Marketing is shaping the future

No progress without risk. No future without questionmark. Evolution can´t be stopped. And that is good.
Because there is no chance to shape when there is no uncertainity, Only those who accept these challenges, will participate in shaping the future. Speed, creativity, flexibility and transparency are keys to master the future of healthcare marketing and to lead companies to success.

Our network Worldwide Partners, the largest of owner managed agencies, celebrated in May its 75th anniversiary in Zurich with the motto “celebrating the past, shaping the future”. World renowned speakers like Salim Ismail or David Bosshart jointly with the Worldwide Partners illuminated scenarios for the future –long term and in the medium term. In addition 20 strategists from the networks healthcare agencies exchanged views on local and global trends in Pharma and Healthcare.

More chances than risks.

The view to the future is fascinating and frightening at the same time. But all agreed, that chances dominate despite all of the risks, provided the opportunities are seized.

To do so, you do not need to have such an excessive faith in progress and breakthrough technologies as Salim Ismail, founding Executive Director of Singularity University, based in Silicon Valley. He and his organization see exponential growth in the healthcare sector in the following fields:
 „Information & Data Driven health“- big data for more information and knowledge to enhance diagnostics, prevention and therapy.
„Personalized Medicine & „Omics“: from systems medicine to synthetic biology und DIY- genomics.
„Regenerative Medicine“: from cell therapy to limb regeneration to 3D printing of organs.
„Interventions“: from robotic surgery, smart pills to targeted gene therapy to nanomedicine.
„Neuromedicine“ vom real time brain imaging, to BCI, to targeted neurointervention.
„Med Tech, Biotech & Enterpreneurship“:from drive to lower costs to faster and more effective therapies.

David Bosshart, CEO of the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Switzerland expressed optimisme as well. His view into the future was more one from the perspective of the society and how people will experience it.
According to him everything will be faster, we will chew faster, therefore our teeth will change. Through tablets and smartphones we work and react faster, our manual dexterity and our posture will alter. We will sleep faster. There will be new medical devices and therapies in shorter time intervalls, but also new diseases. We will be more creative and more efficient whether through new technologies or new interactions with friends or strangers through cloud sourcing. The development of new products accelerates, but they are faster outdated and obsolete.

Only strong and flexible ones will survive.

Another speaker noted, that this accelaration leads to a shortening of the half-life periods of companies . IBM´s first crisis came after 30 years. As IBM was a strong brand the company survived, whereas others dissappeared, who had been even more innovative, but they were surpasssed by even faster developers and copiers. Today also innovativ companies like Facebook and others, have only very few years to prosper, unless they re-invent themselves regularily.

Even if you don´t look so far ahead, there still will be far reaching changes in the Healthcare industry. Increasing regulation, fragmented target groups and ever augmenting cost pressure, all this means more challenges for the players in the healthcare market.
According to the participants Big Pharma will buy or merge and /or diversify, as cost and time for development of new products reach highs never seen before. There are no blockbusters to be expected, niche products will be the focus of the industry. Biotechnology offers perspectives. Biosimilars and generica might win. Integrated therapies and care will become more important, as well as personalized medicine and prevention. The discussion panelists are convinced that the Healthcare and Wellcare sector will grow- rx-pharma more in developing countries than in the western ones. They expect good growth opportunities in life-style medicaments and OTC, as consumers will search and pay for means to improve their general well-being- at least in societies with strong purchasing power.

Creative CMO's and strong partners are required

The strong cost pressure leads to put marketing budgets under scrutinity as so often before, especially the traditional means of the past will get under pressure. Nevertheless in future there are a lot of chances for marketing, as the need to think and act in marketing increases. Changes require new approaches – in direction of marketing and communication.

  • „ Less product innovation: that has to be compensated by marketing- and process-innovation” one of the participants cited a ME-Booz-Study.
  • New business fields and new business models: Marketing has to participate in these decisions and has to deliver insights and input.
  • Target groups change: As payers are in control, the collaboration with health insurance organizations and health economy marketing will be more relevant.
  • The role of patients changes: they inform themselves and exert more influence on the choice of medication. From sick-care to well-care: the empowered patient becomes an empowered consumer, for all products that are no more prescribed and paid for. That is why marketing needs to acquire more expertise in consumer marketing and social media communication.
  • Communication to doctors and pharmacists will remain important but the form will change. Healthcare professionals need support in their interaction and communication with patients. The participants did not agree with V. Khosla, who was cited by S. Ismail, that 80% of doctors will be redundant in short time.
  • Additional target groups gain importance e.g. regulation bodies, associations, media, patient organisations. It will be important to regain trust in the pharmaindustry through transparency.
  • All of these changes, alreadyto be seen on the horizon, require CMO-s that are creative and strong and provident agency consultants, who think in new means and new communication mixes. There are numerous challenges ahead of us. Let´s start together to shape the future now.
  • This article was first published in Pharma Marketing Germany, June 13 edition

    Ingrid Wächter-Lauppe ist Geschäftsführerin der Wächter & Wächter Worldwide Partners in München.
    Kontakt: i.waechterlauppe@waechter-waechter.de