What Drives Purchase in Labs?

In my last couple of postings I’ve tried to describe the market as we see it. What I’d like to do now is to start moving the discussion toward the challenges you face as a life science marketer, how good research can improve your probability of success, and how we’ve tackled some fairly common business problems.

Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of responses from scientists about the techniques they use, and the products they buy. Invariably, we’re told that “quality” or “reliability” are, by far, the most important factors they consider.

And these factors are of course very important. But when we ask what made you buy this product over this one, what we find over and over again are comments such as: “It was recommended by a colleague” or it was “required be a specific protocol.” They tell us that they open mail or look at ads because they’re currently using the vendor’s products. They stop by a booth because they’re considering using the company’s products. Simply put, this is a market where your reputation — what you’re known for — is of paramount performance. In other words, scientists are “brand sensitive.” This makes it vitally important that you deliver the right message to the right audience using the most effective media and helping you do that is what this presentation is all about.

But you as marketers and we as market researchers often are challenged to identify differences in how scientists react to various media that are actionable from a marketing perspective. We’ve looked at the data — and I’m sure you have too — by region and market segment, by discipline and purchasing authority. We’ve even used psychographic profiling, gender and age to uncover differences that might be meaningful in a market where so many consumers appear to think alike but the differences we find are very subtle.

This year we believe we’ve made a major breakthrough that has the potential to transform life science marketing — we’ve discovered a type of scientist that a good sales rep would recognize instantly but whose characteristics have until now mostly eluded strategic marketing managers. In our next post, I’m going to introduce you to the concept of Media Engagement.