Manal Haddad

Generating Sustainable Growth Through Consumer Marketing

Commerce is constantly evolving. There are ebbs and flows in best business practices and how to pursue economic growth. There is no better proof of this than in the pharmaceutical industry. While fads may come en vogue every so often, there is one facet of the trade that will continue to generate sustainable growth no matter the market conditions: consumer marketing.

There was once a time where innovation alone could drive sales in the pharmaceutical market. Breakthrough medications were more prevalent and could sell themselves. Those days appear long gone however. Due to all of the breakthroughs that were made in the past, there is much less room for truly unique pharmaceuticals. Significant drug breakthroughs are now few and far between, and new products are more aptly characterized as refinements of the past breakthroughs. Because of this refining nature, these new drugs may only deliver a marginal benefit in comparison to previous pharmaceuticals, while maintaining the hefty price of a breakthrough product. In the new marketplace, it is now up to marketers to create value and generate consumer excitement and demand for products.

Luckily for marketers, there are now new platforms and tools to utilize in order to connect with a consumer audience. These new forms of communication and ever better can even reconstruct the producer/consumer relationship. The relationship is becoming increasingly direct, and marketing has transformed more to a one to one activity. This is greatly facilitated by the innovations in technology and access to Big Data.  Big Data refers to the tremendous and complex amount of information about individuals that such tools as single source databases offer. Big Data can tell pharmaceutical marketers a significant amount about the consumers’ lives, their experiences and their expectations. Marketers today must be able to make the most effective use of this information by concretely introducing perks for the individual consumer. Marketers have to become more adept at anticipating the consumers’ needs and prepare strategies to appeal to their sensibilities.

This is especially important as consumers today are elusive, difficult to discern, and seemingly contradictory individuals. Consumers increasingly want marketing materials that can satisfy their desires, but are at the same time provide cost-efficiency. Marketers must take this into account, creating campaigns that deliver real benefits and not only appeal to emotional responses.

Social media marketing is another outlet that will continue to provide a means of business growth that is being underutilized at present. In the United States alone, adults spend an average of 16 minutes per hour on the social network Facebook alone; similar time expenditures are seen throughout the industrial nations of the world. With so much of the consumers’ time spent in this activity it is essential to more positively engage with them through this media. This does not mean simply having a business page and promoting your products through the network. This must be a socially-oriented activity, with dialogue between the producer and consumer. Ask questions, give answers, and become a brand rather than simply a company to your target market. Even as a pharmaceutical firm, you can have a similar relationship with consumers as Coca-Cola and Nike have with theirs.

The global pharmaceutical industry is facing a significant shift in orientation. The ways to drive growth in the past will not be as effective in the contemporary market. Consumer marketing must be reemphasized to drive growth in the new business environment. This may require realigning current business models. However, this is a change worthy of the industry’s time. By becoming more adept at these practices will not only propel short-term growth for the sector. These better practices will generate more sustainable growth for the long-term as well.

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