Microba Life Sciences are an inner-Brisbane based health-technology business focused on everything related to the human gut microbiome. Their initial product to the Australian market, the Microba Insight™ at-home testing kit, lets anybody learn more about their gut microbiome and health from the comfort of their own home. Since their founding in 2017 by Professors Gene Tyson and Philip Hugenholtz, and launching the Insight™ product back in 2018, Microba have grown massively, becoming an ASX-listed company in April 2022 and advancing into the spaces of medical research, therapeutics, and drug development. Early on in their growth, Microba’s Chief Marketing Officer, Drew Webb, engaged Fractal to handle their strategic and digital marketing needs for their Insight™ product marketing, and to act as a strategic advisor to help build Microba’s Australian brand presence. We’ve since worked alongside each other throughout Microba’s scale-up journey, which, for a startup-focused marketing agency like Fractal, has been massively insightful and a great chance to reaffirm our knowledge of where startups should be aiming if they hope to grow. Here’s everything we learned alongside Microba about the challenges of scaling up.
When Fractal and Microba first joined forces, Microba already had a good amount of venture capital funding and a solid position in the market. Since finding these things is a big part of our typical client strategy, we instead took the chance to really get to know the customer audience, the product Microba offered, and how those two interacted at a marketing level. One of the key problems faced here was just how new the testing kits were: most of the audience weren’t aware that this was something that could be done at home! This made audience education a key goal for driving sales for Microba.
At the same time, Microba was constantly growing their offerings, with their global partnership services and therapeutic development both coming to market during our time together. This meant integrating the digital marketing for the Insight™ product alongside these new brand territories inside tighter restrictions, as the global medical marketing world is very highly regulated. Navigating this constantly-evolving positioning, breadth, and scale as a small team was a unique challenge.
With education being a key driver of our strategy to consumers, a lot of the problem solving effort had to be put into the content and the ad copy. Much of the core audience knew about the gut microbiome, but were living under assumptions that learning about their own would require expensive doctor’s visits or specialists. Outside of the core audience, people just did not know about gut microbiomes and how they can affect personal health.
One iteration of our copy that worked well to bring in new customers was:
“Gut health is a key component to your general wellbeing! Understand how your unique microbiome affects your health! Start your Insight™ journey with gut health insights.”
This immediately tells the reader everything they need to know about what the product does, why that’s important, and the benefits of choosing it. Combined with simple but distinctive blue-on-blue branding and photos of the test in the ad creatives, these ads did exactly what was needed to quickly draw in viewers and prompt them to learn more about the product.
With Microba growing massively in the Australian market and becoming publicly listed last year, the results of our joint efforts speak for themselves. This is the stage that all startups aim for, yet surprisingly few have the perfect fit of product, market, and strategy that helped Microba reach the top.
“It’s been fantastic to work alongside Gerard and the Fractal team throughout Microba’s continuous phases of growth. Gerard’s strategic expertise was key in bringing us regular customers and exposing our brand to new, untapped audiences. It was a close, valued relationship that felt like an integrated part of the team, who we could rely on to always contribute meaningfully and execute with endless passion.”
– Drew Webb, CMO Microba Life Sciences
Working with Microba throughout their journey was a great test of our knowledge of the startup life cycle, as well as our ability to find new prospects in an untested market. We learned a lot in our time together that will pay dividends as both we and Microba continue to grow.