Smarter thinking about pharmaceutical marketing

Robb DeFilippis, from end-to-end global creative production and sourcing partner Tag, discusses how a more effective multichannel pharma marketing approach can positively affect patient outcomes

At a time when patients are often moving quicker than life science organisations, with their desire for information and participation in decisions about their well-being, companies are being forced to think differently about product launches and how marketing content can be most effectively produced and aligned to patient needs.

Patients have access to an overwhelming amount of health and wellness information. Pharma companies must cut through the clutter with the most accurate and timely messaging to help drive positive patient outcomes. This has required them to think differently about how marketing content can be most effectively produced and distributed to align with patient needs.

When pharmaceutical companies streamline their marketing production through successful ‘decoupling’, they can funnel the resulting savings towards funding more messaging, or directly into R&D. For marketers and their agencies-of-record, this outsourcing model frees up time for them to focus on the high-value strategic work that can really make a difference.

It’s a proven approach that is already in use at a number of pharmaceutical and biotech companies. To find out more pharmaphorum sat down with Robb DeFilippis, managing director for life sciences at end-to-end global creative production and sourcing partner Tag.

How can pharmaceutical companies’ big ideas most effectively be brought to life?

The big creative ideas that originate from an agency-of-record are an opportunity for pharma marketers to drive positive patient outcomes. They are then most effectively brought to life by the most effective application and allocation of a pharmaceutical company’s marketing spend.

It’s about partnering with the right creative and execution teams and having a very well-oiled marketing ecosystem that can really bring all of the tactical elements together and optimise them along the way.

A core part of Tag’s outsourcing approach is on ‘decoupling’ marketing production. What is this and how can pharmaceutical companies benefit?

Decoupling refers to aligning talent to task, with the appropriate allocation of subject matter expertise and resources at the right time, to effectively and efficiently produce their marketing and communication materials.

In a traditional marketing relationship, an agency-of-record works with a brand team to create the core creative concept and strategic direction for marketing materials, and they do that job very well.

Where decoupling the creative strategy from its production can provide greater efficiencies is by bringing in a trusted outsourcing partner to handle the execution of those big ideas across multiple platforms and regions to ensure consistency of message and faster global turnaround.

Medical-legal and regulatory processes weigh heavily on pharmaceutical marketers’ minds, for obvious reasons. Are there improvements that decoupling can ensure there too?

Absolutely and this is where we really shine. We’ve developed a regulatory centre of excellence to help folks who could be focused on more high-value and urgent tasks that impact patients and communications. When you centralise the process, you develop efficiencies and a cycle of continuous improvement.

Are the opportunities to benefit from this process clear to pharmaceutical companies?

For some of the progressive ones they are. But many pharma marketers simply don’t know the true cost of a lot of the goods and services that they’re buying. One of the things that we provide, which we pride ourselves on, is transparency. Decoupling provides you with a very open and transparent look at your costs.

Within this approach, what place do digital technologies have as they cement their role in our multichannel world?

Developing more patient-focused, patient-centric digital communications is something that pharma marketers should be really focusing on. Some companies already are, of course, and some are doing it better than others, but there’s a unique opportunity for pharma marketers to do more, now that technology and data has taken a hold in the way communications are shaped. Digital point-of-care tactics represent an exciting and relatively new channel to exploit if navigated properly.

As digital marketing in pharma matures, and data, IoT and decoupling all converge, there’s an amazing opportunity for companies like us to drive these digital efforts forward.

Optimised multichannel approaches

To highlight the production savings and compliance improvements that decoupling the marketing production process can bring Robb picked out a case study of Tag’s work for one of its biotech clients where the outsourcing partner did just that.

Decoupling creative production and print management: Tag worked with a leading biotech that relied on cross-channel marketing outreach. Its use of multiple agencies-of-record for digital, broadcast and print marketing materials had led to inefficient use of marketing budget, lack of brand consistency and slower time to market. Having agencies-of-record manage both marketing strategy and creative execution meant limited visibility into spend and increased production times.

The solution: Tag aligned with the client to decouple from multiple agencies-of-record and establish a team of nearly 150 Tag experts in marketing production, account management, regulatory compliance and creative, on-site within the client’s hub. The outsourcing partner implemented a technology platform to serve as a single system for job initiation briefs, workflow and approval management, digital asset management, and final design, delivery and production.

The outcomes: Tag’s solutions allowed its client greater, more accurate management and control of the marketing production and creative process, and complete transparency into each job. There was a 40% saving on marketing production and a 22% improvement in compliance performance, with 94% of regulatory submissions being successful.

Re-engineering marketing production to improve speed to market

As the only company that combines expertise in highly regulated markets with end-to-end creative production, strategic sourcing and fulfilment, Tag’s processes and technology transform the pharma industry’s production models to streamline the way it works with agencies and suppliers. The company saves pharmaceutical marketers an average of 30% of budget and 25% of time.

Working with the right creative outsourcing partner ensures creative production is optimised so that pharmaceutical and biotech companies can concentrate whole-heartedly on their goal of getting medicines to those that need them.

About the Interviewee

Robb D

Robb DeFilippis, managing director, life sciences, Tag

Robb DeFilippis is an accomplished marketing operations executive with 25 years of experience leading organisations and clients to more efficient, profitable and innovative creative production, sourcing and business process excellence. Robb has held leadership positions at major ad agency networks including Omnicom, WPP, Publicis and IPG, across sectors such as CPG, health and beauty, finance, automotive and fashion. He has dedicated the last 10 years of his career to servicing the life sciences sector and continues to serve this industry. For Tag, Robb’s emphasis is building highly functioning, client-centric, creative delivery teams who execute across all media and regulatory tactics including digital, print, outdoor, video, social, broadcast, MLR submissions and packaging – serving audiences comprised of HCPs, patients, sales and point-of-care.

About Tag

Tag is the leading end-to-end global creative production and sourcing partner to brands and agencies.

As production and sourcing specialists we offer a complementary skillset to in-house teams and advertising agencies to bring to life, extend and deploy creative ideas. As client partners, we bring a consultative and collaborative approach to developing bespoke solutions for unique needs.

We balance pragmatism and imagination, supported by market-leading technology to drive efficiency, speed and transparency.

As the world leader, we have an unrivalled global presence, and a versatile range of service models ranging from fully in-house, to offshore, to a variety of hybrid solutions.

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