Marketing modeling mix for pharma and budgeting for 2013

Rodica Ceslov

Wild Frog Studio

Continuing the theme of marketing excellence, Rodica Ceslov discusses the most effective marketing modeling mix for pharma in 2013 and addresses budgetary considerations.

As pharmaceutical companies prepare to discuss allocations for 2013 budgets, many companies will be revising their current marketing strategies to accommodate consumers’ rising reliance on social media, web research and mobile. The challenge for CMOs and VPs of marketing who view digital and emerging media channels as key components of an effective marketing modeling mix to guide strategic budget allocations is deciding which digital initiative to devote resources to and how best to integrate them into the overall marketing strategy successfully.

Due to economic pressures in the recent past, most pharmaceutical and healthcare companies downsized, not only reducing staff, but also reducing marketing budgets. However, budgets for 2013 are expected to see a redistribution of resources from reactionary to more proactive campaigns. Based on recent data, building brand awareness, customer acquisition and customer retention will be the key marketing goals for 2013 budgets with 56% of surveyed professionals projecting that social media and social networking sites will record the strongest investment.


“…building brand awareness, customer acquisition and customer retention will be the key marketing goals for 2013 budgets…”


Social media can be just as effective when it comes to marketing products and services to physicians, as it is marketing to consumers. While traditional marketing strategies to physicians have worked in the past and will not be completely replaced, successful companies will be devoting more resources toward reaching online medical communities via social media by bringing more “medical communication specialists” on staff or hire specialized agencies to engage with physicians online.

Physicians have been among the earliest adopters of mobile technologies and today a large majority of physicians are digitally active, accessing multiple devices and networks as part of their day-to-day activities1,2. Statistics show that 81% of physicians now own Smartphones while 30% own iPads and use these devices to engage in social media for personal or professional purposes. Furthermore, an estimated 83% of consumers are currently utilizing various online media to research healthcare-related topics, with 66% of that research devoted to looking up a specific disease or problem, 55% of research dedicated to analyzing information on specific treatments or procedures, and 45% of research dedicated to finding information on prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.


“… successful companies will be devoting more resources toward reaching online medical communities via social media…”


Effective marketing modeling mixes for the coming year will incorporate both owned media, including opt-in text messaging services, social media campaigns, and campaigns compatible with multiple devices, and paid media including traditional print, television, and video advertising. Also incorporated is the earned media, the result of both paid and owned media, which includes blog reviews, third party reviews, ratings, and open market discussion forums. In 2013, pharmaceutical companies are expected to focus energies on acquiring real-time data analysis to effectively allocate resources. While annual budget reports can provide analysis for effectiveness of past marketing campaigns and provide an accurate snapshot of consumer demand, emphasis on making budgetary decisions on this information alone is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Combining this traditional demand data with real-time marketing modeling mix software can optimize allocation decisions for 2013. Innovative companies now offer marketing software that produces accurate data quickly to best assess social media campaigns. Because effective online campaigns largely depend on real-time decision-making and the most up-to-date information, marketing modeling mix software can be a good investment for companies hoping to update their current strategies.


“The most successful companies in 2013 will be the quickest – quick to gather market data, and quick to interpret that data and act.”


According to Forrester research, the hallmark of an effective marketing modeling mix should mirror the model’s output recommendations, and the recommendation for pharma companies as a whole includes more attention to social and digital marketing media. Research has shown that 60 million consumers now share their health-related issues online, and 72% of physicians are now connected to various social media, with the most professionals engaged on Facebook and WebMD. Approximately 60% of these professionals are now using social media for discussions and forums, as well as continuing education and conducting research, and over 82% of physicians now access WebMD to view videos for professional purposes. The importance of social media and website optimization campaigns are only expected to increase, with 216 hospitals now embracing social media, and 56% of pharmaceutical marketing budgets allocated towards social media outlets.

In the pharmaceutical world, change is coming fast. The social era that we live in has different rules for competition and success. No longer will the largest institutions be the most successful. The most successful companies in 2013 will be the quickest – quick to gather market data, and quick to interpret that data and act. Those companies that reshape existing business models to extend beyond marketing products or providing customer service via social channels will experience the most growth.


1. Pharma 7 Cee

2. PR News Wire



About the author:

Rodica Ceslov is president of Wild Frog Studio, a dynamic full-service firm helping companies create go-to-market strategies and execute product launches for new products, new product line extensions and re-packaging existing products. She has worked for clients in a variety of industries, including: health care, pharmaceutical, technology, real estate, publishing, management consulting, non profit, retail, food, beauty and entertainment.

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How will you decide which digital initiative to devote resources to in 2013?