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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 [...]

Talking Turkey

Does anyone else feel bad for Thanksgiving? That’s right... I feel bad for a holiday. Despite being the only holiday that most organizations give you two days off for, Thanksgiving is almost completely passed over. Think about it... stores barely wait for Halloween to be over before they become a winter wonderland. Personally, any holiday that [...]

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 [...]

GMOrganic?

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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.

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 [...]

Despite predictions, print isn’t dead.

The internet has drastically reduced production and distribution costs. So much so that many newsletters or magazines have gone out of business or abandoned the business of distributing their content via ink on paper. Internet distribution of content is all the rage. But in a classic case of the pendulum swinging back again, I predict [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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. [...]

Treat the Cause, Not the Symptoms.

Treating the cause brings longer lasting relief than treating the symptoms. In medicine and in marketing, treating symptoms can bring temporary relief, but it doesn’t address the root cause of the condition. Nowhere is this more clearly delineated than in marketing for the life sciences. Just as in human health, a single root cause might [...]

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 [...]

Why Consistency is Important in Marketing

In every textbook for Marketing 101 courses, you’ll find a section on the importance of consistency. Why is consistency important? First, consistency in your message helps cut through the clutter. Purchasers of life science products and services are barraged by information, and reinforcing the message increases the chances of the message getting through. This is [...]

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 [...]

To Lower Health Care Costs, Ban DTC

The old saying: “50% of my advertising works, I just don’t know which half” is actually overly optimistic. When it comes to drug advertising to consumers the real figure may be a lot closer to zero. Another recent study has found that DTC advertising does little to boost sales. The drug being studied was clopidogrel [...]

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 [...]

The Bubble Rap

Well we’re from Forma and we’re here to say We’re down with Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. It’s a holiday that sidesteps all those elves And lets us draw attention to ourselves. Hey, that’s what marketing is all about – It’s what we’re good at, have no doubt. And what’s not to like about this air-filled [...]

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 [...]

We Couldn’t Have Said It Better…

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.” Charles Mingus (American jazz bassist and composer, 1922 – 1979) This is as true in marketing and the life sciences as it is in music. This quote resonates with us; our goal is to make the complex compelling.

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 [...]

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 [...]