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Pharmaceutical marketing faces a ‘hurricane of change’

A report by the global management consultancy firm Booz and Company shows that senior executives within the pharmaceutical industry believe the business model is broken and that the industry needs to adapt marketing strategies appropriate for the digital age.

The critical nature of the state of sales and marketing within the industry was revealed by Danielle Rollmann, a partner in Booz and Company’s Global Health Practice, who claimed that “the pharmaceutical industry is the eye of a hurricane of change”.

The Booz and Company survey was designed to take the ‘industry temperature’ by surveying executives from leading US and European pharmaceutical companies. In response to the question ‘Is the pharmaceutical model broken?’ 68% answered in the affirmative with 44% in agreement and 24% in strong agreement.

In response to a range of questions, it was clear that many decision makers within the pharmaceutical industry believe that budgetary and financial pressures were going to have a serious impact on future sales and marketing efforts. The survey revealed that there was likely to be a substantial shift towards digital methods of marketing and a sharp decline in traditional print and journal advertising.

The biggest shift in marketing priorities was accelerated adoption of social media aimed at doctors to promote products with 58% of respondents projecting an increase in expenditure on social media as a marketing channel. Mobile technology for marketing, e-detailing and doctor oriented media channels were all identified by over 50% of those surveyed as likely to receive higher budgets in the next two years.

The results of the survey underline the increasing central role that digital marketing will play within the pharmaceutical industry for the foreseeable future and the importance of companies claiming their slice of digital territory as the earliest possible stage.