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An ideal partner is one that will work with manufacturers on a variable cost basis, providing the ability to scale resources up and down as new products are introduced and marketing and sales needs change.
Agency consolidation has been a popular strategy for large pharma over the past several years. While consolidation has resulted in cost reductions by driving volume into fewer partners, it also redefines marketing as a cost to manage rather than an investment to drive results. As a result of this commoditization, the quality and effectiveness of marketing programs can sometimes suffer.
In the emerging global markets, pharmaceutical manufacturers need to be less focused on consolidation, and more focused on deploying the right resources at the right time, at the right cost, to take advantage of local opportunities.
Although the emerging markets are all growing rapidly, there are substantial differences among these markets that require manufacturers to take very different approaches to achieve commercial success. For example, in some markets companies may need to focus on managing regulatory and access issues, while other markets may require robust sales forces. Traditional advertising agency networks are not particularly well suited to address all of these needs. Instead, manufacturers should be seeking partners with a more diverse set of capabilities that can support a broader range of needs, while increasing flexibility and reducing risk. In addition, because pharmaceutical manufacturers face greater cost pressures and narrower margins in emerging markets, they need to be targeted in their investments.