Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: advertising, adweek, Big Pharma, brands, Harris Interactive, tv
If you answered pharma, then you’re right when compared only to the financial industry. But according to a new poll conducted by Harris Interactive and AdweekMedia, when compared to the soft drink, fast food, and auto industries, pharmaceuticals ads come in as least trustworthy by Americans.
Of the five industries about which the poll inquired, soft drinks had the highest “most trustworthy” vote (34 percent) and the lowest “least trustworthy” score (4 percent). Fast food was the runner-up in both respects (22 percent “most trustworthy,” 10 percent “least trustworthy”).
Each of the polls’ other three ad categories had more negative than positive votes. Pharmaceuticals was ranked “most trustworthy” by 18 percent and “least trustworthy” by 29 percent. The automotive industry fared a bit better, at 14 percent “most trustworthy” and 19 percent “least trustworthy.” Financial services did worst of all, at 13 percent “most trustworthy” and 38 percent “least trustworthy.”
Want to weigh in on the conversation? Check out the full article here at Adweek.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Big Pharma, brands, healthcare, marketing, pharmaceutical rep, physicians, product manager, transparency, trust
New day. Same story.
The pharmaceutical industry is going through a transformation — not only has it been consolidating with mega-mergers like the one between Merck (MRK) and Schering-Plough, but it’s facing a major patent cliff as the revenues from the blockbuster drugs of the 1990s fall prey to generic competition.
Yet, these larger changes have led to shifts in other parts of the industry, too. Since Big Pharma can no longer rely on new blockbuster drugs to pad their top line, these companies now have to transform how they do business to include the biotech model of finding drugs for diseases with smaller patient populations. This also means a major overhaul of how the industry sells its product to the masses.
Pharmaceutical sales reps will be the first to tell you that the industry is scaling down. Once plentiful — there were more than 100,000 reps in 2005 — the drug sales rep is quickly becoming part of the past. A recent report by Deloitte proclaimed to the industry to change its sales models or bust.
An article in the Indianapolis Star this week shows just how much sales rep are despised by the very doctors they’re supposed to woo. Doctors have been pushing for sales reps to make appointments and cut down their pitch time. In some cases, doctors are asking to ban their presence altogether (one in four doctors now refuses to meet with reps, according to the Deloitte report).
But doctors’ dislike of this incredibly aggressive and confident class of individuals isn’t the only reason that the sales rep is becoming extinct. Doctors are no longer the key decision makers when it comes to what drugs are being prescribed. That decision now rests heavily with consumers (who are highly affected by direct-to-consumer advertising), and even more so with insurers who are the primary payers for the often over-priced drugs being pushed by the pharma companies.
Pharmaceutical companies aren’t blind to the problem. The past year has been a bloodbath for pharmaceutical peddlers. AstraZeneca (AZN) said in 2007 that it would cut 7,600 people by 2013; it later upped that number to 15,000. The company didn’t say where those jobs would come from, but the sales force was offered the buyout first. Sepracor, wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan’s Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma, reduced its number by 530 in 2009, bringing its sales force to 1,325 people. King Pharmaceuticals (KG) eliminated 380 field sales positions last year, bringing its total number of reps down to 720 and Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) cut 750 people from its sales roster.
Jump to 2010: Pfizer (PFE) cut 556 sales reps as part of its broader layoffs due to its merger with Wyeth last year. Earlier in the month, Merck eliminated 400 positions from the Schering-Plough headquarters in New Jersey with a majority coming from the sales team. This is on top of the 1,000 sales reps that Schering laid off in 2008 before its merge.
So how will the new pharmaceutical sales landscape look?
It’s likely that insurance companies are going to be playing an even bigger role in which prescriptions become the drugs of choice. Meanwhile, Big Pharma will likely look to outsourced sales rep to educate those same insurance companies. As a plus for doctors, their knowledge will likely have to come more from medical journals and other non-biased sources.
“Pharma’s challenges require a detailed understanding of each stakeholder’s role and contribution to value,” says W. Scott Evangelista, principal at Deloitte. “By better understanding every stakeholder’s unique needs and motivators, a pharma company would be better equipped to improve its internal capabilities — e.g., knowledge, skills, tools — to interact more effectively with each constituent.”
Filed under: pharmaceutical marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: Big Pharma, bmj, brands, cochrane, pharma, pharmaceutical, tamiflu, transparency, trust
The internet was blazing hot yesterday and today about the latest, in now an ever-growing list of transparency issues with Big Pharma and blockbuster drugs. The latest victim – Roche’s Tamiflu. According to a recent analysis published by the British Medical Journal, it was concluded that Tamiflu had “modest effectiveness” against the symptoms of the flu in otherwise healthy adults — cutting symptoms by about a day.
The report, an update of a 2005 analysis by Cochrane Collaboration, excluded eight studies funded by Roche that haven’t been published and whose full data wasn’t given to the researchers. The exclusion reversed the group’s earlier finding that Tamiflu protects against complications.
The report raises questions about how drugs are reviewed, approved and distributed, Fiona Godlee, the British journal’s editor in chief, wrote in an editorial. The studies originally used to establish the benefits of Tamiflu were written by Roche employees and paid consultants, under-reported serious side effects and failed to clearly identify all the authors, she wrote. In at least one case, a study was attributed to a researcher who disavowed any involvement to the journal, Godlee wrote.
Follow the story here:
Filed under: pharmaceutical marketing, physician | Tags: advertising, agency, Big Pharma, brand manager, brands, education, pharmaceutical rep, physicians, relationships, transparency, trust
The “conspirators” have been revealed—the Pharmageddon2012 “conspirators” that is. This past week, the November issue of MedAd News broke a story on Pharmageddon2012 and the people behind the scene—S+R Medical Communications (SRMC) and Friday Morning.
For those of you who have not taken the time to check out Pharmageddon2012, this multifaceted website uses a variety of social media outlets to carefully and anonymously describe what we believe is the pharma industry’s greatest problem—the breakdown of communication and trust between physicians and the industry.
The site, describes the issues and problems that exist but what it doesn’t address is the passion, belief, and attitude of those people at SRMC and Friday Morning who have to live and deal with the implications of what Pharmageddon2012 represents. You must admit a campaign like Pharmageddon2012 could be risky for a business that that has spent over 18 years enabling and helping our pharma clients devise the very same communication pieces and strategies that we believe contributed to the demise of physician trust.
However, we also believe that someone needs to lead the charge for change and why shouldn’t it be SRMC and Friday Morning? We spent the last 10 years closely watching, listening, and seeing firsthand the strategies and tactics that led to the mistrust problems. We were frustrated and angry about the situation, and we struggled to understand what new strategies and solutions we might incorporate into our business model. The end objective is to help us build our success—and, equally as important, that of our clients.
To that end, we must help clients find ways to restore physician confidence AND improve patient outcomes.
So while we are willing put our collective necks on the line, the real question is which pharma companies will be the first to understand and see the need for communicating with physicians in a different way? Which companies will choose to use educational programming that is needs-based? Are you, as a pharma marketer, willing to use total transparency and clarity as you describe ALL of the important aspects of how your brand is best used? When a physician asks, “Which of my patients are specifically and best suited for what your product does?” what will your sales force say? How will you provide educational and promotional programs that allow your sales force to bring value and relationship building to every sales call?
Is YOUR pharma company willing be a leader and change the pharma/physician communication model back to a constructive, trusting, value-based relationship? Do you believe that you can participate in this change process and at the same time positively impact your brand’s financial achievements? It’s tough to be a leader and to stand out from the crowd. But in fact, that is the opportunity that is before us right now.
If you have the same passion and spirit for this issue as we do, if your brain and heart tell you it is time to do it differently, please contact me. I can show you how we can work together to put our industry, your company, and your products back on a more productive, positive path.
CEO, North State Resources, Inc.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: ad, advertising, Big Pharma, brand manager, brands, business week, client, creative, marketing
Every brand manager, marketing director, CMO, account person and creative wants to know - what makes the perfect ad? Is it the headline or the visual? What about that brilliant logo? Maybe it’s the call-to-action or the tagline that keeps them coming back for more? Or that one design element that caused you to stop in your tracks and stand at attention?
Whatever it may be, the folks at Business Week (Steve McKee) have created a simple list to tell you what it shouldn’t be:
1. Boring. Yep, boring. Why do we watch TV, listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or go online? Three reasons: information, entertainment, and engagement. Ads that fail to offer at least two of these three benefits flop.
2. Boorish. You shouldn’t think of your advertising as being about your brand, you should think of it as an extension of your brand (see “A Practical Guide to Branding”). If it’s loud, annoying, insulting, offensive, or self-centered, people will think the same of your products or services (see “The Cocktail Party Test for Advertising”).
3. Safe. If you worry too much about offending someone, you’re likely to not attract anyone.
4. Trying to do too much. The best an ad can do is communicate one single, compelling idea, and in the age of the Internet—when people know they can go online to get all the additional information they need—it’s crazy to ask an ad to do more than that.
5. Fixing a non-advertising problem. A common mistake many companies make is trying to use advertising to fix another problem. It may be faulty or outdated product design, an uncompetitive cost structure, customer service letdowns, or any number of other things. It’s not as if they do so intentionally; it’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to put on a new coat of paint than it is to fix the foundation that’s causing the drywall to crack.
Read Steve’s full list here.
Filed under: advertising, pharmaceutical marketing | Tags: Big Pharma, brands, drugs, FDA, healthcare, patient education, physicians, products, relationship, safety, trust
What needs to be done? Start here.
Filed under: advertising | Tags: advertising, Big Pharma, brands, marketing, pharma, s&r communications group
In an earlier posting, I described the evolution of agencies and how clients expect and demand that agencies generate ideas, strategies and creative executions in essence, for no charge. That is, an issue or opportunity is identified and the agency creates an idea. Perhaps the client even invites other agencies to submit ideas, and/or may even bid the original provider’s idea out, yet no one gets compensated.
In a recent Medical Marketing & Media article by Mike Myers, Palio, Mr. Myers provides his own thoughts for a fair agency value/compensation strategy. While I agree in principle with what Mr. Myers writes, I am still confused as to how the agency sets the program costs upon a true basis of value and fair compensation. That being said, I totally agree that agencies should indeed be fairly compensated for the ideas they bring, especially if the client requests the agency to expend time, resources and effort.
To illustrate my point perhaps more humorously, if not poignantly, I recently came across the following video on YouTube. To use the old adage that a picture (video clip) says a thousand words, I think you will get it after watching. Enjoy!
Filed under: brands | Tags: advertising, agency, Big Pharma, brands, ideas, marketing, product manager
I once started working for a Commercial Vice President at a large pharma company who told me he kept a yellow sticky note on his bathroom mirror where he could see it every morning. The note had one word on it: “PUSH!” After I had spent several months in my new position, I understood the reason for this daily reminder. In any organization, good ideas will never be developed and executed without someone relentlessly pushing them every day.
As a pharma product manager, you have certainly experienced this first hand. No matter how brilliant your idea, somebody in your company (or multiple somebodies) will tell you that your idea is:
• Too risky
• Too expensive
• Not a high priority
• Too early
• Too late
• In need of more consideration
• In need of revision
Today’s pharma business model depends on ideas and projects being subject to the consensus opinion of stakeholders. Unfortunately, your team of stakeholders includes talented, well-meaning colleagues and supervisors whose job it is to throw cold water on your idea, or at least modify it beyond recognition. Even if your idea survives the consensus test, you soon realize that it is your priority, and often yours alone.
This sets up the next problem—ideas, like stalled cars, have inertia. Unless they are pushed continuously, they stop moving. Once they stop, it takes much more energy to get them moving again than if you hadn’t stop pushing in the first place. But enough amateur physics—the point is that the progress of an idea, even a great one, will grind to a halt unless it has a champion. That champion is you, the product manager.
It’s tempting to play it safe, to only push projects that are likely to have consensus and not ruffle any feathers. But the safe path is only an illusion—in the end, you will primarily be held accountable for the success of your brand, not how well you avoided conflict with stakeholders.
So keep thinking big! Work with your agency to develop great ideas. Be bold and challenge your stakeholders to do the same. And keep that sticky note where you can see it every morning.