Senior sales and marketing executives of large U.S. pharmaceutical companies – with corporate revenues in excess of $1 billion in revenue – plan to sharpen their focus on multi-channel marketing and step up their use of digital technologies and analytics in 2013, according to a new survey by Accenture (NYSE:ACN). At the same time, more than four-fifths of the 200 executives surveyed – 83 percent – see cost reduction as their number-one strategic priority for the year.
Following cost reduction, the executives surveyed ranked their top strategic priorities accordingly: mastering multi-channel marketing (70 percent); improving use and effectiveness of digital interactions (60 percent); and exploiting analytics (56 percent).
As the executives work to meet their bottom-line goals, the survey results indicate they plan to combine their cost-cutting efforts with increased marketing efficiency through three primary strategies:
- Greater use of analytics to target spending and drive improved ROI (87 percent).
- Boosting their use of digital and multi-channel interactions (83 percent).
- Utilizing third-party service providers (72 percent).
“It’s clear that mastering multi-channel marketing – and realizing the full potential of digital technologies and analytics – is a top agenda item for sales and marketing executives who intend to achieve greater marketing efficiencies and meet the needs of their customers,” said Craig Robertson, North American managing director of Accenture’s Life Sciences’ Sales and Marketing practice. “From this survey, we believe a correlation can be drawn that cost reduction is enabled by mastering multi-channel marketing using digital interactions and analytics.”
Robertson further notes: “The Accenture Life Sciences’ survey also shows that nearly one in four direct sales force interactions at these companies has been replaced with digital interactions for targeting doctors, providers, payers and patients.” Over the next two years, the executives surveyed plan to increase their use of such digital interactions by 26 percent, on average.
Nearly half of the respondents said their sales and marketing organizations had opportunity for greater efficiency, with more than 10 percent citing a need for a complete overhaul.
Among the other highlights of the survey:
- Seventy-seven percent of executives report their organizations are already using third-party providers to augment sales and marketing activities.
- Of those executives that report this finding, digital and content production (64 percent) and analytics (62 percent) are areas where third-party services providers are used the most.
- Thirty-seven percent of executives report they intend to increase their usage of third-party providers for sales and marketing in 2013, with 92 percent intending to increase their use of third-party providers in analytics, 89 percent in advertising and 79 percent in digital and content production.
- Sixty-six percent of survey respondents intend to use third-party providers to manage the increase in digital and content production and interactions, 18 percent intend to build in-house capabilities and 12 percent intend to do both.
“Progressive life sciences companies are seeking new commercial models where operational activities such as multi-channel campaign management, digital content production, product launch management and campaign performance analysis are handled by external parties,” said Robertson. “This can enable their resources to better focus on understanding their customers and defining unique ways to serve them to drive strategic differentiation.”
The findings of the research complement the Accenture Technology Vision 2013 report, which shows the convergence of social media, mobile computing, analytics and the cloud transforming the way businesses operate. The report finds that companies that adopt available technologies to “go digital” will be better positioned to take advantage of rapidly shifting business opportunities and leap ahead of the competition. Additionally, an Accenture study published earlier this year, U.S. companies in all industries see great value in using analytics to help tailoring products and services to customers and to improve the customer experience.
About the Survey
Accenture commissioned Coleman Parkes to conduct a survey of 200 senior executives that work for large pharmaceutical firms (revenue exceeding $1 billion), which are headquartered and/or have a strong presence in the USA and whom have a primary responsibility in marketing, sales, analytics and commercial operations and support. Phone interviews took place between December 2012 and January 2013.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com.