Digital Marketing Technologies: A Prescription for Global Pharma Companies
Posted by Vince Cavasin at 2:04 PM
discussed here, a key theme of our Creating Consumer Connections dinner was
the common set of challenges faced by both CPG and Pharmaceutical industries.
However, it's worth taking a closer look at some of the industry-specific
challenges as well. The pharmaceutical industry is currently facing one
challenge that can be uniquely addressed by digital marketing: the transition
away from blockbuster drug development.
pharmaceutical industry's transition from focusing on major blockbuster drugs
to focusing on more targeted "nichebuster" drugs is well known; according to IMS Health, specialty
pharmaceutical sales are soaring while other prescription revenues declined for
the first time in twelve years recently.
for pharmaceutical marketers, this shift in focus coincides with the emergence
and maturing of digital marketing channels which--unlike traditional
Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) media channels--lend themselves quite well to the kind
of consumer targeting needed for marketing targeted therapies. In fact, Pharmacy &
reports that digital pharmaceutical marketing yields an ROI of 5:1, vs
traditional marketing ROI of approximately 2:1 to 4:1.
according to research, pharma companies are taking advantage of this. Cegedim reports that in 2012, pharma digital spending rose 30% and is taking up an increasing proportion
of pharma companies' marketing budgets, while Emarketer.com reports that healthcare
digital advertising spending is expected reach a record high of $1.19 billion
in 2013 and increase to $1.33 billion by 2016.
pharma companies are not quite on the cutting edge of digital marketing--and the
regulatory environment in which they operate is far more constraining than in
most industries--they do manage to uniquely innovate in the medium. For
example, Sanofi provides Diabetapedia, the CDE HELP Team Portal, and the DiscussDiabetes blog--sites aimed at
building community and offering helpful information, while carrying only subtle
branding and marketing content.
three separate web properties--in addition to multiple branded product pages and
sites--dedicated to a single disease in a single country. And Sanofi offers
dozens of products in over 100 countries, each of which has its own unique
to this the further complications of prescriber vs end consumer segmentation
and targeting, drug usage approvals that can vary by country for a specific
drug, the need to work with multiple agencies to localize messaging, and
channel specific (e.g. mobile and social) marketing efforts, and you end up
with a digital marketing ecosystem that may exceed the complexity of a CPG
It's no surprise, then, that major pharma players are turning to technology solutions to help manage the complexity and gain competitive advantage and higher ROMI. For example, in 2009 Pfizer launched CUE, a closed-loop marketing platform designed to provide customized information to physicians and healthcare providers based on their unique needs. Besides cost scalability, CUE gives Pfizer the ability to ensure a consistent experience (across brands and markets) for physicians and healthcare professionals.
It is just these sorts of complexities that led Infosys to develop BrandEdge, the first cloud-based platform that simplifies global digital marketing ecosystems by automating and governing the functions that make them complex:
- Aggregation, indexing, and management of digital assets and content
- Governing workflow and regulatory approval processes across multiple internal and external stakeholders--even when they vary widely from geography to geography
- Aggregating and analyzing customer data from multiple sources to enable better personalization and targeting
- Providing highly configurable, real-time analytics on campaigns and site usage
global pharma companies with complex brand ecosystems, BrandEdge can enable
speed-to-market improvements of up to 50%, and cost savings of up to 30%
compared to traditional digital marketing deployment processes.
I believe the trends we are seeing in pharma:
- The increasing complexity of global pharma companies' digital marketing ecosystems and regulatory environments
- The significant pressure pharma companies are under to lower costs
- The trend toward more niche-oriented drugs (which require more targeted marketing)
What kinds of marketing trends are you seeing in your industry, and what are their implications? Is a Digital Marketing Platform or another type of marketing automation technology on your radar?