All pharma marketers know how to use digital channels to best reach their audiences, right? And they know when to use social media for strategic impact. And they know the value of search engine optimization, and how to distinguish it from search engine marketing.
OK, maybe not. But I’m sure your marketers have access to resources such as internal digital centers of excellence that are working with them to make informed decisions on channel optimization, and ensuring a cohesive integrated multichannel strategy, right?
Well, not really. But at a minimum your marketers have an analytics team helping them set strategy on what to measure and how to measure it. And agency partners who are working together across initiatives.
No? Don’t worry. You’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for organizations to lose money, experience costly redundancies, and even face analysis paralysis in their organization because their marketers are lacking this type of support.
I’ve seen management consultants making a ton of revenue from costly landscape evaluations that focus on the level of digital acumen pharma marketers possess. As such, let me boil it down for you.
The pharma industry is not leading innovation in digital marketing and communications. We’re woefully behind every other industry.
One of the reasons we’re not innovating is that we stubbornly refuse to agree there is qualifiable value in “influence,” mainly because it’s not quantifiable like direct sales. Nimble and flexible, we are not.
So, how do we turn this ship around? Conferences can be wonderful places, but many times they are cost- and time-prohibitive. Perhaps we can use eLearning programs specific to our industry’s unique regulatory environment.
What I wouldn’t recommend is another “playbook” on how to integrate digital into your marketing — it’ll be expensive and just gather dust on a shelf. What I also wouldn’t do is hold large cross-company meetings on digital 101. You won’t get the people there who need to hear it. You’ll be right back where you started.
Here’s what’s critical for marketers to be successful in a digital world: the strategic uses of each channel, how to decide which analytics to gather, and a plan for partnering with agencies and vendors so they can more effectively incorporate digital into their multichannel planning. And, at the very least, make sure they know the difference between search engine marketing and search engine optimization.
Let’s get serious about equipping marketers with the tools to succeed in this digital world. And let’s proactively move the industry forward at such a crucial time.
Zoe Dunn is cofounder and principal at Hale Advisors.