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Delivering ‘accountable marketing’

It’s about time… and data

Alex BrockEd HammertonA heightened sense of urgency is stoking corporate interest in ‘accountable marketing’ practices. Now, due to mounting pressures on pricing, access and healthcare systems, marketing accountability has turned from an area of interest into an imperative and is leading to far more finely tuned expectations. It’s about time… and data.

Of course, using data as a decision-making tool is neither a new concept nor a competitive differentiator in and of itself. As technology opens up newer, richer and more diverse veins of data, our challenge is to improve clients’ agility to reimagine how this data can yield more powerful and precise insights from programmes. But what’s the actual competitive advantage to be gained from doing this?

That question challenges us to use data to generate insights that can more effectively direct strategy. Companies that can make more intelligent, more accountable and more agile marketing decisions are the ones with the edge over their competition.

Emerging drivers of accountability

It’s fair to say that being accountable is what everyone should have been doing since day one. Still, pressures to demonstrate marketing accountability have ramped up exponentially recently. Among the factors driving this change are:

The shift in the pharmaceutical manufacturing world from blockbuster drugs to a focus on development of speciality brands that treat less prevalent conditions and smaller subsets of patients

The need - and increasingly, the expectation - to do more with less

The explosion in the number of communication channels available to reach a growing number of key audience segments involved in prescribing decisions.

Given this environment, it’s no surprise our clients have been challenging us as never before to be more accountable. They need to show how well their marketing and public relations campaigns have gone and whether the effort was worth the investment. Potential clients challenge us to go beyond creative wow and predict the impact of proposed efforts on their revenue.

At a strategic level, we can no longer simply articulate what marketing campaign objectives are. We must define success, answer how we’ll track this, and demonstrate both direct and indirect improvements in commercial performance. Even more challenging, we need to predict the success of our strategy before it’s been implemented.

Accountable marketing is not simply about measuring what’s happening. At inVentiv Health Communications, if we cannot effectively evaluate change in behaviour, medication adherence, and other critical indicators, then we can’t be certain that what we’re doing to support our clients is working. With absent data-driven knowledge, we’re hard-pressed to argue that a company should invest in our efforts.

In short, we must show that our work is effective - that our tactics are making a positive difference for the client. We need to demonstrate how we’re changing the behaviour of healthcare providers and patients in a way that’s driving increased value in an increasingly complex healthcare marketplace. Accountability is vital in the healthcare space.

From accountable to predictive

So where are we headed from here? Increasingly, clients are asking: ‘If I spend this money on this campaign, can you predict the campaign’s impact on sales?’

In addressing this question, a data-driven approach can enhance confidence in the soundness of a strategic marketing plan. Data can empower us to create powerful, predictive models that allow us to create a simulation of the market and show how sales, for example, are likely to respond to adjustments in variables, such as choice of communication channels for target audiences. The predictive model is a dynamic planning tool that we can use at the front end of a strategic marketing planning process to rapidly test and improve a strategy.

Such a model can provide us with an optimal way to craft activities to focus on given scarce resources. Predictive modelling doesn’t replace good planning or creativity; it enhances it. It allows us to operationalise our data. It goes beyond simply having a good idea to getting the outcomes we’re seeking.

In 2017, after years of thinking we had a firm grasp on delivering accountable marketing plans to our clients, we’re now able to do better. It’s about time that we articulate and execute a coherent plan for the expanding data to which we have access and upon which clients should expect us to deliver insightful, accountable programmes that maximise the return on their precious resources.

inVentiv Health Communications is a connected healthcare partner tapping insights to drive innovation, change behaviour and advance the future of accountable marketing. Together our leadership team can help you achieve your goals (front cover, left to right): Richard Hart, advertising; Zoe Healey, scientific strategy; Liam Mulvihill, human resources; Phil Ford, medical communications; Julie Adrian, EU president; Alex Brock, digital; Richard Lieberman, creative; David Wilson, finance; Nick Willhoft, medical communications.

Alex Brock is head of digital for Europe and Ed Hammerton is marketing science lead at InVentiv Health Communications

In association with

inVentiv Health

28th June 2017

From: Marketing



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