It’s been the lament of the Life Sciences industry for years and years—our regulatory-choked business model makes it impossible to for us to optimally address the needs of our customers. Whether it’s digital, social media, or marketing technology, we don’t even tend to be fast followers. We’re usually lagging luddites, are we not?
Perhaps the times they are a-changin’? Having spent time at both the industry-agnostic Forrester Research Consumer Marketing Forum and the 2017 EyeForPharma Conference this month, it’s become apparent that our industry has done a great job of playing catch-up. We’re no longer sitting on the sidelines saying, “We wish we could, but we can’t,” and I think the hurdles of medical, legal, and regulatory may even help us execute better than other industries in some ways.
There was a surprising convergence of themes at the conferences. At the highest level, marketers of all walks need to be customer-obsessed. How can they not be? With the level of data and insight available, we’ve moved beyond understanding past behavior to developing very accurate predictive models powered by artificial intelligence. Customers expect great experiences, and we’re more empowered than ever to deliver with data and platforms. The opportunity to delight customers within the context of their journey is larger than ever, but also carries some risks relative to data and platforms, and the faces few industry vertical boundaries.
Sometimes the crucible of working within tighter industry guardrails can foster innovation that might otherwise be overlooked. Working to create experiences “beyond the pill” to drive healthcare outcomes also provides a similar impetus, and where we see our industry begin to lead is within digital medicine. Successful examples of integrating behavioral, medical, and computer science to educate, motivate, and drive sustainable positive health outcomes abound, and continue to amaze us with the possibilities. We have within our grasp the ability to leapfrog from laggards to leaders in delivering outstanding customer experiences.
Like many of my Life Sciences colleagues I saw attending the Forrester event, I do so to hear and learn from marketing leaders in industries like consumer electronics, packaged goods, financial services, etc. Perhaps in a few years, marketers outside of Life Sciences will attend events like EyeForPharma to be inspired!
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