Do You Even Know What Marketing Success Looks Like?

Is your marketing working?

The reality is, many life science marketers simply don’t know. Or they don’t find out the answer until they’ve already made large investments in time, money and resources. Maybe you’ve even put your neck on the line for a campaign you believe in, but your belief is founded on gut feel, not evidence.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Laura Browne describes Marketing Performance Management as “the combination of processes and technologies used by an organization to create the plans and objectives, put them into action, measure the results and feed the next cycle through insights gained and wisdom achieved”. By putting this iterative cycle into practice, your marketing will get consistently more effective over time. And you’ll find it so much easier to acquire resources from your boss.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • The 4 “P’s” of marketing operations – and how to put them to work for you
  • How to ensure you base your marketing goals on facts, not assumptions
  • How to unlock your potential by allocating budgets to OUTCOMES rather than activities


Recorded Voice: Welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society Podcast, bringing you best practices, advice, and insight from marketing experts from across the life science industry and beyond.

To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society please visit and grab your free membership.

Harrison Wright: Welcome to the Life Science Marketing Society Podcast. I’m Harrison Wright…

Nick Oswald: And I’m Nick Oswald. Today we are talking around the webinar by Laura Browne of Covalent Bonds and she was talking about linking marketing to revenue, helping life scientists answer the question, “Is my marketing working?”

Now what we’ll cover today is one surefire way to prove any marketing plan, how to tie marketing objectives and budgets to outcomes. And in today’s quick tip we will cover a software tool that makes producing graphics for banners, e-books, and social media a breeze.

So Harrison what did you take from Laura’s talk today?

Harrison Wright: What I took from it Nick is there are so many things we could delve into and talk about here, but the biggest overarching theme this for me is it’s a systematic approach to getting it right. Making sure what you’re doing is actually producing the results that you want. It’s an iterative cycle.

Early on in her presentation Laura talks about marketing performance management, which is a separate thing from simply marketing performance. The definition Laura used for market performance management is, “The combination of process and technologies used by an organization to create the plans and objectives, put them into action, measure the results and then feed the next cycle through insights gained and wisdom achieved.”

I that’s an important thing to understand, because naming no names or picking on anybody in particular here, but it’s endemic with companies, especially when it comes to marketing where you know, “Oh let’s do this, it’s a good idea.” “Let’s do that. Is it a good idea?” Did it work? Did it not work? Does anybody even know? Then they carry on doing whatever it is they were doing or maybe they try something else when they should have stopped with what they were doing, because it would have produced the results they wanted, but they just didn’t know what to expect or the results weren’t coming as fast they should have.

So fundamentally what this is about is deciding what you want to accomplish. Putting in place a plan and structuring that plan and the metrics and activities of that plan in a way that you believe will achieve the end results that you’re really after. And the end result isn’t something you know in terms of an input like, “We want to have ten blog posts,” it’s the outputs, it’s revenue, it’s customer loyalty, it’s the things that drive the business forward.

So ultimately what this is about is creating, executing, and measuring a plan to do that. If it doesn’t go exactly as you expected the first time around that’s fine, because built into this process is a measurement aspect where you can review it and say, “Well what worked?” “What didn’t work?” “What did we do wrong?” “What did we do right?” “How do we refine this and do it better next time?”

So every time you’re going through this circle of planning, executing, and measuring this process and then iterating on it and doing it better next time. So that’s the core theme that I took from this.

Then there’s many aspects to this in terms of getting it right. For example Laura talks about the Four P’s of marketing operations, which are essentially the components of this process. The first “P” is planning, laying the foundation for success. The second “P” is the process, i.e. getting the right budgets, getting the right resources, the right systems and tools and people to achieve the success. There’s partnership. You could look at that in the context of having the right people, but for Laura’s definition it’s more so about getting the right partnerships in terms of marketing agencies and third parties that can help you with your journey. Then finally the last “P” is perfection, which is the measurement side of things and not only measurement, but measurement that matters. If you’re going to keep your KPIs it’s important to keep the right ones. There are so many things we could talk about here, but if we’re looking at it as a theme that’s what I took.

Nick Oswald: It really is a meaty webinar this one. As Laura lead out in the beginning this webinar becomes a real relief to marketers who are experiencing increasing accountability for revenue goals from their marketing. Laura here leaves a plan that allows you to do that easily by stepping right back, choosing a goal, a revenue goal and then linking all the marketing back to that. So the answer of whether the goal has been achieved can be answered easily at the end.

One thing that I took away from this, our webinars can dive into the webinars if you they want to get the full plan, one thing, small stand-alone thing that I took from this that I think would be extremely powerful in helping you to improve any marketing plan that you have is to plan based on fact and not opinion.

I know from our efforts that it is so easy to assume that you have a type of audience thinking a specific way or with a specific profile you’re trying to sell to a certain level in the hierarchy or so on. It’s easy to assume that you know what that is and then build the marketing around that. Laura points out the folly of that. If you’re going to set a five-year plan as she advocates here that you need to do it based on fact.

For example one thing that she mentioned her company advocates to its customers is something called “The Hundred Labs Program.” That’s when they have a new product launch or just marketing the whole company. They go to 100 labs and they ask them questions around the area the products serve. They have discussions about them, they gather up data. They gather evidence so that they come back with facts that they can build for the marketing on. Of course the Hundred Labs Program is a huge exercise so she also talks about using smaller dip tests where you just talk to smaller numbers of people around the area, but the outcome is the same.

That don’t plan your marketing based on what you think is happening, find out what is actually happening and then aim for that and then build based on that.

Harrison Wright: Exactly. So I think it’s very easy in this day and age, gosh I sound really old saying that don’t I, in this day and age, this age of digital marketing and more of a digital everything. Some people can end up forgetting this personal link in what they’re doing. So it’s easy to say, “Oh I’m a marketer” and sit and do things on your company and never actually have substantial interactions with the people that you’re dealing with. Instead of thinking of people and visitors and users and researchers, they think in terms of traffic and leads and click-throughs. But you have to have that human element and human connection in order to do this well and to actually tying it back to your point to understand the facts rather than making the assumptions. That means getting out and talking to people.

Nick Oswald: Definitely.

Harrison Wright: So I think that was a really important takeaway. One big takeaway for me as well it was one of the many, many points Laura made, but I think this has quite profound implications, which is when you’re in the second “P” in the process element and you’re planning out your budgets and your resources of people and systems, et cetera, don’t allocate your budget by the activities you want to conduct. Allocate your budget by the outcomes that you’re expected to produce.

Let’s say for example that you want to do content marketing and you want to paid search and you want to do something else or let’s say you want to do social medias or there’s the three components of your marketing activities, now that’s three simplified examples, but just for the sake of illustration.

So some might say, “Well we want to do content and paid search and we want to be on social media. We’ve got $600,000.00 so let’s spend $200,000.00 on content and $200,000.00 on paid search and $200,000.00 on social media.” Why would you split it evenly? Or the other alternative might be, “You know we want to do content marketing and we want to do social and we want to do paid search. With our content marketing we want to produce 200 articles so we’re going to spend 80 percent of our budget on content and the rest you know we’ll use whatever we have left to run some Google ads and put some stuff on social.

Whereas do you actually know what return you expect to get from those things and if so would you allocate your budget in the same way? So if we look at content marketing just for the sake of an example do you know what the impact of that content you’re going to publish is going to be and how would you measure that?

So an example from my mind is typically and this is going to vary from site to site, but in our experience if you have for example an article on your own site and assuming this has some sort of lead capture built in, whether that’s the content upgrade technique to download an e-book in exchange for an e-mail address or whatever are the opt-in methods your using off the back of your content, if that’s set up well and efficiently and the opt-in matches with the content well and everything else is taken care of you should expect somewhere in the range of 1 to 1.5 percent of visitors to that article will opt-in.

So to get ten leads in the barest sense you’re going to be looking at 1,000 visitors to that piece of content. So this begs the question: Do you know your numbers and how they link to revenue at the backend? How many opt-ins do you need to produce marketing qualified leads? How many marketing qualified leads do you need to produce sale qualified leads? How many sales qualified leads do you need to produce opportunities in the pipeline and ultimately sales?

Then on the back of that you can go even further. What’s the lifetime value of the customer? What’s the value of that lab that you’ve broke it into beyond the original person who was interested?

It’s only when you know all these numbers you can make an accurate assessment of what a budget might be. You might work out in order to hit your revenue goals you need to get – just going to pluck a number out of thin air, that you need to get a million visitors to you content in a year, is that achievable? How is that achievable?

The point that I’m stressing here is it’s only when you know all these facts and the expected results of what you’re going to do that you can plan your budgets out accordingly. That way it has multiple benefits just beyond forecasting and knowing how to plan your time, but it also means you can justify how you’re allocating your budgets to your boss. It means if you’re expected to produce increased results you can negotiate an increased budget.

And just as importantly something a lot of people face quite often in their marketing careers maybe your marketing budget gets slashed for the year, but that means you can negotiate a lower set of goals to accomplish with a lower budget, because you’re tying your budget to the outcomes rather than the activities. So it all becomes a driver of business value, which is another core theme of what this whole presentation is about.

Marketing is tasked with increasing responsibility for revenues. This is one of those areas where in marketing we move from being seen as the people that put stuff out and we’re accost to problem solvers for the business and of course the customers as well.

Nick Oswald: Yeah I mean that example you just gave is very clear, see the difference between saying, “We want 200 articles for our website” and saying, “We need a million visitors, we expect an average of X-number of visitors per month to each article so therefore we need whatever number of articles that is on our website.” There you’re linking the number of articles you need to the traffic goal that you’re looking for and then you can link the traffic goal onto the conversion goal and so onto the revenue goal.

You definitely see both happening, but mostly we want this number of articles in our experience I think mostly see that. It would be easier if you can imagine it, it’s easier to get budget if you can link the content marketing out to the market and market revenue goal.

Harrison Wright: Exactly. And what a relief it is to know what you’re actually going to accomplish before you start out doing something.

Nick Oswald: Yeah. I guess if you could, we need a million visitors and this will be the number of leads we get, this will be the number who go through sales and so on. You start off with a best guess, initially they are based on whatever numbers you have and then you find it year-on-year so that as you go down the line you know what you need to do to get to what content marketing you need to do to generate revenue to become more and more accurate as you do it. But if you don’t track it then it’s not going to – it’s always going to be a black box and it’s difficult to get budget for a black box.

Harrison Wright: Exactly. You could say the same thing for a paid search strategy. You could say the same thing for social media strategy. It’s applicable across all marketing activities.

Nick Oswald: Definitely. Okay this as we said Laura’s webinar is a very meaty one. It provides a great overview of the strategy she advocates for linking marketing to marketing revenues. So you can go and dive onto the Life Science Marketing Society page to grab that.

That’s at B-I-T.L-Y/Laurabrowne.

Okay and today’s quick tip we are going to cover a software tool that makes producing graphics for banners, e-books, and social media a breeze. The Bitesize Bio team found this thing about 18 months ago and it has changed, it makes our life so much easier. We don’t have any affiliation with this company, it’s just something we would recommend as a marketer to a marketer.

The service is called “Canva” it’s So Harrison maybe you could chime in and give the pronunciation in your BBC English in case people can’t understand my brogue.

Harrison Wright: [Chuckles] It’s canva, Nick, that’s

Nick Oswald: So that’s So on there you’ll see how it works. They have hundreds of templates for banners of all different dimensions for social media banners, for e-book covers, basically anything you can think of. All you do is you go in there when you want to make your own banner, you choose the dimensions and then you just throw in your own text and pictures on their templates and literally five minutes later you have your banner all perfectly laid out and everything. You download in whatever format you want.

Well worth a look, That’s today’s quick tip.

Harrison Wright: So this has been the Life Science Marketing Society Podcast. Thanks for listening. I’m Harrison Wright.

Nick Oswald: And I’m Nick Oswald and we will see you next time.

Recorded Voice: To get more insight from the Life Science Marketing Society please visit and grab your free membership.

[End of Audio]

Photo Credit: Photo Monkey

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