Catering to the Scientific Niche: A Beginner’s Guide to Personalized Digital Marketing

Science marketing is all about diving deep into a specific field. Find out how to personalize your tactics to the needs of your users.

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Have you ever Googled a competitors’ brand, only to see a Facebook ad for it pop up later that day? Or received a coupon code in your inbox for that exact piece of equipment you’ve considered buying? Well, welcome to the world of personalized marketing, where, using a variety of tactics, you can be segmented into a specific audience and targeted based on your search, browsing, or purchase history.

Personalized marketing has taken off in recent years and there is a boatload of evidence that explains why: Nearly 80% of Americans said that personalized content from brands increases their purchase activity. And marketers that use a personalized web experience see, on average, a 20% increase in sales. So, while the thought of brands following you around the internet might strike you as just a bit creepy, many users like being hit with the right suggestion at the right time.

How can your brand capitalize?

Segmentation: Personalization in a Nutshell

As marketers in the life science and chemical fields, we’re accustomed to thinking about a scientific audience. When developing and deploying a campaign, you have to think about what specific segment of this audience you’re targeting: Are you looking for academics? Professors or lab managers? Analysts or engineers? This is a critical part of your marketing equation and can permeate through the copy you write and the images you use. If you don’t have a clear target and an understanding about this audience segment, your creative and messaging could fall on deaf ears.

Personalized marketing takes segmentation one step further, and is much closer to the individuals that make up a specific audience segment. After all, no professor, R&D scientist, or product manager is created equal. You should be able to make some generalizations about them based on audience research and persona development, but each contact is a unique snowflake with their own distinct problems and challenges. Personalized marketing works to address the needs and issues of these individuals in an impactful way.

Personalized Marketing Tactics

It’s impractical and cost-prohibitive to manually deploy a marketing campaign that speaks to each individual in your audience. Do you want to be the one to sit down and write a tailored email to every. single. person. in your CRM? Not quite. Over the past few years, marketers have developed some targeted (and automated) tactics to save time and money.

Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic Search Ads (DSAs) are a recent addition to the personalized marketing landscape. They’re less about creeping on your customer and more about bridging the gap, allowing you to customize your Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads around the keywords they search for and the information on the landing page. As part of the same campaign, you can also link to a number of different landing pages depending on the search term.  

So, how do dynamic search ads work in practice? Say, for example, you’re in the market for immunodeficient mouse line for a new research project. A popular option is the SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency) mouse model, which has a variety of applications – from cancer biology to the study of infectious diseases. Because it has a broad audience, potential customers will search for it using different terms and with a different endgame in mind. “Immunodeficient mice” has several hundred searches per month. If someone searches for that, Google will crawl your landing page and serve them an ad with a headline that directly speaks to that term. If someone searches for “SCID mouse” specifically, knowing what type of mouse line they want, Google will make sure the ad reflects that. A third customer might be searching for a “NOD SCID mouse,” a different model, that lacks natural killer cells. Google will communicate that offering back to the customer and might even send them to a specific landing page for NOD SCID mice, if one exists.

The value then is that you don’t have to commit. A person searching for immunodeficient mice early in their research may get confused by “NOD SCID mouse” or think their options are limited to that. Conversely, a person searching for a specific term might feel like an “immunodeficient mice” ad is too non-specific and would be a waste of their time. With dynamic search ads, you can cater to all your audiences, speaking to them one-on-one in the language they want to hear.

Staying in Contact with Personalized Email Content

Personalized emails generate six times as much revenue as non-personalized emails. But to work effectively, you’ve got to get your audiences as segmented as possible. The more detail the better. Where do members of your audience live? Do they work in biopharmaceuticals, diagnostics, or specialty chemicals? Are they bench scientists, compliance officers, or in marketing? By filling out these details for your audience in a CRM, like HubSpot, you can more accurately create segmented lists of users and send personalized emails, that go beyond just using a first name.

If you’re not collecting this information on your forms already, start now. Asking specific questions allows you to include content that speaks to your audience’s challenges and interests, creating an experience that truly resonates with them. This is also an opportunity to show them their interaction with your brand. If they just bought their 100th pack of pipette tips or it’s their birthday, send them a celebratory email with a discount code next time they buy. If they just bought a bunch of glassware, send them an email with related products for their next experiment.

Creating a Tailored Experience with Personalized UX and Content

It’s also possible to create tailored web content using the rich data that you’ve gathered through audience segmentation. Think custom landing pages, blog posts, or a unique site-wide experience. This gives you the opportunity to speak directly to the user, showing them that you understand their specific issue and anticipate what they might need.

One major opportunity comes through website log ins. If your users have their own portal, you’ll likely have their purchasing history and know what industry they are in. Are there products related to their recent purchases that they might need as well? Is there a software update you can offer to improve the performance of their existing instruments? How about white papers or application notes related to their field of work? Information about a customer’s industry can help streamline their browsing experience to only the most relevant products or services. You don’t need to show them an atomic force microscope if you know they exclusively do mass spectrometry, right?

Persona Builder

Opportunities for Remarketing with Personalized Social Media

Paid social advertising offers additional opportunities for personalized marketing. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all allow you to create really detailed audience segments that can be advertised to, based on their interests (i.e. chemistry, science news, etc.), who they follow (i.e., @cenmag), the highest degree they hold, or specific keywords that show up in their profile. This can be particularly useful for hypertargeting particular audience segments and to collect data on how they engage with your ads, products, or services.

In addition, remarketing your social advertising is just one more way to get more targeted and personalized. Using this setting on Facebook, for example, allows you to target those who have seen or interacted with your ads previously or landed on specific product/service pages but didn’t convert.

There are many more personalized tactics that can help lead your buyers to the product or service that fits their needs. Chat bots are another tactic (check out genome engineering company, Synthego’s use of CRISPRBot) that is growing in popularity and streamlines user navigation. Whatever tactic you choose, make sure you’ve segmented your audience properly: While users love when brands meet them halfway, getting it wrong can drive them away.

A Final Note Before You Dive In: Considering Privacy Laws

Widespread internet access has made digital marketing a global affair…and includes their legal privacy requirements. Depending on the tactics you’re employing and where your customers are based, you will likely need to comply with specific regional laws. While most platforms should shoulder the responsibility for how they use third-party data, each law is nuanced, so you still need to ask about their processes. Make sure you’re up to the task and educate yourself on GDPR, CCPA, and more.

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