Navigating the life science marketing trends we can expect to see more of in 2024

Published: 19-Jan-2024

With 2024 officially under way, the global life science marketing space finds itself, as always, facing challenges and opportunities. The need for innovation to attract and convert buyers in a hugely competitive space whilst staying on top of industry advancements remains crucial

New marketing trends are always emerging across every sector and the pharmaceutical and contract outsourcing space is no different. 

Companies operating in life sciences are still feeling the aftermath of the COVID comedown, which has left a greater need for specialist providers to diversify their capabilities, collaborate and truly target their niche marketplace in an increasingly personalised way. 

As a specialist life sciences marketing agency focused on helping companies to get noticed and grow globally, ramarketing’s in-house experts have their finger on the pulse of this ever-changing sector. They have analysed data to bring you nine key marketing trends they see dominating the industry during the next 12 months. 

Let’s get into the marketing trends we are predicting for life sciences in 2024

In-person events will continue to dominate

The continuing rise of in-person events will see a fall in webinars and virtual offerings. Off the back of COVID, our team continues to see more clients attending large-scale events and conferences and hosting more open-house-style events and travel summits versus webinars.

The power of people and networking face-to-face appears to be something that the life science community agrees cannot be replicated virtually.

The scale of physical events is growing annually with attendance figures back to (and exceeding) pre-COVID numbers. Whilst webinars continue to have a place within the marketing event mix, they simply don’t have the draw and added benefits of an in-person event. 

Webinar attendances suggest that numbers are in decline and people who do sign up tend to not attend live in favour of catching a playback at a time and place that suits them — something worth considering when making a webinar accessible post-event.

The attendance typically peaks in the weeks following the live event with most sign-ups taking place post-event. This offers a 24/7 approach to event marketing and gives attendees the freedom to attend anytime from anywhere.

Consolidation of tactics 

Companies will continue to reduce the number of marketing activities they cover in favour of a "quality versus quantity" approach.

Navigating the life science marketing trends we can expect to see more of in 2024

This consolidation of efforts is linked to financial pressures and the recent squeeze the sector has imposed on marketing budgets. With some teams being cut back in 2023, internal marketing resources are likely to remain lean in 2024 ... meaning the focus on activities will have to demonstrate a clear return on investment (ROI). 

Agency partners will need to demonstrate their commercial acumen, focused approach, sector understanding and ability to deliver results to add much-needed resources to pressuried internal teams. 

Getting personal using ABM and programmatic advertising

This year will see marketers gain a better understanding of Account Based Marketing (ABM) and a focus on implementing programmatic advertising to bolster activities. 

The beauty of ABM is its ability to deliver tailored communications. Personalisation allows teams to better understand client pain points and commercial challenges to provide strategic solutions, meaning improved customer experience and growth. Email marketing is ripe for ABM advancement and marketers will look to further develop lead nurture tracks using personalized marketing approaches.

Account-based marketing can be a powerful strategy for life science companies, helping to focus on key accounts, build stronger relationships and achieve more measurable marketing outcomes. 

Shifting social platform priorities

Across industries, businesses are becoming increasingly ruthless with their social presence and this is no different for companies operating in life sciences. 

Understanding that cross-posting with duplicate content no longer delivers results, companies in the healthcare sector are pulling back from social platforms such as X, Threads and Pinterest owing to uncertainty about the platform's future and instead focusing on primary platforms that deliver results. 

“Just because a healthcare organisation is active on a platform, doesn’t mean they’re sold on the ROI it drives. Take Twitter/X, for example. More than half (55%) of healthcare companies have a presence there, but less than a third feel strongly that it delivers a positive ROI — and considering the platform’s 12% drop in daily active users between November 2022 and September 2023, maybe that’s not such a shock."

"Organisations are now more willing than ever to say goodbye to platforms and strategies that aren’t meeting their definition of ROI,” notes a Hootsuite Healthcare Social Trends Report.

Accessible and alternative formats

Producing alternative formats and accessible content will remain key to driving engagements and capturing leads. Minimising the use of gated content (for premium content only) will provide more access for audiences at each stage of the buying funnel. 

This will also improve access by offering target audiences snackable short-form content, alongside long-form, video and audio formats. 

Video remains popular but audiences now demand it be used in a less time-consuming way. This could be by using animation, captions and short talking heads that will capture attention and drive action. 

The sector is poised to use video more informally — using tools to self-record messages offers audiences a more personalised content experience, building stronger connections with sales teams and buyers.

Consumers are looking for high-value content that requires minimal time investment from their side. No matter the target persona, easily digestible content is key to catching attention and gathering valuable lead data. 

Consolidated reporting 

All industries, and particularly a data-driven sector such as life sciences, are driven by a need to better track results and report on utilisation, engagements, results and, most importantly, the return on investment (ROI). 

Consolidated reporting that articulates the success of a campaign and the areas that require improvement, including budget/resource allocation and how to better compete to achieve improved results, is vital for marketers and C-suite executives alike.

Improved reporting generally leads to increased investment as a demonstration of the effectiveness and impact of a campaign helps key stakeholders understand the value of marketing and how best to allocate budget.

By focusing on sales alignment and lead metrics, marketers can support sales enablement by connecting the dots between in-house business development and marketing teams to streamline processes, improve customer service (CX), enhance communication touchpoints and identify how to drive or increase leads through transparent reporting that identifies opportunities for improvement.

The evolution of AI 

AI and digitisation are transforming the industry; we expect to see this evolve further in 2024. From drug discovery to clinical trials, AI is already beginning to save time, reduce manual efforts and improve overall efficiency. Companies with AI-enabled platforms are set to become sought-after partners.

Marketing practices and processes are also being heavily influenced by AI. Both agencies and in-house teams are utilising tools to make efficiencies, implementing AI tools to support wheel-handle tactics to free up marketing experts for more strategic tasks.

There is still more to consider as AI continues to evolve and the jury is still out on some of the ethical considerations regarding this technology.  

“How does AI seep into this world? And does that put pressure on everybody to just get things done more quickly? Can I do some of that myself or hire those people to do that?" asks a biotech VC.

“Something may not be a big deal now but in 5 years, it may be a very big deal as you think about AI. If you can electronically collect, organise and analyse your datasets faster, you will be well ahead with speed and quality compliance will be much easier” adds an outsourced vendor.

Innovation and testing

B2B marketers will open up and start to test non-dominant channels in a bid to move away from an over-reliance on popular channels such as LinkedIn. 

In a never-ending search to target audiences on the channels they use the most (and prefer), marketers will explore alternative channel capabilities with a focus on those that support video content, such as YouTube, Meta and TikTok, to understand how they can harness alternative channels to target new and existing audiences in different ways.

From a design perspective, we’ll see creatives pushing boundaries and being braver with artwork to incorporate fluid design-led visuals that will stand out in the marketplace.

Colour continues to play an important role in differentiating and adding personality to a brand, so the move away from conventional colours into bolder and more vibrant shades is a trend we feel will continue. Bring on the colour!

Finally, motion-driven assets will start to become commonplace. The use of motion within branding, design and identity will become synonymous with connecting to audiences. More visually appealing and interesting assets will generate engagements and create leads.

Collaborative content and the role of influencers

As a growing trend in B2B marketing, engaging with influencers will become a bigger part of life sciences marketing in 2024, providing an opportunity to raise awareness in key markets and gain credible endorsements. 

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Influencers can come in many forms, ranging from key industry journalists and popular podcast hosts to leaders of industry bodies and trade associations.

Others have gained influential status for their active participation in the industry during many years or as keynote speakers on forward-looking topics.

The trick will be identifying the influencers that best align with your brand and figuring out how best to leverage their audience network to increase your own brand’s exposure and credibility. 

We also expect to see more collaborative content in 2024, with the launch of LinkedIn collaborative articles. This will be one of many ways to grow your presence as a thought-leading industry influencer. 

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