11 proven ways to stretch your life science marketing budget to achieve more with less

08 June 2023| by Paul Avery

Stretch your life science marketing budget

With marketing budgets getting tighter, life science marketers face the tough challenge of needing to achieve more with less. In a highly competitive industry like the life sciences, companies that can make the most out of their budget and resources are inevitably more likely to succeed. It’s therefore critical for life science marketers to make every pound, euro and dollar of their budget count, and to ensure that they are using their resources effectively and efficiently.

In this blog, we’ll explore 11 proven strategies that can help life science marketers get more out of their marketing budget. The strategies covered throughout this blog will help you maximise the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by increasing your marketing return on investment (ROI), driving more sales, and achieving your marketing goals with a lower budget.

So, whether you're a marketer for a life science start-up or a large corporation, these strategies will help you make the most out of your marketing budget and achieve your desired outcomes.

Skip ahead:

  1. Leverage your existing assets to their full potential (particularly your website and contact database)
  2. Maximise the impact of your top-performing content
  3. Cut through the AI noise by humanising your content 
  4. Identify and utilise the low-risk channels that work for your business
  5. Fine-tune your messaging for your target audience
  6. Find ways to automate tasks to save time and resource
  7. Use low-cost tactics to build brand awareness 
  8. Implement personalised ABM tactics
  9. Retarget your audience with your existing campaigns
  10. Concentrate on customer retention
  11. Share the load by building partnerships
For those interested in diving deeper into the strategies discussed in this blog (especially visual learners) you can watch our on-demand webinar recording.

1. Leverage your existing assets to their full potential (particularly your website and contact database)

Most life science marketers already have access to valuable marketing and sales assets that can help them achieve their marketing goals without requiring significant investment to create new content or develop new assets. In our experience, the two most undervalued assets for most life science companies are its website and existing contact database.

Optimise your website for maximum impact

Your website is often the first point of contact for potential prospects and is arguably one of your most important marketing assets. A well-optimised life science website can increase the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and reduce the cost of customer acquisition. Here are some simple ways to optimise your website to boost engagement and conversion:

  • Make sure your website is easily scannable and makes it clear who you're targeting and the problems you solve.
  • If your product/service offering is diverse and/or complex, highlight your overarching value proposition on your homepage, but provide clear navigation to specific products or application areas.
  • Enhance the conversion rates of your product pages and landing pages. A simple change in structure, content, or even button colour can drive significant improvements. Focus on high traffic pages with low conversion rates first for maximum impact. Where possible, A/B test to make data-driven decisions on what changes work best.

Make the most of your contact database

Maximise the use of your contact database to better engage with prospects and existing customers over time. Here are some key ways to leverage your contact database effectively:

  • Connect regularly with your contacts, ideally through a monthly newsletter that provides high-value content, as well as product/service updates and special offers. The goal is to be helpful, build trust, and stay top of mind.
  • Remember that the content should benefit the recipient, not just your sales efforts. If your newsletters are solely product or sales-driven, you're likely to see low engagement. Instead, focus on providing value and building trust.
  • Measure the effectiveness of your newsletters using metrics such as open rates and click-through rates. Use these insights to improve future content and continuously monitor trends.
  • Over time, explore more sophisticated lead nurturing techniques, such as segmenting your audience based on their interests, pain points, or their stage in the buying journey, delivering customised content to these segments.

2. Maximise the impact of your top-performing content

Another effective way to stretch your life science marketing budget is to get more mileage out of your top-performing content. This involves taking a high-value piece of content, such as a trend report or an eBook, and dividing it into a variety of other pieces across a mix of formats, llike blog posts, social media updates, or snippets to drive an email newsletter.

This approach enables you to create a multitude of content pieces from one primary source. It's not only a quicker and more efficient method to produce content but also helps in maintaining consistency across different platforms. Essentially, you're creating a content ecosystem that feeds off a single, high-value source.

For instance, an informative eBook can become a series of blog posts, each focusing on a specific aspect of the original content. These posts can then be promoted via social media posts or become the basis for engaging email newsletters. The end result is a coherent, integrated content strategy that effectively utilises your existing resources.

Remember, the key is to remix and repurpose your content rather than merely duplicating it. Tailor each content piece to match your target audience's preferences and behaviours on each platform. This way, your content stays fresh, engaging, and most importantly, aligned with your audience's expectations. 

3. Cut through the AI noise by humanising your content

In today's digital age, artificial intelligence (AI) tools have become more prevalent and, indeed, have revolutionised various aspects of marketing. They provide efficiencies in creating and distributing content, helping marketers save time and effort. However, there is a downside to this convenience. The rise of AI-generated content is starting to lead to an influx of low-quality, repetitive material that lacks novelty and personal touch. This surge creates a risk of your message getting lost in the noise, making it more challenging for you to stand out and engage with your audience effectively.

As this AI-dominated landscape emerges, it is crucial to humanise your content. Humanised content, as opposed to AI-generated content, is distinctive, engaging, and capable of capturing the nuances of human conversation and thought, while also bringing with it credibility and trustworthiness (especially given the current propensity of AI tools to hallucinate and make up “facts”). This type of content can range from blog posts, podcasts, and videos to live events and webinars. Each format offers unique opportunities to share your brand's story, values, and insights in a way that resonates with your audience.

For instance, podcasts can be a cost-effective way to share expert insights or discuss industry trends. You could invite thought leaders from your organisation or industry to share their perspectives on relevant topics (the types of views current AI tools can’t easily provide). Videos can be used to demonstrate products, share customer testimonials, or provide behind-the-scenes looks at your company.

Expanding this line of thinking further, events, whether virtual or in-person, offer a platform for direct interaction with your audience, fostering a sense of community and engagement. These human-centric strategies can help you stand out as a trusted thought leader in your industry, offering fresh, insightful content that AI tools currently struggle to replicate.

Creating humanised content doesn't have to break the bank. With affordable tools and platforms available, such as Zoom for recording podcasts or videos, Adobe's free audio enhancing tool, and Audacity for editing, you can produce high-quality content cost-effectively. You can also leverage AI tools like ChatGPT4 to summarise transcripts from your podcasts or videos, which can then be edited and published as blog posts or social media content. 

Want to stay up-to-date with the world of AI marketing? Our CEO and co-founder Paul has a weekly podcast with his industry colleague Martin Broadhurst called Artificially Intelligent Marketing. We’ve summarised one of the latest episodes in this blog post where they discuss all the latest AI marketing news.

4. Identify and utilise the low-risk channels that work for your business

Another effective way to spread your life science budget is by identifying specific low-risk channels where your company has a proven track record of generating results. This involves analysing your existing marketing channels and identifying the ones that consistently drive the most engagement, leads, and sales. By focusing your efforts and resources on your more proven channels, you can maximise the impact of your marketing campaigns and deliver positive outcomes, without wasting time, money or resources on riskier strategies that may not yield the same results.

Some examples of low-risk channels that have worked well for life science marketers include maximising engagement (and sales) from your existing contact database using email marketing, social media to increase visibility and build trust, and doubling down on search engine optimisation (SEO) to ensure your content is an evergreen asset that will deliver results today and tomorrow.

Investing in your specific low-risk marketing channels allows you to build upon your previous successes, further refining and optimising your approach to generate even greater returns. For this iterative process to be effective, it's crucial to have strong metric and analysis systems in place to measure the effectiveness of your marketing channels accurately.

It's also important to pay attention to trying to increase the quality of your campaigns, leads, and sales opportunities (not just the quantity). This can help ensure that your marketing efforts are driving meaningful results, rather than just increasing metrics like website traffic or social media followers.

5. Fine-tune your messaging for your target audience

Messaging can make or break your life science marketing campaigns. A well-crafted message will effectively communicate your product’s unique value proposition, resonate with your target audience, and ultimately drive more interest, leads and sales.

To fine-tune your messaging, you first need to ensure you understand the current pain points, requirements, challenges, goals and frustrations of your target audience (especially as these may have changed since we came out of the Covid-19 pandemic). This can be done by conducting research to gain insights into your audience's needs and preferences and documenting this intel using tools like buyer personas. With this refreshed and detailed level of customer understanding, you can craft messaging that speaks directly to your audience's pain points and motivations.

Here are some additional tips for fine-tuning your messaging for maximum impact include:

  • Use language that resonates with your audience - use words and phrases that are relevant to your audience's pain points, needs, and desires. Try and re-use phrases and keywords that are frequently used by your customers, “in their voice”.
  • Be clear and concise - focus on communicating your key message in a clear and simple way that is easy to understand and remember.
  • Be consistent - ensure that your messaging is consistent across all of your marketing channels and touchpoints.
  • Use visuals that are relevant and engaging - use images and graphics that are relevant to your audience and that capture their attention. This will help you communicate your message more effectively and encourage engagement. For an added bonus, lean into having an interesting and memorable brand visual style that clearly differentiates you from your competitors (as many of us would agree, at this point, there are far too many images of scientists with pipettes scattered across most life science marketing materials!).

When looking to communicate your value proposition to prospects, it’s also important to create a messaging hierarchy that prioritises the most important information and benefits of your product or service and delivers these first. 

For example, if you're marketing a diagnostic test for use in a clinical lab, your messaging hierarchy might highlight the tool's reliability, accuracy, ease of use, and speed of results, before expanding upon and explaining these benefits in more detail, as well as introducing additional features and benefits that might be relevant to specific segments of your audience. 

Through prioritising the most important information, you can effectively communicate your product or service's value proposition, ensuring your audience understands and remembers the value you can offer them (and encouraging them to take action). A small amount of budget invested to promote a compelling message will have a 10-100 times greater impact than communicating a boring, irrelevant or “me-too” message. 

6. Find ways to automate tasks to save time and resource

As a life science marketer, you likely have many tasks that you must repeat on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, such as scheduling social media posts or sending monthly email newsletters. One efficient strategy to stretch your life science marketing budget is to find ways to automate these repetitive and often time-consuming tasks. In doing so, you can free up time to focus on more high-value activities that can drive more awareness, leads and sales for your business.

There are many tools and software available that can help you automate tasks, such as social media scheduling tools or email marketing automation software. These tools can help you streamline your marketing efforts, reduce the risk of errors, and ultimately save time and resources.

Here are some ways to automate simple, repetitive tasks:

  • Email marketing automation - Email marketing automation allows you to send targeted, personalised messages to your audience based on their behaviour or interactions with your brand. This includes things like welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, and post-purchase follow-up messages. By setting up automated email campaigns, you can nurture your leads and customers with relevant content, building a strong relationship without investing a lot of time.
  • Social media scheduling - Social media scheduling tools allow you to schedule posts in advance, so you don't have to manually post every day. This saves time and ensures that your social media profiles are consistently active and engaging.
  • Chatbots - Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in the life sciences industry, as they can help automate customer support and lead generation. By using chatbots to handle routine inquiries or qualify leads, you can free up your team's time to focus on higher-level tasks.
  • Content curation - Curating content from other sources and sharing it on your social media channels or blog can help you establish thought leadership and engage your audience. Using content curation tools allows you to quickly find and share relevant content without spending a lot of time.
  • Lead scoring - Lead scoring allows you to automatically assign scores to leads based on their behaviour and interactions with your brand. This helps you identify the most promising leads and prioritise your follow-up efforts accordingly.

Our CEO Paul recently did a short 30-minute webinar on ‘How life science marketers can leverage marketing automation to achieve more with less’ which you can watch to help you uncover whether marketing automation could add value to your organisation.

7. Use low-cost tactics to build brand awareness 

In the life science industry, building brand awareness is crucial in establishing yourself as a thought leader and gaining credibility with potential customers. However, traditional advertising and marketing tactics can be costly and may not be feasible for companies with tight budgets. This is where low-cost tactics come into play. 

Here are some strategies that can help you build brand awareness without breaking the bank:

  • Leverage social media platforms - Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, are great tools for building brand awareness. By creating and sharing content that's relevant to your target audience, you can establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. Engage with your followers, respond to comments and messages, and create a community around your brand.
  • Participate in industry events - Attending industry events can be a great way to network and build relationships with potential customers. Look for events that are relevant to your industry, and participate as a speaker or sponsor. This will help you gain exposure and credibility among your target audience.
  • Join online communities - Participate in online communities and forums that cater to the life science industry. By contributing value through your participation, you can establish yourself as an expert in your field and build brand awareness.
  • Utilise email marketing - Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach potential customers directly. Create a newsletter or email campaign that provides value to your subscribers, such as industry news, educational resources, or product updates.

8. Implement personalised ABM tactics

Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a high-impact strategy that focuses on specific accounts or companies, aligning with your ideal customer profile. ABM allows you to concentrate your marketing budget and resources on the accounts most likely to generate the most revenue. The 80-20 rule or the power law distribution substantiates this approach, suggesting that focusing efforts on the top 20% of your target accounts can potentially yield around 80% of your revenue. This makes ABM an efficient strategy for life science companies in times of budget constraints.

ABM implementation involves identifying your high-value accounts that carry the maximum potential to drive your business's growth and revenue. Once identified, develop personalised marketing campaigns that cater to their unique needs and interests. Personalised ABM tactics could include targeted advertising, content marketing, and email campaigns precisely focussed on contacts within that targeted account. For example, case studies or whitepapers showcasing how your product or service can enhance their business can be highly effective.

To successfully implement ABM, a close collaboration between marketing and sales teams is crucial. They should work in unison to generate insights about the high-value accounts, as well as create content and messages that will resonate with them. This content should then be shared through channels most likely to reach people within these accounts. An effective ABM program requires constant monitoring and measurement of its effectiveness, pivoting towards strategies that deliver the best results.

Finally, the effectiveness of your ABM campaigns should be measured and optimised to maximise your ROI and meet your marketing goals. Key metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated can be tracked. Analysing this data can highlight areas for improvement, enabling data-driven decisions to optimise your ABM campaigns.

ABM offers the ability to grow your presence within larger accounts, moving from one division or disease area to another, thereby maximising return on your marketing investment.

9. Retarget your audience as part of your existing campaign

Retargeting is a marketing strategy designed to enhance the value of your ongoing campaigns by targeting individuals who have already demonstrated an interest in your brand. This tactic can increase your campaign's effectiveness, and ultimately, generate more conversions with a smaller investment. Here are some ways you can use retargeting to improve your marketing campaigns:

  • Boosting lead generation: Retargeting can convert more of your website visitors into leads. If a visitor leaves your site without filling out a form, you can use retargeting ads offering a free resource or discount to encourage them to sign up.
  • Enhancing conversion rates: Retargeting campaigns can boost your conversion rates by displaying ads to people already interested in your brand. For instance, if a user added a product to their cart but didn't complete the purchase, a retargeting ad offering a discount or free shipping might prompt them to finalise the sale.
  • Building brand awareness: Retargeting campaigns help keep your brand fresh in the minds of potential customers. By displaying retargeting ads to people who have visited your website or engaged with your brand, you enhance your visibility and reinforce your message.
  • Cross-selling and upselling: Retargeting is also useful for cross-selling or upselling to existing customers. If a customer recently made a purchase, a retargeting ad could offer them a related product or upgrade.

While retargeting is an effective strategy, it's essential to note that most current retargeting approaches rely on third-party cookies, which are being phased out by companies like Apple and Google. This doesn't mean retargeting will vanish entirely, but its effectiveness may be reduced. Also, remember to stay compliant with regulations like GDPR when implementing retargeting, ensuring your cookie opt-in policies and privacy policies are up to date. Lastly, tracking and measuring your retargeting campaigns' effectiveness is crucial for optimising your marketing efforts. Metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and ROI can highlight areas for improvement and inform data-driven decisions to maximise your retargeting campaigns' effectiveness.

10. Concentrate on customer retention

The cost of acquiring new customers is 5x higher than the cost of retaining existing customers. This puts a spotlight on the importance of enhancing the customer experience and showing appreciation to your existing customers. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  • Personalised gestures: Enhance the overall customer experience by sending personalised tokens of appreciation. This can include handwritten thank-you notes or small gifts, showing your customers that their business is valued.
  • Exclusive content or events: Go the extra mile by creating exclusive content or organising special events specifically for your existing customers. This can increase their engagement with your brand and foster a sense of loyalty.
  • Upselling and cross-selling: Introduce your existing customers to other products or services you offer. By systematically cross-selling and upselling, you increase the lifetime value of each customer, build brand loyalty and drive additional revenue for your business.
  • Referral programs: Encourage your satisfied customers to refer new business to your company by offering incentives such as discounts or exclusive content. This strategy turns your existing customers into brand ambassadors.
  • Customer reviews: Regularly ask for feedback and encourage your customers to leave positive reviews (or provide constructive feedback). These reviews improve your brand's reputation by leveraging the value of social proof.
  • Remember key dates: Show your customers that you care by acknowledging important dates such as the anniversary of them becoming a customer or their birthdays. This personal touch can strengthen your relationship with the customers.
  • Automation: Consider using services like Handwrytten to automate personalised gestures such as handwritten notes. This makes the strategy not just affordable but also scalable, allowing you to maintain personal connections with a large customer base.

Remember, the cost of retaining a customer is significantly less than acquiring a new one, making these strategies worth the investment.

11. Share the load by building co-marketing partnerships

Partnering with other life science businesses that complement your offerings can be an excellent way to expand your audience reach without bearing the entire cost. This is a mutually beneficial approach where you can tap into their existing customer base while sharing marketing and production costs.

When looking for potential partners, think outside the box. It's not just about businesses in your immediate sector. Think about firms offering recruitment, regulatory, accountancy, or even product design services. As long as they cater to a similar target audience but with non-competing products or services, they could be ideal partners for co-marketing initiatives.

To make such partnerships work effectively, clear expectations and goals need to be set. This includes defining roles and responsibilities, as well as setting a timeline for the campaign. This clear roadmap ensures both parties are on the same page, working towards the same objectives.

Joint marketing campaigns can be as creative as co-branded content, webinars, events, or even special promotions and discounts. The key is to leverage the strengths of both businesses to maximise the benefits. Remember, a successful partnership will be a rising tide that lifts all boats, increasing customer interest and market reach for all partners involved. 

Maximising your budget for life science marketing success

As life science marketers face rising pressure to maximise results with limited resources, it's crucial to continuously reevaluate and adjust your marketing strategies, ensuring every penny, dollar, or euro is well-spent. The effectiveness of your marketing campaigns hinges on your capacity to blend creativity, strategic thinking, and data-informed decisions. By employing these 11 tried-and-tested tactics, life science marketers can extend their budget and successfully reach their objectives.

If you're keen on exploring the strategies we've talked about in this blog in more detail, particularly if you're a visual learner, you have the option to view our webinar recording, which is available on-demand. In this session, our CEO, Dr. Paul Avery, thoroughly explores these budget-friendly marketing approaches, providing detailed examples to help you optimise your life science marketing investments and make the most of your budget.

Watch the on-demand webinar