V Formation’s guest blogger for the life sciences, José González, discusses the challenges of the life science sector when it comes to the international marketplace.
SMEs in the life sciences sector are born with a feature that has many advantages as well as challenges. These companies usually possess a specialised skillset that allows them to operate in international markets from day one.
This creates opportunities for a wider customer portfolio, access to new information and the potential to acquire new competences through either formal knowledge transfer or “knowledge spill-overs.” These advantages are known to provide a competitive advantage. Internationalisation also introduces companies to new cultures, new ways of doing business and exciting networking opportunities.
Of course, there are also a number of challenges to overcome to be successful in the international marketplace, not least for marketers. Here are a few tips for overcoming some of these challenges for as smooth a journey as possible:
- Translate or trans-create? When handling straightforward information such as press releases or industry information, translation is probably the best way to go; however, if your marketing content is highly creative, it is better to consider tailoring campaigns to the local market (trans-creation) to ensure it is appropriate in terms of culture.
- Personalise your message to your region: To generate demand in regional markets, companies need to identify the common ground with those audiences. Knowing the language and dialect, social traditions, cultural references and the most used platforms for sharing content are key. Regional partners will appreciate that you are speaking to them in a way they can relate to.
- Make sure you can be found: To boost a well-developed internationalisation strategy make sure your potential customers can find you. The keywords you set up for your local SEO will not work on your targeted countries if they are not translated or adapted (if the language is the same but the culture is different). Each country will have a preference for certain search terms and these need to be incorporated into your webpage descriptions and metadata.
- Use your local network to expand: This is where collaboration networks come in handy for marketing and business development. Having your local partners putting in a good word and offering recommendations to validate your work is an effective method for reassuring potential customers. Being acknowledged by a recognised local gatekeeper is really helpful for earning trust in a new environment.
A key principle for any international life sciences business to remember is to captivate the market with the right marketing strategy that is tailored to each region.