Steve Rothman, CCG Metamedia

June 2, 2008

To paraphrase a candidate from a long-ago political season: It's the science, stupid. Yes, access to good (hopefully great) creative is still a baseline expectation of clients. But it's just the beginning, and the distillation of insights into effective creative can carry agencies and brands only so far these days. In this environment, there is an enormous burden of proof that must be met to build belief and sustain confidence in new and existing products. That burden can be met only with a broad-based, intensive focus on science and medicine. That places a premium on the work that has traditionally been the domain of strategic science and medical education agencies. The difference for agencies today is that they must embrace new creative approaches and multichannel technologies to deliver solid science programs in a digital world. The product visual aid isn't dead, but it is diminished and simply can't shoulder the weight it has in the past.

To paraphrase a candidate from a long-ago political season: It's the science, stupid. Yes, access to good (hopefully great) creative is still a baseline expectation of clients. But it's just the beginning, and the distillation of insights into effective creative can carry agencies and brands only so far these days. In this environment, there is an enormous burden of proof that must be met to build belief and sustain confidence in new and existing products. That burden can be met only with a broad-based, intensive focus on science and medicine. That places a premium on the work that has traditionally been the domain of strategic science and medical education agencies. The difference for agencies today is that they must embrace new creative approaches and multichannel technologies to deliver solid science programs in a digital world. The product visual aid isn't dead, but it is diminished and simply can't shoulder the weight it has in the past.

Today, there's a blurring line between medical education and brand marketing in the minds of product managers. And it's only going to accelerate as the pressure on the industry mounts, as skepticism grows, as pipelines falter. It's all about meeting the scientific burden of proof, not about shouting from the rooftop through traditional advertising approaches.

More than ever, marketing to physicians means education. And it's not a mass marketing exercise; increasingly, it's a grassroots effort. You need to influence not only the national (and international) thought leaders, but also the regional and local influencers. You have to tap into their social networks, and build the case. Physicians want to get into the weeds of the science and literature and hear from their colleagues. And agencies need to be able to meet them there as facilitators.

The Skinny

NYC-based CCG Metamedia offers scientific communications for a digital world. In 2008, CCG spun off a sister company, Quicksilver Science, in NJ.

Telephone: 212-268-2100

E-mail: rothman@ccgmetamedia.com

Web site: ccgmetamedia.com