A few years ago it was totally normal to have to convince people that digital was a valid, and important, channel. That fact is now a given – and yet there are still people who need to be convinced. One issue is that traditional marketing is a safe option and it has worked in the past. During this tough economic times people are more wary of trying something “new” (even if strictly speaking digital is no longer new) and this is why they need convincing that they should shift some of their budget from their “safe” traditional channels to this “new” and “dangerous” channel.
The trouble is that this traditional way of splitting budgets no longer matches users needs and behaviours. How come some pharmaceutical companies are spending less than 5% of marketing and sales budgets on digital when physicians, for example, would like to receive over 60% of their product information online? This seems like a huge disconnect with reality and customer needs and cannot be sustainable.
It also seems rather ludicrous given clear direction from customers, physicians as well as patients, that they want more information and resources digitally, that we still need to stand up and argue the need for more digital to be included in the marketing and communications mix. We should no longer need to be trying to persuade senior managers on the need for digital – rather we should be working with them to look at how best to integrate on- and off-line resources and how to get a more balanced marketing mix.
There will always be a need off-line materials but they should work in harmony with online elements and all marketing and communication elements should be integrated and optimise each other. There is no battle between digital and traditional – one is not better than the other on its own. Rather they tell a far more powerful story when combined in an integrated and strategic way based around customer, and organisation, needs. Just like a the colours of the rainbow are truly impactful when joined together in a smooth combination, communications should be joined together to provide an impactful and memorable experience for the end audience.
Right now the pharmaceutical audience is just getting a huge sway of reds and oranges but there are hardly any blues coming through which is not impactful at all. We need to stop defending why we even need digital, and and stop fighting to get more digital budget, but instead we need to start working on getting the mix and colour combination as perfect as a rainbow.