Demand generation is now the only aspect of outbound marketing that most life science marketing executives truly support (read: fund). And for good reason: demand generation is one of few marketing activities that has direct, quantifiable fiscal impact. Based on our experience, however, most demand generation efforts in the life sciences are wasted.
Two dynamics contribute to this wasted effort.
First, most companies seem to short-change demand generation by breaking it down to lead generation and periodic offerings of discounts or promotions to these leads to find interested buyers. This two-step dance typically generates less than 1% actual demand. Most companies miss a critical step in demand generation: a long-term commitment to nurturing their generated leads in order to segment them and predispose them to the company’s way of thinking.
The second shortfall that produces anemic results in demand generation is the lack of timeliness in response rates, especially for online leads. Most life science companies are not nimble enough to expediently respond to their online leads. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, researchers found that online leads go cold—meaning that the requests lose interest—in a matter of minutes, not days. The researchers state that “Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.”
Wow! Do any life science companies respond to online leads within the first hour?
Many companies with whom we work are investing in formalizing their marketing practices around demand generation. Yet the very ingredient that both fuels demand generation and provides the ability to respond quickly is content. I suggest developing content-rich programs that provide the fuel to both nurture leads through time, and respond to online inquiries with nimbleness.