Archive for October, 2012

Learning to Innovate on the Global Stage

Two of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical markets are China and India, and many U.S. and European pharma companies are moving aggressively to develop a footprint in these two large countries. These two markets offer unique opportunities and challenges, and it’s important to regularly bring together senior pharma and biotech executives from China, India and the United States to discuss ways of working together.

I had the privilege of moderating a panel on Marketing and Media for the recent Global Pharma Symposia on Innovation in the US, China and India. There were several key themes that emerged from the conference and from our panel discussion of global strategic marketing that I think are relevant for senior pharma marketers.

Global Market Access
It is clear that the global market for pharma is changing dramatically, and not always in the most intuitive and helpful ways. While markets like China and India have always been challenging for US-based companies for reasons of culture, IP-protection, and pricing, at least these countries were eager to get access to western medications. According to Derek Wagner, a global commercial leader at Abbott, when he first began working in China and India 20 years ago, the markets were open. Now there are many more regulatory barriers, even at the provincial level. Market access has become a major issue.

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Getting schooled at closerlook

I’m often asked why I never went back to get my MBA. We have two of the best b-schools in the world right here in Chicago. My answer is simple – closerlook is my grad school. Everyday I have the opportunity to learn more about health, interactive marketing, and human behavior.

This is why I love our company’s tagline – Smarter marketing for pharma. It reflects our passion for learning.

It’s a subtle difference, but I appreciate that our internal branding team recommended “smarter marketing” rather than “smart marketing.” Smart is static and hard to define. Smarter is dynamic and requires progress. There is a touch of arrogance in the claim that we provide “smart marketing,” but there is a commitment to improvement in “smarter marketing.”

Smarter marketing for pharma is more than a simple tagline. First of all, it’s a real promise to our clients that they will get better marketing results. I suppose that if someone offered a dumber marketing program that got better results, we wouldn’t have a business, but our experience shows that smarter marketing will lead to better outcomes.

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