Detailed and realistic integrated marketing processes lead to transformative creative work that delivers savings and higher ROI for pharmaceutical marketers – but how can this be achieved? Pharmaceutical marketing is complex – this we know. The highly regulated environment slows things down but surely not every tweet needs to be approved? Think again, as this is the kind of challenge pharmaceutical marketers face internally. With global and matrixed being the structural norm, turf wars, silos and approval challenges come to the fore. These and other issues can mean that all too often pharmaceutical marketing is not creatively effective and can be very slow and expensive to produce.
We know this to be true as recently we worked with one large pharmaceutical marketing client who, for some products, were taking a full year to create advertising (not a new idea, not an integrated toolkit, just one TV ad!) Furthermore, the resulting advertising had low effectiveness scores.
To unlock creativity, time and money we believe that agile integrated processes need to be created and evolved. Many larger pharmaceutical advertisers have a broad process but perhaps they need more depth, breadth and need to be developed for market rather than just for HQ.
How to improve your integrated marketing process?
- Make someone solely responsible for creating amazing integrated processes that work for the customer and the markets they operate in
- Reset your creative standard from outside the pharmaceutical category. Your customers are not only exposed to pharmaceutical marketing, so you must get better benchmarks of ‘what good looks like’ for your consumer.
- Life is not linear, so build processes that are more suited to the real life creative development process. We create ‘tumbling swarms’ that build alignment and integration in teams.
- Ensure you have gold, silver and bronze versions of your processes to allow for projects of different scale and speed. Think about campaigns vs. your always on model.
- Build your process for your fastest, leanest markets, not your largest most resourced markets. Most pharmaceutical marketing processes are developed in the US or UK, not in Asia where a lot of the use and growth will come from. A process built for and by Indians, Chinese or Brazilians looks very different from one built by English or Americans. Consider cultural differences to optimise your output.
- Leverage your data throughout the process. Utilise SEO, web analytics, CRM and social data at almost every stage and ensure there is a real-time optimisation loop to really drive your ROI.
- Educate and collaboratively build your creative and legal sign-off processes based around social media requirements, not advertising copy requirements, so that not every tweet needs to be approved.
- Harness technology and collaborative working tools for efficient global team working, approvals etc. Imagine a glorious world where the ‘global call’ with 50 people no longer exists.
- Support your processes by mapping the internal and external agency contacts that drive integration and reward efficiency. Who are the key connectors at which point from an external point of view?
- Test, learn and iterate. Commit to extensive piloting first and do not be afraid to change things several times and get feedback from different types of markets to really stress test what has been designed. When rolling it out, invest in training the teams around the world to ensure understanding, gain buy-in and be open to more feedback. Test and train your agency partners too.
If you would like to know more about how we could help you define, design and deliver a better marketing process, get in touch.
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