To paraphrase a recent NYT magazine cover article, “is our innovative saturated culture as magnificent as we like to think? How many new products actually improve our lives, as opposed to distracting us from more productive activities?”
The answer is a resounding yes, which brings me to my question. Why is the most innovative industry (with all due respect to Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison) in such an innovation-obsessed culture so unadventurous in their marketing programs? I’m talking about the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. These are the innovators that eliminated polio, turned HIV/AIDS into a chronic condition and not the death sentence it once was and vastly improved the lives of cancer patients.
Such courageous and forward thinking product development deserves equally as courageous marketing support. Like at the bench, technology is offering the marketer an arsenal of tools and channels to reach and empower a new generation of informed and involved patients. The same can said of HCP communications. Across the spectrum of Site, Search, Social and Mobile, responsible, outcome driven messaging can be shared with the reach, relevance and resonance that once seemed impossible.
Obviously, given the investment that a manufacturer puts into the discovery process, the hypersensitivity protecting that investment is understandable and needs to be respected and shared with marketing agency partners. That said, in the spirit of truly life changing innovation, it’s time for pharma and biotech to take the next step by taking full advantage to the communication channels other innovations have afforded them.