5 Life Science Marketing Challenges & How To Win Them
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Marketing has never been easy for the vertical of life sciences. Unlike other industries, the life science industry encounters several challenges when marketing its services and products. Subjected to strict rules and regulations, life science companies have a hard time reaching out to their target customers and offering their services and products.
There are a number of business challenges life science companies have to face apart from high competition, fragmented customer communication channels, and diminished margins. Here are the major challenges among them:
1. Market Access:
When it comes to methods for accessing the market, life science companies often face troubles. These issues are related to expansion of a company beyond the geographical or industrial boundaries for providing markets, patients groups and customers with more products and services.
Life science marketing materials are subject to special regulations. Companies operating in this vertical should be able to adapt to regulatory requirements that are changing constantly. This industry has vigorous and complex risk and regulatory environments, which are such to ensure protection, safety and health of patients. Transparency is required in clinical trial quality, manufacturing processes and product commercialization. Safety standards for device and drugs are becoming tighter because of affiliate marketing programs and social media. Cyber-attack risk has heightened due to data sharing and cloud, network medical devices, EMRs and digitization. The strict regulations limit the ways in which life science marketers can market and promote their products.
3. Customer Access:
It is challenging for life science companies to access customers, since they get inadequate time with customers (mostly physicians). From 1:1,500, the physician to patient ratio is likely to become 1:8,000, in the field of primary care. This would leave physicians with insufficient time for meeting sales representatives of pharma and medical device companies. Such a massive change has been led by regulatory reforms such as the gift ban laws, “Physician Payment Sunshine Act” and other such reforms. In addition, around 32 million patients newly insured have entered the healthcare system in US.
4. Understanding the Digital World:
Pharma companies understand that digital marketing and the World Wide Web are transforming the world. However, no one knows how the internet age is impacting pharmaceutical marketing, leading to uncertainty and anxiety about how one should proceed. As smarphones, internet and various digital devices have become an integral part of the lives of people, pharma firms know that they should have a digital presence – but it’s not clear that to what degree and how.
A key question for pharma and other life science companies is that whether they are successful in getting their voice heard via the several digital channels or not, considering that there are many voices competing for attention online.
Pharma companies need to have online “conversation” with their stakeholders. However, the industry is not that used to having spontaneous, freewheeling conversations online. So, are conversations really possible?
A company named Bayer launched its Facebook page to drive engagement with its target audience. The chief executive of Bayer gives a video message welcoming visitors, and inviting them to click “Like” and join the social media world of Bayer. The company is now established well on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.
Social sites can be great tools for having “conversations”. Bayer proves this.
5. Reduced Blockbuster Drugs:
Blockbuster drugs have seen a decline, which is adversely affecting the revenue for a number of pharma and biotech companies.
How to Overcome the Marketing Challenges?
Since the life science industry is a unique vertical, its approach to marketing should also be unique, and aligned to its unique needs and challenges. If you are a company in the life science industry, marketing your products and services efficiently requires you to have a specialized life science marketing agency by your side. Look for a digital marketing agency, which is dedicated to serving life science companies solely. This is because such an agency would have adequate experience in assisting companies of your industry, owing to which it would know how to solve the marketing problems encountered by companies like you.
When hiring a life science digital marketing agency, ensure the following:
The agency should be able to offer solutions that are tailored to client requirements.
Its experience of working with biotech, biopharma, pharma and other life science companies should be vast.
It should have professionals well qualified in the life sciences field. It would indicate that the agency understands your industry deeply along with its challenges. It would also indicate that the agency knows what would work and what won’t in life science marketing.
The agency should have expert web developers with experience in creating e-commerce sites particularly for life science firms.
It should be able to show you a track record of meeting client needs successfully.
Life science marketing certainly has more challenges than other verticals. However, with a specialized life science digital marketing agency by your side, you can win all your challenges and see your sales figures rising.
Thomas Miller is the senior most marketing analyst and advisor at Vintelli, a smart business directory for online listing. He is also a part time Web Consultant at B3NET Bio, a leading life science digital marketing agency. His 9 years of expertise in online marketing enables him to serve both B2C and B2B communities with better guidance.
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