The new dawn of DTC marketing: Innovation

When it comes to marketing, especially DTC marketing, I read everything I can get my hands on so I can better understand the challenges facing the industry. This much is certain; the drug industry is facing a huge challenge to keep DTC marketing relevant.  The challenge is not only in reaching consumers and providing them with the information they need to make a decision, it’s also innovation within the company so that new marketing initiatives can be implemented.Innovation

According to an article in Fast Company:

Innovative organizations are those that can depart quickly from their planned trajectory and jump onto a new opportunity; they’re organizations that recognize and take an active role in introducing new behaviors that were unknown. It is ultimately the speed with which companies do this and the willingness to experiment in new and unanticipated areas that determines the extent to which their innovation is “open.”

This changes the idea of open innovation to mean more than going outside the company to find new ideas from experts; it means developing a collaborative innovation model that intimately binds the market to the process of innovation, in lockstep. It means that companies need to push the envelope of innovation based on observations of what a market’s behaviors are and then work closely with the market to identify how innovations can add value in unexpected ways.

Those of us who have worked in pharma understand how hard it is to innovate with marketing.  Too many companies have complex matrix organizations where weeks of meetings are often required just to get approval to do simple things.  In addition a lot of bright people are leaving pharma marketing because they are fed up with being told “no,no,no”.

How can pharma marketing innovate when all too often we see executives leave one pharma company and go to another, often leaving a train wreck in their wake? If a company is fined for illegal marketing or has manufacturing problems, it’s more likely that the people who did nothing or who were responsible moved over to another pharma company where they could continue to weed out the smart and passionate people just because they didn’t “fit their idea” or were not going to blindly follow them?

Innovative people are smart and are disruptive with their new ideas.  The old guard at pharma, however is afraid of these people and wants to continue to build their power base and not rock the boat.  Right now the boat not only needs rocking it needs to be capsized.  The new dawn is here, but is pharma willing to embrace it or close the curtains and go back to sleep ?