Director of Global Digital Marketing
Thermo Fisher Scientific

When it came to outlining the digital marketing strategy for Thermo Fisher Scientific, Director of Global Digital Marketing Laurie Borgen applied the scientific method directly to their efforts. Through experimentation with new channels and methods of customer engagement that focus on the qualitative value of leads, Thermo Fisher has re-established its command of the biotechnology market.

Digital marketing has its own set of demands and challenges, and Thermo Fisher is working through a new and improved marketing plan developed by Borgen. Although it is still a work in progress, the strategy promotes a commitment to content marketing and moves away from conventional methods for product launches and marketing strategies.

Currently, Borgen says Thermo Fisher’s content marketing performance needs improvement, but the company has taken steps in the right direction.

“Thermo Fisher’s scientific niche and audience tend to be skeptical,” she says. “We haven’t participated in content marketing the way that we should or could, but we’re changing that.”

Content marketing is fairly new to Thermo Fisher’s demand-generation strategy. Borgen says the current plan has only been in place for a year, and prior to the overhaul, the company’s content was mostly provided in PDFs, on their website and through in-person events for product launches and other marketing initiatives.

“Just this year, we did our first virtual product launch,” she says. “Never before have we not launched a product at a trade show, so this was a big step for us.”

Thermo Fisher also heavily relied on webinars as their top lead-generation vehicle. While this is still a key marketing method for the company, Borgen saw a problem with how the company placed more emphasis on leads based on volume rather than quality.

“This provided the opportunity to introduce content marketing to the organization, which is what I now do,” she says. “We added the first layer of digital marketing on top of the trade show/webinar/PDF model that the organization had deployed for several years. We introduced paid organic search as well as display advertising, which we hadn’t done before, either. All of this advertising, aside from print, was done independently with individual publishers—one ad banner on this website, one ad banner on that publication’s website, etc. It literally had never been done through a network or display network before.”

These changes turned marketing efforts from lead “grab” to lead refinement, and Borgen says the company has found a much higher value on content marketing. Their sales team is also finding a greater action rate because the leads are higher quality.

The addition of new marketing channels has also helped Thermo Fisher’s lead refinement. Borgen says these new digital marketing tactics deliver significantly greater diversification in lead sourcing as her team introduces new types of content in the market. That, coupled with social marketing syndication and marketing automation systems for lead nurturing, drives the majority of Thermo Fisher’s visibility in the market.

“We have a very high focus on building up that market visibility within each of our target vertical audiences,” she says. “We’re not at the beginning—this is definitely a more mature process for us.”

As the company’s marketing plan evolves to become more customer-centric, it is sometimes met with skepticism. It’s not surprising to see a biotechnology company react to change with a healthy dose of doubt given the scientific expertise of the organization, but Borgen is confident that once they see the results of these changes, they will be very supportive.

“When you think about Thermo Fisher marketing employees, they have a lot of PhD scientists who are experts in their fields,” she says. “They feel strongly that they know what customers want. It’s been an interesting paradigm shift to see them realize how our audiences really want to consume our messaging. Maybe it’s a little different than what they think. It has been an absolutely revolutionizing change in how we market. With time, I’m confident that the organization will better understand the funnel of how content marketing really helps drive leads and qualified traffic through the funnel.”

Borgen has field-tested advice for anyone in digital marketing, regardless of the length of time or size of the program in operation: Pay attention to scale. In addition, she says it’s okay to make some mistakes while learning.

“If you don’t test and learn or if you scale too quickly, you are going to lose momentum by saturating your market,” she says. “To modern marketers, these are very obvious things, but to very traditional enterprises that have been doing marketing the same way for 25 to 30 years, these are very innovative concepts. It always takes time to adjust to change, but the results will speak for themselves.”

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