Branding, Messaging & Identifying Investor Targets in the Life Science Sector

15 Jan

By Dennis Ford, CEO, LSN

The Importance of Marketing Collateral

When it comes to fundraising in the life science arena, your commitment to marketing collateral must be central to your campaign. This is because it is essential that your firm presents itself in a professional manner – everything from your logo and tagline, to your brochures and e-mail canvassing is a direct reflection of your life science firm. Investors want firms to demonstrate that they are savvy and understand that every aspect of their outward identity will be intensely scrutinized. For this reason, the professionalism of your firm’s marketing material is every bit as important as your concept and your business model. There are several areas of marketing that are pivotal to focus on in the life science arena, and therefore, these aspects of marketing must be addressed when launching a fundraising campaign in the space.


Many life science firms face a dilemma; they have one compelling technology that simply has too many marketable uses. Positioning is the idea that only one application of your product is the most important; you need to pick one and stick with it, even if there are other practical uses. This does not mean that you have to abandon the other applications a product may have, but you cannot lead with three main product applications.

Positioning also has to be simple. Your product is a novel treatment, an orphan drug candidate, a better device – in a word, it has to be easy to understand. You can’t just mix-and-match products and markets on the fly. This leads to confusion, and dilutes your product’s marketability. The idea here is to make yourself relevant; using old tactics will yield familiar results. You must be competitive and self-aware in order to transcend the noise of a crowded marketplace.


When branding your firm, the value of simplicity cannot be overstated. For this reason, it is essential to adopt one simple, easy-to-understand message that encompasses your firm as a whole. Have you revolutionized a time-tested treatment? Your message is how. Did your firm develop a cheaper alternative to a prohibitively expensive drug? This should be the focus of your marketing campaign. Although this is a seemingly intuitive concept, as with positioning, the idea is to choose that main identifying factor and build your image around it, and it can be easy to lose sight of that. At the end of the day, you, your team, your message, and your company are a brand, and you must develop them well. This starts with a simple message.

As important as a central tagline is to delivering your message to the right people quickly, investors are necessarily going to want more information, and it is just as important to get these things right. However, this does not mean your firm should hinge itself on being thorough – simplicity is still the most important tool in marketing. As such, all life science firms should aim to have the following things in their branding portfolio:

  • An elevator pitch: 3 to 5 sentences describing who you are, and what you do
  • An executive summary: 1 to 2 pages tops
  • A power point presentation: 10 to 12 pages tops

Your tagline gets you in the door; these tools help make sure you stay inside. And their importance cannot be understated. Any marketing effort must be well rounded.

Creating a Global Target List

An important part of having a well-rounded strategy is to focus on the right targets. Marketers often make the mistake of attempting to reach out to as many investors as possible. However, this is usually not the best course of action. By adressing a wide audience of investors during the fundraising process, your firm is taking time and resources away from targeting a smaller number of investors who will ultimately end up being a better fit.

One way to concentrate your efforts is to create a global target list (GTL). A GTL is a list of all prospective investors that are a good fit for a life science firm, either created by your firm’s internal research team, or by a dedicated third party marketing firm. With a GTL, your fundraising team can roughly gauge the types of investors that would be most interested in your product based on its stage of the development process.

It is important to note that when using a concerted marketing strategy such as a GTL, life science CEOs should focus outbound fundraising efforts not only on the investor base that is a good fit for current capital raising efforts, but also those that will be a good fit two or three capital raises further down the line. Thus although your firm will be targeting a large list of investors, the return on the time you invest in reaching out to these investors will be much greater than typical brute-force canvassing. By establishing a concise dialogue surrounding your product early on, you can effectively streamline the financing of your life science organization, reducing the amount of effort and resources ultimately required over the organizational lifecycle.

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