Converting the biotech/pharma organization to digital marketing

change-sameHow do you change an organization to embrace new technology in an industry that has largely been behind the curve on new marketing ?  That is one of the key challenges for all eMarketers & technology people working for pharma and biotech companies.  I am proof that the culture can be changed even in the most conservative companies if we accept the challenge that what we do, as digital healthcare marketers, can lead to a new era in DTC and HCP marketing.It’s not easy to change attitudes and beliefs within a corporate environment but it can happen if we embrace the challenge(s).  Here are some principles that have led to success for me even in the most conservative “we can’t do that” groups.

(1) Being an eMarketer means being a champion of new technology.

Digital marketing is moving so fast and there are so many marketing opportunities but which tactics are right in a regulated industry ? Part of our job is to work with internal business units and stakeholders to generate buy-in on new digital marketing initiatives.  How?  By slowly educating, informing and showing key influencers more than just data; we have to be able to explain what the numbers mean in terms of patient behavior and consumers making health care choices.  Bring them along slowly and think of winning a lot of small groups of influencers to really implement change.  More importantly you have to help sort out the hype of digital marketing from the reality.


(2) Think “globally” not locally when it comes to the Web.

When I was working on the Cialiswebsite I listened to our OUS affiliates needs and we developed a unique content management system that would allow each OUS country to launch a website within local marketing restrictions.  Rather than spend a lot of money and time developing 20+ websites the content management system was a great solution for each country all they had to was translate approved content into their local language.  More and more we can’t think about US only we have to think of global launches of products.


(3) Meet regularly with medical, legal and regulatory people.

MLR people don’t start their day asking “how can I prevent marketing from going off the deep end?” they are there to help minimize risk of illegal marketing and bad information.  I regularly meet with MLR people with all pharma/biotech clients so I can understand what keeps them up at night and how I can better integrate with the organization to win them over.  I even developed a newsletter that communicated what was happening within pharma eMarketing and more importantly why.

(4) You’re not going to get everything you want.

Too many technology marketing people get frustrated because pharma moves too slow sometimes but we are essentially lawyers pleading to the jury for our client’s case (digital marketing).  You need insights as to who, what, where and why and frankly the best way to get those insights is with market research that aligns with your brand and corporate objectives.


(5) Set realistic expectations for digital marketing.

Too many people feel digital marketing is inexpensive compared to off-line marketing but that isn’t true.  If you follow a good process that delivers a great digital experience there will be a good ROI but if you cut corners, it can lead to more people questioning digital marketing budgets.


It’s not going to be easy but I’m up for the challenge because when we get people to see those “ah-ha” moments it means that ultimately our patients and consumers win and that we are making pharma marketing relevant again.

1 thought on “Converting the biotech/pharma organization to digital marketing

  1. Pingback: Contradictory Pharma News | Consumer Advocacy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *