Our world has never been as dynamic, connected and complex as it has become over the past decade. The fast-evolving technological, social and environmental changes witness and experience in our day-to-day lives are also transforming how we approach pharmaceutical marketing. Our industry is being challenged to think and act in fundamentally new ways. Are you keeping pace?

Product-centric marketing has lost its relevance

Marketing our brands in a connected world means gravitating from a traditionally product-centric approach to one that is more customer-centric. In my opinion, this is a welcomed change. With more communication channels than ever before, we have a myriad of creative promotional and media options at our fingertips — which means there’s more brand confusion today than 10 years ago. Remember those days when we worked on blockbusters that, dare I say, practically sold themselves? Today, there is so much information available to the customer, it’s anyone’s game. May the best communicator win!

Over and above this onslaught of brand communications, our customer relationships in pharma have also multiplied. I can’t think of another industry that has a more complex route from manufacturer to end-user. It’s no longer about simply stating that your product is different and hoping customers will agree. It’s about finding your own way of bringing forward a conversation. That conversation must help create the value of your brand. Promoting your brand is no longer enough.

Strategic thinking is a requirement in today’s connected world

I’ve seen the lackluster results. Those who continue to simply “promote” their brand fail to fully achieve their strategies. In times like these, strategic ability is the key driver of long-term performance and value creation. It’s not your value proposition alone. And it’s certainly not your executional prowess. Marketers who succeed have learned to look at their world holistically — as an integrated system in which everything is connected to everything else and where the customer is at the centre of that connected world.

For a strategy to result in real change and have a positive effect, we think that it must embody these five essential elements:

  • Challenge who you are
  • Bring clarity to complexity
  • Be firm and flexible
  • Engage hearts and minds
  • Change conversations

I’ll explore each of those five in detail in a future article. Get automatically notified when they’re published by signing up to receive our quarterly digest of Medicine Matters.