Tell us about you company, your role, and top priority or initiative over the next six months.
Karger is a family-run medical publisher and pioneer in peer-reviewed scientific publishing based in Switzerland with worldwide regional offices. Apart from the traditional business of publishing 100+ medical journals and 9,000+ books, the company is also an expert in healthcare consulting and engagement, connecting people and science. As Karger’s head of marketing, I lead a team of 20+ marketing professionals in Basel, Switzerland, and across the world. One of my top priorities is growing Karger’s business within the healthcare sector by increasing awareness and building demand for Karger’s scientific and popular content that can drive engagement with HCPs and patients in almost any therapeutic area.
Given the current and/or projected state of the economy, what has been the greatest challenge(s) you’ve face so far or anticipate in 2023?
The current economic hurdles don’t impact us as much as technology firms or venture-backed start-ups that face shortage of capital or preemptive cuts of their workforce. That said, we have long-term challenges inherent to the publishing industry: business models are changing with the ascent of Open Access and the decline of subscription-based paywalls for peer-reviewed scientific content. The biggest challenge is to unleash innovation and transform our business towards services beyond traditional publishing such as science communications, visibility of research, and tailored patient-centric engagement with easy-to-understand publications. At the same time, we need to increase author submissions and accepted articles to maintain a growing journal portfolio.
Are current market conditions or concerns about the economy later this year impacting your marketing plans, if so, how?
No, but the specific market pressures described above force us to innovate effectively and do so with less resources. In practical terms, that means continuing budget cuts, accelerating the team’s capability to execute on impactful digital campaigns, and knowing when to say no. It also means building growth in a sustainable way, via online communities and organic social channels.
As a B2B marketer, what tends to be pressures you experience that B2C or B2G marketers may not understand or appreciate?
For B2B, sales cycles are long and organizational decision making is complex, involving many parties. On the other hand, B2B marketers, can learn a lot from consumer marketing, for instance to be original and entertaining, and to convert buying interest to sales quickly online. At Karger, I combine both worlds by catering to B2B audiences such as academic institutions and corporations as well as B2C audiences such as authors submitting manuscripts for publication. Generally, publishers need to be more consumer focused and B2C oriented.
Does PR play a role in your overall marketing strategy and if so where does it provide the most value OR where does it fall short?
Absolutely. I believe PR needs to be part of any awareness or demand generation strategy. For Karger as smaller publisher, it is essential to grow brand awareness for its journals and develop a reputation in areas such as HCP and patient engagement. We have just started to invest more in PR by hiring a small PR firm in Switzerland. However, we are focusing less on traditional pitching and placement opportunities but rather in speaking slots for our health experts in podcasts and similar.
Do you or your team currently leverage ChatGPT or another AI tool? How so?
With AI tools like ChatGPT, publishing and repackaging content for SEO purposes is becoming a commodity. The bar for impactful content marketing went up because everyone can generate content for topics that have been widely covered in less than 30 seconds. Consequently, the use of AI in marketing is less about content generation and more about idea generation which may lead to valuable market insights and stories that haven’t been covered much quicker.
What are your summer plans?
Going to the beach. As often as possible. And playing soccer with my son.
Learn more about and connect with Mitja on LinkedIn.