A colleague and I recently attended the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council event, “Marketing in Turbulent Markets: Creative Strategies for Marketing Challenges”—something that everyone can definitely relate to these days. For anyone who has never attended an MBC event, I highly recommend them—a great way to meet fellow marketing folks, network, catch up on what’s going on in the industry and share best practices.
The lead speaker, Nancy Levy, founder and managing partner of BioHealth Management, LLC, a commercial strategy and business development consulting firm, gave a great overview on how to “Create the Buzz without the Bee.” Levy talked about the evolution of the four P’s of marketing: product, price, place and promotion are being replaced, or, at very least, supplemented with personalization, participation and peer-to-peer.
What this boils down to is knowing who your customer is and tailoring for that audience; involving your customers from around the globe and really listening to what they want, need and their thoughts about your brand; and using social and professional networks to spread a message—advocacy groups, patient groups, research organizations, etc.
Biotech is unlike most industries because the “product” is intangible. Typically, the product is innovation and the ability to do something. This presents inherent marketing challenges that underscore the importance of personalization, participation and peer-to-peer marketing efforts.
This marketing mantra definitely holds true for public relations. We advise our clients to focus messaging on the innovation and benefits, rather than simply features of the products. This is what interests customers and generate sales.
In times of a tumultuous economy, it becomes even more critical to stretch marketing budgets and reach as many potential customers as possible. PR is a marketing avenue that works hand-in-hand with the three Ps. Because PR is cost-effective, strategic and easily adapted to communicate with various audiences, it presents an opportunity to build your brand, communicate with customers, and engage key opinion leaders without breaking the bank.
If you are trying to decide what to put in your marketing mix that will be the most effective, you are putting yourself at a disservice if your PR activities go black. Dollar for dollar, PR is more cost effective than advertising and there are countless studies that underscore this.
For those companies thinking they can’t afford to put marketing dollars to PR, consider this:, it’s a risky approach; if even just one competitor pushes ahead with PR and is the one to get the exposure, when the tides turn, who do you think the public will remember—the company who has been radio silent for the past months or the company that they have been reading about?
All in all, it was an informative, timely meeting and really hammers home the message that smart marketing can help take us through these turbulent times. I am definitely planning to attend upcoming Mass Biotech Council meetings and will report on what I learn.
Tags: Biotech PR, Healthcare PR, Mass Biotech Council
Posted by Lauren Arnold on October 30, 2008 at 10:35 AM
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