Life science marketing in Germany—the latest media and social trends

06 February 2018| by BioStrata Team

Life science marketing trends in Germany

Life science marketing trends in Germany

Whilst not your typical ‘water cooler’ chatter for most offices, the BioStrata team has recently been talking about trends in B2B marketing in Germany. The German market often features in our international and regional marketing programmes for our clients because—as its government proudly advertises—Germany is the largest market in Europe for life science products.

If you’re interested in accessing the German life science market or would like to learn more about buying behaviour amongst German consumers, we’ve summarised just some of the latest insights that we’ve uncovered below.

Trade shows and events

Face-to-face engagement continues to be an important channel for connecting with life science customers and media in Germany. There is a busy calendar of German B2B events, which attracts life science companies and attendees from all around the world.

Our team often attends these events to support our clients, for example, by facilitating media tours of booths or organising press conferences. We also find that these events help us to spot new marketing and PR opportunities, so we can maximise these for clients in the future.

The German event MEDICA is one of the biggest life science conferences in the world, attracting close to 123,000 attendees from more than 66 countries. We attend every year, and find it provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet with life science companies of all sizes, from start-ups to global corporates. One key development we noticed during the 2017 conference was a subtle change in the type of companies that had chosen to exhibit. We also spoke to media who had also noticed that there seemed to be fewer large diagnostics companies at MEDICA, and more start-ups. It may be that German events are providing smaller companies with a more cost-effective way to network, build brand presence and access relevant media contacts.

Upcoming B2B life science events in Germany

BioStrata will be attending two events in Germany during the first half of 2018: Analytica and ACHEMA.

  • Analytica (April 10 –13) is a trade fair for laboratory technology, analysis and biotechnology. It is held every two years and is accompanied by other events, including conferences and forums. Last time, the show attracted over 1,200 exhibitors from over 40 countries and more than 35,000 visitors from 119 countries.
  • ACHEMA (June 11–15) is a leading trade fair for the process industry, held every three years. It attracts exhibitors from across the globe and covers areas such as thermal processes, engineering, mechanical processes and industrial and labour safety. The last time it was held, the event welcomed 166,000 participants from over 100 countries.

If you’re attending these events and want to make the most of the opportunity to engage with customers and target media, get in touch with us to discuss your plans.

Media and publications

Recently, a report on German B2B media was published by the German Trade Press. Although the report is in German, after a media contact recommended it to us we just had to translate it!

The German Trade Press found that the B2B media market in Germany is worth €28.3bn in annual sales, split between both content and marketing solutions. It also found that Germany spends more on B2B media (€345 per capita) than either the USA (€342) or the UK (€317).

Insights like these help us to better understand the particular challenges of B2B marketing in Germany—a life science company will need to think critically and creatively to stand out against this backdrop of B2B noise.


Print B2B media continues to be popular in Germany

Although digital media consumption first overtook offline media in 2013, there’s still a steady consumption of print B2B media in German-speaking regions. Our recent conversations with life science media outlets in Germany suggested that the majority of readers for these titles continue to prefer print formats—and a print publication is passed on to two to three colleagues on average. This means there are still many opportunities for reaching German-speaking life science customers through more traditional print media.


Social media

Globally, social media use continues to grow, with the number of users expected to exceed three billion in 2021. The amount of time individual users spend on social media each day is increasing too. While it is easy to think that social media trends are uniform across all users and territories, the latest data from Germany tells a different story.

In absolute numbers, Germany now comes top for total social media users in Western Europe, with 40.1 million active users. This is about half of the German population. However, when we take a look at active social media penetration (i.e. social media use at least once per month as a percentage of all internet users), it becomes clear that Germany lags far behind other countries, ranking at number 41 (out of 49 European countries). In stark contrast to most other European countries, social media in Germany is more popular among people with little or no formal education, compared to those who are highly educated (such as those that are likely to be part of the life science community). These national trends are important to take into consideration, especially when you want to incorporate social media into a life science marketing plan that targets German customers.

Platform preferences differ between regions

Back in 2016, Facebook was by far the most popular social network in Germany, according to Statista. For professional networking, LinkedIn hasn’t been as big in German-speaking countries as other Western European markets. Instead, over 10 million users in Germany have taken to XING to connect professionally. XING is popular among Germans in general, but LinkedIn profiles tend to be more common among German employees of multi-national companies and individuals who have studied or worked abroad. LinkedIn is catching up to XING quickly, but the latter has more regular users. This reminds us that our own social network preferences might not be typical, and that regional or national networks like XING could offer a potential alternative for social media marketing.


If you are looking to improve your life science marketing activities for a German audience and/or other key life science markets, contact us to discuss your needs.

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