Trends in Science Marketing Technology

Love it or hate it, science marketing technology is a necessary part of digital marketing. Small biotech start-ups and seasoned multinational companies need to understand their science MarTech to navigate today’s digital landscape.

As part of my series on the state of science marketing, I wanted to review what I saw as trends in science marketing technology. It looks like science marketers are behind the times when it comes to tech, but maybe that is a good thing? Let’s see.

AI Writers Need Better Science

ChatGPT and AI writing is the “it” topic right now, but is it ready for science marketing content? The consensus seems to lean “no.” While it didn’t make it into many surveys or reports, BioStrata wrote on the subject, saying “there is still some way to go to make these tools a mainstay.” This agreed with my take on the subject: AI writers do not understand science well, and their science writing is dry. While using AI writers for science marketing is possible, be prepared to do some heavy fact-checking.

Will AI writers have an impact on science marketing? Probably in the not-too-distant future. I already use it here and there to help me through rough patches in my writing. Applying the technology to personalized content or email marketing seems plausible, though I need to see it in action.

Companies that rely on ChatGPT to write science-heavy content will lose a lot of respect.

Are Science Marketers Using Automation?

Robots may not be ready to write for science markers, but what else can they do? Marketing automation is another opportunity. Is this being used?

From the reports I looked at, it seems science marketers use automation less than other industries. According to HubSpot, 78% of all media planners use some form of automation, while AZoNetwork’s survey found that about a quarter of science marketers use it.

Source: AZoNetwork

SCORR’s survey results were quite different, suggesting about 2/3rds of science marketers are using automation, though many companies rely on outside agencies to do some or all of the work.

One way or another, it is difficult to imagine marketing automation becoming significantly more popular in the short term. The pandemic was the perfect time to implement these systems due to increased interest in digital marketing and the freed-up budget from paused events. Now, events are coming back online and are sucking up funding, and there is worry about recession – not a great moment for implementing expensive, complex technology.

This is reflected in Google Trends data, where overall interest in marketing automation seems flat or slightly in decline.

An article from Biostrata proposed that science marketers could adopt marketing automation to cut costs “as we enter a global recession.” This suggestion is doubly suspicious:

  • My review of science marketing budgets suggested that marketers are not overly worried about a global recession.
  • Taking a narrow view, marketing automation does not directly save money unless you are replacing something. New technology is an expense; let’s not pretend otherwise.

Using a broader perspective, can marketing automation “save” money by increasing efficiency? Possibly, but we quickly get brought into a potentially murky conversation about ROI. Imagine your CFO or CEO came to you asking for ideas for cutting costs, and you suggested buying HubSpot. That conversation would be… challenging.

Let’s even layer on another issue: companies that are laying marketers off don’t have time to implement a marketing automation system. It isn’t a switch you can flip.

Alternatively, some companies already have this marketing automation tech but are not using it. Now seems like a good time to devote the time to get it working at full speed rather than creating content and ads you can’t afford to promote.

If automation adoption grows in the next year or two, it is probably a reflection of the technology becoming easier, cheaper, or more effective rather than science marketers clamoring for these tools.

Web3 is Dead

Do you know what didn’t come up much in these surveys and reviews? The metaverse. NFTs. Web3. While there appear to be some B2C marketers that are trying to make it work, it looks like success is extremely limited. Making the jump into most B2B marketing, including science marketing, seems unlikely, given the results so far.

I won’t get into my personal feelings on Web3 here, beyond saying this dumpster of ideas has been terrible from day one. This shot video covers my feelings on the topic well:

Of course, “Web3” is a poorly defined term (perhaps intentionally so). Some descriptions include AI as part of Web3, which is clearly not dead, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the metaverse will be resurrected. Perhaps the lesson is not to trust people using vague jargon and dodgy tech to sell overpriced ads.

The Unease State of Science Marketing Technology

B2B science marketing is not known for being at the cutting edge of marketing technology. B2C marketing and B2B SaaS tend to be savvier, with other industries waiting to adopt successful approaches.

Is there an opportunity to jump ahead of the competition in marketing technology? For science marketers, the risks likely outweigh the advantages. While scientists are considered innovative and forward-thinking, they are pretty conservative in many ways. The TREW Marketing and GlobalSpec survey found that most engineers reach out to sales early in the buying process. Buyers also strongly prefer email and phone calls to more novel methods, such as online chats or video conferencing. Perhaps this is a generational effect, meaning attitude changes will likely be slow.

While I wouldn’t expect many technology changes because of innovation, I think the more reasonable force is regulation and its downstream effects. For example, I think some are underrating the impact the switch to Google Analytics 4 (GA4) will have, which is partly about GDPR. Google also isn’t very popular among all US lawmakers, though TikTok has even fewer allies. While I would never bet on politicians working together to pass impactful legislation, attacking big tech seems one of the few topics they could get behind.

So, what should science marketers do? Beyond fully implementing the tools you can access, you probably don’t need to do anything. Watch those “savvy” marketers and see what is effective for them. If you want to make bold moves, I don’t think science marketing technology is to place to do it.  

Jesse Harris is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at ACD/Labs. He has two Master’s degrees and has been creating internet content since 2016.