Brandwidth Solutions LLC

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May 21, 2018 Issue



The ability to “Speak Science” enables Brandwidth Solutions LLC to develop Content Driven Campaigns for a Scientific Audience in the Pharma, Healthcare, Life Sciences and Energy Sectors



Debra Ann Harrsch

President and Chief Executive Officer


Brandwidth Solutions LLC


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – May 21, 2018


CEOCFO: Ms. Harrsch, the first thing seen on your website “We Speak Science,” how does that come into play at Brandwidth Solutions?

Ms. Harrsch: Most of our clients are science-based companies, as we specialize in marketing for pharma, healthcare, life sciences, as well as energy. All of these particular industries require a scientific approach, not just from the measurement side but also from the messaging side. Our clients love to work with us because they do not have to explain the science part to us. Oftentimes, especially in this age of digital marketing, the key is content. We hear it over and over: we need content, content, content. Well, that content has to be written for a scientific audience and it is about scientific products, scientific applications. This is a differentiator because our whole focus is science-based clients.


CEOCFO: Would you explain the measurement process for us please and how it is different from others?

Ms. Harrsch: In every marketer’s toolbox there is a set of tools to use and on our website; we describe our toolbox using a wheel. In our wheelhouse, we handle collateral and content, events and tradeshows, PR, e-marketing, social media, and advertising, all centered around a website. Every section in the wheel can be its own category, and we integrate them for maximum effect, then measure everything we are doing. It is interesting because people will say that you cannot measure print ads. That is not totally true; you can’t measure them, not as well as you can with a digital ad by click rates, but you can measure them if you have a specific landing page that prospects go to. We give each landing page its own vanity URL that we can measure to know how effective an ad is. I think when people build marketing plans they should consider how they are going to measure their results against the goals and decide what tools they are going to use.

We talk to clients about an integrated marketing approach. An example would be a client going to a conference and presenting a poster on an efficacy of a product. Before they go to that conference, Brandwidth Solutions creates a plan to handle pre-show, at-show, and post-show marketing. We send an email and/or direct mail, as well as a press release, to promote the client speaking at this conference. We also take the poster presentation and create a white paper from it and offer it as a download to register prospect we do not know. As part of a social media plan, we talk about this poster and its white paper, we drive prospects to the landing page where they get a brief synopsis and can register to download the paper. We are going to also use the presentation and paper when we do a digital display ad that people click on and learn more about an application that they download. From a single poster for a conference, we have been able to use it in advertising, e-marketing, PR, and social media, all by creating incredible thought leadership and branding. We encourage our clients to be thought leaders without being promotional, but by offering information. 


CEOCFO: Are your clients understanding the need to be less promotional or are there still some that do not understand that is the approach today?

Ms. Harrsch: Our customers and the audiences they want to reach live in a world of science, so they understand the need for data, for getting the word out there in a non-promotional fashion. That does not mean we do not have to bring it to their attention at times, that what works best is to reach customers in a way that is value focused. We are going to develop value focused content based on what my client’s prospects’ needs are, not solely on what the client’s needs are. We will sit with clients in a discovery session and they talk about keyfeatures/ benefits and I often say, “So what?" Then they look at me and say, “What do you mean so what? This is important.” But I want to hear it from their customers’ perspective, from the perspective of the prospects whose business they want to win. Getting to this perspective is what makes Brandwidth Solutions campaigns successful.


CEOCFO: Do you tend to work with the same clients repeatedly?

Ms. Harrsch: We have many clients that are long-term clients. Sometimes times, in the initial stages, clients will work with us and say they want to do a “kick the tires” project. They will do a small project to see how we work and if how we work, works well with them. I think that is another differentiator for Brandwidth Solutions, the way we work is from their perspective. We think like a director of marketing and not necessarily as an ad agency might think based on the things we do well. We approach it from the marketer’s side: this is my goal and my audience, how am I going to get there and how am I going to take this product and service to the level where people understand who I am and want to engage with my company, products or services.


CEOCFO: How do you know what is right for any given client?

Ms. Harrsch: Sometimes this comes out of the discovery session. It has to do with where the customer is. For some companies, they are pretty far along in their process so it is clear what they need and they may look to Brandwidth Solutions to help execute strategies. For other companies, they come to us asking what they should do and how they should do it because they are not sure yet. They are young and getting into the market or they have been in the market but don’t have much marketing experience. Or markets have change, they have more competition and need to differentiate themselves. For them, we can guide or build marketing strategies and plans, and then execute them. Finding what is right, or best, for a client depends on where their customer is, what their needs and objectives are, and where they want to go. More recently, we’ve seen a lot of clients focusing on lead generation and they need help being more efficient. We’ve had clients came to us and say ‘We have these tools, we have a CRM, we have an automated marketing platform, but we do not have the breadth to make it work, and we do not have the capabilities or the understanding.’ We added talent specific to marketing automation, who can handle the sales and marketing automation for clients and work with our team to build the whole campaign/ program. Now when some of our clients go to a tradeshow, we can leverage their marketing automation platform to send those pre- and post-show emails and direct mails, and drive people to the landing page, and we can generate leads that are fed into their sales funnel. Before they even leave for the show, we have already set up a whole program based on how the people respond. For example, after a show, we can thank people for visiting the booth and offer them a white paper, while people we reached out to before the show but did not stop by, we can offer them the presentation made at the booth. We keep creating ways for our clients to reach out to their prospects, nurturing those leads.

 And we are working with clients to enable them to provide power behind the tools they have already invested in.


CEOCFO: How is it different when you are working with an energy company as compared to health?

Ms. Harrsch: Because the industries we serve are science-based, there is not a lot of difference in how we approach marketing to energy or marketing to life sciences. The tools that we use are pretty much the same and, in our world, our clients are B2B. That said, energy companies have differences based on what they want to talk about, what pain points they are addressing for their clients. It is content differences and not necessarily what tools we would use. One difference for some of our clients is the level of regulation in their industry. For example, we do social media for pharma and life science companies, as well as healthcare. There are rules of engagement for the healthcare side that we have to conform to. The FDA has a set of guidelines for social media even in the B2B space. How we approach it depends on the market based on their regulations.


CEOCFO: How much do you need to know about a company or product’s competition, to come up with a plan?

Ms. Harrsch: I think you need to know what the market is doing. You need to know where the market is moving to, who the movers and shakers in that market are, and where your customer fits. Many times our customers are the movers and shakers in that market. We are the ones leading the charge, but you do need to know what the industry’s thoughts are. In Jeffrey Moore’s, Crossing the Chasm, he speaks about going from early adopter and innovator to the mainstream or the Bell part of the curve and the chasm between the two. That is true in every market that we serve. You have people that will jump on the band wagon if it is a new, cool and innovative product/ service, but a lot of the market takes a wait and see approach. I felt the best way to cross the chasm was to build a bridge. We would build the structure of the bridge through content and messaging, and our customers would through speaking engagements, testimonials and case studies would build the road, making it easier for prospects to cross the chasm. This approach validates your product or service and provides the perception of a value and safe to purchase. Some consumers will buy a new car from a company that does not have a reputation, but that is not the lion’s share of the market. The lion’s share of the market is waiting for other customers to tell them their experience. That’s why having useful, educational content and using an integrated approach to marketing that content is extremely important. What is also important is getting our client’s customers to talk about their experiences with your company and product/ service. We write lots of case studies for our clients, even if customers are not allowed to say who they are case studies are about. Case studies are valuable because they show the experience our clients deliver. Cases are always based on a customer’s challenge, and the solution and the result. 


CEOCFO: How do you know when a new idea is ready to go?

Ms. Harrsch: Social media is one example of a channel we’ve had to monitor, in terms of reach. The channels we typically would use to reach scientists or scientific-tool users would be a blog, LinkedIn and Twitter. We kept monitoring what was happening on Facebook because in its early days, science was not on Facebook. You are not going to sell a $500,000 LCMS system on Facebook. We watched, monitored and experimented. Over time Facebook has become a player in our client’s world. You will start to see, depending on the type of content clients have, posts on Instagram. This is where measurements are important they enable us to decide on a path, based on data, what is or isn’t working. We always want to deliver results for our clients meet or exceed their goals, so we monitor social media every month. These tools enable you to course correct if you are not getting the results you want. It could be the content or imagery you are presenting, the language you are using, that isn’t getting the results you want or maybe the channel isn’t ready for your audience. If you are not monitoring and paying attention you cannot make changes that drive result. When an innovative marketing tool comes out, our industries tend to be conservative in their use, but if you are on top of your game and measuring, monitoring and testing, you will know when it is time to use a specific tool more. Now, for most of our social media clients, we are using the top three which are Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook now and we are experimenting with Instagram. We do have clients whose audience is in that space.


CEOCFO: Are there types of projects that you prefer, given a choice?

Ms. Harrsch: Engagements where we get to do more with a client are better because we get to know the client better. We get to understand their product, their values and where they want to go. We ask all these questions, so we get a full view, but when you ­are only doing small projects, you do not have that breadth of familiarity and you are not able to have a large enough impact for clients. For some of our clients, we know them so well that we could stand in their booth and sell their products, because we do so much with them that we know how they work and their customers and their value propositions. We can have a larger impact and help them drive their business. At the end of the day, it is really not about what Brandwidth Solutions prefers; it is about enabling customers to drive their business.


CEOCFO: How do you reach out for new customers or do people come to you?

Ms. Harrsch: We get a lot of referrals. People move from company to company and they take us with them. We also do a lot of networking. And we reach out to customers at tradeshows. We are going to CPhI North America in a week and we have a booth at that show. We do exactly what we tell our clients to do. We send out an invite and let them know we are there. We will staff the booth and it will be a very good and busy show for us because, in addition, we have three clients presenting at an education session and we have at least two clients doing press at the show. We will have a booth at the American Association of Clinical Chemists, and we will have one at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is coming up in June. We tend to market like we tell our customers to market. We have a lot of clients, as I mentioned, that take us with them or from referrals.


CEOCFO: How does Brandwidth Solutions standout at a tradeshow?

Ms. Harrsch: You do that is with the branding. Everything you present to that client before they get there, enables them to remember you when they see you at the show. The rule of thumb is we need to see things six to eight times before we remember it so what we do is try to provide that six to eight touches in multiple formats at various places. For instance, at the CPhI show, Brandwidth Solutions has a booth with graphics and verbiage that says what we do, we have an email campaign, and we will have an ad in the show daily. Multiple times they will have seen Brandwidth Solutions branding, so when they walk past, they will know what we do. For our clients, we make sure that the booth visual is simple and specific and adheres to their branding. If you have presented yourself in various formats with consistent messaging and branding, then you have enabled your customers and prospects to recognize you. People who go to tradeshows and do not do any marketing at all don’t get the results they want, which are leads and brand recognition. They are hoping that when somebody passes by those hundreds of booths, someone will recognize them, but it does not really work that way. Field of dreams marketing, if you build it and they will come, doesn’t work. Customers are not coming unless you market it.


CEOCFO: What is next for Brandwidth Solutions?

Ms. Harrsch: Brandwidth is always innovating and making sure that we are delivering for our customers the right tools and the right platforms for them to get their messaging out. I think that is the key. We had a client once say to us, and it had become kind of a hallmark for us, that your DNA is our success. That is true, our clients’ success is our DNA and that is all that matters to us. It is about delivering and letting them meet their goals and objectives.



“Our clients’ success is our DNA and that is all that matters to us. It is about delivering and letting them meet their goals and objectives.”
- Debra Ann Harrsch


Brandwidth Solutions LLC

Brandwidth Solutions LLC

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