Take the Long View For Customer Success

As a biologist-turned-marketer, Andy Bertera now leads marketing at New England Biolabs (NEB). As executive director of marketing and sales at NEB, Andy is responsible for global marketing operations and U.S. sales and customer service teams.

Here are some key takeaways from Andy’s decades of experience in life sciences marketing.

Customer journeys don’t end.

At NEB, Andy has retired the traditional “buyer’s journey” term, instead opting to interpret “customer journeys” as long term relationships. It’s easy to think of customer journeys starting with awareness and ending with purchase, but brands should instead focus on building continuous relationships with customers that span many transactions and strengthen over time.

Eliminating the “buying” focus ensures that purchase isn’t the be-all, end-all goal of the relationship. Customer journeys encompass more than just sales — all service, interactions, and other touch points factor into the relationship continuum as well.

All data generated by these customer touch points should be taken into consideration in order to make smarter decisions about customer relationships. Many B2B marketers tend to become fixated on short-term conversion, but instead should consider a customer’s lifetime value in order to inspire long-term growth.

B2C2B

Gone are the days of the divide between B2B and B2C marketing. Andy considers NEB to be B2C2B — while the actual buying is done through government grants or private research funds, NEB focuses on how the end user will benefit from the product.

NEB treats researchers as individual consumers, studying their preferences and habits scientifically as well as outside the lab. Andy says business buyers are still a consideration in the marketing process, but as an extension of their “science first” philosophy, NEB ultimately markets towards researchers who will be using the product.

Always be experimenting.

In marketing, brands can’t afford to be stagnant — particularly in the ever-changing life sciences and biotech industry. Customer expectations and the business landscape are always evolving, so it’s important for marketers to take chances and make changes.

Andy uses marketing tactics that he knows have actually worked to inspire new ideas, and he experiments using those tactics in different ways. He calls it “stealing with pride” — the act of reinventing existing ideas to make them work for your own organization.

Turn your customers into advocates.

Brand reputation comes from what your customers say about your company, not what your company says about itself. To build customer support — and a positive brand reputation that speaks for itself — it’s vital that you provide value to the customer.

NEB focuses on being humble and genuine, and giving the same high-quality attention and service to every customer — no matter if their account is big or small. Andy emphasizes that NEB puts science first, giving website visitors access to a wide variety of tools and even making product manufacturers available for frontline customer support. NEB even provides service and value to researchers using a competitor’s product, all in the name of furthering science and research.

This helps researchers understand that NEB helps scientists answer their questions, and builds audience goodwill around NEB’s brand reputation of helpfulness. Support for the researchers goes a long way in building a relationship.

“You don’t know whether that customer you’re talking to today is going to strike it lucky, have the next ‘eureka!’ moment, and then be a founder of a biotech next year that’s going to be the next major pharmaceutical company,” Andy said. “So, you really have to think about that longterm in the support that you give to a customer.”

To hear the full conversation, check out episode 51 of Marketing Trends.