This is the second in a series of three blog posts for Life Science and highly tehcnical markets
Each covering something special your life science SME has to make it successful against company giants in a specialised, niche market. Each post will talk in detail about the following topics...
Leveraging the simplicity and sharp focus of your business to provide expert and accessible
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Author - Paddy Lavery - Business Development
Paddy Lavery, Ex-Marketing Director of TotalLab Ltd. Now owner and operator of Transitions. 17 years’ experience of business development and strategic marketing for technical businesses in niche markets. Before that eight years’ experience as a research scientist with a degree in Applied Biology.
I’m going to share three things which you have, available to you right now, that makes you able to out compete competitive giants in the Life Science space.
For the past 17 years, I’ve worked in life science SMEs or start-ups delivering specialised, technical products and services to highly discerning customers. They are unique, exciting places to work in. You get to experience every success first hand. But I’ve also experienced facing big players in the niche market as part of that experience. Then the excitement and buzz felt across the whole business can be easily lost. Every way you turn is exhausting, trying to meet the threat on all fronts.
You’re either in a battle, recovering from a battle or waiting for the next assault. You’re fighting against big marketing budgets, big development teams and a large field sales force. Even if you have a well-defined product, the best in its class, customers can be distracted by price cutting, reams of technical notes and complete solutions offered by larger life science competitors.
I understand the unique business development and strategic marketing approaches required to maintain market share for a business selling complex technical products.
I’ll give you a headline summary of the three things I’m going to share with you over the next three months.
If you read no more, this is the one thing I’d like you to take away. You may even just read it then simply recall how you learn the same lesson.
“Put yourself out of harm’s way and make big advances against a large-sized threat by choosing not to fight on their terms.”
Putting yourself out of harm’s way might sound like retreating. And as advice could be hard to reconcile for the kind of maverick company or bold entrepreneur-led venture that many SME’s are in a technical sector.
It doesn’t mean run away and hide. It means stay out of reach of your competitor. Don’t get distracted trying to meet every claim with a counter claim or respond to every activity in the field, blow for blow.
I’ve worked with, and briefly, inside, big life science companies selling the same high-end products to the same customers as the more dynamic SME or start-up competitor. The dynamics of these large life science corporations create a space where a start-up or SME has the freedom to compete on their terms. You can offer things they simply cannot within their business constraints.
Leverage the simplicity and sharp focus of your business
Look at the website of your big life science corporate competitor and view it with these questions in mind:
How you can out-compete large sized life science competitors on-line
The size of your business and the scale of the website YOU need to promote and sell your remarkable products gives you a BIG tactical advantage when you consider those questions above. IF you set it up right, and manage it in the right way.
That doesn’t always mean just having a website that’s smaller and more pared down than your competitor. But you can make big gains with relatively little effort compared to big companies that need to manage hundreds of established products across many markets.
And remember they need just as many touch points as you for someone to be convinced they have the right product. And they need to do that for orders of magnitude more people. You have a focus and size that is right for generation of online sales and marketing from the customers you want.
Present and manage your life science website in an agile way that your competitors with big unwieldy websites can’t do
The gap between theory and successful practice
From my experience of “being responsible” for the company website, it can be a thankless task that has you running around in circles.
EVERYONE in the business has an opinion on what the website should look like, ideas to improve it, pages they think needed updating, spotting typos, things that don’t match how they would like to navigate. I’ve had Have you considered an online shop? For a product that sold for 10 x the usual budget sign off for customers. And then there are social media ideas that everyone has based on how THEY use social media. Not how your clients use it.
These can be a significant frustration for the unlucky people, usually the operational marketing people, to make the most of without running around in circles.
The challenge is how to get the best-integrated investment of ideas and review of your website and how it is working. I, and the business I was an operational marketer inexperienced a step change in the value of our website when traditional department responsibilities and divisions were unblocked.
With the right people involved, with ownership and an amount of time and space OUTSIDE their typical day to day functions.
Technical people, in my situation software engineers, are the outliers in on-line savvy. In my experience, they are highly advanced in their understanding of best practice and new creative ways to use digital resources. The same can be true of graphic designers. Use that resource to enhance your online presence. If you don’t have the people to combine technical knowledge and creative flair. Then find it. The results are transformative in the way you can get your website working for you.
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"An exceptional resource on how to represent your life science business online. It stands out as a practical guide on how to use your website as part of a marketing mix specifically to engage with life science customers."
Life Science Business Consultant
Do you have content that can generate strong sales leads?
I know we did in my last two positions. One of my roles and responsibilities was to find, curate and repurpose our wealth of technical and sales support collateral. And if we didn’t have evidence-based sales and marketing content I had a job to get it.
You have technical salespeople, support teams, developers who have access to this for overcoming sales objections in the field, answers to frequently asked questions and demonstration datasets respectively.
What we had was phenomenal when you laid it out. There was also much of it that outdated, irrelevant in current generation of sales activity or repeats of the same document or presentation.
We quickly got to work. Combining, updating and creating new things from the great foundation of content we found on personal drives, shared drives and even in people’s heads.
Adding this to a simplified website becomes easy and even fun. It encouraged stakeholders in the business to think about how they could get what they knew customers needed onto the website.
I’m guessing if you're still reading this you’re in a small business with a wealth of expertise in your domain and across your people? You may already have LOTS of content you can refresh, repurpose and present on the line. And make it easy and simple for your customers to find. Because you are focussed on providing a specific solution, or a specific subset of products and services.
World Leading Website Consultancy to Biotech
and Life Science Businesses
As specialists in your sector this enables us to rapidly understand your unique needs enabling us deliver powerful results quickly. Saving you time, stress and money and delivering the best ROI.
Content is king but it needs a castle to live in.
So you have the talented, savvy people focussed on it. A combination of ownership and ideas that make this a dynamic resource. Available for your customer when they need it. Keeping it alive and supported by high-quality, highly relevant and responsive content. The vital ingredient to your website so it can do 80% of the sale job for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. And you can easily do this because you don’t have to compete with other divisions or large catalogues of products.
Now ask those questions at the start again...
Now back to the question I asked at the start. After you looked at the websites of big competitors and challenged them. Can you ask those same questions of your own website and see the big difference between yours and theirs? Can you clearly see the advantage in yours when a potential customer visits the site? That the experience they have on your website is as clear, well supported and informative as if they came to meet you at your office.
If you do one thing tomorrow, look critically at your website. Ask how quickly and sensationally could you add a new product and promote on there. With all the supporting information that would need. If you can do that in an agile way that your competitors with big, unwieldy websites can’t do, then you can easily take them on.
Leverage the simplicity and focus on your life science business.
It may be things you’ve heard or read about in latest trends for marketing. But my aim here isn’t to tell you what to do it’s to try and show some real ways it can work, that connect with you, your size of business and the specialised life science market you live in.
World Leading Website Consultancy to Biotech
and Life Science Businesses
Being specialists in your sector enables us to rapidly understand your unique needs enabling us deliver powerful results quickly. Saving you time, stress and money and delivering the best ROI.
FREE 50-Page Guide. How to create a world-leading website and online resource for your life science business.
It makes business sense to create a smarter life science website, providing you with the competitive edge your business needs. Does this sound interesting?
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"An exceptional resource on how to represent your Life Science or Biotech business online. Read this and you'll find a practical approach to engage with highly-discerning customers across the life sciences market segments through your website."