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Global Science Marketing: Expanding Your Presence Across the Globe

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With online communities and communication across labs increasing, science companies find themselves crossing national borders to establish an international presence.

There are scientists around the world conducting research, and many have probably never heard of you or your product. Spreading your message to a global audience is a great way to reach untapped markets and grow your business.

But be forewarned — international marketing comes with unique challenges that not every company knows how to address. Using the right global marketing strategies is crucial if you want your product or service to be a hit abroad.

Here’s what you need to know to be successful at global marketing in the life sciences.

Before You Market, Learn

Market research is crucial for extending your brand’s reach abroad.

Is there a need for your product or service in the local market? The answer could be no — scientists may be perfectly happy with their current systems, or there may not be a large enough audience to make a marketing campaign worthwhile. A local competitor with a strong hold on the market could also make marketing an uphill battle.

Once you’ve confirmed that there is demand in the local market, take the time to understand how your audience in target countries is different from your domestic audience. What is their perception of your product, company, or application? Are the challenges the same? How are scientists currently managing these challenges?

Interview people within a country’s industry to find key pain points. Do prospective customers in this country tend to rely more on advertising, or PR? Technical specifications, or compelling stories? Tradeshows and relationships, or a Google search? The only way to be sure is to ask.

Finally, the popular marketing channels can differ across countries. Where does your audience look for information? In China, for example, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all blocked, but social networks like QQ, WeChat, Weibo, and Baidu Tieba are extremely popular. LinkedIn may be a hit in the United States, but it hasn’t proved as successful in Korea and Japan.

Have a Single, Tailored Message

Much of marketing is constant: you always want to present a clear, memorable, engaging message.

That doesn’t change with international marketing, but you need to account for broader demographics and global perceptions. Keeping your campaign consistent while tailoring to the local market will ensure that your message is understood and effective across all target markets. It’s also important to track and reevaluate global marketing strategies often, as trends change both domestically and abroad.

And, of course, creating a new marketing campaign for each country is expensive. Stick to a single campaign that will be recognized globally.

Plan for Cultural, Language, and Legal Barriers

Once you’ve decided to shoot for an international presence, you need to plan for the major challenges of globalization.

Cultural barriers and differences are a key hurdle, but you should have gained useful insight through your market research. By now, you should have a deep understanding of the state of the industry and perspective of your audience.

Language barriers can be equally tricky. A message that is bold and compelling in English might become flat in another language. Even if the content is the same, the spirit can be lost in translation.

Metaphors don’t always translate, and the internet is full of humorous examples of botched translations. You don’t want to be next on that list.

Legal and logistical challenges will depend on the specifics of your industry, but they are likely to exist. How are the laws and regulations different in your target country? How can you ensure a reliable supply chain? The answer to these questions varies widely based on industry and country, but consulting with industry and local experts, as well as marketers with international experience, can help you navigate legal challenges.

Finally, many scientists, labs, and companies prefer to partner with local vendors. Do you have a local presence or connection in your target country? Is it worth establishing one and, if not, how can you make the case for your company?

If handled correctly, international marketing can lead to massive growth. With a deep understanding of your global audience, you can develop a message that resonates across borders.

Chempetitive Group works with life science companies internationally. Contact us if you would like help expanding to a global audience.

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