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Smart Thinking blog

Insights and expert advice on the key issues facing today’s pharma marketer

The Strategic Role of the Agency

In this marketing environment there is no room for late developers. Find out why tapping into an agency's insights early may give the brand growth you need.

Where can the weary marketer turn for rational market insight? For the last few years, the established methods of pharmaceutical marketing have been in a constant state of change, with no likelihood of a return to the black and white days of old. (What happened to the time when you recruited a large, permanent sales force to see as many doctors as possible, and then sat back while the revenues came rolling in?)

What cannot be disputed is that those days will never return, and that the process of selling pharmaceuticals will continue to become more and more complicated. This is mainly due to the increasing numbers of stakeholders in the prescribing process and the ever-increasing ways in which we can communicate with them.

It is the demise of the large mass-market blockbuster medicines of the past that signalled the end of the large pharma sales force, meaning that ever more innovative methods of communicating to customers are required.

Combine this with the confusion over who the actual customers are (varying as this does according to therapeutic area) and what methods of communications are actually effective, is it any wonder that the role of marketing manager can be a stressful one?!

So with all this uncertainty in the market place and with very little room for error, who can marketing managers turn to for clarity of thought and effective strategy?

In my opinion it can only be your creative agency.

Agencies are organisations that are not just filled with the best creative talent, but also with experienced and skilled strategists. These tactical thinkers are constantly developing and market-testing new methods of communication, putting them in a unique position to judge what works and what doesn't. Agencies can take on the challenge of a product launch and advise what needs to be done in order to maximise sales of that product.

Despite this, when I speak to potential clients they are always surprised that we can help them strategically as well as creatively. No one likes to use the words "free consultancy" but effectively that's what our clients are getting.

It should not be the case that you get your agency involved with projects after the strategic planning has been completed, but before the process begins. There is no doubt that your agency can offer a strategic perspective that will maximise the uptake of your product.

So if you as a marketing manager find that the market place looks chaotic, and are flooded with suggestions from your colleagues as to what methods of communicating you should embrace, remember a rational and insightful opinion is usually just at the end of the phone.

Article by
Kush Rach

business development director, Pulsar Healthcare

18th July 2012


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