Brand Insights

For Health Science Executives

Bioresearch Branding That Works—Part 3: Communicating with Multiple Audiences

Bioresearch Branding That Works—Part 3: Communicating with Multiple Audiences

By Karan Cushman, April 21, 2016


Does your bioresearch brand need different voices for different audience segments?

Many bioresearch brands struggle with the need to market to more than one audience. Different divisions of a organization often work with very different markets. And even within divisions you’ll often find audience segments with different needs, desires, and goals. By understanding their individual motivations, here’s how you can tackle the challenge of multiple audiences head on.

First of all, we know with limited marketing budgets, it’s natural for marketing communication directors to want to try crafting a single message that appeals to everyone. But if you’ve every tried this “one-size-fits-all” marketing approach, you probably came away frustrated. Either your campaign didn’t get good results, or you found it challenging to create the overall message in the first place. Probably both.

It’s tempting to think that marketing to the lowest common denominator makes your message appealing to the largest number of prospects. In reality, trying to appeal to everyone usually dilutes your brand to the point that it’s no longer that relevant to anyone.

Segment and conquer

Key groups in your audience are likely to have different backgrounds, levels of expertise, and goals. Most important, what motivates them to support your organization is likely to depend on their unique perspectives. Investors care about return on investment. Scientists want data and validation of their work. Media people need compelling stories that will attract attention and enable them to meet deadlines as quickly as possible. Donors want progress toward a cure or making the world a better place.

People with similar motivations can be grouped into audience segments — groups that are likely to be receptive to a particular marketing strategy. While the content you create for each segment can share aspects of the overall brand voice, your marketing will be far more effective if you calibrate your outreach efforts to each one.

Is this a more expensive way to do marketing? Not really. While you’ll need to do a bit more work to research and target each segment, you’re also likely to achieve higher response rates. By speaking to each segment in the voice that it relates to, you’ll be more likely to communicate messages that encourage support. You’ll also gain credibility with each segment, because speaking to their unique needs sends the unspoken message that you understand them. For more guidance, check out my post on the importance of creating marketing personas.

Staying true to your core

Segmenting your message doesn’t mean being a different organization to different people. Market leaders typically have an integrated approach to every audience they work with. They not only have a core set of values that drive their marketing efforts, they have explicitly defined them, documented them, and incorporated them into their culture.

Using these core principles as a foundation, smart marketers clearly identify the motivations of each of their key audience segments. Identifying where these motivations overlap the organization’s core values will provide the key to your messaging strategy for each segment.

Think of market segments as variations on a theme. How can you generate interest and support for your central core with each of your audience groups? It’s important to approach their needs and wants with a sincere desire to make them part of your organization’s vision rather than merely trying to “say the right thing” to earn their support. That means getting to know your segments as well as possible within the limits of your budget.

Competitive advantages deliver ROI

Many bioresearch organizations skip the process of segmenting their audience, or even identifying and documenting a single target profile. These organizations all have something in common: they’re number two, number three, number four, or even further down the scale in the marketplace.

The extra effort it takes to define audience segments may seem like an added expense, both of time and money. More often, however, it’s an investment in your success. You’ll see efficiency benefits right away by eliminating a lot of guesswork from your organization’s marketing. With the leverage of a clear strategy, your mar comm, development and sales team members will be more empowered in their daily work. And the insights you gain will also give you a competitive edge — especially over organizations that don’t know the marketplace as well as you do.

This article is Part Three in the series BioResearch Branding that Works. If you are in the two-thirds of our survey respondents who said messaging and brand strategy are most important in the year ahead, be sure to check out Part One and Two.

Part One shares steps towards maintaining a consistent brand, while Part Two covers Developing Your Brand Voice.

Tagged: Biomedical, Bioresearch, Branding, Leadership Marketing, Life Science, Public Relations, Strategy

Leave a Comment