Brand Insights

For Health Science Executives

Marketing Essentials for Up-And-Coming Brands

Marketing Essentials for Up-And-Coming Brands

By Karan Cushman, December 6, 2016

An explosion of new tools is making it easier than ever to connect with your audience. But are all of these new toys marketing essentials? We don’t think so.

Today, bioresearch brands have so many ways to connect with potential customers and supporters that you can’t possibly use them all. But which ones are right for those of you with limited resources? Here are seven marketing essentials that will help you find your focus and utilize your staff and budget most effectively.

Once these seven items are covered you’ll have a sound basis for reaching your business goal, even on a tight budget. You may also get insights into other channels that might be a good fit, but stick to these basics first.

1. Audience Personas

Of all the marketing essentials to consider, clearly-defined audience personas are the most important. This is especially true if you have limited resources of money, people or expertise.

Personas matter because they focus your efforts. Knowing your audience helps you determine exactly what kind of people are bringing in the most revenue or are most open to what you offer. Building a compelling messaging platform becomes much easier, because your personas will suggest which channels your best prospects use most.

2. Basic Brand Identity

The single most important thing your brand needs is the be relevant. It has to resonate with your personas on some key level.

Defining your brand’s purpose with clear positioning, plus a good story to back it up, is a must. Without a defining “why” your business matters, all the other marketing essentials listed below are likely to fall flat. Why do you get out of bed and go to work? Your answer separates you from competitors, inspires those working for you and creates loyal fans.

Beyond defining your purpose, three key things are essential to a strong identity:

  1. A logo, mark or logotype
  2. A tag line
  3. A “brand system,” which can be as simple as a corporate font, color palette and select supporting visuals

There are good reasons to go a lot further with your brand identity — from photography and image styles to full-fledged branding guides — but you can get by with these three. However basic your brand may be, it should provide a consistent look for everything else you create, from print collateral to websites to slide decks.

3. A Meaningful Leave-Behind

The name says it all here. Traditionally, this was the thing you “left behind” after a face-to-face meeting. Today you can use it in other ways too — as a handout at trade shows, a PDF you send after a phone call, or even as a download or animated infographic on your website.

If you’re a Life Science company, your leave-behind could be a one-sheet summary of services, catalog or app. For a Biomedical Nonprofit, it will probably be a case statement brief or brochure. As with your brand, the key thing is for it to be highly relevant to your audience personas.

While leave-behinds have an obvious value for external contacts, they’re also beneficial to your internal team. A good leave-behind gets everyone on the same page. That helps your people frame what you have to offer or sell in a consistent, effective way, whether they’re talking to customers at a trade show, potential donors, journalists or anyone else.

Your leave-behind should have a clear call to action that directs readers to the next step in your sales cycle, whether that’s calling you for a consultation, placing an order, making a donation, or some other quantifiable action. Some readers will want more information before they act, so at a minimum be sure your website address is obvious. Better yet, consider whether a specific landing page targeted to your persona would make that next action more compelling.

4. An Informative Website with Regular Content Updates

It’s not enough to put up a website and call it done, because Google and other search engines give priority to sites that regularly post fresh content. All other advice about search is speculation about algorithms that can change several times a day. Posting new content at least once a month in some indexable format is a good start. Make all content relevant to your personas’ current needs and interests, and you’ll get something better than SEO — good prospects will forward your stuff to friends and colleagues.

5. An Ongoing Email Campaign

Your email list can be one of the most important and valuable marketing essentials your brand has. It’s an easy way to get in front of your audience on a regular basis — at least once a month is recommended. You can also test ideas with different personas while learning their habits and needs.

It’s not exactly accurate to say that email is free, because you’ll need to invest time in persona research, content generation, and more. It won’t replace face-to-face conversations either. That said, email can be incredibly cost-effective by providing more immediate results, generating rapid feedback, and leading users to your website or other target areas you want them to visit.

It’s popular for marketing gurus to say that email is dying. Don’t believe it. Usage trends suggest that if anything email use is actually growing, especially among younger people who are just coming into the marketplace.

6. PR Support

You don’t need a full-time PR person or department, but you do need to know how to get news about your brand into the marketplace when you have something newsworthy to say. Learning how to write a newsworthy press release is a good start. Don’t have direct relationships with the media? Look for a partner who does, or who can help you start building a network of publicity resources.

7. Track Your Analytics

All marketing generates data. Track your response rates in every channel, and learn as much as you can about who’s responding. Good analytics will tell you if you’re reaching your personas, and where you’re generating the most activity.

While it’s not entirely true that number can’t lie, be open minded about your results. You may discover that your best response efforts are coming from unexpected people. That could be a sign that you need to revise your personas, or point to opportunities you haven’t tapped yet.

Are you missing any of these marketing essentials? Sign up for a free “Pick My Brain” session at right or simply email me to set up a time to chat. 


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