Agility Will Determine Future Market Leaders
How Market Leaders Can Be More Agile
“There needs to be a fundamental shift in thinking about marketing,” observed Justin Grossman, CEO/Partner at meltmedia, a Tempe-based digital agency. “Marketers need to behave with more agility — make quick decisions, know how to measure them, analyze the data, and adjust fast. I’m talking about getting something out there in 2 months — not a year — review the results within 3 months and execute changes within 4 months. That’s what it’s going to take to be a market-share leader.”
1. Change the Game
Fundamentally, you have to look at everything, from the long-term vision to the most mundane daily operations. Is your organizational structure built to accommodate accelerated activity? Is there a widespread management philosophy that promotes cross-communication instead of territorial defensiveness? Are you shifting available budget resources to more digital tools and programs? These are hard questions for senior leadership across the organization because changing the future role of Marketing can’t be successful without altering the whole organization.
“Everything is on the table,” Grossman said. “You have to understand your customer’s journey from every perspective first, then orchestrate your organization to enable that journey to happen seamlessly. That requires not only deep self-awareness but solid data on customer behaviors.”
At the recent Re:Imagine Pharma virtual conference sponsored by Momentum, Warren Drysdale, VP of Content at Momentum, asked participants (N=64) to share how their top-line budgets are shifting in 2021. Barry explained, “Even In light of the market uncertainty, no companies are keeping budgets status quo. A solid 25% responded that they are planning 10-30% more budget toward digital marketing activities, and a full 75% indicated that digital budgets were going up by 50% or more. We believe the access to data through digital technology is driving this change. And it’s a good trend to follow.”
The panel agreed that the new model for marketing will be Test-Learn-Evolve. Barry explained, “It will be essential for marketing to act with urgency in piloting innovative new marketing ideas, measuring and analyzing the response, then immediately adapting. Then the cycle repeats, with Marketing constantly moving forward. And make no mistake, speed is a critical component of this strategy.”
2. Bring It All Together
So, in the ideal state of the future, where does Marketing fit? Right smack-dab in the center. Marketing needs to be the omnichannel hub where technology is only part of the equation. Noted Sherman, “You need to have resources assigned to multi-channel initiatives. You need a more agile, iterative cycle where you can capture data on your target audience across channels and react to it with speed and clarity. But you have to get your infrastructure in place first.”
Added Grossman, “Marketing needs to be a clearinghouse where core stakeholders cross paths. Sales, key opinion leaders, medical liaisons, and regulatory all need to be aligned, instead of acting in their own silos. It will be up to the marketer to pull in all the different access points through available technology tools and make it all cohesive.”
Think about how this collaborative, data-driven approach will change something as basic as a product launch. “We have to reimagine day 1, day 30, and day 60 tactics,” Barry said. “You won’t be able to put a brochure out there day 1 then follow it weeks later with other support tactics. If you follow a digital-first approach, you’re going to need your entire organization to be re-trained in order to be successful.”
One of the most critical shifts may be in the review and approval cycle. In order to be able to act with speed and agility, Marketing will need Regulatory and Legal cooperation. Early concept reviews and approving content for multiple pieces simultaneously are just a couple of changes to consider and discuss.
Another group that needs strong alignment with Marketing is Sales. “We now have the tech capability to link the systems (CRMs and data collection tools),” Sherman said. “But you have to have open communication in this area as sales personnel try to establish and maintain customer relationships in a no-see world. If you can’t be there physically, you have to be there digitally. Marketing can help tailor messages that will resonate in these interactions, based on data generated and assessed.”
3. Run to the Front of the Line
Waiting around for change to happen isn’t a solution. Without intervention, the change will still happen. But the odds are pretty high the results will be chaotic. Instead, think about the benefits of having a self-motivated Marketing team take a proactive role in driving change.
“It’s going to be up to the individual marketers to do the outreach,” Grossman said. “If you don’t understand the technology, go talk to the internal and external resources who are building and controlling it. If you don’t know what Sales training is teaching the frontline troops, go ask. If you want to drill down into customer journeys, do some ride-alongs (physical or virtual) with your best salespeople. If you want to get some ideas for being more successful with reviews, invite the Regulatory, Legal or Medical teams to some discussion time. In doing so, you can lay the foundation for the agility and speed you’re going to need.”
Added Sherman, “You have to get your feet wet. You have to jump in — practice makes for improvement. Without trying out some of these new things and learning from them, you won’t be able to sharpen the ideas and make them work for your organization.”
Continued Barry, “Pharma marketing is a relatively small universe. Therefore, you may find that your professional network is the same people you’ve known awhile, but maybe just with a different title or different company. So, where can you go to get some fresh ideas? We’ve come up with some suggestions to get you started.”
Grossman concluded, “When you are brave enough to throw out the old playbook and get comfortable with paving new paths, you can change your corner of the world. From there, the future looks much brighter.”
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