This article is based on findings included in SCORR Marketing’s “2014 Marketing Trends in Drug Development Services.”
In September, SCORR finalized its second annual survey of more than 100 key decision makers in the drug development services industry across the discovery through commercialization services continuum. Expanding on the 2013 survey, this assessment provides an inside look at how trends in drug development services marketing have shifted in the last year, including opinions on outsourcing marketing services and how marketing budgets are being allocated.
Compared to 2013, companies within the drug development services market are moving away from internal marketing teams toward using a combination of internal teams and outsourcing. There was a 20 percent increase in companies using a combination of internal teams and marketing partners. The 2014 survey shows that outsourcing the marketing function, or at least part of it, continues to be a trend.
Many drug development services companies are opting for outsourcing due to cost and because it’s difficult to specialize in and take advantage of every marketing area. Companies struggle to effectively meet their marketing needs, which range from trade shows and technical writing, to social media and Web development. However, they must be strategic in their selection of an external partner to minimize inconsistencies in branding and the application of the overall marketing strategy.
To support an outsourced or a combination of outsourced and internal marketing teams, drug development services companies must rethink how they’re selecting their strategic marketing agency.
Revisit Your Marketing Objectives
The 2014 survey showed that social media is primarily used to generate brand awareness. While maintaining awareness can keep your brand in the mind of your audience, it doesn’t necessarily transform that audience into clients. Engagement via social media remains a pain point for many companies — only half of survey respondents even have a social media strategy. Your marketing partner must have the capabilities to help you develop an overall strategy to meet your objectives, one that allows you to take full advantage of all your tactics.
Align Your Marketing Objectives With Your Sales Goals
The growing disconnect between marketing and sales reaffirms that much of the decision-making process is done before there’s any contact with a member of your sales team. Your strategic marketing partner should not only have a deep understanding of the drug development services market, it should also clearly understand the structure of your business. Is your marketing partner considering your sales team as your marketing plan is created and being carried out? Is your agency engaging your audience and equipping them with information before they make personal contact with your sales team?
Your marketing partner should be able to effectively align your marketing and sales processes to enhance your bottom line. If your sales team is unaware of your marketing plan and your marketing team is unaware of your sales goals, you might be missing out on new opportunities.
It’s Not What They Know, It’s Who They Know
Some drug development services companies have looked to marketing partners with little to no industry experience — the idea being that these marketing teams can bring fresh ideas to an industry of homogenizing brands. But only when your marketing partner is versed in the heavily regulated environment you and your clients operate in, can your brand truly move forward. Simply put, if you’re allocating a percentage of your annual marketing budget to educate and train your marketing partner on the dynamics of your industry, you’re less likely to meet your goals.
In a heavily regulated industry, the subject matter is often complex, scientific and technical. At the end of the day, your marketing partner needs to fully understand your company because it will be communicating with your peers and possibly extending your reach. A partner with industry experience is part of a network that extends across a wide range of capabilities that can ultimately lead to new opportunities for your business. Before selecting your outsourced marketing team, inquire about who these team members know within the drug development services industry. This could greatly improve your efforts with trade shows, publications, other media outlets and other areas within the DDS industry.
Marketing is an expense, and it can be one of the most difficult budget items to justify. However, when done right, it’s a cost-effective tool for your company’s growth. As the trend toward outsourcing gains traction, you must remember to stay vigilant in how your brand and strategic plan are being employed. And if you’re looking for a partner that can devise branding and campaign strategies, it must have an innate understanding of this industry to provide both initial and ongoing guidance. New technologies such as digital marketing and social media will continue to provide potential opportunities to this heavily regulated industry; however, only those partners that fully understand both your industry and the latest marketing platforms can help you gain momentum.
Access the Full Report
The information in this article is based on findings included in SCORR’s “2014 Trends in Drug Development Services Marketing” report.