Brand teams: They're not what you think they are

Matt Bolton|19th February 2016

Consultancies have been banging on about silos and joined-up brand teams for years now, and many companies have taken heed and started to work on breaking them down internally. Brands are developing consolidated plans to deliver for their customers, not separating out marketing, medical or market access activities.

However, this hasn’t completely solved the problem. Pharma still has silos around key functions in the marketing process, which has the unintended consequence of often putting these functions at odds with the brand teams. This leads to a disjointed process and pulls the focus away from delivering value to customers. Don’t see your internal functions as a service to the brand, see them as a service to your customers.

In 2016, it’s time to bring these teams together and move them toward a common goal – delivering for your customers to enable better patient outcomes. Head of Commercial Matt Bolton breaks down what we mean when we talk about eliminating the last silos in pharma marketing.

 

Your partner in crime: procurement

The role of procurement for professional services within pharmaceutical companies is growing. Currently though, its role is somewhat isolated from brand teams. They are often tasked with the difficult job of creating more efficiencies in the business while still enabling brand teams to work with agency partners to deliver for their customers. The issue becomes that unless your procurement colleagues have a deeper understanding of what brands’ customers need, they’re not making decisions about partners that reflect the best interests of the customers or the brand.

Bringing procurement into the process earlier and setting the target of developing relationships with partners that will create value and deliver against customer needs will better align their decisions with what brand teams need.

 

The brand team: a new dawn

What does a brand team look like? At Blue Latitude Health, we believe a new approach is needed. We feel that having key people effectively ‘on the bench’ while key decisions are made is wrong. Procurement, regulatory and compliance colleagues should sit in the brand team. How can procurement make informed decisions about the best partners to help deliver for customers if they don’t have a deep understanding of what’s being delivered, what’s needed to deliver it, and how it will impact the value being delivered to customers?

Having compliance and regulatory involved in planning meetings means that they gain valuable insight into how the plan and all its elements deliver against customer needs. They’ll contribute to the creation of the strategy and solutions, and be more invested in the process. This will increase their awareness of activities and will speed up the process and likelihood of having things approved first time. So why not take this approach? Get them involved, get them engaged, and see how much better the whole process runs as a result.

 

One message: delivered

Your customers; physicians, payers, patients or any number of others, often don’t know and frequently don’t want to know that you have separate internal marketing, medical, market access or patient advocacy teams. So, don’t engage with them like you do. Why? Because your customers talk, and having vastly different messages will lead to confusion and the potential that the true value of your product gets lost.

Establishing one core value proposition that all teams take into the field will avoid confusion. While the expression of this may differ depending on who you’re talking to, the core message should stay the same.

In 2016, if you make just one change to how your organisation approaches the marketing process, it should be to join up your teams. All of your teams. Not just the marketing teams, get procurement, regulations, medical, and commercial involved in your planning process. Having a well-rounded brand team with fully engaged members and one common goal - to deliver value to customers - will result in improved value overall.

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