We just released an exciting new study about digital maturity and marketing innovation in pharma last week: Pharma's Digital Disconnect: Understanding what's slowing marketing innovation and how organizations can push past it.

We approached the study with a few major goals that we wanted to be able to achieve for our clients:

  • Explain the complex dynamics and disconnects in pharma that are slowing progress in digital and marketing innovation
  • Characterize the digital marketing maturity stages in the industry
  • Help companies identify their roadmap for moving forward towards digital excellence

Our research - a labor of love over the past 6 months -  included interviews with about 80 executives in pharma and leading agencies across the C suite, medical and legal, IT, brands, market research, innovation teams and digital centers of excellence, as well as LinkedIn analysis and our existing consumer and healthcare professional study findings.

One thing we learned for sure - organizational structure, while important, is just a small part of what it will take to drive the digital potential of companies.

Companies devote considerable resources to optimizing digital organizational structure: 86% of executives said that their organization restructured in the past 12 months. Yet most executives agree that broader issues that hinder progress related to operations, skills and culture are as, if not, more important. Only 22% of executives said their company is set up for digital success.


To begin to uncover what is holding the industry back and to find a way forward, we addressed key questions of specific roles tied to the future of marketing innovation:

C-suite and HR lead:

  • What does digital transformation involve in pharma and how mature and competitive is the industry?
  • Which organizational structures are working, and what else is needed to advance our capability?
  • What are the unmet needs and perspectives of digital leaders in my organization?

Executives with a digital marketing mandate:

  • Which digital organizational model is ideal, and have other companies figured this out?
  • What, besides structure, drives marketing innovation?

Executives with a solutions or innovation mandate:

  • How are innovation teams organized?
  • How are these teams fostering break-through solutions, and how do they tie back to brands?

Brand directors, MLR and payer marketers:

  • What key trends underpin this new urgency around marketing innovation?
  • How digitally mature are our competitors, and what are the risks of not innovating fast enough?

Overall the research came together very well, both in terms of providing concrete data and metrics about topics such as organizational structure and perceptions of digital readiness, and in terms of more subtle paradoxes and conflicts slowing digital advancement.

Biotech set for good start to 2021

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