Pharma Marketers: 6 Key Skills Every Brand Champion Will Possess

In our ever-changing media landscape, coupled with increasingly powerful ePatient communities, a demand for new standards has arisen.  As a result, Pharma [and in reality all marketers] must accelerate their skills in six key areas to separate their marketing communications, and become brand champions. 

Read the full article in DTC Perspectives March 2011: Tough Demands to Galvanize Marketing Communications: 2011 Brand Champions Will Possess Six Key Skills.

Every marketer knows that spurring brand and patient success requires building on wisdom from the past, while honing new abilities to educate, motivate and converse with patients and their families.  Savvy marketers know that the 4P’s – also renamed SIVA [Solution, Information, Value, Access] to provide greater customer focus- have never been more critical.  In addition, 2011 brand champions are challenged to create Michael Porter’s “shared value”, accelerating skills in six areas:

  1. Dynamic listening and action, real-time. Astute marketers take dynamic listening seriously- they know who to listen to, where to listen, what’s most important to take note of, and are eminently geared to take action by responding nimbly to new learning.  Champion marketers know that listening without action is as dangerous as acting without listening.
  2. Curating information and content marketing to deliver value to patients, families and their communities. Be vigilant: curating and content marketing require a different mindset than traditional copy writing.  The first is more educational in nature and the second, designed to get the reader to take a specific action, is inherently more “salesy.”  Both are critical for successful marketers today; both can help the other work harder.
  3. Pinpointing boundary-less consumers at that critical moment of truth–when they are in need or curious to learn.  Media planning used to be easy; now there are many more options to consider, each with distinct creative and technical needs, without an easy formula. Should you be actively considering mobile health technologies? YouTube?
  4. Communicating for an ADHD-like world. Is the Internet Changing the Way You think? edited by John Brockman, shows a continual theme among both the enthusiasts and skeptics; the Internet isn’t changing the way we think, it is exacerbating the deceptively simple challenge of “attention management”…the new Darwinian imperative may be “the survival of the focused.”
  5. Relinquishing the struggle for control. Controlled customer communication is a dream from the past.  “One result of the Internet revolution is that ‘the people formerly known as the patients/audience’ became publishers and broadcasters-and pundits and critics”. [Lee Rainie, Pew Internet Project Online Health Seeking]
  6. Catalyzing growing teams of specialists. Keeping a brand, its specialists and partners in lockstep takes new facilitation, integration and leadership skills to insure seamless delivery and a focused brand message, look and feel.

Fair warning; these critical skills won’t be best learned by reading a bestseller, taking in a webinar or delegating to a junior team member or vendor; they require ongoing experimenting and doing. As Malcolm Gladwell points out, it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to become a consistently great performer.

Champions know that there’s nothing new about upgrading and honing new skills–it’s the practice of a lifetime. For DTC marketers, the task gets more complex every year.  Choosing what to learn, where to focus, when to bring in new expertise will be a big part of what boosts the champs over the finish.

Any important skills I might have missed?

Which Pharma companies do you think are working hard to accelerate the use of these six skills? Sanofi-Aventis? Novo Nordisk? Roche? AstraZeneca?

Look forward to your thoughts.