What can Life Science Companies Learn from Dana-Farber’s White Papers?

Be a contender for your customer’s attention

In my last post, we looked at Dana Farber’s “Discover, Dream, Believe” campaign, which features four technical White Papers on cancer research – they are mentioned in banner ads, print ads and even in NPR radio spots. For Dana Farber, the White Papers’ function is to build on their reputation in the research and clinical community. Let’s see how this works for Dana Farber and how it can be applied to life science tool companies.

Dana Farber has a long history on the leading edge of cancer research but in a fast-moving field it is essential to maintain mindshare to help recruit new researchers and influence physician referrals. For instance, their lung cancer white paper connects Dana Farber’s history of EGFR research with the latest trends in precision medicine. It concisely explains the need and challenge to develop new therapies, Dana Farber’s history in research and future directions. A select reference list is included.

Lessons for Life Science Companies

While white papers might not have the buzz of some the latest digital promotional tools, they are a great way to educate and market at the same time. For life science vendors entering a new market, white papers can help establish credibility by demonstrating an understanding of challenges and provide an opportunity to frame the decision-making process. When developing a white paper:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the customer’s need. Dana Farber starts each white paper with the clinical challenge such as the prevalence of lung cancer and the problem of drug resistance. Note that your customers’ challenges may extend beyond just technical issues; they can encompass financial, IT, training and organizational hurdles to achieving research goals.
  • Consider all the stakeholders. Dana Ferber’s white papers primarily are for researchers and clinicians. Capital equipment sales often involve multiple levels of purchasing authority. For your corporate customers, consider the perspective of executive readership, including Finance. For academic customers, include supporting content for grants. For instance, if your products are eligible for a Shared Instrumentation Grant (S10), don’t overlook platform-level features like scheduling software or the availability of separate software analysis seats that can be used independently of the instrument.
  • Make it durable. Think of white papers as an articulation of your brand, not your catalog. Save product-specific information for your brochures and data sheets, your white paper should focus on platform-level features. This keeps the white paper high-level and will also save you from updating it with new product models.
  • Include journal references. There are no better advocates than your current customers.

Dana Farber White Paper example:

The EGFR mutation and precision therapy for lung cancer