Picture this. It won’t be long until it’s getting colder, the summer is over and the end of 2020 is closing in. It’s time to start thinking about your marketing strategy for 2021 right? Well, time and time again, we speak to lovely new clients towards the end of the year. 

They want to get new initiatives in place for the start of the next year. Whilst this is natural and often the approach that’s taken, we’ve found that the most successful strategies are planned and influenced in advance of the year ahead and well before the end of the year. 

Why? Simply because there’s often projects that then need to happen to really get going, projects that can provide insights and inform future campaigns aimed at raising your company’s profile and generating leads. 

Whilst this year has certainly had its challenges, made us think differently and forced many companies within our industry to adapt – it’s not over yet. This blog is aimed to help you start thinking about your strategy now, whilst there’s still time to influence the success of that strategy and start off on the right foot. 

Here’s 5 things we think should happen now, to help you start 2021with a bang and be well prepared for what has to be better than 2020…

1. Build your strategy away from an over reliance on events

The common theme we’ve seen over the past few months is the over reliance on events the drug development industry has historically needed to aid lead generation efforts. Whilst we’ve seen many of our clients adapt quickly, this needs to be reinforced next year. Although there are many vaccines on track to market, the reality is, that we don’t know when that will happen and when it will be safe for us to start attending large scale industry events again. With this in mind, build your strategy away from events. Use your website, ABM campaigns and digital marketing tactics to build awareness and drive leads without the need to send your business development team to events. 

2. Conduct any research now that will influence your 2021 strategy

Market and customer research are extremely powerful tools when used to inform strategy. We’ve seen many of our clients adopt customer voice projects to get a real sense of trends amongst customers, as well as acting as profiling tools to better understand target markets. On the other hand, market research can also be insightful when used to gauge any service gaps in the industry or position your company as a thought leader around a specific service, product or topic. These projects take a minimum of six weeks to complete. So, if you want powerful insights to inform your 2021 strategy, start these projects now.

3. Ensure your website is ready to perform

This is a simple yet underestimated recommendation. 90% of marketeers we speak to know their website could perform better. In a B2B industry, your website is the tool that tells the world what your company does and who you are as a brand. Website overhauls can take months, so don’t start 2021 on the backfoot with a website that doesn’t articulate your offering well enough and that simply isn’t generating the amount of leads it could. 

4. Arrange your internal resources now 

The drug development supply chain is a tough industry for marketeers and commercial teams. We often see small teams wearing many hats. As the business grows, so does the demand for more sophisticated marketing initiatives. One of the biggest pieces of advice we could give is to map your strategy out now and start having those internal discussions around the resource you need to make the biggest impact. Whether that’s recruiting, outsourcing or investing in new tools – approval can take time, so give yourself the best chance to be set up for success next year. 

5. Use the next few months to sort through your goldmine of data 

A few weeks ago, we hosted a webinar around using what you have in terms of the goldmine of leads you have within your business development team. Leads from events and lead source platforms that have never really had anything done with them. If that’s something you know needs to be filtered and sorted through – do it now. By spending a few weeks profiling those contacts you’ll be in a good position next year (or earlier) to start nurturing those contacts and driving new conversations that could influence the 2021 business development pipeline. 

So there you have it, 5 things to start doing now to influence next year’s marketing strategy, get ahead of your competition and start next year with a bang!