Life Sciences Marketing: Then & Now

Q&A with Patty McDermott from Thermo Fisher Scientific

How would you compare pharma and clinical lab marketing today versus 5, or even 10 years ago? 

Five years ago we might be speaking to lab executives, managers and staff only, but now our content reaches all the way to clinicians. This not only requires a much clearer understanding of what’s valuable to these new audiences and which marketing channels are most important, but also a firm grasp on FDA policies regarding what can be said and how. 

What has been the biggest factor in the change?

The biggest factor has been the exciting growth of our company during my nearly 10-year tenure here. Our portfolio, including the software arena where I’m focused, has evolved from “bench to bedside” faster than we could have imagined. Our company’s contribution to novel diagnostics and therapeutics, including our lab customers that support this massive transformation, is exciting and brings our business closer and closer to people and processes that directly impact patients.

How have expectations for access to content on the web changed the way you market to customers and prospects?

Our prospect and customers want information right away, and they’re not just looking for marketing copy. Increasingly they’re looking for insights that tell them why and how they can do more and perform better scientifically and financially. This can be driven by regulatory policy or business pressure. The appetite for valuable content means that we’re investing more time and resources to create it. We believe our customers and prospects expect content to be original, authentic and useful, but they also want it easily accessible. So we’re putting more content in more places across the web than ever before.

Patty McDermott
 Marketing Communications Manager

How much do you rely on original content? 

Our program is driven by original content. Anything less would be a disservice to our customers who expect us to be well-versed on their industry’s challenges. It’s our job to speak to external audiences with authority and from a position of experience on the topics that are critical to them. The value of our thought leadership marketing program is that we deliver content in many forms and speak to a wide range of audiences, giving it a longer and more useful life. This is driven by our goal to speak with customers across research, development and manufacturing processes in a language that resonates with the challenges they face day to day.  

What's your biggest challenge or opportunity for 2017?

Our greatest challenge for 2017 is to tell an even bigger story in an even more personal way. We’ve recently realigned our software portfolio to be even more comprehensive and powerful, but our customers don’t want to just hear a “bigger is better” message. They still want to know how we’re able to solve their unique challenges, whether they’re doing pharma QA/QC or supporting companion diagnostics in a clinical setting. This means we must constantly refine our understanding of our customers and their pain points and work harder to address that through content and marketing channel innovation.