top of page
  • Writer's pictureKevin Maples

Marketers: We have three problems that require immediate action. Problem #1: Strategy

I have had conversations both on and off LinkedIn over the past week that have revealed foundational challenges over which we are still struggling in Pharma Marketing and Sales. We have a Strategy Problem, a Process Problem, and a Protocol Problem.

Today, let’s visit the Strategy Problem. 🎯

Last week, I posted 5 recommendations for common Omnichannel Engagement problems. Some of you called me out taking issue with my frequent mention the Rep. Thank you! The exchange was very interesting. 🙏

I deduced that the offense was not due to the Rep’s role in Omnichannel Engagement – they have a very important and central role - but the fact that Marketing remains very brand and product-oriented, which reenforces a continued, heavy reliance on Field Operations.

What good is calling our efforts “Omnichannel Engagement” if GTM has evolved little over the past 20 years? I couldn’t agree more. Omnichannel requires customer-centricity. The reason to deploy multiple channels with tailored, personalized content is to address your customer needs. Marketers, we must get back to our strategy basics!

📚 Brian D. Smith’s “Brand Therapy,” outlines a comprehensive approach to Brand Strategy in Pharma. If you have not read and follow this approach, you must order it. There is no better use of your time.

Step 1 is understanding your customer’s hygiene and motivation needs. As you move through identifying your key success factors and testing assumptions, you develop your concentric value proposition.

A strong value proposition, according to Smith, must meet the complete needs of your target, and its GTM activities must be actionable and reenforce each other.

They key lesson here for Omnichannel Engagement is that, among other things, your strategy and value proposition must be customer-centric to be strong. It is the necessary footing to establish effective customer engagement.

🧐 Action: Challenge your value proposition and marketing activities’ strength by accessing if it addresses all of your customer’s needs.

Smith, Brian D. "Brand Therapy: 15 Techniques for Creating Brand Strategy in Pharma and Medtech." Practical Inspiration Publishing, 2018.

Pharma Marketers: I have recent observations and advice on 5 common problems in Omnichannel Engagement execution. 

1. THE DOCTOR IS NOT READING YOUR EMAILS:  Remember that email is best for conveying information in real time. Use it as a tool to disseminate important, relevant information. Foster an image that your company emails are worth the doctor’s time.

2. YOUR REPS ARE HAVING TROUBLE BOOKING CALLS: Equip your reps to stand out among competition. Unlike email, which is best for conveying new information, person-to-person contact is best for converging on a behavioral change. Empower reps to challenge, respectfully, HCPs in a way that adds value to their patients and practice. This is not easy, but it is becoming evermore essential.

3. SALES REPS ARE NOT IN LOVE WITH YOUR OMNICHANNEL PLAN: This is a common sentiment that should be taken very seriously. Ensure that your omnichannel engagement strategy incorporates: 1. the right use of a sales call (to converge on a behavior change) using digital to empower the rep and 2. sales team insights from the field.

4. YOUR REPS ARE NOT SEEING THE RIGHT HCPS: Revisit the brand strategy. If you have identified the right target HCP, then you need to study their needs and redefine your key success factors for engagement. If you have defined their journey correctly, you need to ensure that you are addressing their content and channel needs at the right moment in the HCP journey. Think: where should we convey information and where do we need to converge on a topic?

5. DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT IS LOW: A lot of resources go into developing digital content. You need to understand how to get the HCP to interact with them. The best insights on HCP digital habits will come from the field. Marketers: Get in the field and see for yourself! You also should champion a cross- functional task team to get insights from the sales team and their managers to fine-tune your digital strategy.

Key Takeaways: Convey information with the right channels. Empower reps to engage HCPs effectively when a back-and-forth conversation is most needed to move HCPs up the adoption ladder. Spend time in the field to understand where you can add value.

  • Writer's pictureKevin Maples

Transformation is obsolete.

Or at least this is what two AT Kearney consultants posit in a 29 Jan article in the Harvard Business Review.

In "Has Business Transformation Become Obsolete?," Alex Liu and Abby Klanecky ask, "If transformations have become never-ending — and the vast majorityof them fail anyway — has the notion of transformation become obsolete?"

The authors answer this question by proposing an alternative: Regenerative transformation.

Transformation is NOT a one time project NOR a single topic (i.e. Digital) but constant adaptation to your environment. Success with regenerative transformation involves communicating a long-term vision, mastering change management, fostering the right organisational culture, and encouraging "unified actions."

This sounds obvious, but if we embrace the concept of regeneration in #PharmaMarketing, our behavior towards transformation projects would change.

♟️ Better Brand Strategy: Regenerative transformation requires defining the critical success factors of your brand versus those of your competition, and building from there. Quick solutions are unsustainable.

🤝 More Collaboration: Regenerative transformation requires that Medical and Commercial functions work in harmony. Customer insights need to come from all sources to win.

🎯 New KPIs: Regenerative transformation demands marketers to think outside of their standard operations and performance goals. More prescriptions and more prescribers are important, but so is better advocacy, account management across brands, and patient support. Change should be evolutionary and multidimensional.

Alex Liu and Abby Klanecky. "Has Business Transformation Become Obsolete?" The Harvard Business Review. 29 Jan. 2024.

bottom of page