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SAMPS was previously Association of Commercial Professionals for Life Sciences (ACP-LS)

Optimize Your Message

March 16, 2014

This article originally appeared in the blog published by BIOBM Consulting.

Think about how much money (not to mention effort) goes into disseminating your marketing messages. Think of all the resources spent on advertising, copywriting, conference exhibitions, social media, printed materials, even search marketing. Life science companies spend huge sums trying to reach their audience but many companies don't spend nearly enough on making sure their messages are effective.

Instead, messaging is often based on personal opinion, anecdote, or simply left to whatever the copywriter puts on paper. The result is that most marketing communication efforts are sub-optimal. In other words, you're throwing away money on every marketing communication you make or disseminate.

To avoid this, companies need to devote just a small amount of their marketing communications budget into optimizing their messages. There are 3 primary ways in which this can (and should) be performed.

Start with the competition

Analyze how your competition is positioning and describing their own products by performing an attribute analysis. Just as your products/services need to be differentiated (unless you're competing on price) your message needs to effectively convey that differentiation. If you're describing your products the same way that everyone else is, then your audience is going to have a hard time discerning which product is more valuable to them. However, differentiating the message isn't enough to discern what message is optimal.

Enter marketing research

Many companies think they know what is most important to their customers and why, but it's easy to be wrong. For instance, say your product enables what was a 5-step procedure to be done in 3 shorter steps. That obviously has value, but what is most important to the customer? Do they perceive the greatest value in the reduced number of steps, or is it that the whole process is shorter? Is it that they are saving time? Is it that the time saved allows them to do other things and thereby accelerate their research? Perhaps, if you're selling to a manager or principal investigator, they think less time equals less money and that is what's most important. As you notice, any one feature or attribute may translate into a large number of perceived benefits.

In order for your message to be optimally effective, you need to understand where the customer places that importance. Draw out a "web of benefits" to articulate all the reasonably likely perceptions of value, then query your audience as to which benefits they find most valuable. However, sometimes the feedback received in this kind of marketing research differs from how people actually act in a real-life situation.

Apply A/B testing

So now you have a short list of what the most important areas of perceived value are to the audience and which messages are the most differentiated. Overlay those and choose a few messages which reflect your differentiation, are distinct from your competitors, and align with the customers' perceptions of value. Now test them to see which ones actually work best in practice.

None of these things need to be time consuming or complicated, and they're certainly a lot less costly than wasting a significant chunk of your communications budget.

One last tip

No matter what you do, always avoid facile claims. "Reliable," "high-quality," and "industry-leading" have lost their meaning long ago. Stick with meaningful claims that can be expressly validated.


Carlton Hoyt

carlton-hoytCarlton Hoyt is the founder of BioBM Consulting, which specializes in providing marketing, distribution, and operations services to life science tools and services companies. BioBM provides a wide selection of in-depth marketing and business development expertise to generate more demand and grow sales for any life science organization.

SAMPS, Sales And Marketing Professionals in Scientific research, is the first and only organization dedicated to sales and marketing professionals within the life sciences.

The association’s goal is to serve its members who work in commercial roles for life science products and services companies and associated businesses, globally.
 
SAMPS was previously named ACP-LS. We feel that SAMPS more clearly describes the membership, and will form a better foundation from which to expand this membership globally. 
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