Pharma Marketing: A Peak Behind the Curtain

File under: Digital Marketing, Healthcare innovation, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

Changes in healthcare in the United States have reached the inflection point where everyone in the industry needs to reevaluate their business model and value proposition.

Full stop.

mazeThe parents of change
These changes didn’t all happen as a result of healthcare reform. Numerous environmental changes like aging demographics, poor diets and exercise habits (which lead to more chronic illness), a shrinking pool of primary care physicians, pressure to reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes and a market that’s evolving towards consumerism have all called into question traditional healthcare business models.

We’re finding that bigger isn’t always better, drugs don’t sell themselves anymore, and the respect that consumers and patients now show healthcare professionals, hospitals, pharma, and health insurance companies has never been lower.

Those of us in marketing face similar business challenges in our role as communicators and brand stewards. Just like our pharma clients, we are rethinking our role and value in the healthcare supply chain.

Agency 2.0?
What is the definition of a healthcare agency today? How has the value proposition changed? What are the expectations of an agency version 2.0? Do they require that we rethink not just our role, but also our business models?

Over the course of the next several blog posts, I’m going to describe our journey as a firm and my perspective on what kinds of value that agencies need to deliver and what kinds of moves pharma marketing leadership needs to make to remain relevant and demonstrate leadership.

The closerlook story
The closerlook story is a narrative of change and evolution, always in pursuit of a fresh way to create and deliver value — at the place where market pull meets our core capabilities as a firm.

In order to remain relevant, we have needed to remain nimble, and that has required us to periodically redefine ourselves, certainly over the past ten years.

It’s about impact
Why are we doing this? Why are we driven? It’s not just about the money, and it’s not just about growth.

It’s about impact.

Our manifesto is about impact. We want to change the way healthcare is bought and sold.

We want to help pharma help physicians help patients at the moment of truth.

This commitment starts with a deep understanding of the unmet needs of physicians and a focus on building our business around helping pharma meet those needs in a unique and sustainable way.

A backstage tour of an agency
I intend this series to be a peek behind the curtain of a technology and creative firm that’s trying to help define what the agency of the future looks and acts like. I’m going to share what we’ve done that’s worked, where we made mistakes, where we helped our clients and where we stumbled. My intention is to spread the learnings and illuminate where we think pharma marketing is headed.

Intelligence and Access
During the course of this series, we’ll visit a few key themes. One of them is what I call the twin imperatives of Customer Intelligence and Customer Access. The first step to earning access, whether the customer is a physician, a health system executive or a patient, is by truly understanding the customer. It is only then that we earn the right to promote ourselves. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Pattern Recognition
I’m also going to talk about the discipline of Pattern Recognition. The benefit to a pharma brand of having a partner like closerlook is our ability to use data and analytics to look across the physician landscape and uncover patterns and trends about how healthcare professionals consume medical content, how they use new technology and mobile in their practice, and what they’re looking for in partners such as pharma.

Relationship Marketing
I’m going to talk about about the journey from digital tactics to Relationship Marketing. How it takes a different mindset and orientation to step sideways from pure promotion to creating meaningful and helpful conversations between pharma brands and physicians, at the individual level.

Investing in data and analytics
And finally, throughout the series, I’ll talk in a very practical way about how a new platform for communication is created through investments in data. As an industry, we are at a very important inflection point for the integration of data to inform marketing strategy, messaging and tactics. How that data is collected, analyzed and reported involves infrastructure and analytical capabilities that are intimidating to all but the boldest of agencies. But we have gone there, building a suite of analytics-enabled digital marketing solutions. I’ll talk in more detail about how it works and how it provides incredible value to pharma marketers.

Our end goal
Our end goal is to create a company, a platform and a new way of communicating that leads to an impact of greater magnitude through increasing the value and effectiveness of marketing.

To help pharma help physicians help patients at the moment of truth.

I invite you to join me on this journey.

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