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Driving innovation in scientific marketing

Welcome back to Season 4 of the Marketing Science Podcast, the podcast for sales and marketing professionals working within science, engineering and healthcare.

In episode 2 of the Marketing Science Podcast we are excited to be joined by Paul Orange, Chief Commercial Officer at H.E.L Group, a returning Marketing Science guest. The podcast is all about innovation within scientific marketing, developing leadership skills within a team and the importance of digital transformation.

This week's podcast covers the following topics;

  • Innovation in scientific marketing and creating an environment for innovation
  • H.E.L Group and the industries they serve
  • Leadership roles and developing leadership skills
  • Digital transformation
  • How the industry might change over the next 5 years

"For me, innovation is about thinking about the new ways you need to do things, the new ways you need to communicate your message."

What does innovation in scientific marketing mean to you?

Innovation in scientific marketing is about being prepared for other factors changing the way your customers are interacting. New ideas won’t always work, but that doesn’t always mean you need to put them away entirely, maybe it was the wrong timing. Sometimes, you have to take a little bit of a leap of faith with your ideas, if they don’t work at least you have learned something, and if they do, that’s great. With innovative marketing, managing expectations is vital, not every idea will have an instant impact and you need to prepare yourself for a slow burn.

Putting ideas into the world is the best way to continue innovation, the feedback from your audience is the best feedback you can get. When you are experimenting, if you put all the effort into perfection, when you receive feedback that isn’t positive you’re more likely to be defensive than discuss how to move forward.

What do you do to keep an innovative environment at H.E.L Group?

The two things that are most important are bringing in good people, and encouraging them to try new things. Actively listening to the team you are in  will stop you from missing out on brilliant ideas, for example, when 3D imaging was initially mentioned for H.E.L Group, it wasn’t clear how beneficial it would be, once the drafts were received the team quickly realised the benefits of sending them for demonstrations rather than taking the entire machine onsite to the potential customer.

Tell us a bit more about your role at H.E.L Group and the industries you serve

"When I joined, the CEO wanted me to show the company that marketing wasn't just the coloring in department. It's a data driven part of the business and it's crucial."

H.E.L Group is a 30 year old startup with four main application areas; safety testing for batteries, process safety testing for chemical engineering, chemical synthesis and biotechnology, in particular a niche of bioreactor.

I started out as the Chief Marketing Officer and was brought in to show that marketing is a data driven part of the business. The team has proven to the rest of the company how to design and communicate how our products meet customer's needs. This led to the expansion of the original role to look after the whole commercial operation.

Did you have any quick wins when you came into your role?

Make the most of your first few weeks in a company, before your desk is piled up. By talking to stakeholders and seeing what needs focusing on or what was missing, it was evident that a sales brochure would be beneficial. We released the brochure two weeks later, and it was a huge win for the team and for the company.

What does good and bad leadership look like?

Bad leadership is endless! Leadership should be about knowing how to fill gaps in a team, playing to your strengths and understanding your weaknesses. Utilize other people’s skills to backup your own weaknesses and make the most of programmes available like Grammarly.

How do you develop your teams leadership skills?

"I think it is important to work on developing people: Ideal development is about 70% on the job, 20% mentoring and then 10% courses or classroom-based activities."

Not every member of your team will be interested in a leadership role. Yet, they will want to develop their skills, understanding what drives an individual and aligning that with where the company is going will have the most benefit to the organization.

Succession planning is vitally important, when you are offered the next step or opportunity, the rest of your team needs to be ready too. This allows you to move on to something else more fun, or higher value as well as progressing the careers of the people you are developing.

If a company is looking at adapting more digital strategies, what are the key indicators?

Between 60 and 70% of the buying journey is now done online, and the customer prefers to do this before any human interaction. By jumping in with a sales call too early, you can put people off. Not having clear online information can be the difference between getting that conversation and being looked over.

Pick what you want to do. Don’t try to do everything, talk to providers with a strong online presence that you can leverage. Think about your CRM, or marketing automation and how this can be scaled.

How do you think the industry and marketing is going to change over the next five years?

The hybrid of real-world and virtual reality is taking on new roles; consider how events might change further post-pandemic to take into account the constant innovations in the marketing industry, including metaverse experiences.

Within the science industry, there will be more consolidation, big players have a healthy pipeline of new scientific companies to acquire and this is a growth strategy that is staying. The issues that have affected supply chains in recent years, such as covid and gas prices are going to change a vital part of the value proposition. A key point will now be, how you are getting the equipment to the end user and whether you can get them replacement parts in a timely manner.

What is your favourite marketing resource?

The Hubspot blog is so useful, even if you aren’t a customer. It’s a great resource, they’re handy and it’s quite often a tonic from the day to day reality that we sometimes face at work.

“I find reading marketing blogs a tonic from the day-to-day crushing reality sometimes that we face at work. They generally tend to put a smile on your face and you learn something."

If you enjoyed listening to Paul as much as we do, The Modern Chemistry Podcast is all about the many ways that Chemistry plays a huge role in how we live our lives today.

Leave a comment on LinkedIn

Want to be on the Marketing Science Podcast? We are always looking for guests who can share an interesting story and value to our listeners. If that sounds like you, then get in touch by contacting Danny on LinkedIn.

Posted by Rebecca Turpin

Manchester born Rebecca has a first class B.A.(Hons) in Photography from the University of Plymouth. Rebecca began her career in 2017 working as a sales and marketing assistant for a healthcare company before moving in to an agency position in 2018. She spent two years running a small agency in Salford until 2021, gaining marketing skills and invaluable experience working with clients before coming to AZoNetwork. Outside of marketing, Rebecca loves anything outdoors, the theatre and any creative activity that lets her be covered in paint.

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