Overwhelmed and confused, pharma marketers? Time to embrace 'New Science,' consultancy says

The building blocks to better pharma marketing should include technology and New Science, Accenture says. (UCSF)

Pharma marketers unsure of what customers want should embrace “New Science,” according to a new survey and report from Accenture Life Sciences.

Half of the pharma marketing executives the consultancy surveyed said they didn't have a good understanding of the wants and needs of their customers, which include patients, healthcare providers and payers. That’s where New Science, or what Accenture calls the meeting point between technology and science, can help.

New Science requires that companies go beyond just developing and marketing drugs or devices by using technology, by itself or in conjunction with treatments, to figure out and solve unmet needs, Elizabeth Otterman, managing director in Accenture’s Life Sciences business, said in an email interview.

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“Marketing a treatment is no longer enough; companies must bring patient outcomes to market by using insight to pair treatment, technology and experience,” she said. “That means companies need to create operating models that are organized around new business goals, driven by meaningful insights from customers, enabled by technology such as AI, advanced analytics and machine learning, and powered by a future workforce with new skills and competencies.”

Accenture advocates three overall changes for pharma marketers to continue to drive growth. Become customer obsessed; overhaul the company’s marketing mindset, skillset and toolset; and use data better across the organization and outside of it, Otterman said.

One specific way to drive the move forward is to get the CEO and board involved and engaged, along with individual teams inside the company, she said. Some ways include showing best-in-class examples of how to delight customers and offering ongoing education on how to use AI, machine learning and advanced analytics to discover and apply new insights.

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“Digital technologies and advanced analytics have the potential to allow an unprecedented level of customer intimacy. Start capturing this potential by identifying new ways of working that bring together different skills and experience from across the organization,” Otterman said.