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Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools

Pharma's top digital challenge in 2014? Strategy

Digital Futures 2014 survey also finds regulations expected to be an issue this year

Digital Futures 2014 pharma marketing survey

The pharmaceutical industry's biggest digital marketing challenge this year will be formulating a clear strategy.

That was message from the Digital Futures 2014 survey, run by PMLiVE publisher PMGroup in association with Havas Lynx.

The online survey of nearly 250 people working in, and for, the pharma industry saw 'unclear strategy' voted the biggest challenge the industry will face with 'digital' in 2014.

Although nearly a third of respondents thought digital strategy would be the industry's biggest issue this year, the survey results outline a range of significant challenges marketers expect to have to overcome.

One of those was gaining internal buy-in for digital marketing, which our survey said would be pharma's third biggest challenge in 2014.

Internal buy-in was bookended two forms of a familiar industry bugbear - rules, with overly-restrictive external regulations cited by 21 per cent of our survey and working within internal rules suggested as this year's pre-eminent challenges for pharma by 17 per cent of respondents.

What will be pharma's biggest digital challenge in 2014?

Unclear strategy
Overly-restrictive external regulations
Gaining internal buy-in
Working within internal rules
Recruiting/retaining suitable staff
Lack of budget

If you're struggling with formulating a clear digital strategy there's advice on planning the big thinking behind your use of digital marketing in the Digital Handbook. Guidance there includes the suggestion that considering which digital tools or websites you will use should be the last stage of the process and that you should instead begin with identifying internal stakeholders.

Digital Futures 2014 survey

The survey was hosted online at and ran for one month from December 4, 2013. During this time it attracted 236 respondents, among them executives from companies such as AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi and Teva.

Just under half (48.5 per cent) of respondents came from the pharma, biotech or medical devices sectors, with the rest mainly split evenly between consultancies and agencies. By region, 46 per cent of repondents were located in the UK, with strong representation from Europe (29 per cent), the US (9 per cent) and Asia (8 per cent).

The survey attracted a comparable split between those in senior management (19 per cent), marketing (23 per cent), and digital and communications (both 17 per cent). Nearly half of respondents had global responsibilities, with local or regional responsibilities each claimed by just over a quarter of respondents.

• See also: Pharma's social media priorities in 2014

Full coverage of the survey, and related analysis, can be found in the Digital Futures section of the Digital Handbook

22nd January 2014

From: Marketing



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