Reaching Scientists Online: 4 Digital Marketing Tools & Trends to Watch

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Yesterday’s hot digital media tools and tactics are today’s marketing relics. To stay ahead of the curve and keep customers engaged, science marketers need to anticipate new digital trends and embrace change. The “what worked last year” approach won’t cut it in 2015.

Here’s a look at this year’s top digital trends most relevant to companies seeking to reach a science-minded audience. If you’re not already on top of these trends, it’s time to jump on board — with strategy leading the way.

Trend #1: The content king gets personal.

The days of keyword stuffing and SEO loopholes are long over. If you want your web presence to be meaningful, you need to consistently create content your audience finds valuable. This was certainly true in 2014, and it’s even more critical today, as more and more brands embrace the attention a well-placed piece of content can attract.

Content needs to be personalized for specific audiences so it can speak directly to their needs. Use marketing automation tools to make your content stand out. Start by personalizing emails and landing pages using customer contact info, then progress to segmenting by behavior as you become more experienced with your marketing automation program. And don’t think small changes go unnoticed — fixes like including a recipient’s name in an email can dramatically improve success rates.

Automation tool: Marketing automation programs like Hubspot combine the powers of your database and content development team to serve up custom content. Remember, the more personalized your message, the higher your chance of conversion.

Trend #2: ‘Mobile friendly’ becomes ‘mobile first.’

Your customers are busy people. Whether they’re lab managers, oncologists or CEOs, it’s very likely they’ll interact with your brand on a mobile device. A seamless mobile experience ensures that fewer of your leads fall through the cracks.

If you haven’t fully embraced mobile yet, now is the time. Data from Statista shows that in 2013 (two years ago), 73.4 percent of the global online population accessed the Internet via a mobile device. By 2017, that number is expected to grow to 90.1 percent. Every step of the customer development cycle (from exploration to placing an order) needs to be equipped for a world on the go.

But before you overhaul everything, do be sure to look at your company’s data to see what trends apply for your own customers. Perhaps email content is more consistently viewed on desktops, while blogs lean more toward mobile. Identifying key audience trends can help you decide where to start first.

Mobile tool: What headlines will garner the highest conversation rate on mobile devices? If you don’t know, tools such as VWO can figure it out for you. Split-test a variety of headline and design options for your mobile site to identify what’s working and what needs attention.

Trend #3: Big data gets even bigger.

With multiple campaigns running on different marketing channels, marketers collect a lot of data. Just as scientists in the lab, science marketers need to be using that data to drive decisions, not just as a measure of success. Data-based strategies such as hyper-segmentation or micro-targeting allow your message to adapt to the person it’s serving. Science marketers should be aggregating data from a variety of sources to inform strategies that connect with customers at the most opportune moments and places. The more personalized your brand, the better your chance of attracting attention.

Data tool: Aggregators like Tropical consolidate data to build rich customer profiles. Take the guesswork out your salesy buyer’s journey documents and track actual customers using real data.

Trend #4: Brands become listeners.

For years, the relationship between brands and consumers was largely one-sided — brands shouted and hoped customers listened. Social media has eliminated this one-way dialogue. Now it’s time brands really listen. Your goal as a marketer isn’t just to lead conversations, but rather, to facilitate them. Customers place more trust in brands that promote authenticity. Topics such as sustainability and precision medicine are dominating many marketing platforms. For science marketers, this means placing more of an emphasis on building relationships as opposed to making the hard sell.

Engagement tool: ‘Modern’ publishing tool SnapApp empowers brands to create interactive customer experiences without lengthy development timelines. Respond quickly to your customers’ needs with custom web content that utilizes tools such as quizzes and assessments to make your brand memorable.

Each of these four trends will help your brand better engage with your audience. But perhaps our most exciting digital marketing prediction for 2015? Bigger spending. A new survey from Salesforce showed that an estimated 34 percent of business-to-business marketers plan to shift a portion of their marketing spend from traditional advertising to digital channels. That’s something every digital marketer can agree is good news.

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What digital marketing tactics are you watching in 2015? Leave your replies in the comments section below, and be sure to view our post on print advertising trends.

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