KEY TAKEAWAY: Internet marketing is too important to your brand to rely, 100%, on an agency. Every pharma brand should have a brand team member who is dedicated to digital marketing to ensure that your interactive dollars are not wasted.
How often do you see openings, within pharma, for an eMarketing person? Hardly ever? Pharma marketers should insist that they have a FT employee who is dedicated to, and has a background in, digital marketing. Patients are using the web more and more to help them make healthcare choices and unless your digital marketing is effective you’re just farting in the wind.
Only someone who sits with, and is part of, your brand team, can have the knowledge to understand what’s needed and what should be measured as opposed to an agency which is usually spoon fed tidbits of data. Most companies do use agencies, and that’s fine, but they have to be directed by someone who knows the brand, and its patients, in depth. I would venture to say that an eMarketing person is probably more important than a DTC marketing person.
So what are the advantages of a brand emarketing person?
1ne: They understand and have access to all the research you have conducted around your brand, product and messages.
2wo: They can help separate “hype from true ROI digital marketing initiatives”.
3hree: They can coordinate the development of your website with key IT people, ensuring it complies with your IT group’s standards.
4our: They can keep your agency on track and ensure key milestones are met.
5ive: They can expedite approvals of digital marketing programs to keep on them on strategy, on time and budget.
6ix: They can quickly identify opportunities to leverage the digital channel.
7even: They can work with your M L R teams to get digital marketing initiatives approved, and ensure that what your agency is doing will comply with company standards.
The only downside to this is that you need an experienced eMarketing person, not someone who was just given the responsibility and doesn’t understand the advantages and limitations of digital. Agencies are better directed by someone who knows eMarketing and are frustrated when they have to act as teachers for digital marketing.