While the industry lacks the understanding, organization, and experience to measure digital marketing returns, it's slowly
moving forward with implementation. Here's what the survey revealed:
Execs lack digital knowledge When asked to rate their understanding of digital marketing, nearly 45 percent of respondents said they "need to know more."
Asked how prepared their companies are to plan and implement digital marketing strategies, only 12 percent said "well organized."
More than a third said they were "not very well organized."
Measure ROI more easily with the right tools Respondents were equally concerned with their lack of experience with new digital marketing platforms and the inability to
prove ROI with them—though many of the latest digital marketing tools and techniques actually make it easier to measure ROI.
Close to 50 percent cited regulatory issues as a top concern.
Search engine marketing does the job Not surprisingly, pharma marketers cite search engine marketing, webinars, and organic search as their most effective digital
vehicles. (See above.) Least effective: blogs and virtual networks. Interestingly, social networks, considered promising within
the industry, were also on the low side of effectiveness.
The digital revolution has yet to hit While companies do use digital marketing channels, half of the respondents spend 10 percent or less of their budget on digital.
The majority of pharma marketers (57 percent) are spending the most on what they are familiar with, mainly their own Web sites.
Relatively few (10 percent) are spending toward Web 2.0 vehicles such as blogs, social networks, and video.
CEOs have most influence on strategies Digital marketing influence appears to come from the top down: next to business line/country managers, CEOs have the most
influence on digital marketing strategies. Surprisingly, finance, which controls the purse strings, ranks below IT in influence.
Don't Wait, Integrate
Pharma's reluctance to deploy Web 2.0 tools is rooted in a lack of familiarity and a perceived inability to measure ROI. The
fact that pharmaceutical marketers are not even experimenting with these tools will hamper efforts to fully integrate digital
marketing within the organization. As it is now, they are missing opportunities to fully engage consumers and boost compliance.
There is a silver lining, however. Pharmaceutical marketers plan to fully integrate digital marketing in their strategies.
Digital marketing spend is expected to rise, and digital has at least "some influence" in hiring, as organizations move more
toward its adoption.
Bottom line: Pharma companies risk falling behind unless they recognize the need to utilize digital marketing platform tools
to effectively reach their audiences.
For more information on the "Digital Marketing in Pharma" study, further interpretation of the results, and case studies
pertaining to overcoming sales and marketing challenges, contact David Johnson, vice president, MarketBridge, at firstname.lastname@example.org