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Philippa Bevan  

Philippa Bevan

Philippa Bevan has over fifteen years commercial and public sector experience in marketing, market research and product management spanning the education, laboratory, medical device, technology transfer and packaging industries. Philippa has a BSc (Hons) in Microbiology and Virology and is a Chartered Marketer.

Published in Marketing

As consumers, we have all witnessed the transformation of the B2C market through the use of digital technologies. Selling direct to customers has enabled retailers to tap into specific market segments through understanding their customers better as well as creating efficiencies in their supply chain and entering into overseas markets.

Some of these trends are now filtering through to the B2B market, with manufacturers expanding their online trading presence. However, just as in the consumer market, success requires flexibility and agility as well as a significant change in mindset.

In B2B transactions, a business is purchasing the goods and/or services of another business; the decision making process can be complex and the purchase decision may involved a number of people.

The types of digital infrastructure  now used in B2B e-commerce range from basic, entry level product catalogue sites with good search engine provision, through to operators who use artificial intelligence to guide visitors through their buying process. As B2B e-commerce sites increase in complexity, we would expect to see features such as tutorials, videos and comparisons with leading competitors.

Being able to access support quickly and easily is a rising star in the B2B sector. For example, by providing an online chat service. Personalisation of the customer experience is also gaining popularity in the B2B market. Providing facilities to fully customise requirements - from size and colour to where and when the product needs to be delivered are all tactics that can provide a competitive edge. For example, packaging web sites may provide a visualisation of a product featuring your required logo and colour. 

If you are at the start of your e-commerce journey, some key steps to consider include: 

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) - make sure that your products can be found by internet searching
  • Personalising the experience - whether that is by providing customer specific pricing, product listings etc.
  • Integration with database (ERP) systems for stock checking, payment options.
Published in Marketing

An ideal storytelling tool, videos are recognised widely as the platform to use to engage with key audiences.

Communication is changing

We are now seeing a generational shift in how we interact with computers and phone screens. Communication is increasingly becoming more visual, using animated avatars, images, live-streaming and social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.

Starting the conversation

Video combines the use of visuals, music and words to help develop stronger relationships between brands and their audience. They can also perform a wide variety of functions from being educational through to inspirational. Perfect for digital campaigns, videos can be cut for use on Instagram or snapchat; they can be a one-off piece or part of a series of short videos that forms the basis of a conversation with your audience.

Where to use video

Videos work well pretty much anywhere - whether embedded on your website, featured in your blog, shared in emails, or hosted on YouTube. Better still, they do not have to be big budget productions either. Good quality, simple customer testimonials can convey a powerful message. In the medical technology market, patient stories can be emotive.

Supporting the sales process

For companies looking to re-position themselves in a new market segment, a slick video can help open up interest from new markets. Educational videos that explain solutions to customer problems can generate interest whereas clear demonstration videos can be used to identify stronger prospects. Testimonials and customer stories help to close the deal.

The key thing to remember is to treat video exactly the same as you would if devising a marketing campaign; research and understand your audience, define the story you want to tell and try to produce something that does not overtly come across as "marketing".

Published in Marketing

Appointing a distributor can provide valuable access to a market - whether a specific segment or geography as they will have well developed sales channels and customer networks.

In the medical product market, distributors can be broadly categorised as either general distributors or specialist distributors.

General distributors tend to have own label products that they sell alongside branded lines, whereas specialist distributors may focus on a clinical specialty or geography and tend to have a more focused product offering.

Accelerate Associates has conducted studies to identify distribution partners for clients and has provided marketing support to clients and their distribution partners.

It is fair to say that the manufacturer-distributor relationship can be difficult as manufacturers can exert little control over their brand once a distributor has purchased stock of a product and distributors can feel like the poor relation to in-house sales teams. If distributors do not feel supported, it is unsurprising that they will naturally focus efforts on selling products where there is more support and the sales process may be easier.

Drawing on personal experience of appointing and working alongside distributors, the closer the relationship, the more fruitful it is likely to be for both parties. Certainly, treating distributors as an extension of your sales team is advisable to optimise sales effort.

Strategies for successful distributor relations can include:

  • Good distributor selection - YOU appoint your distributors so select them with care. Try to find specialist distributors that focus on markets that are relevant for your business, interview them in detail to determine the size of their sales force, marketing opportunities (such as inclusion of your products in their catalogue or their online store). Also, define territories, agree expectations and targets and agree to underake an annual review.
  • Product training - train your distributor sales team as if they were you own. Your distributor is likely to be selling many other brands so well-educated sales people will bring your product to the forefront of their sales effort.
  • Promotional activity - remember that your products will be competing for attention against other brands carried by your distributor. Activities to generate leads to pass to distributors will help to keep distributors engaged and focussed on your product(s).
  • Communication - keep your distributor up to date with the latest developments within your business and share relevant product information from new applications to user case studies.
  • Marketing - distributors need customers to request a brand. Often distributors are sales orientated businesses that may have less focus or resource in marketing. Supporting your distributor with appropriate literature, web site or brochure copy is recommended. This has the added bonus of supporting your distributor whilst also controlling what is published about your brand in their marketing communications channels. Depending on your specific market, the amount of control you can exert over the use of your brand may vary from none at all through to complete conformance with your requirements so branding is something to discuss with any potential distributor.

If you are looking for new distributors or would like to better support your current distributor network, talk to Accelerate.

Published in Marketing

What sets Accelerate apart from most marketing organisations is our first hand product management experience in the laboratory supplies and medical devices markets. Specifically, we have been at the coalface of identifying unmet needs in the market and then developing, manufacturing and marketing new products into markets that include: Packaging, medical devices, laboratory consumables, food supplements and emergency medical equipment. 

Both Katherine and I regularly draw on experiences gained in our early days at Bibby Sterilin Limited; developing and marketing products in the laboratory consumables market. There are not a huge number of marketing consultants that know one end of a Husky injection moulding machine from the other.

In addition to working with all things polyethylene, polystyrene and silicone rubber (!), among the team we have experience in supplying the emergency services in the US and UK, the food supplements industry, packaging (bottles, caps and closures) and even how to best bronze the world's strongest man - but that is a story for another day.

Perhaps best known for our work with early stage medical devices, we are acutely aware of the challenges that lie ahead in the healthcare market and also the potential for exciting innovation to help provide the strategies the world will need to deliver effective, efficient healthcare to an ageing population.

Founded in research that we have undertaken over the last decade, we truly believe that the medical technology market is ripe for innovation and we would hope to see some segments of the market take significant steps forward this year such as the use of gamification in rehabilitation.

Published in Marketing

The science markets have experienced uncertainty since the UK voted to leave the EU. Now, it is essential for brands to understand how they are perceived in the market.

Industry research has identified those brands that are continuing to grow in value despite current market conditions. These strong brands share the following attributes:

A strong purpose: to improve customer's lives somehow. Successful brands translate their purpose into their product/service development and articulate this clearly to their customers through marketing communications activity.

A positive brand experience: From the brand's website to product packaging and delivery, customers must have a positive experience.

Brands exampling the attributes above are more likely to be able to command a premium price, expand into new market segments and geographies.

However, measuring performance is key to understanding how your brand is perceived and, therefore, how performance can be improved. A strong, defined and differentiated purpose should be the main priority and should be reflected in every innovation, communication and interaction with your market.

From marketing strategy to communications activities, Accelerate Associates provides flexible marketing support to companies in the medical technology and laboratory markets. For companies looking to better understand how their brands are perceived, we provide customer satisfaction and brand awareness research to measure key indicators of brand performance.

 

 

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Partnerships & Affiliations

MRS
Chartered Marketeer
MediLink
MDA
 
 

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Founded in 2007, Accelerate Associates is a specialist business-to-business marketing agency providing marketing and market research for science and medical technologies... More...

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