Transcript

November DHC Virtual Summit 2020 - Live Content

The Role of the Future of the Marketer

Changes to "Required" Skill Set of Marketers

At the November 2020 DHC Virtual Summit hosted with BMS, we had the opportunity to bring together pharmaceutical executives to discuss and react to DHC Group research on the Role of the Marketer of the Future.

This research project was conducted with McKinsey and Company and shared by Brian Fox (Senior Partner) with attendees of the Virtual Summit. In addition to the full transcript of this dynamic conversation provided below, you can view the on-demand presentation and panel video.

The Panel Focused On:

TRANSCRIPT

Originally recorded on November 19th as a part of the DHC Virtual Summit hosted with BMS.  Please note, all opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the panelists and do not represent an official position by their employer. This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company

“Focusing on macro trends in the industry and the impact that they have on customers: what’s changing for our customers and what does that mean for marketers and where is that going in the future?”

dan gandor

DAN GANDOR

Director, US Customer Experience, Oncology & Virology
Abbvie

“Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this panel. Really excited to be here with Tricia, Jay, and yourself, Brian. To answer the question, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that the world has really changed. We’re home a lot more. We’re doing things remote a lot more. There’s a lot more digital. With that, I think humans, customers, be it healthcare professionals or not, have had to have more flexibility, more agility in their lives than ever before. With those changes I think comes new and reset customer expectations.

At AbbVie, we have had to adjust to create much more remote detailing, remote interaction capabilities, much more self-service and digital elements for our customers. It just comes down to the fact that we’re all living day in and day out – I’m at the office today. There’s new governor orders in Illinois. I don’t know if I’m going to be here tomorrow or if I’m going to be back at home. Every day, I have to pack my full backpack and be ready to go wherever that may be. Sometimes I’m in my office at home and the kids are doing their homeschooling. If they’re loud, I may have to run to the basement. The world is changing more rapidly and my micro world is changing more rapidly than I feel it ever has before. We as marketers need to be prepared to adjust to that changing environment more.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Since we’re all feeling that type of rapid change and shift, what do you feel the implications have been for prescribers and patients and how that interaction has changed? What implications might that have for how we want to think about connecting with those prescribers and those patients?”

JAY APPEL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL MARKETING HUB
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
“Prescribers are thinking differently about how to utilize their time and some of that is due to the fact that they’re not getting as many visits from pharma as they have in the past. The question, as it relates to marketers, becomes if they get used to that and it continues to be that way, what does that new normal wind up looking like over time. That interaction has changed quite a bit. I’m sure we’re going to talk about that a little bit, and your research really supports a lot of the capabilities that are going to continue to be needed and upgraded in a number of organizations.

The difference between physician and patient relationship has changed dramatically. Look at the emergence of teleheath. It’s been waiting for its time over these last number of years. It’s finally hit its stride. Again, will there be as much utilization of telehealth when we come out of the other side of this? It might flatten out quite a bit. This is definitely a model that we need to be aware of in terms of how physicians and patients are engaging with one another. It changes the way that we might engage with patients and physicians as patients no longer want to spend as much time in the physician’s office in a lot of cases as they have been used to. What does that implicate in terms of how we market to both of those audiences? It does have some dramatic impact on our organization.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Any other observations or predictions on what might be sticky going forward in terms of either the way that patients want to engage with their physicians or that physicians want to engage with patients or with pharma?”

TRICIA BROWN

CORPORATE STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE INSIDER RISK PROGRAM
MERCK
“I just want to say that this requires our standard marketing skills on steroids. What we need to do is really actively listen, and a couple of the panelists yesterday said this very well, have real compassion and empathy for all of our customers and what they’re going through. Quite frankly, some of their priorities have shifted a lot on what they thought was valuable to treat and what they don’t and what risks they’re willing to take.

I think it’s changing a whole lot but the best that we could do is, as marketers, listen to that and then work very quickly and agilely to respond to that. We’ve seen great things in the news by many of our companies on the work that we’re doing so much quicker than usual and how we are accomplishing that. What can we bottle from that experience so that we can incorporate that into all of our cultures and move that forward? It’s really the listening and responding.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Jay, what investments are you seeing leading marketers make with their organizations to make those organizations more agile, more innovative, and to scale some of the good practices that we know work, as Trisha was just mentioning?”

JAY APPEL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL MARKETING HUB
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
“Right along with your research, the investment in data and analytics is going to be critical moving forward and bringing in more expertise from a data science perspective because obviously we’ve been sitting on a number of these data points for a very long time. We’ve leveraged a number of them but it’s become more important than ever to drive the use of analytics to help predict and understand those customer needs in terms of what they need, when they need it, how they need it, through what channel, etc. There’s a lot more investment I think going on there. It’s investments we’ve always been looking to make.

As someone who’s probably got a little bit too much gray hair in this particular field, we’ve been pushing this boulder uphill for, I don’t want to say how many years, but as many as it’s taken to grow these gray hairs. Now is the time finally where organizations are starting to see that we’ve been talking about it, now it’s time to actually act upon it with regards to our sophistication in that data and analytics universe.

The other thing that is critical from innovation standpoint is to remember every marketer has a job they have to do today and we need to make sure they can continue to be focused on the task at hand. The importance of investing in some separate focused areas for test and learn opportunities in the marketing space becomes even that much more important because if everybody gets distracted by knowing ‘we all need to run after those ideas’. Everybody that’s listening to this call, we’re all being tasked with finding new ways to engage with our customers. At the same time, we have a business to run. What happens is often you’ll get distracted if you try to do one of these test and learn ideas really well, you still have the job at hand.

It’s really important that organizations are starting to invest in those focused areas where you can do appropriate minimum viable product, test and learn, outside of the day to day work of the business in order to grow and understand what those future capabilities need to be. They’ll never get to scale if you leave it to the generalist marketer who, again, has a huge task at hand.”
dan gandor

DAN GANDOR

Director, US Customer Experience, Oncology & Virology
Abbvie
“If I can add into that, I agree with Jay in the sense that a lot of investments are being made to upscale folks and data and analytics but I think more broadly it’s digital. It’s digital coming of age. I can’t agree more with what Jay is saying customer experience, omnichannel folks have been preaching to the choir for a long time or preaching to the population for a long time but it hasn’t been until COVID where people are saying ‘oh, wow, this actually does make a difference’, and it’s needed now more than ever. We’ve made years of progress in days and weeks and I think that’s what COVID brought on, if there’s one silver lining to it.

If anything, it highlights where our traditional marketers don’t have the skillsets to understand how to use data and analytics properly, how to even understand what are the digital channels and capabilities that need to be in place to take advantage of this new world. Especially in recognizing that more interactions are occurring in the digital channels, in the virtual remote channels. Our organization recognizes you need more customer experience personnel, people who can really put the customer at the center of everything they do and then combine it with the digital analytics. At least here, that’s what we call CX. I think those are some trends and investments that we’re making and I’m seeing.”

TRICIA BROWN

CORPORATE STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE INSIDER RISK PROGRAM
MERCK
“I would add that technology is becoming increasingly important as we all know, but as a marketer, it’s really helpful to understand some of the technical tools and how do we better partner with our IT groups, how do we better partner with big tech companies and small tech companies. Because they have tremendous abilities to help us satisfy new customer needs, digital health and other opportunities. Maybe because I took a stint in the technical world in the last year, just makes me really realize to become a stronger marketer, it’s very helpful to have little bit of that experience and that know-how.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Do any of you see a change in the relationship between marketing and sales going forward?”

JAY APPEL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL MARKETING HUB
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
“It’s been interesting. We’ve talked about the integration of these two organizations as long as pharma has existed. I think we’re seeing a lot more gray lines between what is sales and marketing, especially from a tool perspective. What’s the first thing that everybody had to make sure was in place after COVID sent everybody home? Everybody needed to have some sort of remote engagement capability. That started to bring sales and marketing together even more so than ever because capability needed to be stood up. We needed to train sales force. Everybody needed to make sure that there was the right content in place for the field to be able to utilize on these tools.

I think there’s become an even more tightly integrated relationship between these organizations as a result of the last number of months, because there is such a need back and forth between what we call sales and marketing. Because at the end of the day, going back to being customer centric, if a customer wants to have a discussion in the field, then that’s available to them.

We also need to recognize that some customers might want to spend more time getting what they need from more of a self-service experience. Now the key question is how do you tie those two experiences together to create a seamless customer experience. I think about when I go into the doctor and I have to repeat my history with every single doctor every time I go in, so I’m starting a new relationship every time.

Think about what our customers can experience. They can have a relationship with us through our website and some of our third party partners, have a separate relationship with our sales force, and the two never really come together so you’re almost starting that relationship over with the brand and with the organization every time you come in and out of that ecosystem. Being able to more tightly integrate that experience is going to become more and more important as we see our customers utilizing these tools more frequently.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“What would you say are the biggest gaps that you’re seeing across the industry in terms of skills and capabilities and processes required to best connect with customers? What can companies do to close those gaps and what can leaders do in particular to try to drive innovation and change in these areas?”

TRICIA BROWN

CORPORATE STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE INSIDER RISK PROGRAM
MERCK
“I’m a big proponent of Agile, both the methodology and the principles. I think that we have had at our company a gap in terms of speed, a gap in terms of really listening and being able to address customer experience. About two years ago, we went on this path, this journey of testing out Agile and saying ‘could we use it in a marketing organization and what would the benefits be?’. I led a lot of that pilot work. Within five months, we had our answer. We were able to move dramatically more quickly. We were able to decrease siloed, narrowed thinking and linear painful processes and dramatically increase speed but we also were quickly able to see what was connecting with customers and what wasn’t.

You mentioned content, Brian, we worked a lot on that. That’s been like the forgotten child for a long time. We were quickly able to see what we had been sending out for years based on traditional market research really wasn’t working. Let’s be nimble. We can all say, ‘oh, that’s horrible’, but we can quickly respond to that and so we saw dramatic improvement in customer experience, and then quickly after that, business result. Within five months, our organization decided to scale, and now for 18 months or so, we have been up to scale using Agile. That is really exciting, but it’s remained really a focus for marketing and so what we’re now trying to do is say every aspect of the organization has to change as well.

We’ve learned you can only do so much but if your research group doesn’t follow it and they can’t get you what you need to respond to the customer or it takes too long, that’s a problem. If we don’t have leaders that understand that they have to lead very differently to empower these teams and help them to speed things up and remove barriers, that’s also a problem. As we’re starting to work across the company in this way, we’re seeing that the leadership piece is so critical. That’s a piece that I think is still a gap that we need to make advancements on.”
dan gandor

DAN GANDOR

Director, US Customer Experience, Oncology & Virology
Abbvie
“I agree. I think that’s a major gap. I think a lot of pharma companies are thinking about how to solve that approach, if you will. The one thing I’ve noticed, too, and Brian, you mentioned, that more and more teams are becoming integrated or the necessity to have integrated brand teams here at AbbVie, that is a trend. What I’ve seen as a gap is sometimes you need the translators or orchestra conductors to be able to make that integrated brand team actually talk to each other in the right way. Otherwise, it’s just a cacophony of noise, of different voices not knowing how to blend it together, and of course, when blended together nicely, you can have the one plus one equals three synergy.

Most notably, we already talked about this, but having sales and marketing be able to translate and talk to each other and understand how it’s truly a synergistic relationship. Instead of just sales first with marketing all around it, but truly one in the same or equals or actually in some ways thinking about sales as just one channel in an omnichannel ecosystem. Those are some big fundamental differences I’ve seen accelerated with COVID but there’s still fundamental gaps there. Teams like ours in customer experience are trying to bridge those gaps and serve as an orchestra conductor but we can only go so far and so deep because of our still fairly limited size.”

JAY APPEL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL MARKETING HUB
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
“Just to build on Dan’s point, if you were to look at the number of touches that we’ve got with customers and we had pre-COVID, you’ve got this huge number of live, in-person sales force touches. Most of the optimization takes place around looking at that data. This is now the first time that we start to see a trend where there’s a little bit more of a balance between the other channels and that field force touch, which means we really need to be able to look at that more holistically and not optimize just within our individual siloes but bring that to bear for the organization to help with where trade-offs need to be made between traditional resources and other resources.

Those trends will change overtime, and obviously, when we come out the other end of this, there will be another rebalancing. It has become more important than ever to bring that dataset into one view to help the organizations see this more holistically than us each going into our own organizations and showing what best to do with the channels that we own.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Tricia, you’ve been working in this Agile model for a while, longer than many in the industry. Any tips or tricks or keys to success in operating that way?”

TRICIA BROWN

CORPORATE STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE INSIDER RISK PROGRAM
MERCK

“I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference it makes for employee engagement and culture as well as a more tangible results and customer experience and business results. When people come into this group and understand, even to the earlier point about sales and marketing, you get them together and marketing will say, ‘look, we heard you. This is what we’re cooking up. Do you think this is going to work with customer base or not? Let’s test it.’

The next real a-ha was we could get our organization to do the test and learn that I had struggled with for years because people in the past had always looked at it as ‘this is a really firm decision. We’re going to be stuck with this decision. We don’t know the risk associated it’. You’re able to negotiate with leaders in legal and privacy and regulatory and all other saying, ‘look, this is a two week test. The risk is very low. Let’s just do this. We’ll all have eyes on it. We’ll see how it goes’. Things started to work in a very different way and then the anxieties that other leaders had outside of marketing decreased. They felt more in control. They felt more ownership of the actual results.

Another big a-ha is a common goal. All of these cross functions had a common goal and they were going to get success or not together and that’s very different from saying ‘my goal is market share’ and ‘my goal is no letters from the FDA’. It’s very different. We’re sharing a different goal together. I also learned firsthand that we were a company about perfection and we would rather get out a glossy campaign that had all tactics but they were all pretty much similar. They were not following our mantra of right message, right channel, right time. Through this, we learned that we could do it 80% good and test and learn and that made a huge difference, not just on the work we were doing, but that started to filter out to the rest of the organization and to the leadership.

It’s the right approach. We didn’t know this a couple years ago. We were saying ‘Do we put our toe in?. We are really believing in this’. Again, it goes back to our customers want speed. They want to have their needs addressed. They don’t want the consistent messaging every time they connect with you. They want it to be authentic. Agile is just a tool but it’s helping us with our customer connection and it’s also helping us with our culture.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“I think the word that you just used, authentic, is something that we haven’t mentioned enough today, in my presentation or the panel. Absolutely, again and again, what we hear both physicians and patients are craving is authenticity – something that you can trust and that hits you in the heart rather than always just at the mind.

Maybe with that as context, the title of this panel is ‘Marketer of the Future’, that’s how we’re starting today. How would each of you describe your vision for the ultimate marketer of the future? What can people do today to put themselves on the trajectory to be that ultimate marketer of the future?”

TRICIA BROWN

CORPORATE STRATEGY, ENTERPRISE INSIDER RISK PROGRAM
MERCK
“I believe it’s a few things. We have high standards to be successful with this changing environment in our complex industry. I think the functional skills, are always going to be important. You touched on them today, Brian, about how we need to understand data and analytics and be able to pull through key insights. We need to have good creative and good content. We need to have some level of expertise around customer experience. I think we can draw on some of our functional subject matter experts, but as marketing leaders, we need to know some of that.

Risk is critical. I would say through the course of my career, when you can take a risk and try a new area, when you can get perspective in different divisions that are working on business problems that are related to marketing, they’re going to give you fresh perspective. They’re going to give you new skills and tools that you can use and add to your armamentarium.

It’s critical to get the outside perspective. We always talk about that but very few of us take the time to do it. It could be a networking forum like the DHC is bringing us today. Dring this time period, I don’t have a long commute anymore. I’m trying to invest more in listening to podcasts and things not necessarily even related to my role. Because it helps you think more broadly about what the world is going through and asking ‘how can I use that to become not just a better marketer but a better person and a better marketing leader?’.

That’s the last piece of this. The leadership, someone said this today, is so much more important than it ever was. We need to understand diversity. We need to encourage inclusion. We need to be compassionate people for our direct reports and our colleagues. We need to model what a good leader is so that we can bring our teams through these tough times and show resiliency and actually thrive from that.”

JAY APPEL

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLDWIDE DIGITAL MARKETING HUB
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB
“With regards to the pathing piece, around how you can prepare for this future, which Tricia eloquently stated – one of the things that I haven’t seen in my career and I would love to start to see is when you look at the typical path of the brand marketer in pharma, a lot of them have been born out of the field force. A lot of the checkboxes have typically included those brand roles and access roles and field roles, but nobody stops in my shop, not typically. When they do and we get them, most of them come in and then they’re trying to leave to get to that brand position, which is fantastic. But I would love to see something happen over the next couple of years, especially as this field becomes more important with regards to digital, that this is a stop on that path that really differentiates the greatest brand lead from others in the organization.

Again, I understand why it hasn’t necessarily been a key stop but if you’re not seeing this year being the year to differentiate yourself as you move through an organization and this being the right stop to have that experience, it could be a preceptorship, it doesn’t have to be something that’s permanent. I’d rather it be permanent. Organizations need to really look at these types of groups more so than they have in the past in terms of a requirement for being able to lead these functions. We talk about integrated. We’re part of that team. In order to lead that team, having that experience would help. I would hope that a 2025 marketer maybe came from a little bit of a different path than some of our traditional marketers have come across the industry.”
dan gandor

DAN GANDOR

Director, US Customer Experience, Oncology & Virology
Abbvie
“If I can add a slight tilt to that, I agree with the sentiments of Tricia and Jay completely, but in some ways, I feel like the marketer of the future, a successful marketer of the future, is no different than a successful marketer of the past, someone with a fervent dedication to the customer. The more you understand your customer, the more you focus and deliver what they need, not what you need as a pharma company or what your brand wants or needs but really what they need, what they want. That’s going to be a recipe for success.

Now, we need to realize there’s plenty of marketers who grew up in the pharma ivory tower or grew up in the sales vertical, and therefore, they think they have a customer centricity, but they really don’t. Yes, you have to have the fundamentals and the technical skills, which are more digital than ever before and more integrated than ever before, but the other element that’s going to be needed for successful pharma marketers is having that customer centric focus and the ability to do that orchestration or facilitation across the different functions.

To Jay’s point, teams like ours, are a great breeding ground for folks who can successfully do that. I would love to see more folks come through our shop because, one, it will build those technical skills automatically and force you to work in that cross functional, orchestrator, aligner, facilitator way. I think it checks a lot of those boxes and sets folks up for success in the future.”

BRIAN FOX

Senior Partner
Mckinsey & company
“Thank you all for sharing your perspectives and very inspiring vision for where we’re going. Your collective vision is grounded in the customer and how we can better serve our patients and the physicians that care for them – a vision that is very empowering for the marketer of the future because the marketer of the future is at the center of all of this. Exciting times for all of us. Thank you all for your wisdom and your leadership.”

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