The hammer is about to drop on marketing budgets

File under: Relationship Marketing

The hammer is about to drop on marketing budgets. While there will still be discretionary spend on mobile and tablet pilot projects, executives are looking for measurable productivity from their marketing spend. Unproductive tactics must be prepared to surrender their pound of flesh.

The unflattering ROI spotlight that outed R&D’s poor productivity and unraveled many large sales forces is now turning its stare towards marketing. Everyone has to share the pain. But simplistic all-for-one, one-for-all across the board budget cuts are absolutely wrong. I’m concerned that this habit of making room in the budget by simply shuffling the marketing deck chairs will just punish existing physician relationships and confuse new ones.

Silver Lining
The silver lining is that this greater fiscal scrutiny should lead to more customer-focused physician marketing. Unfortunately, many brand leaders may not have the data or insight to know whether poor ROI is the result of a bad tactic, the wrong target, or poor execution.

Most launch brands spend considerable money and time crafting a unique selling proposition to differentiate their product in the marketplace. Exhausted by this grueling exercise, they tend to fall back on the standard, undifferentiated marketing playbook to promote their message.

An industry executive recently asked me how she should be measuring the ROI of individual tactics in a multi-channel world. There is an answer to that question, but it wouldn’t be helpful, because the question itself is wrong. We should be measuring ROI at the physician level based on a custom basket of tactics. Few channels, a priori, are ineffective. It’s how the channels are used together. The real opportunity is to discover the right combination of messages and channels and timing for individual doctors, based on their value and their preference.

Vital Opportunity
This opens up a vital opportunity to fix the core problem once and for all by moving from an inside-out perspective (my product, my message, my tactics) to an outside-in focus (individual physicians, individual needs, unique experiences), and translate that into a fresh marketing strategy.

Sophisticated brand marketers who learn how to use physician CRM across the brand franchise and across tactics soon realize they have gathered proprietary insight that gives them a new, and highly competitive marketing advantage.

If integrated multi- (not just multiple-channel) marketing wasn’t that important in the blockbuster heyday when budgets were flush and 80% of success was just showing up, it is now. True physician CRM has been talked about for years, but few brands or agencies have done it. This is the year to build that capability.


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