As any agency marketer who hopes to grow its bottom line should be, Guidemark Health COO Sophy Regelous is heartened by the top-line finding in the 2017 MM&M/Guidemark Health Healthcare Marketers Report that 72% of respondents have greater budgets this year. “It says there’s a great need for what we do, and that in-house brand teams like what we do,” she notes.
However, she feels anyone who holds that number up as a sign happy days are here again might be a bit disappointed soon. Her reasoning? The industry’s rapid-fire evolution makes all such grand assumptions a slightly difficult sell.
“We have to look closer at that metric,” Regelous explains. “Anecdotally, you’re seeing a decrease in large budget awards. It’s the smaller budgets that are increasing.”
She attributes this to a surge in the number of smaller pharma companies, many of which have made do with smaller budgets.
“A lot of these organizations believe they’re gaining traction in the marketplace and believe that increasing their marketing budget can help them,” she says.
Regelous also has a different take on some of the survey’s smaller-picture revelations, particularly the ones that showed increased spending on print ads in medical journals and on meetings and events.
“In the drive to have the next, new, better, or best idea or channel, we too often move away from the tried-and-true things that, quite simply, work,” she explains. “I’m not surprised by those data.”
Along those lines, Regelous advises marketers not to overreact to shiny new tactics currently entrancing the business.
“It’s great people are willing to try different things,” she continues. “What we sometimes forget is the whole industry is a living, breathing beast. It gets bigger in some places and smaller in others.”
So while Regelous views the survey results as more or less a snapshot taken at a particular moment in time, she still believes marketers must pay close attention to some of its findings. She points to the concern over launch budgets as one such result. What’s her advice? Just make it work.
“The budget is what the budget is,” Regelous stresses. “If somebody doesn’t have that big budget, it’s incumbent on us as marketers to create programs that deliver the best ROI or presence with what’s available. Be creative and figure it out.”