Home  › Marketing › Strategies
science

Love and Other Drugs, Reloaded

  |  October 3, 2011   |  Comments   |  

B2B marketers often find it challenging to integrate digital marketing in the mix. Here are three tips I learned working in the pharmaceutical industry.

A few months ago, I was on a long-haul flight from Singapore to New York. Having watched most of the movies on the plane, I decided to watch a movie titled "Love and Other Drugs". My choice was influenced in part by the intriguing name and to a great extent by the stellar cast of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

Thirty minutes into the movie, I realised that the movie was an accurate description of the "good old days" of B2B marketing. Having started my career in the pharmaceutical industry I could relate to the marketing techniques depicted in the movie. Hiring great reps, arming them with a lot of samples and entertaining key doctors was the name of the game. The model seemed to be working very well and companies kept increasing their sales forces.

From 2000 to 2006, the number of drug reps in the U.S. reached 100,000. However, as pipelines dried up and the rules around marketing of drugs got stricter, the drug companies started laying off reps and started looking for alternate ways to educate the doctors and promote their products.

The challenge for B2B marketers has been integrating digital marketing into their media mix, which till date has been centred on the sales team and participation in conferences. Having participated in the evolution of B2B marketing from analogue to digital in the last twelve years, what I have learned are summarised below:

1. Old is still gold.
There's still an important place for sales reps in B2B marketing. Nothing can replace the importance of human relationships in selling and marketing. However, the new digital tools whether they are iPad detailers, webinars or web portals, are there to enhance the impact of the sales rep in the selling process. In addition using technology for B2B marketing enhances the innovation credentials of the organisation.

2. Integration is vital.
According to Manhattan Research, (Dolan, 2012) more than two-thirds of physicians in the U.S. are using smartphones today and by 2012 some 81 percent will be using smartphones devices. In addition, half of those physicians are expected to use their smartphones for administrative functions, learning, and patient care. This provides a great opportunity for B2B marketers to engage with their target audience. However, in order for this interaction to be meaningful it has to be based on a validated insight that can help physicians make smart decisions. For a brand that is involved in B2C and B2B marketing, integration across channels and messages is even more important since physicians are also exposed to the ads meant for consumers.

3. Measurement is possible and real time.
In the pre-digital marketing days, pharmaceutical marketers had to wait for the big black book from IMS Health every month to gauge the impact of their marketing campaigns in terms of prescriptions and market share. Apart from the digital version of IMS Health that was released a few years ago, there are a number of alternate ways we can measure B2B marketing performance. Two of my favourite ways are tracking sales messaging and the Net Promoter Score survey:

  • Sales messaging: Traditionally sales aids were paper based and it was impossible to measure the impact of messaging on change in behaviour. Now tools are available that provide real time data on the usage of messages by the sales team. Couple this with a messaging effectiveness survey with the doctors done either online and the marketing team has a wealth of knowledge about the effectiveness of their messaging.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) (Reichheld): A simple but elegant way to measure your company's perception and performance according to your customers. The NPS is calculated by asking a simple question. How likely are you to recommend "the brand/company" to a colleague or friend? This metric serves as a great indictor of the health of the business and serves as a leading indicator of sales and market share.

In conclusion, these are exciting time for B2B marketers. However they will need to develop a strong understanding of customer insights and evolving media channels to keep the love alive with their customers!

Subscribe to ClickZ Asia to receive your weekly dose of the region's latest trends, tips, and insights straight to your inbox.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mandeep Grover

Mandeep has over 11 years experience of building brands with blue-chip organisations like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. He was recently promoted to head regional marketing for Acclarent, a division of Johnson & Johnson Medical manufacturer of cutting edge technology for minimally-invasive surgery. Mandeep is a recognised expert in integrating emerging media to drive business results. In 2007, he led the launch of one of the first branded apps on Facebook. The app was a finalist at Cannes and won the highest recognition for marketing excellence in J&J. In 2009, he pioneered the launch of the first iPhone app in J&J, which was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald as an example of innovation. Mandeep has spoken widely on social media, mobile marketing and multichannel marketing. He has authored for iMedia Connection and has been nominated to judge the AMI marketing awards for 2010 & 2011.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...