Pharma Marketing is Dead! Long Live Pharma Marketing!


This is the third post in our series on pharma marketing. Also read our previous posts here and here.

There are two types of marketing approaches these days: old-school and new-school. Some very successful companies understand and embrace these new marketing developments (new-school), while others just don’t get it (old-school) – the latter follow the same paths they have always trampled upon. Let’s give you some examples so you know what we are talking about:

  • Old-school: TV ads, radio ads, bulk mail consignments etc. These essentially try to interrupt you and “shout” at you. They are like a carnival barker who is trying to sell you cheese while youarelooking for rubber bands.
  • New-school: Google Adwords, Bing or Yahoo SEM. These are the paid search results that come up when you are looking for industry-relevant content. These results provide you with product informations (i.e., ads) at the point in time when your are looking for them. While most of us prefer the organic Google results, almost everyone has found useful information in these paid links at one point or the other. They are a bit like the shopkeeper who finds out your needs and directs you to the shelf with the type of products you are looking for.
  • Old-school: Paid editorial content (e.g., like a paid newspaper article). Come on, nobody believes in these companies’ sincerity. It’s so easy to see through to their real goals. These articles are trying to be “news” but they just aren’t. They are pitching their product and we don’t like it.
  • New-school: (Micro)blogging; 37signals is a highly successful internet company. Their blockbuster product – Basecamp – is a lean project management and cooperation tool. On their blog, they teach their audience about things relating to project management, productivity and communication, to name just a few. They are engaging their customers and prospects in a conversation. They transform their readers to customers of their content and eventually to customers of their paid services once they are ready. No pitching and yelling, just smooth engagement.
  • Old-school: Sales-Reps 1.0 like those of many pharmaceutical companies. Pitching drugs and trial results to your doctors just isn’t enough anymore. Many of these folks may be true experts with respect to their drugs, their indications, pathophysiology, alternative treatments etc. But their client approach is plainly intrusive and interrupting.
  • New-school: Expert employees like the Apple Geniuses working in many Apple stores. These folks are essentially support people. You go and see them if you have a hardware- or software problem; or if you just want to learn new tricks. They are not trying to sell you anything. They build up trust in the brand. They demonstrate that someone is there to help you. They are your partners who help you to become experts.

Pharma, let us tell you what we want from you. We want a partner who helps us at becoming better at our jobs. Someone who adds value to our practice. We want a trusted source of information. If everyone else can do it, why not you? We want someone who – most of the time – won’t pitch their products to us. Give us your Pharma Geniuses and we will be more than happy to engage in a conversation with you.



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