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How to implement marketing automation in the life sciences



If you’re looking to streamline your marketing efforts and reach your target audience more effectively, marketing automation may be the solution you're looking for. But what exactly is it?

Simply put, marketing automation is the use of software and technology to automate repetitive tasks such as email marketing, social media posting, and paid ad campaigns. By doing so, businesses can more efficiently market to their audience across various online channels.

But the benefits of marketing automation go beyond just saving time. It also allows you to provide personalised content to your prospects based on their previous actions and interests. However, personalisation can be difficult to accomplish manually, especially when dealing with significantly large numbers of prospects.

Luckily, many tools are available to support you in your journey to a more efficient and scalable lead management process. Marketing automation systems, for example, typically generate an increase in revenue — in fact, one study showed that 75% of companies that implemented marketing automation reported seeing an ROI from 12 months onwards.

For life science marketers, these capabilities mean we can nurture healthcare providers, hospital administrators, research scientists, pharma decision-makers, and other professionals with relevant and valuable content that can help convert them into customers.

Marketing automation can also be used to improve the satisfaction of existing customers, generate repeat business, and trigger upsell opportunities. So, if you want to take your marketing efforts to the next level, consider implementing marketing automation into your strategy.

Let’s delve more deeply into the benefits that marketing automation can bring to life sciences companies.

If you're a visual learner, we've recorded a 30-minute webinar on ‘How life science marketers can leverage marketing automation to achieve more with less’ presented by our CEO Dr Paul Avery.

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What are the benefits of marketing automation?

Marketing automation provides a set of powerful tools that can streamline and optimise your life science marketing efforts, nurturing prospects through the prolonged and complex journey to purchase. The ability to deploy a series of marketing and sales touchpoints over time can be invaluable, enabling companies to encourage potential customers along their buying journey, while ensuring efficient lead management that is easy to scale.

In this section, we'll delve deeper into how marketing automation benefits life science organisations. Whether you're contemplating implementing marketing automation in your life sciences company for the first time, or looking to deepen your understanding of its capabilities, this section will offer vital insights into its transformative benefits and practical application.

1. Better lead generation

There are three key benefits of marketing automation for life science organisations:

  • Generate better leads: With marketing automation, you can automate manual, administrative tasks, freeing up time for sales and marketing teams to focus on generating and nurturing leads. By doing so, you can gain more leads, better-qualified prospects, and ultimately, more customers

  • More complete customer understanding: Behavioural tracking methods allow life science companies to tailor their marketing efforts to the individual behaviour of leads, and drive personalised follow-up actions

  • Streamlined tracking and monitoring: See which marketing channels are most effective, and which messages are resonating with your buyers

2. More effective lead nurture

Lead nurturing is a critical part of the sales process, and marketing automation can help you do it more efficiently and effectively. By setting up automated email workflows and tracking, you can trigger personalised emails to be sent to each prospect based on their actions (e.g., downloading a piece of content). These workflows can provide the prospect with relevant content to help them through their decision-making process, while also making it easier for you to track their progress through the sales funnel.

Marketing automation tools can also be used to create more complex workflows to nurture leads and deliver relevant content across multiple channels, such as emails and programmatic ads. This is time-consuming to do manually, but with marketing automation, it's a breeze.

3. Data-driven decisions improve performance

Marketing automation gives you the power to make smarter decisions based on data. With marketing automation platforms, you can access and manipulate large amounts of data in just a few clicks, making it easier to identify patterns and trends that may have been missed using manual methods. This can help you identify pivotal moments in your marketing and sales process and perform A/B testing on campaigns to find the factors that work best and understand their impact on lead generation, purchasing, and revenue.

By using data to drive your marketing efforts, you can generate higher-quality leads, reduce customer churn rate, improve customer engagement, and provide a superior customer experience.

4. Engage prospects with personalised content

Personalised content is a great way to grab the attention of your prospects and trigger engagement, but it can be difficult and time-consuming to do manually. Marketing automation systems allow you to personalise content at scale for your leads with minimal manual effort.

By automatically capturing data about the needs and pain points of your prospects based on the content they consume, you can get a better understanding of what other types of content will help them make an informed buying decision. You can then set up automated email workflows to deliver relevant content to them over time, making them feel like you are communicating with them in a one-to-one fashion.

The marketing automation platform can also track which emails customers are opening and clicking on, which social media posts are performing well, and how all that converts into website visits and other user actions. This data can help you target a large number of customers in a personalised way with the right content at the right time.

By nurturing your prospects with personalised content, you can increase your chances of convincing them to purchase your product over a competitor.

5. Unite sales and marketing

One challenge that life science companies often face is a misalignment between their sales and marketing teams, which can lead to inefficient collaboration and a poor customer experience. One way to address this issue is by integrating your sales-driven Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system with a marketing automation platform. There are multiple benefits for such an approach:

  • Combining the strengths of both systems allows you to track closed deals back to where the lead originated, providing a clearer view of the customer journey
  • You can prevent unnecessary duplication of contact information and make data management more efficient

Using data from your CRM and marketing automation platforms allows you to score your leads based on their interest level and behaviour to determine their sales-readiness for follow-up. This ensures that only the highest quality leads are passed on to your sales team, increasing their efficiency and happiness. In short, integrating your CRM and marketing automation systems can help ensure that your sales and marketing teams are on the same page, leading to better collaboration and a better customer experience.

Sold on the benefits of marketing automation? That’s the easy part — you’ll need to implement it well to reap the maximum benefits.


How can you effectively implement marketing automation?

According to a survey by Three Deep Marketing, 58% of marketers reported having trouble finding success with marketing automation tools due to a lack of an effective plan. Without clear goals and objectives, it's more likely that your approach to automation will fail.

Before you begin, it's important to have a strong understanding of your existing manual processes, what you plan to do to automate them, and what you hope to achieve through it (such as saving time or reducing the impact of manual errors).

Based on your goals, you may need to determine any new processes that are required and document them before trying to automate them. While it is possible to build processes while automating them, this approach is often more time-consuming and prone to error.

Having a solid implementation plan in place is crucial to avoid common life sciences marketing automation pitfalls and boost your chances of success. In the next section, we'll explore some common considerations for life science companies to maximise their automation success.


1. Integrate your solution with other relevant tools or databases

Marketing automation tools rely on data about your customers and contacts, which may be housed in various databases within your organisation. For example, you may have CRM, a website content management system (CMS), and an email marketing system, all collecting information about your leads and customers and their interactions with your company.

Some automation systems are all-in-one solutions, which can save time. If your tools are not integrated, however, your marketing automation system may not be able to leverage valuable existing data to create personalised experiences. Multiple databases that don't communicate with each other can also result in the duplication of disconnected contact records, leading to lost or ignored insights.

Fortunately, there are several integration tools available to help you connect your data sources, such as Zapier,, and IFTTT (If This, Then That). To ensure you choose the right integration tool, decide which of your existing platforms should be integrated and make your decision based on that. Doing so will ensure that data moves freely and accurately between your systems to drive your automated processes, setting the foundations for successful marketing automation.


2. Use fewer tools

Life science companies often use too many different tools to achieve their desired results when implementing marketing automation, which can lead to wasted time and increased chances of error.

You can invest in an all-in-one marketing automation software for efficiency. This avoids the need to manually connect solutions, reducing the chances of error and improving the ease of data analysis — which is especially useful for life sciences companies working on long and complicated integrated marketing campaigns. It can also be helpful for companies generating lots of leads from various sources, as the automated tool can track where each lead came from, what communications they have received, and which went on to become customers.

All-in-one marketing automation tools can be more expensive, but they offer the convenience of accessing everything you need in one system. If you decide against an all-in-one approach, it's a good idea to choose your automation tool based on what aspects of your marketing you're looking to automate. Then, when planning your implementation, determine which tools and processes will still be needed.

3. Check in on your automation

It's important to remember that marketing automation is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. While automation tools can save time by automating manual processes, it's essential to regularly check in on your automated workflows to ensure they're running smoothly and achieving your desired results. Without ongoing monitoring, it's easy for things to break or become outdated, leading to ineffective campaigns and a poor customer experience.

To avoid these pitfalls, set aside time to review and optimise your workflows every few weeks, or when you start to see red flags such as a lack of new leads entering your workflow. By staying on top of your automation efforts, you can ensure your campaigns are running at their best and allowing you to meet your lead nurturing and customer acquisition goals.

4. Use the right performance metrics

It is essential to have a plan in place to ensure success in implementing your marketing automation system. Part of this plan should involve setting specific goals and objectives, as well as determining metrics to measure the success of your automation efforts. Without these metrics, it will be difficult to determine if your automation implementation has been successful.

To measure the effectiveness of automation in saving time, you can document the amount of time your manual processes currently take and compare this to the time needed for the automated version.

For goals such as improving lead nurturing, you can track metrics such as email open and click rates, as well as the number of leads that become marketing qualified leads (MQLs), sales qualified leads (SQLs), and customers. Continuously track these metrics and make adjustments to help increase the performance of your automation over time.

5. Ensure your audience receives relevant content

Automation can make it easy to generate large volumes of content, such as emails and social posts. But if they’re not relevant to your audience, it can actually hurt your business. Overloading followers’ timelines with unhelpful content, for example, can lead to a decrease in follower numbers on your social channels.

To avoid this, create buyer personas and segment your audience based on this before implementing automation. It's also important to focus on quality over quantity and create a lower volume of higher quality content. This will lead to better engagement and reduce the risk of frustrating your audience.

6. Drive performance changes with automation

One of the main benefits of marketing automation is the ability to collect data and use it to predict the success of campaigns. Using tools to run ongoing A/B or split testing can allow you to optimise your campaigns and gather valuable insights into what works best with your target audience.

As an example, you can use A/B testing to compare the performance of different elements of a campaign like the email subject lines, call to actions, or graphics. This helps you optimise your campaigns and learn what types of messages resonate most with your audience.

Small changes can make a big difference in the success of your campaigns, and automation makes it easy to test and optimise every aspect of your marketing process. By continually improving your automated marketing efforts, you can drive significant improvements in performance over time.

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What tools are available for marketing automation?

Many different types of marketing automation tools are available on the market, each offering a unique set of features and capabilities. As mentioned earlier, some tools are designed to be all-in-one solutions that manage every aspect of your marketing efforts in one place, while others are more specialised, focusing on specific areas such as email marketing or social media management.

With so many marketing automation tools available, and it can be daunting to figure out which is the best. We take a look at the four most common types of tool to help inform your decision on which one is most appropriate to drastically reduce time and money spent: all-in-one marketing automation tools, email marketing automation tools, specialist marketing automation tools, and integration tools.


All-in-one marketing automation tools

All-in-one marketing automation tools provide a suite of features that manage every aspect of your organisation's marketing efforts in the same place. Some popular all-in-one solutions include HubSpot, Marketo, and LeadSquared. These tools often come with a higher price tag, but they can be a good choice for larger organisations that need a comprehensive marketing automation solution.


Email marketing automation tools

If you're not quite ready to invest in an all-in-one marketing automation solution, an email marketing automation tool could be more suitable for your needs. These specifically designed tools can be a more cost-effective option for organisations that aren't ready to commit to a full marketing automation platform.

There are many email marketing automation tools available on the market, each offering a range of features and pricing options. Some popular options include Mailchimp, iContact, and Constant Contact. To enable you to make the best choice, carefully consider your organisation's specific needs and budget.


Specialist marketing automation tools

As a life science organisation, you may be interested in specialised marketing automation tools that are designed for specific applications. There are a variety of options to choose from, each offering unique capabilities to help you streamline your marketing efforts. Some options to consider include:

  • Rollworks: An account-based marketing (ABM) platform for B2B marketing and sales groups
  • Clearscope: An AI-powered SEO content optimisation platform
  • BuzzBuilder Pro: A lead generation and content marketing platform to create powerful online marketing campaigns

By choosing a specialised marketing automation tool, you can focus on specific areas of your marketing efforts and streamline your processes.


Integration tools

Integrating your various marketing tools and systems is essential to take full advantage of the data they generate and to ensure that you have a single, accurate view of each contact in your database. There are several integration tools available to help you connect your systems, including Zapier, Microsoft Power Automate, and Make.

As an additional bonus, integration tools require minimal coding knowledge, ensuring that data flows freely and accurately between them. Using these tools can help you create a more seamless and efficient marketing strategy, ultimately leading to better results and a better experience for your customers.


Are you ready for marketing automation?

Marketing automation has the potential to bring significant benefits to life science organisations. Automating repetitive tasks means life science companies can save time, reduce the risk of errors, and improve the efficiency of their marketing efforts.

However, implementing marketing automation is not without its pitfalls. Follow best practices and avoid common mistakes — such as failing to plan and integrate systems — to ensure that you get the most out of their automation efforts. With a wide range of automation tools available at different price points, it's important to choose the right one for your organisation's needs. By doing so, you can enjoy the time and efficiency savings that automation can bring.

If you're ready to take the next step in implementing marketing automation for your life science organisation, our 10-step marketing automation readiness tool can help. Simply fill out the questionnaire to receive personalised advice and recommendations to ensure the success of your marketing automation project.

Marketing automation readiness assessment tool

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