B2C marketing organizations often operate on the frontier for modern marketing motions. These organizations are innovative and agile. They reach large, diffused and ever-changing audiences while under constant pressure to demonstrate a return on investment. The broader B2B marketing world looks to this community for talent, best practices and ROI stories to underpin investment cases.
Alexander Group’s latest marketing research effort explores how life sciences marketing organizations are striving to apply innovative B2C marketing best practices in a B2B world. Alexander Group conducted a survey of 100+ life sciences marketing leaders to better understand what marketing priorities and investments they are implementing to take their organizations into the modern era. Participants referenced six imperatives to anchor and advance their long-term plans.
Modern marketing motions are powered by data. 80% of marketing leaders are focused on the integrity and actionability of their first party data primarily due to regulatory and privacy constraints. Respondents agreed to be cautious and start small―leverage customer data enriched with third-party data (e.g., firmographic and contact level details) to first guide budget deployment. As the marketing organization and customer profiles become more sophisticated, weaving in additional data such as first-party cookies and third-party intent data can define where and what your customers are interacting with, helping you to provide the right solutions at the right touch point.
Two-dimensional segmentation models based solely on segment potential and industry are insufficient for the modern life sciences marketing organization. 80% of marketing leaders are doubling down on organization definitions of segmentation and ideal customer profiles. These firms apply more sophisticated segmentation and targeting criteria using insights from research and analysis to prioritize budget deployment and guide messaging and marketing campaigns. They actively monitor their audience’s value drivers and purchasing behaviors.
Marketing organizations continue to try to balance direct and indirect channel activity performance, which historically has shown an overwhelming reliance on direct outbound activities. 90% of life sciences marketing leaders are repositioning reliance from outbound to inbound activities, with aims to better leverage valuable content that is relevant and useful for customers (e.g., blogs, videos, interactive websites, self-service tools, conversational marketing tools). Inbound activities allow the customer to learn more about the organization’s offerings when and where they want to be met, helping to influence the customer purchasing behavior.
Participants universally agree that less is more when determining the MarTech stack. Most leaders are prioritizing integrations vs. investment in new platforms. This enables better integration and leverage of marketing technology across digital, sales and service organizations and within business unit teams. They employ internal champions tasked with standardizing platforms, applications and processes. These efforts result in a key competitive differentiator, simplifying adoption, reducing waste and increasing scalability.
The majority of marketing leaders expressed an executive imperative for marketing to drive efficiency to and through the organizational ecosystem. With over 50% of respondents indicating that core marketing functions (e.g., digital marketing, content development, brand marketing, marketing operations, product marketing and public relations) exist both within business units and corporate structures, the need to create overarching marketing councils and communities to promote communication and teaming is essential. Rather than diffused structures that create unclear responsibilities, central functions are focused on educating internal stakeholders across the broader ecosystem (who to go to and for what) while keeping teams lean and eliminate redundant roles and activities.
Modern marketing organizations lean on a wide range of metrics to guide their decision-making and support he case for sustained investment. Return on investment continues to lag for the average B2B organization that simply tracks campaign engagement rates and marketing qualified leads (MQLs). The modern organization, however, has visibility into how its marketing mix is performing across vectors (audience, channel, campaign and others) allowing them to be agile and pivot resources to capitalize on what is working and abandon what is not performing. Their reporting interconnects informative next step action capabilities, allowing them to answer ROI questions from executives and justify sustained or increased investment.
As life sciences firms look to modernize their marketing organization, the use of data and metrics to better segment and target customers and determine the right marketing mix for investment is critical. However, ensuring that the marketing organization is designed to be the main resource and driver for organizational communication to build a strong ecosystem is by far the cornerstone to bringing your firm into the modern era.