. We’ll dive into ways to lead your business development team through a transition—from their current state, where data is missing or just isn’t being captured correctly, to a more perfect union of protocols and personnel.

Getting the most out of your sales and marketing technologies—so you can sell more in the life sciences. Part 1. 

Is your life science CRM system working optimally? Are you tracking your new business opportunities effectively? Do you have the necessary visibility into your sales pipeline? Is everyone on your life science sales team using your system in a consistent manner? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then you’ve got a protocol problem—or is it a personnel problem? Or maybe it’s a technology problem? Let’s face it: CRM systems are complex beasts, with lots of moving parts, including software, protocols and personnel. Many life science organizations fail to use them effectively. In this first part of a series, I examine how to assess where the challenges arise in the adoption of proper CRM processes inside life science organizations, and what you can do about them. In future issues we’ll dive deep and develop a plan for getting the most out of your CRM system. The goal of all this: to tune your tools, so you can be more effective in your marketing and new-business development efforts. 

Part 3: Nurturing leads in the life sciences; components of a high-performance lead-nurturing ecosystem.

Life science sales cycles can be long. For this and many other reasons (which I’ll summarize below), it is important that we nurture our prospects. While some life science organizations understand lead nurturing well, many don't understand the subtleties involved in creating a highly effective life science lead nurturing "ecosystem." In fact, there are eight distinct activities involved in life science lead nurturing. In this issue I'll describe each activity, and show how they all work together. It turns out that both lead nurturing and lead generation share many of the same activities, so I'll spend some time discussing both. If you're interested in understanding how lead nurturing works or how to improve your own lead nurturing activities, read this issue. 

Nurturing your prospects in life science marketing and sales—Part 1

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about lead nurturing in the life sciences. Apparently, some see nurturing as a chance to continue their strong-arm sales tactics. And some see nurturing as a waste of time. What is nurturing, and what’s the best way to go about it? In this issue, I begin to explore this fascinating topic by asking a very simple question—what exactly is nurturing?—and exploring opportunities for nurturing through each of the stages of the sales process.

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Is it time to rebrand your life science organization, product, or service? Part five: The rebranding process (steps 1-5 out of 10)

In this issue, I examine the process of rebranding. I’ll outline the first 5 steps in the rebranding process for a life science organization, product or service. Once you’ve decided to rebrand, you should begin by developing a clear-eyed understanding of your environment, your audiences and your competitors. Then you must select a position and an archetype.

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 [...]

Rebranding your life science organization, product, or service. Part three: Building a task force to rebrand your life science organization.

In this issue, I provide some guidance on the makeup of your life science rebranding task force. Having worked with many such teams over the past two-and-a-half decades, I’ve learned that some attributes are essential, and some should be strenuously avoided. I’ll begin this issue by outlining how to guide the rebranding discussion and I’ll close it by discussing the issue of timing: how do you know when to rebrand? In the next issue, I’ll provide a decision tree to help you make the decision: Is it time to rebrand my life science organization, product or service?

Rebranding your life science organization, product, or service. Part one

Isn’t it ironic that marketing, the one business function that is (supposedly) responsible for clear communication, is also the one with widespread confusion about the meaning of one of its central terms: brand? There are actually at least four meanings, all very different. So I’m going to begin the discussion about rebranding by clarifying some terminology. And then I’ll point out the eight foundational assets you must have for an effective “brand” in life science marketing. In future issues, I’ll cover the reasons to think about rebranding, discuss the team you need to undertake this effort, provide a decision tree that will allow you to determine whether it’s time to rebrand, and give you a roadmap to follow as you rebrand your life science organization, product or service.

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 [...]

Entering the Life Science Market – Part 1: Eight Things You Should Know

Many companies try to enter the life science market, lured by the promise of rapid growth and significant opportunity. But entering the life science market can be difficult; many companies try and fail. In this first of two whitepapers on the subject, I’ll provide an overview of some of the factors that make this market unique and identify what you can do to increase your chances of success.

Choosing a Name for Your Life Science Company, Product, or Service

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? I outline an eight-step process. But first, let’s talk about the importance of choosing the proper name.

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, [...]

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 [...]

Putting Your Archetype Into Action in Life Science Marketing

Archetypes are a powerful way to manage the meaning of your brand-story. Using archetypes effectively allows you to create high-performance life science marketing—leading to greater differentiation and pricing power. In past issues, I’ve outlined how to determine the archetypes of your competitors and how to choose an archetype for your own organization. Now, in this final issue covering archetypes, it’s time to put your archetype to use. Let's get practical.

Archetypes in action in life science marketing

Archetypes are one effective way for life science companies to create greater differentiation and pricing power through effective marketing. In this issue, I’ll explore an example of bringing archetypes to life throughout your marketing communications, and I’ll discuss how you can determine the archetypes of your competition.

Families of archetypes and their use in life science marketing

Summary: Archetypes are a powerful tool to guide the development of your marketing communications. In this issue, we’ll start by examining one of the sources of the strength of archetypes: pattern matching. We’ll look at the twelve families of archetypes and at the many different archetypes within these families. And we’ll discuss why you shouldn’t select the Scientist or the Innovator as your archetype.

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 [...]

Gaining Differentiation (and Pricing Power) Through the Use of Archetypes in Life Science Marketing.

Archetypes are one effective way to manage the meaning of your brand-story in the minds of your audiences. Doing so effectively leads to greater differentiation and pricing power. Studies have shown that careful selection and maintenance of archetypes is related to higher profit. What are archetypes? In this and subsequent issues, we’ll introduce the basics of this fascinating topic.

The life science marketing manifesto

Most life science marketing is ineffective. Surprisingly, horribly, disastrously ineffective. But it doesn't have to be this way. There are 10 commitments we can make that will transform our marketing efforts into high-performance life science marketing. Make these 10 commitments and join the movement to wipe low-performance marketing off the face of the earth.

Untapped opportunities in Content Marketing for the life sciences: the “blue ocean.”

Content marketing is the great equalizer. Using content marketing, small life science firms can be as effective and engaging as much larger firms. Unfortunately, as content marketing gets more and more popular, being seen as unique becomes more and more difficult. But there still seems to be real opportunity in content marketing in the life sciences; there are areas of content that are not yet heavily populated by competitors. In this issue, I’ll identify what you need to do to be able to take advantage of this "blue ocean" (a place where the competition is not yet heavily focused [i]).

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 [...]

Creating Effective Inbound Marketing – Part 3: The prerequisites for inbound marketing

Inbound marketing, when done well, should result in a deeper relationship between your organization and your prospects, developing into a steady stream of well-qualified leads. In this issue, we attempt to strip away the hype surrounding inbound marketing and specify the approach needed for an effective inbound marketing effort in the life sciences. We’ll see how the various components of inbound marketing reinforce each other, interacting to drive effective results.

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 … [...]

Creating Effective Inbound Marketing in the Life Sciences – Part 2: The Exchange of Value

Marketing is getting more complex as buyers retreat into anonymity. To be effective, the Marketing function must shift from focusing on simple, outbound promotional activities to attracting prospects, and then converting them from visitors to leads to customers. Inbound marketing is more complex and is more synergistic than outbound marketing. For example, outbound marketing is designed to culminate in a single exchange of value, that is: products or services exchanged for money. Inbound marketing is designed to employ many small exchanges of value and this shift requires changing the way we think about marketing in the life sciences.

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 [...]

Life Science Marketing Alignment – Part II: Diagnosing and Treating the Four Types of Misalignment

Life science marketing misalignment will impede your effectiveness and lower your ROI. So diagnosis of marketing alignment is a crucial first step in determining whether misalignment is present, and if so, which type. In this issue, we continue our look at alignment in life science marketing by examining the first two types of misalignment. We provide some diagnostic questions to help you determine which type of misalignment (if any) is present, and we point the way towards effective treatment.

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, [...]

The Four Common Types of Misalignment in Life Science Marketing

A common problem in life science marketing is misalignment. Misalignment can severely impede your life science marketing efforts, resulting in a variety of symptoms. This issue examines this all too common problem. We begin with a simple assessment to help you determine if your marketing is correctly aligned. We’ll review the Marketing Mechanism of Action as a framework for understanding the four different types of misalignment.

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 [...]

Measuring Return on Investment (ROI) in Life Science Marketing

In this first of a series, we look at the return on investment (ROI) for marketing in the life sciences. Can ROI be measured in a meaningful way? If so, what preconditions are required for such a measurement to be valid? We’ll begin our exploration of these complex issues by looking at why marketing is unique among all the major business functions. We’ll explain and examine the ROI Pathway and explore why an overall ROI ratio is not as useful as a series of individual ROI measurements for different components of the marketing mix. We’ll conclude this issue with an examination of two of the five systemic challenges to determining marketing ROI in the life sciences.

Developing Your Online Content Strategy for Life Science Marketing

Social media provides numerous opportunities for life science companies to interact, engage and educate their audiences. With multiple platforms available, many companies don’t know where to start this process. Thus, many life science companies either avoid social media or spread themselves too thin trying to cover all of their media bases. Unfortunately, neither of these strategies will lead to successful content marketing and social media campaigns in the life sciences. A successful online marketing or content campaign must start with a thorough understanding of the audiences you are trying to reach.

Marketing-based Lead Generation in the Biological Sciences (Part 3)

In this issue we examine in more depth the ladder of marketing-based lead generation for life science, med-device and biotech companies. We discuss the six uses for the ladder. We outline a process for creating your own ladder, and provide a link to a template you can customize for your own use. Next month we’ll finish our discussion on the ladder of lead generation by discussing some tactics you can use to improve your lead generating initiatives.

Common Marketing Errors (Part 2)

Having worked in the life sciences for more than two decades, we have seen a number of marketing errors commonly made by life science companies. As a follow-up to last month’s article about strategic errors, this month we’ll discuss some widespread tactical errors and provide suggestions about how to both identify and address them.

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 [...]

Common Marketing Errors (Part 1)

Having worked in the life sciences for quite a while, we have seen a number of common marketing errors made by life science companies. This month we will address some common strategic errors – next month we’ll cover tactical errors.

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 [...]

The Benefits of Content Marketing Strategies to Life Science Companies

Content marketing is all the rage in some marketing circles. But many life science companies use surprisingly little content marketing. We’ll start this issue by continuing the comparison between content marketing and peer-review publishing begun in the last issue. A diagram will make the comparison clearer. We’ll look at how fundamental changes in the way people access information has driven an increase in choice, which in turn is driving the importance of content marketing. We’ll conclude with a list of changes in attitudes and behaviors that accompany a content marketing initiative. In our next issue, we’ll provide a series of “How to” suggestions for beginning a content marketing initiative.

Comparing Life Science Content Marketing and Peer Review

Content marketing is all the rage in some marketing circles. But many life science companies do not use content marketing – particularly on their web sites. This is surprising because the scientific community has been practicing a form of content marketing for years. In this issue, we’ll look at the similarities and the differences between content marketing and peer-review publishing. In the next issue, we’ll examine both the benefits of content marketing and the attitudes that must change for content marketing to be successful. And in the subsequent issue, we’ll look at how to create and execute an effective, focused, content marketing strategy for your life science business.

Whatever it is, it isn’t life science marketing

Many scientists think they are ‘immune’ to marketing. Even so, companies in the life sciences sectors often resort to standard clichés when it comes to making marketing claims. In many sectors of the life science space companies shout and scream on their web sites and in their brochures – making lots of noise. Unfortunately these efforts are completely ineffective at helping prospects choose their organization. What’s going on?

Crafting a Clear, Effective Positioning Statement for Your Life Science Brand

Positioning is your brand’s DNA. It is private language that acts as a decision-making filter for your public communications. Given the fundamental importance of positioning, how do you go about creating an accurate and useful statement for your life science brand? This article will address the key attributes of such a statement and provide a template for creating your brand’s own positioning statement.

Competing during an earthquake

For life science and biotech companies selling products or services to the drug development chain, the market is in tremendous flux. The patent cliff, the contraction of ‘Big Pharma’ and increased regulatory scrutiny are causing huge seismic shifts – a.k.a., earthquakes. How do you compete effectively in this type of marketplace? This article looks at similar shifts in another industry to point the way to an effective competitive strategy for life science and biotech service companies.

Research proves: Scientists are not immune to marketing

Scientists often believe that they are immune to the efforts of marketers. They are not alone; many of us believe that we make decisions from a purely rational perspective and can therefore filter marketing messages out of our decision-making process. Scientists are particularly prone to subscribe to this belief, as their discipline and world-view places a premium on rational thought. Recent research proves that no one is immune; marketing can affect our behavior, even if the messages are only received subliminally. This article examines this research, and looks at its implication for the marketing of life science companies.

Marketing is not a “hard science.” Why do scientists treat it like one?

Scientific disciplines are often concerned with a complete description of an issue, while marketing is typically concerned with communication. When scientists engage in marketing, their training can lead them to over-communicate, which can be detrimental to their marketing goals. This article explores this phenomenon, identifies the ‘big mistake’ that most companies make, and provides guidance to avoid that mistake in marketing efforts.