What is the best structure to enable digital marketing in your organisation? Should a digital marketing team sit in the cross-functional Commercial Excellence team, or should it be dispersed and dedicated to supporting individual Business Units and their agencies? Or should digital sit within the IT function?
Depending upon where your organisation is along the transformation continuum, the skills and expertise you require internally and where they fit in the organisation structure will differ.
Digital marketing’s role is often to educate and consult to the marketing personnel, who may lack this expertise. Global Digital Centres of Excellence have been created in many pharma companies, providing style, process and technology guidance; prioritisation across markets, and centralised content management – storage, reference libraries, content re-use and new content production; with local country based digital specialists and project management support.
Gartner recommends using the checklist below to gauge if a CoE is right for your organization. CoEs are worth exploring when these conditions exist:
- Specific capabilities are needed;
- Specialized knowledge is required;
- Knowledge is difficult to acquire;
- The capability is important to the business;
- Central oversight is required;
- Organization culture and size align with the CoE model; and
- The capability is relatively homogeneous.
Digital Marketing In Healthcare
As pharma continues along the digital transformation continuum, digital marketing is becoming just part of marketing, providing a broader channel mix. However, bringing digital marketing experts into the ranks of the organisation has been slow. Digital marketing is a very broad discipline and many digital marketing specialists are not digital ‘generalists’ and may not have a lot of experience in our industry. Finding that mix of pharma experience and digital expertise has until now been challenging.
Digital activities and communications have already changed the face of healthcare forever. According to Google’s 2012 Report on The Digital Journey to Wellness: Hospital Selection,
- 77% of patients used search;
- 83% used hospital websites;
- 54% used health insurance company sites;
- 50% used health information sites; and
- 26% used consumer-generated reviews
- Of patients who found hospitals on their mobile devices, 44% scheduled an appointment.
Since then, mobile accessibility and optimisation have become a mandatory element in any digital capabilities. According to Eyeforpharma, healthcare has continued to invest more heavily in patient support and R&D areas.
What is clear is that companies will need a deep understanding of the digital world and improved internal skills if they are to succeed.[Eyeforpharma ‘How digital is pharma’, 2017].
In their third consecutive annual survey on digital intensity, Eyeforpharma found that digital communications are extremely important, yet the pharma industry is still considered slow to invest internally, often still opting to outsource digital design, development, deployment and analytics. There is still a gap in capabilities which must be addressed if we are ever to fully internalise digital marketing.
In addition to global pharma digital transformation initiatives, a common practice is to recruit a local digital marketing specialist to educate the organisation, streamline internal production and approval processes, and assist in consulting to the creative agencies. If nothing else, by bringing some digital overseers internally, organisations have found some financial and marketing synergies across projects. This global expertise may sit either within Commercial Excellence or IT as a shared resource and is expected to be sensitive to both the marketing needs and the IT infrastructure capabilities. As digital activities ramp up, be careful that this specialist does not become just a very busy digital project manager, with no time to consult or educate.
The question remains: what is the required mix of digital general and specialist capabilities to cover the broad range of needs from digital project management to websites, social media, and/or user experience and so on?
The question of the types of specialist digital marketing roles businesses need in an organisation is an ongoing challenge. Although some have said that we're now in a 'post-digital era of marketing', the reality is, that although marketing generalists are needed to plan and manage campaigns and product launches and they need a certain level of digital competence, digital specialists will also be needed in large organisations.
It’s important that you have the right digital marketing skills inside your business, but equally important you don’t create silos of separate digital marketing specialists and marketers. [www.smartinsights.com]
What challenges are you facing in your transformation to digital marketing? Whether you require a capabilities assessment, digital training or implementation tools, Actando can help.
Article Contributor: Melanie Brown, Managing Partner
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team