screenshot_1280You would think that people on the agency side of the business would be happy that most pharma clients are planning to invest more in digital marketing but you would be wrong.  Along with bigger digital budgets comes more micromanagement and a belief that executing digital marketing can’t be as expensive as off line marketing.  This has led to a philosophy of “getting it done” versus “getting it done right”, than when digital initiatives fail to perform it’s often the agency that is left to try and defend themselves without pointing too many fingers.  Here is my list of top agency gripes in working with “big pharma”.

old and sadWhen I wrote my post “So this is what has become of pharma marketing” I didn’t expect to get so many people who agreed with me but it seems that unfortunately I hit the nail right on the head.  One person said ” I have said for a long time, no one WANTS to hear anything Pharma is willing to say. And Pharma thinks that saying anything outside of its action selling messages doesn’t make them any money. A very vicious circle.”  Another person via Linked In said “I could not agree more. The Phama Marketing people I hear in the Industry saying It has to find new ways to sell are the ones that in the end do the same they always did in the last 30 years and are reluctant to do anything that is out of that with the excuse that regulation does not allow them to do anything else, or it will not work because they know better. The will not even listen to anything that could seam new. The Pharma Industry Marketing is so closed on itself that it would need a revolution to change even the smallest thing. And this revolution for sure will not come from inside. As a Pharma Marketing professional I hope I am wrong.”  I too hope that I can be proven wrong but it seems that pharma has refuses to acknowledge that change is essential.

UnknownHats off to Boehringer.  Great presentation.  These were just some of the Tweets from another digital pharma conference where “the industry circle” gets together to congratulate one another on the strides they have made.  The problem is that while the industry is taking baby steps CPG marketers are finally coming to the realization that it takes a lot of effort and knowledge to market to today’s time stressed consumer.   While some get up and present at conferences consumers and patients are finding pharma marketing irrelevant.

UnknownIf I here someone say the real change agents in an organization are those who tell the truth again I’m going to have a fit.  While it’s true that pharma needs change agents the very nature of the pharma organization often prohibits people from becoming change agents and telling the truth because “they might step on someones toes”.  With 360 reviews and jobs in short supply it takes both a lot of courage and stamina to be a patient advocate.

screenshot_1229Adobe is out with their survey of 1000 marketers within the US and their key finding ?  The marketing profession has changed dramatically  as 76% of marketers think marketing has changed more in the past two years than the past 50.  While some pharma companies have made significant changes in their marketing the majority, in my opinion, have not.  The decision to allocate more money into digital is not the answer to outdated marketing.  The answer lies in both the ability to attract new talent and the willingness to change processes that add little value to marketing or customers.

cloud-innovationOn a week where a lot of people are taking their final summer vacations the news is that Amgen is buying Onyx and AstraZeneca Plc took a further step to bolster its pipeline of new cancer drugs on Monday by agreeing to acquire privately held U.S. biotech company Amplimmune for up to $500 million.  On paper it’s a good business move but as big pharma companies gobble up small biotech companies they bring with then antiquated processes and business people who are thinking about the bottom line rather than patients.  The results ?  Innovation that led these smaller biotech companies to develop new drugs will be stymied by a bureaucratic business model.