A common failure in life science marketing is being too pushy. Marketers frequently try to force scientists into accepting their viewpoints by making bold claims and attempting to force marketing content upon them. This approach, however, misjudges the audience. Scientists are taught to be skeptical and to arrive at their own conclusions. When companies are selling scientific products to them, scientists approach a purchasing decision with that same level of skepticism. Bold claims and forcefully wielded content do not overcome that skepticism.
Most life science marketers (and therefore, presumably, most people reading this post) were scientists at one point. Think about yourselves and how you would make a purchase of any significant importance. Maybe a computer or a television. You likely didn’t just go to a store (online or in person), look at one model, decide that you like it and buy it right there on the spot. You most likely looked up other options, researched reviews, or asked around to see if anyone you know has had experience with that model or brand. Scientists do the same thing when making purchases for their labs. They shop around, ask around, and compare multiple options. They form their own decisions, regardless of how many benefits you claim, how many features you have or how many testimonials you tout. There should be no expectation that your marketing will be able to take someone from a point of mere curiosity to the point of making a purchase then and there. Yet so much marketing is designed to do just that.
The most common reason for this overbearing and unrealistic marketing approach is fear. Put simply, many marketers fear that if they do not generate a lead or sale at any given point of contact then they have “lost.” This is not the case – ask any life science marketer how many “touches” a prospect needs to become a lead, then a lead to an opportunity, and finally an opportunity to a sale. The answer will almost never be “one”. However, marketers are unwilling to lose control. You need to be able to accept that scientists are going to shop around, try to find more information, and eventually come to their own decisions. They are simply too skeptical to accept your company as the sole provider of information in their purchasing decision.
This does not mean that marketers need to sit back and watch the purchasing decision get made. Marketers are correct in being proactive. However, in order to create a truly effective marketing campaign, life science marketers must understand what the customers will want to know and how they’ll want to obtain that information. There will be content that the customer wants that is out of your control. The best marketing campaigns will neither refuse to cede control nor allow the scientists to continue their decision-making alone, but rather will act as a shepherd that guides them to the content that both satisfies their needs while helping to validate the company’s claims.
Let the scientists decide. Just be there to help them make their decision in your favor.