Introducing Media Engagement

Sorry for the gap between posts.  I was invited to speak to the marketing team of a large life science supplier embarking on a major re-branding initiative.  I’m a great believer in applying market research in multiple ways including corporate training.  My hosts were very gracious and had many questions about how scientists react to marketing.

To pick up on my earlier theme, we’ve already established that much of the consumer behavior in the life science market is remarkably similar.  As such, marketers must rely upon understanding the attitudes and interests of potential marketing audiences.  These differences across audiences are the most likely to cause the few behavioral differences that you need to understand in order to seize opportunity when it arises.

Earlier this year we began to explore the concept of Media Engagement and how it could be adapted to marketing to life scientists.  Our research was based upon two hypotheses about life science consumer perceptions and behavior.

The first hypothesis in our research on Media Engagement was that marketing material is most effective in the hands of people who seek it out.  It may seem simple, but you’ll see that our recent study findings show that most scientists do not eagerly seek out such information.

Our second hypothesis was that people who eagerly seek out marketing materials would be statistically significantly different, across important variables, than those who don’t.  Combined with the first hypothesis, we developed a theory that, if accurate, could not only identify eager consumers, but also assess their behavior in terms of information directly related to how they might be successfully marketed to.

We developed a numerical score to rank a scientist’s level of media engagement based how often in the last year the scientist had:

Evaluated or purchased a new product
Referenced a printed catalog
Registered at a vendor Web site
Sought more information in response to direct mail
Scheduled a meeting with a sales rep
Sought more information in response to an ad
Spent 15 minutes or more at an exhibit booth

Our hypotheses were confirmed!  Regardless of the relative homogeneity of the life science market, certain scientists perceive and use marketing information differently.  Furthermore, those who perceive it more favorably and consume it more vigorously also exhibit preferences and behavior that make them the ideal targets for marketing campaigns.  In my next post, we’ll discuss the characteristics of these Highly Engaged scientists.