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College Hill Life Sciences Survey Finds External Communications Support Considered "Necessity, Not a Luxury"

College Hill Life Sciences Survey Finds External Communications Support Considered "Necessity, Not a Luxury"

Majority of Life Science Companies Maintaining or Increasing Communications Spend; Research Shows Increasing Reliance on Social Media

London, 21 October 2009: Despite the global economic recession, nearly two-thirds of Life Science companies either plan to increase or maintain their spend on strategic external communications in the coming year, with a growing reliance on new communications channels. A recent survey by College Hill Life Sciences found that 30 percent of life science companies planned to increase their communications budgets during the next 12 months, while 28 percent will keep them unchanged. 38 percent of decision makers indicated communications budgets will be reduced, while the remaining 4 percent said that they were undecided. A parallel College Hill Life Sciences survey, conducted through online business media site LinkedIn, found that 54% of Life Science executives responsible for marketing, sales and communications said they are more likely to include social media alongside traditional media campaigns in their 2010 marketing plans than other tactics.

In the survey conducted via Survey monkey, of those 30 percent who are increasing spend on overall communications, 42 percent stated a rise of over 50 percent while more than half of the 38 percent who are cutting budgets will do so by only 10 percent. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of companies with existing external communications support said that their budgets will increase or remain unchanged compared to seven percent who said they have planned to make cuts.

In the LinkedIn survey, of those Life Science executives who stated their intention to include social media alongside traditional media campaigns in their 2010 marketing plans, 33 percent of those polled will most likely include social media and viral marketing strategies, while 21 percent plan to make proactive media relations and/or public relations campaigns the focal point of their marketing efforts. 19 percent of those who responded will rely most on search engine optimization (SEO), compared with 15 percent who will focus on conference or event sponsorships. Finally, only 10 percent of those who responded intend to place their marketing emphasis on advertising and/or direct mail.

Commenting on the findings, Sue Charles, Managing Partner, College Hill Life Sciences said, "The results demonstrate that communications are still valued by many as a necessary business function. In today's environment, companies need to be innovative in their approach to communications in order to remain competitive. This is an area where the right agency can bring added value, creative expertise and experience. Clearly, communications support is perceived by the board room as a 'necessity', not a 'luxury'".

The findings suggest that, despite the difficult economic climate and previous budget reductions, senior management still considers communications to be an integral business tool and is looking for the most cost-effective ways in which to communicate with stakeholders. Moreover, external support is seemingly deemed invaluable by companies seeking to realize their business objectives and communicate to their audiences in today's competitive marketplace.

Businesses require experience-based assistance in navigating new communication channels and the potential pitfalls accompanying them. Owing to the increasingly complex media environment, effective communication has taken on a different persona, with corporate reputations being affected in unprecedented ways, a risk it seems not many businesses are willing to take with so much at stake in the current climate.

For futher information:
Sue Charles, Managing Partner
UK: +44 (0)20 7457 2020/ +44 (0)7968 726 585
Australia: +61 (0)457 196 222

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