Ghent, Belgium – August 24, 2012 – For the second year now, Across Health has been running a unique digital landscape survey among life sciences leaders in key markets Europe, US and China. The study is the most comprehensive in its kind, with over 350 respondents, and gives a 360° view on the status, challenges and future of digital in life sciences.
Fonny Schenck, CEO of Across Health, explains: “This year’s results show that many executives have understood that digital is not the easy ‘silver bullet’ it was once believed to be. They quote their own digital expertise at the same level or even lower than last year, while they appear to be at a complete loss when it comes to serving their traditional customer group, physicians, in a cross-channel way. Only 6% of respondents feel comfortable in this area, which used to be 26% in 2009. This evolution is remarkable, I would even say staggering…”
As a result, the satisfaction with digital activities still remains very low with 17% of executives satisfied. This number has only slightly improved compared to previous years. The same holds for the digital budgets: the average spend is at 14% of marketing budget, with still half of companies having digital marketing budgets under 10%. The situation is even worse in medical and sales.
Looking at the channel mix evolution, it is clear that tablet detailing is moving up the ranks quickly, with close to 50% of respondents now implementing this tactic broadly v.s. only 20% in 2010. Also mobile has quickly gained importance, with 28% of companies using this channel often. Social media has clearly lost its initial momentum, while company, product and disease websites are still the dominant and resource-consuming channels… despite the emergence of many more efficient and effective tactics.
However, the outlook is promising: cross-channel programmes and robust execution are among the key priorities of life science leaders. Next to this, the importance of internal knowledge is on the rise and more and more companies now see digital budgets and internal resources as a key bottleneck.
Fonny Schenck: “Despite all the internal & external pressures to change the business model, pharma is still relatively comfortable with the “Old Normal” mindset… and this holds for all 3 key markets in our survey: Europe, US and China. To gain competitive edge, companies need to move quickly to the “New Normal”, i.e. when digital is no longer about innovation and differentiation, but it has turned into a commodity. This is a prerequisite to stay in business. In order to get there, companies need to address a series of essential obstacles. There are legal-regulatory concerns, lack of strategic integration, a limited overall spend on digital, incessant ROI concerns, a strong focus on basic iPad detailing, a product-centric approach to mobile, and a limited overall knowledge of digital. These obstacles will only be overcome making structural efforts and changes. A strategic acceleration of cross-channel efforts, including a rightsizing of human & financial resources, strong change management and selective KPIs to steer for performance, will be key going forward.”
The results of the Digital Barometer are based on an online survey with 358 life sciences executives between March and mid May 2012. Most of the responses come from the pharmaceutical industry (86%), medical devices (5%) and biotechnology (5%). Respondents typically have a position in marketing (51%) or eBusiness (30%) and work in EMEA (63%), North America (12%) or China (12%). The full report can be read and/or downloaded via SlideShare at http://www.slideshare.net/