Inertia – the pantomime villain of pharma digital

At eyeforpharma eMarketing and Mobile this year my team and I had a serious message that we conveyed in a not-so-serious way, with a few sprinkles of fairy dust.  The question we were trying to answer was:

What makes embracing digital still difficult for pharma? 

Our answer: It is the thing that can affect all of us from time to time, in an industry with historically good margins and plenty of cash in the bank, where employees move within the industry, not into and out of it…we can all be prone to – a sudden attack of Inertia.

Inertia can affect all of us, and if it does, here’s what may happen:

A  marketing leader may ask one brand team member to do “digital stuff” and add it into the plan, rather than re-working the process to design the communications around the customer.

A legal expert may be managed by the risk and say ‘no’ to ‘new’ channels of communication instead of managing the risk and saying ‘let’s work out how’

A sales rep may ‘do what he/she’s always done’ with additional digital tools, rather than seeing the opportunity to transform the customer interaction.

A sales manager may assume that reps are still the only channel really responsible for driving market growth.

A medical affairs manager may find it difficult to translate promotional regulatory guidance into digital interactions and have misplaced compliance concerns, slowing projects down.

Our message was simple, in order to embed digital in pharma you need to do the following:

  • Educate and up-skill all marketers though training and strategic planning workshops
  • Create SOPs and risk mitigation plans for all major channel types
  • Educate sales reps that ‘digital’ is not a gadget, but  a core capability to enhance relationships
  • Build in good smart measurement – prove ROI as you go
  • Work closely with and educate medical colleagues

This isn’t magic, it is just common-sense.  If we do this methodically, we WILL vanquish Inertia in our organisations.


Congleton Town Councillor for the Women's Equality Party. CEO of Kanga Health Ltd - practical digital transformation of healthcare.

Posted in Marketing, pharma

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by Kay Wesley of Kanga Health Ltd

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