Monday, May 4, 2009

Biotech/Life Sciences Marketing and Online Banners

Do these 2 mix? Can a company selling to scientists and microbiologists get their attention with a banner ad? Will they click?

Well the answer is yes, AND.

Yes, they will, AND you have to understand the dynamics of why people interact with a banner in the first place. The fact you are trying to reach a scientist isn't the biggest issue. The fact you are trying to engage A PERSON is. Who are they? What keeps them up at night? Makes them tick? Emotionally involves him/her? If you don' t know this, then you have to go find out before you EVER start marketing to them. Emotion connects (yes even in B2B and with scientists) and you have to connect.

Remember, people pay attention based on their terms. Not yours. They don't care that you have lead and sales goals to make. It isn't about you.

So first make sure your media buy is aligned with your creative execution. Ask yourself, why is someone coming to this site? Are they here to get information? Make a purchase decision? To network, chat, connect (as is the case with chat rooms/discussion boards, and other social media) What is the site about? At that point, you can make your creative message match the audience's intent.

For example, if a scientist has gone to website that is primarily chock full of articles and research studies, a flashing banner about buying something is likely to be ignored. However, if your banner states a white paper, then you're more likely to get his/her attention.

The other thing to know is that recent studies have discovered that while the CTR (click through rate) might be lower than ever right now (industry average is 0.2%) you are definitely gaining awareness with banners.

People unconsciously notice brands in banner ads and tend to think of those brands/companies more often when buying. So don't be so quick to judge banner effectiveness by CTR. But DO keep in mind that perhaps banners aren't your lead gen wunderkind. Maybe banners are better left to awareness and brand building while you use trade shows and other marketing tools to garner leads.

But banner ads CAN drive clicks and results. Don't get me wrong. Just consider where you are running, why you are there and why your audience is there and then tailor the message/content of your ad. What about a rich media ad that features a quick video discussion about a white paper or relevant topic instead of just a static banner with a white paper as the offer? ENGAGE your audience.

Or consider contextual or keyword-served ads. So then you are only ending up on a page when it makes sense to be there.

You see banner ads CAN and DO work for reaching the life sciences audience, as long as you know where, why and how. As always, don't hang your marketing hat on any one media channel. The right mix makes all the difference as well as the right creative that reaches out and engages.

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