Pharmaceutical Marketing: 3 risks that impact patient centricity (and what you can do about them now)


Apr 29 2019

On the heels of hosting workshops on “delivering multichannel marketing: a smarter way to do marketing production” at eyeforpharma Barcelona and eyeforpharma Philadelphia, we heard from Pharma leaders and our peers that patient centricity is the core principle for the industry. From R&D to commercialization, the patient experience is paramount through the entire journey of the medicine.

If patient centricity is defined as the process of designing a service or solution around the patient, then where is the risk in achieving patient centricity? Let’s start with marketing.

Risk 1: Inefficient asset management can affect patient centricity

With a focus on patient centricity, pharmaceutical companies are looking to produce up to 10 times more informative content per year for patients and stakeholders. The challenge for marketers to “stretch budgets” to produce more materials across multi-channels leads to a concern about quality of work.

We’ve found that “doing more with less” doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the quality or the amount of marketing content. The answer to doing more with less begins with efficient asset management. Asset management in Pharma marketing refers to the centralized control over creative, messaging and materials, to manage brand consistency and leverage and repurpose approved print, digital and broadcast collateral.

“Marketing production within pharma tends to be siloed. The lack of visibility into established programs coupled with internal communication challenges (which exist in most large global organizations) often leads to an inefficient use of marketing assets. Producing 10 times more content across print, digital and broadcast in the current state will potentially slow speed to market, leaving room for errors in MLR,” explains Brian Pellicone, Senior Account Director, Tag Life Sciences division.

The solution is a shift in internal marketing production to repurpose assets and leverage pre-approved language to reach a wider audience of patients and stakeholders. It allows marketers to have the budget to distribute materials more frequently across new and existing channels, and patients to have access to more information across more channels.

 Risk #2: Working with more agencies can impede launch excellence

The current state of play for the pharma marketing process is not agile. It is labor intensive and timely. With limited internal resources, many Pharma marketers believe that adding agencies of record will allow them to produce more materials, quicker, reaching patients and HCPs faster.

The risk: additional agencies can lead to a more complex internal process and less control over marketing assets. This means less visibility into how the budget is being spent and messaging across brand. Do you know exactly what you are getting for your money?

In Pharma, the marketing production process hinges on the ability to correctly navigate the medical legal review (MLR). And in this field, the MLR has earned the reputation for being slow, cumbersome and time consuming. Mistakes are costly.  Mistakes can lead to additional agency hours to “re-do” creative work, which costs money and slows speed to market, running the risk of a product launch without supporting sales or marketing materials.

With pharma marketing continuing to add multiple agencies of record to “get the job done,” the loss of control over MLR process becomes even more complex to manage, but it doesn’t have to be.

One MLR compliance reviewer claimed “the process is not slow. If people paid more attention to what they were doing, it wouldn’t take as long as it does.”  We agree and we’ve put his words into action.

For a leading global pharmaceutical company, Tag implemented a strategy to “decouple” from multiple agencies of record by creating a centralized marketing hub to develop and manage creative assets and handle all regulatory compliance. This allowed the client to reduce the time of regulatory approval from two weeks to 6 days.

By decoupling, or separating agency ideation from creative process, and streamlining internal MLR process, CMOs in Pharma marketing can focus on the patient, instead of losing time in the process.

Risk #3: Mistakes cost money  

The question every pharma leader should be asking right now is not “how quickly can I produce more materials to reach patients across more channels,” but instead, “how do I right size my marketing supply chain to reach my end goal of increased patient engagement.”

For every marketing dollar spent, 60 cents is associated with production. We’ve found that most companies, regardless of industry, don’t hold a clear understanding of the total cost of ownership across their marketing supply chain. In order to improve marketing production, there must be a system in place to support the efficiency of the underlying process, the structure of the workflows and the management of assets (from agencies and vendors to print, digital and broadcast materials).

Poor asset management increases costs. Multiple agencies of record increases costs. Inaccurate navigation of the MLR increases costs.

The Solution:

What does the reorganization of marketing production have to do with patient centricity? Workshops with our peers at the eyeforpharma conferences reaffirmed the idea that pharmaceutical companies must look to organizational transformation to meet their goals. Reorganizing the marketing production process addresses the three main risks of poor asset management, inefficient cost management and relying on multiple agencies of record.

“Tag is known in the industry for our people and our process. Our method is not just about implementing a new system. It is about leveraging our team of Life Sciences experts who understand the importance of marketing for risk-based clients and allowing them to seamlessly become part of the client’s team, knowing the language, the culture and the operations as well as the client,” explains Ajit Kara, CEO Tag Americas.

How do we do it? We implement our people, our process and our technology. The first step is a feasibility study which uses data to identify errors and inefficiency in current process. Tag’s technology platforms allow marketing teams to manage campaign assets and track usage data in real time. We leverage existing content, making it easier for regulatory teams to approve new messages. We evaluate the need for multiple agencies of record and take control over agency management to ensure complete transparency from cost to creation.

Patient centricity needs a smarter way to do marketing production

We’ve determined that a focus on patient centricity uncovers a need for a smarter way to do marketing production. The risk of continuing with current state affects the end goal of patient centricity.

To inquire about an assessment of your marketing production process, contact us.

Up next in Tag’s Pharma Marketing Challenges Series: The top 5 ways to reengineer your marketing production process.


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