What I would Do If I Were a Rx/Dx CMO for a Day

If you were a CMO for a day what would you do differently?

Here are a few immutable truths:

  1. Traditional marketing is declining
  2. Sales rep access is declining.
  3. Market access is changing and under pressure, i.e. Medicare.
  4. Patients are empowered and fully in charge of their health care decisions.
  5. Women hold more sway for health care decisions for their families.
  6. Consumers don't care about your brand, company, drug and only want you when they need you.
  7. Social Media is the biggest change to marketing in a generation.
  8. By and large the generation in charge of marketing is not of the generation that understands social media and the changes to marketing.
  9. Technology is changing at a rate that Pharmaceutical and Diagnostics companies cannot keep pace with.
  10. Relevance is hard to maintain.
If you were head of marketing and no other rules or sacred cows applied, what would you do? 

From a broad perspective, I would:

1. Reorganize to put a pure digital focus in all marketing activities

2. Cut a minimum of 75% of all offline activities on day 1 and move to eliminate all but the most effective 25% of offline activities. 

3. I would begin an internal training program to educate and instill a digital marketing understanding and mindset into the marketing organization. 

4. I would eliminate the physical printing of 90% of marketing materials immediately.  This would save costs immediately, be a step towards putting the organization on a better path to green, and force people into thinking how to deliver differently. 

5. I would develop solutions, benefits and value propositions versus selling features. How can we provide value, build advocacy and develop connections with people over the long term? What's our story?  

6. I would drop the savings from all of the crap marketing straight to the bottom line, which would likely yield a few million or more and buy some grace as the digital takes hold.  

Why? Because digital marketing and social brings the need for a different way of thinking that is customer first and focuses on value. If you change perspective you can change behavior and results. You have to put the customer first and consider what they want first. That alone eliminates the majority of current offline activities that are meaningless, unmeasurable and never seen.  

What would you do? Please note I didn't say anything related to product, this is strictly how I would handle the marketing. Product development and R&D is a separate conversation.  To be continued...

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  1. Josh said...

    You're right in general. But you also have to remember that different products and services have different target audiences. If most of your customers are people not likely to use social media and other forms of electronic advertising, you shouldn't base your entire marketing mix on that tactic. While social media is definitely making inroads and needs to be incorporated at least to some extent into any marketing plan, the exact extent depends on who you're trying to reach.

  2. Jim Lefevere said...

    Thanks for reading and the comment Josh. I am generalizing, but I think the industry can't move fast enough. Patients expect it.

  3. EG said...

    Great post. If you were CMO for a day for sure you would need to spend 75% of your time thinking about your key target market ...physicians and other HCPs. Certainly leveraging digital to off set a shrinking sales force and limited face time is nothing new but the devil is in the details. This is a topic for an online discussion or teleconference but for what it's worth, pharma marketers must find creative ways to reach HCPs within their daily work flow. ..where it makes sense...where it is productive and not disruptive (almost analogous to entrance of Home Depot). Thus mHealth will be a huge opportunity and certain "physician only communities" are also good platforms. However, i would love to hear from others on what brands are doing to "creatively" leverage digital to build relationships with targeted HCPs.

  4. Jim Lefevere said...


    Thanks for the comment and I couldn't agree more with you. mHealth is big and will continue to grow. What we see today from a trend perspective will only compound in the future. Those who delay will be a significant disadvantage.

    I always appreciate good debate. Feel free to DM me, email, etc if you'd like to discuss further.