Are Centralized Global Marketing Activities the Way Forward for the Pharma Industry?

As pharma companies increasingly come under both financial and human-resource pressures, the trend is to create global central campaigns with minor local market adaptations.

The growing emergence of generic competition is emphasizing the need for even greater brand loyalty among healthcare professionals and consumers.

For these reasons, there is good rationale for pharma to both centralize and standardize marketing activities. However, does this:

  • stifle creativity and innovation?
  • disengage the local markets?
  • fail to develop marketing skill sets at the local market level?
  • create bland generic communication activities?

Without good collaboration and the use of digital enabling tools, there is a risk of all of the above happening. Simply creating global activities without gaining extensive local market input, testing in key markets, and providing clear guidance for markets is a recipe for failure.

However, there are ways to make the centralized approach work that have been successful in the industry. These include:

  • creating virtual extended global teams
  • providing pilot innovation funds to local markets
  • enabling best-practice sharing
  • bringing local market personnel into the central global team
  • working with agency networks to bring learning from beyond pharma regarding creating strong global brands

So now the question is, will the next five years bring more or less standardization and centralization?

Will local markets become increasingly important for the niche specialist drugs of the future, and will specialist-tailored local marketing activity become the trend?


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