Emerging Trends in Communicating with Vendors

By Tristan Willis

June 7, 2018 -- If you read our last post on how the consumer culture plays a role in the life sciences, please be sure to check this one out for more emerging trends in marketing that The Science Advisory Board has observed.

Optimizing Digital Touchpoints

As scientists, we seek new tools, devices, and products to enhance our research. As consumers, we too expect an exceptional customer experience (CX). This dynamic has changed drastically as our interactions with a company become increasingly digital. We have found that in 2018, the CX challenge for life science vendors is not just to stay competitive with their peers, but also to compete against sophisticated consumer companies. Such companies are constantly rolling out new features to improve the overall quality of their customers’ online brand interactions. Be on the lookout for the enhancements that will change your online buying experience from mediocre to first in class.

How many resources do you look into to learn about new products? On average, scientists explore three to four different website resources, so it is not a “one and done” learning experience. Scientists are lifelong learners, and our members explained that they will seek information about products and companies through multiple channels. When one channel fails to yield the required answers, many will seek out another form of communication (live chat, email, phone call, etc.) We also observed that Millennial and Xennial scientists are more likely to chat online with a live representative than Gen X and Boomer scientists (about 40% compared to about 25%). It is important to note that many of us look for crowd-sourced recommendations on research products via customer reviews. Your colleagues and peers are always an excellent resource when it comes to purchasing decisions.

Smart Instruments and Machine Learning

The integrations of analytical instruments and sensors that monitor their performance is increasingly common in life science research laboratories. These systems have primarily been used to ensure proper maintenance is performed or to alert the lab that a system is down. Gradually, however, they are being used to generate and integrate experimental data from multiple instruments across the lab’s entire workflow. This integration produces extraordinarily rich data that can accelerate new discoveries.

While much of the conversation around smart instruments has centered on their potential to advance science, they also have potential to enhance marketing. The hope is that when shared with the manufacturer through a cloud-based service, data being generated by lab instruments can help marketers understand the customer’s past experiences, in order to offer suggestions and content that is personalized and relevant. While this may make the customer experience more enjoyable, we found a majority of our members have a concern over privacy and are not willing to share data with all users of the same instrument if they have no control or boundaries around who gets to see it.

Visual Content and Livestreaming

Visual content graphically represents information to convey meaning and enhance understanding. It can be delivered in the form of video and images, as well as icons, graphs, and data visualization. It can be static, animated or interactive. It is widely recognized that with once unimaginable amounts of content now available, marketers must seek out new ways to engage customers and their ever shortening attention spans. Numerous studies have shown that consumer engagement with visual content is significantly longer than with text and is more readily sharable than text-based marketing.

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Our members have expressed that informational and engaging videos are best for sharing content. Visual content can be useful when explaining complex concepts and how a specific product will solve that issue. We at The Science Advisory Board have found that more than 60% of our members enjoyed the idea of life science suppliers live streaming video because this format supports real-time question and answer sessions as well as giving scientists the ability to provide real-time feedback.

If you enjoyed this piece, check out our 3rd part of the series on influencer marketing, sponsored content and more marketing trends. What market trends do you find beneficial? Bothersome? Let us know in the discussion below.

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