The Top Trends in Pharma and Biotech B2B Digital Marketing
As a business growth agency partnered with a variety of different businesses that service or operate within the pharma and biotech sectors, we tend to keep on top of the key industry trends.
Marketing is no exception, with the B2B arena becoming one of the most notoriously fast-paced landscapes susceptible to marketing innovations, powerful technologies and digital transformations.
Across laboratory consumables, contract research organisations, medical diagnostics, at-home testing, R&D streamlining, bioassay development, toxicology testing and more, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry trends change year on year.
These markets are highly regulated, and any outbound or inbound marketing efforts are, therefore, also subject to regulation. Navigating compliance with GMP, GLP, MHRA, FDA, pharmacopeial and world trade organisation protocols to name a few, is thought to have limited, dulled and potentially even undone many of the marketing campaigns business-consumers have seen in previous years.
That is until 2019, when a global pandemic not only accelerated the need for digital transformation but proved the success that remote engagement methods could have in fuelling the pharma and biotech sectors.
Since then, the B2B marketing strategies of pharmaceutical and biotechnology organisations have pivoted. There now exists a whole new realm of market developments, possibilities and creative campaigns at our fingertips.
We’ve put together some of the latest pharmaceutical marketing and biotech industry trends that are ensuring businesses stay up to date with the latest marketing channels, partnered with some scientific campaigns you can’t miss!
This first revelation comes as no surprise as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors have increasingly embraced a whole manner of digital channels in 2023.
From content marketing to search engine marketing, no more is Google Adwords exclusively a tool for B2C insurance, finance and retail sales companies to throw money at until they outbid one another!
Many pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses have researchers, scientists and other professionals as their target audience. This often resulted in educational offline content, individual networks and word of mouth efforts equating to big pay offs in terms of sales, marketing and business growth.
Nevertheless, when the Prime Minister told us to lock our doors and remain in lockdown for eight consecutive months, give or take, some of the only businesses that didn’t slow down were scientific, medical and technical ones.
As the backbone of our public health, R&D and drug manufacturing accelerated like never before, short term impacts included demand changes, regulation revisions and a pivotal change towards tele-communication and tele-medicine. The pandemic was also a catalyst for change in terms of marketing.
These businesses, and their target audiences, were all one within the same arena. This meant that their business growth suffered little to no change, except for the operations in achieving it. Business connections where now limited to digital means, with practically every business growth strategy taking a 360 turn towards digital transformation. Before we knew it, clients and partners who had been exclusively utilising our lead generation services were requesting blog content, site wide SEO auditing, new website designs and strategic email campaigns.
Since 2021, and the completion of the final phase 3 lockdown, the remainder of the world’s business could reopen their doors, meanwhile digital marketing had already proved it’s dominance in scientific business growth. Now, in 2023, scientists have become familiar with the jargon and outreach benefits that digital marketing can achieve, with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors literally acing their marketing campaigns. Here’s what’s trending this year:
Trend 1: Thought Leadership and Influencer Marketing
Since Google updated its algorithm to favour EETA content in 2022, pharma and biotech businesses have been in a battle to pinpoint their own business as THE most experienced, THE most trustworthy and overall, THE most reputable thought leaders in their respective fields.
If we could give you a pound for every time a new prospect approaches us and exclaims their team of scientists and their brand reputation is, exclusively, thought leaders, you might very well be a millionaire by now!
The difficulty is, that not every business can be thought leaders, at some point we will encounter the best of the best. This is why thought leadership in terms of digital marketing has become more about the premise of curating messaging and sharing valuable knowledge that resonates with unique target markets, rather than attempting to build credibility through cool or innovative products.
Authority is handed to those pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses who share valuable expertise to the right audience. It’s not about catering content to the masses! This is where Thermo Fisher Scientific’s ‘Behind the Science Podcast’ does exactly that.
Each podcast episode addresses the backgrounds, day to day responsibilities and career stories of their business professionals. It’s true this type of content won’t appeal to the masses, but what it does do is tell a story about their business, put value in their team members and most importantly, pinpoint their staff as the inspiration and motivation for scientific advancement, whether it be through a career at Thermo Fisher or not.
Trend 2: Making the Complex, Creative
As much as the reputation in the scientific and technical markets, particularly for pharmaceutical and biotechnology business growth, is to remain highly quantitively and data-driven, in 2023 this changed completely.
There has always been a balancing act in the pharmaceutical marketing strategy. With highly technical, complex and practical aspects of pharmaceutical and biotechnology products and services limit the creativity, inventiveness and imagination of campaigns.
Nevertheless, 2023 hit and suddenly scientific marketers across the globe were distributing campaigns that not only brought to life the most technical of products but transformed the definition of resonation. Social media content, websites, videos and more all became memorable in a different way.
The Astra Zeneca ‘Take it from a fish’ campaign potentially fuelled such creative ideas, as a talking fish entered various social media platforms in 2016. Platforms such as Twitter and Youtube gained a lot of traction as a character named ‘Brilinta Fish’ delivered health tips and medication information in a never-before-seen, humorous way!
Despite bagging the top prize at the 2015 Lions Health Festival, the ad was pulled. Not before its knock-on effects were felt, however. Now in 2023, we’ve seen various examples where pharmaceutical and biotechnology businesses are making the complex creative!
Take Withnell Sensors’ ‘Guardian of the vaccine vials’ campaign for example, where another fun-loving character, Guardian Sensei, took centre stage. The superhero data logger continues to educate life sciences businesses of the importance of owning an intuitive, wireless data logger to safeguard vaccines and research samples.
Trend 3: Personalisation and Account Based Marketing
One common biotech industry trend is the difficulty faced when majority of their target audience demographic is big, big, BIG pharma organisations. The challenge of getting these types of business’ attention proved lengthy and hopeless, that is until the introduction of biotechnology and pharmaceutical account-based marketing.
Penetrating these larger scale businesses became much simpler when their entity as a whole was treated as an entire target market. High value accounts had become the basis of end-to-end marketing strategies, with personalisation tactics thrown in at every touch point to increase the likelihood of conversion.
Once scientific businesses started treating their dream contract as the singular goal, their marketing activity because much more account based and personalised. Examples of ABM includes personalised content hubs, one on one consultations, account specific webinars and more. Unfortunately, most of these efforts aren’t available to the public, so we can’t divulge some in-practice examples. If we did, it might create a bit of a free-for-all, and that could be quite a show!
Trend 4: Scientist to scientist marketing
Last, but in no way the least of importance, 2023 also saw the introduction of a new concept in pharma marketing trends, scientist to scientist marketing, also known as S2B marketing.
After the realisation that their niche target markets were actually a blessing in disguise, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies used their technical understanding to their advantage. This deep level of transferable technology and knowledge between the seller and the buyer meant that strategies could actually be adapted to capitalise on this common interest.
The advantage of thinking like a scientist, speaking like a scientist and ultimately, being a scientist meant that pharma and biotechs had the awareness of how to buy like a scientist too. This changed the approach of elevation pitches and unique selling points to result in stronger relationships being built.
Qiagen’s ‘Next generation sequencing’ webinar series is a great example of such an approach. As a genomics and molecular diagnostics company, their primary target audience was researchers and professionals interested in genomics. Capitalising on this shared interest, the webinars provided valuable information on applications and best practices which ultimately resulted in a great deal of trust building activities between them and their customers.
Looking to capitalise on any of these trends?
Get in touch with our marketing department to find out how we can help you achieve any of the above approaches to B2B marketing!
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