For the fifth year running, Across Health is presenting you with its truly unique digital landscape overview among life sciences in Europe, US and emerging markets. The Digital Barometer gives you a 360°view on the status, challenges and future of “The New Normal”, i.e. where digital has become a commodity & is fully integrated in the overall channel mix.
Across Health’s Digital Barometer
Trough of disillusionment?
Across Health Digital Barometer 2013 2
Managing Partner, Across Group
CEO, Across Health
For the fifth year running, Across Health is presenting you with its truly unique digital landscape
overview among life sciences in Europe, US and emerging markets. The Digital Barometer gives
you a 360°view on the status, challenges and future of “The New Normal”, i.e. where digital has
become a commodity & is fully integrated in the overall channel mix.
On the one hand, there is increasing confidence in HCP cross-channel mastery, but on the other,
ROI questions have never been more prominent, and the level of satisfaction is lower than
before... No surprise then that digital budgets are growing at single-digit rates for the first time in
Looking at the results holistically, I believe we have entered
into the trough of disillusionment stage, as defined by
Gartner. But companies are not abandoning digital – they
simply cannot...Rather, they are trying to find a NEW way of
integrating digital. I’m convinced you’ll find these results
useful and trust they will help you reach the slope of
enlightenment and the plateau of productivity.”
Across Health Digital Barometer 2013 36/24/13
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Table of contents
• Executive summary
• Key survey statistics
• Current adoption of digital
• Benchmark against competitors
• Digital satisfaction
• Most common eTactics
• Key challenges
• Key bottlenecks
• Digital understanding
• The future of digital in life sciences
• Priorities for digital
• Digital budgets
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• Companies are pleased with their digital HCP
approaches vs. the competition (only 29% feel
behind)... but satisfaction with digital is dropping to
pre-2012 levels....perhaps nobody is doing it really
• Websites are still the most popular digital tactics.
Overall, the focus seems to lie on “digitizing” the rep
(tablet detailing, remote detailing) i.e. an extension of
“business as usual”...but not per se the most impactful
• The top 4 bottlenecks for success are regulatory and
legal issues, lack of digital strategy, ROI, and lack of
internal knowledge. The latter two are rising fast.
• Digital budgets continue to be low. The future outlook
is positive though, as the majority reports that the
digital budget will increase.
“It’s not about being digital
anymore, it’s now about
being clever with digital.”
Key survey statistics
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Key survey statistics
• 297 respondents from 100 different life science
companies completed the online survey between
February 25 and April 3, 2013
• Industry spread
• Pharma & Biotechnology, OTC, Medical Devices,
other (e.g. nutrition, diagnostics)
• Geographic spread
• Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), North
America (NA), China, Latin America, Asia Pacific
• Emerging = Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, Hungary,
India, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Turkey
• Local vs. international spread
• Global, Regional, National / Local
• Functional spread
• Marketing, Medical, Sales, Digital, IT, CRM, other
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Most respondents come from pharma
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The majority of respondents operate in the EMEA region
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55% work at National / Local level, while 45% have an
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Current adoption of digital
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Current adoption of digital
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• Digital initiatives geared towards HCPs are generally
considered more competitive than those for other
stakeholders like patients or payors.
• On the other hand, respondents realize that
“competitive” in pharma is not necessarily great...the
gap with other industries is high (only 9% feel ahead).
• Confidence in sufficient knowledge of internet
opportunities is increasing, but - counterintuitively -
satisfaction with digital is declining.
• Most popular digital tools are still the classic
product/disease/company website triangle, but tablet
edetailing has joined...with low satisfaction rates.
• Interest in mobile marketing, social media, and
cross-channel is high.
“The future depends on
what you do today.”
in the New Normal
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The worst mistake you could make is to take your existing analog
interaction patterns with customers and transfer them to the web.
We are seeing some of that happening today in pharma…with a
strong focus on tablet detailing and the fast rise of erep /
teledetailing. While existing channels need to be enriched with
digital, this is just an “incremental” step. The real opportunities lie
elsewhere…Don’t transfer, but re-think.
On the positive side, companies are starting to think beyond the
“digital brand /TA” strategy and are starting to realize that the
customer should be put at the heart of their business…
necessitating a company-wide / cross-functional, integrated
strategy & approach.
Vice President Europe South
Managing Director, North America
Digital marketing and pharma’s key stakeholders
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The level of confidence regarding digital interactions with the
traditional target group for pharma, physicians, is increasing year by
year. Around 70% feels they are on par or better than the competition.
However, the key question is: is competitive parity relevant in an
industry where only 9% feels they are ahead of other industries? And,
similarly, do customers feel the same level of improvement? Are they
getting served in a superior fashion vs. in the past?
The level of confidence is also increasing in the consumer/patient
area, but in a more gradual way, and at a lower overall level.
Interestingly, the US does not rate itself as being better at this than
Europe or emerging markets, while consumer marketing has a much
longer history there. The Holy Grail for digital interactions with this
target group is still out there...
Last but not least, we included new stakeholder groups for the first
time: “payors” and “other stakeholders”. Unsurprisingly, only 7% feels
ahead regarding digital payor services and 13% for other
stakeholders. More focus is needed here, in view of the rapid shift in
the decision-making paradigm.
Channel mix trends
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The overall picture for the multichannel mix remains quite similar across
regions & time...the focus is still on websites, although marketers
increasingly (and rightly) question the impact of these and wonder why
pharma has so many different web properties vs. other industries.
However, also in 2013, tablet detailing continued to gain ground quickly.
This is no surprise, as the tools & technology have matured quickly and
tablets fit in the “business as usual” thinking. It also demonstrates
convincingly that you cannot create a sustainable competitive edge by
adopting a new technology...it’s about being clever with it.
In the rep-enablement space, the strong growth of erep/remote detailing is
noteworthy. After 2 stable years at around 10%, the “often/standard” vote
more than doubled to 24% in 2013. This trend is unique for Europe, while
in the US and emerging markets, the uptake is much slower (12% and
14%). Will erep continue to grow as fast as tablet detailing in the next few
years? If the right strategy & change management is in place, this may well
be the case...
We also included a few new tactics, which are all in the “emerging”
space. Some of these (remote monitoring, electronic health records,...)
will prove to be key tactics going forward. Watch this space!
Managing Director, France
The Mobile Marketing Disruption
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Mobile marketing is rising for the third year in a row (excluding tablet
detailing from this trend). With well over 30% of respondents considering
this a standard tactic in US and Europe – and only 11 and 17% saying
they would “never” use this (sic) – pharma seems to be assessing the
disruptive nature of this channel quite adequately.
Interestingly, mobile scores much lower in emerging markets (27%
“standard”), while arguably they could benefit even more from this
channel in view of the mobile penetration rate in these markets.
Overall, I am convinced we will see a lot of experiments in this area going
forward, ranging from remote monitoring, patient adherence, location-
based support and many more...
In a recent report, the McKinsey Global Institute puts mobile forward as
the most disruptive technology in the next 15 years, with an estimated
impact of 4-11 trillion USD per annum on the global economy...and
remote patient monitoring is mentioned as a key example, with an
estimated 10-20% savings on chronic care...
May you live in interesting times, the Chinese proverb says...
Managing Director, Belgium
Engaging in Social Media
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Although it appeared earlier on the scene than mobile, social has been
playing catch-up since the beginning. There is some nice growth in 2013,
but it is lower than in other industries and arguably than what it deserves in
pharma. Regulatory uncertainty, lack of critical mass and poor initial results
will certainly have hindered massive investments.
Similar to mobile too, emerging markets are adopting social much more
reservedly than the mature markets, while these channels are much
stronger in these markets, with more physicians & patients flocking to them.
This begs the question: when will a smart company leapfrog the
competition in those markets regarding social (& mobile)?
Across the three regions, social media monitoring scores higher than social
media in general. This is of course a safer tactic than social media
marketing (although the adverse event reporting process needs to be
robust), but we have also seen that it is being used indiscriminately: it does
not always yield significant and/or actionable insights.
Anyway, pharma will need to get used to the fact that they cannot control
the message anymore and will need to start engaging in the conversation,
as well as leveraging crowd-sourcing opportunities, patient opinion leaders,
online peer-to-peer support and many other opportunities created by social
media. The days of “let’’s do a facebook page” are long gone.
Managing Director, Spain
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• Regulatory or legal issues, ROI, and lack of digital
strategy remain the main challenges globally. ROI
concerns is the only main barrier on the rise...reaching
second position in 2013
• In emerging markets, ROI is by far the main concern
followed by healthcare compliance, while internal
knowledge is much less of an issue versus other
• Lack of internal knowledge concerns have risen
sharply while those around headcount have dropped –
a sign that companies have finally invested in people
and now need to invest in know-how?
“To improve is to change;
to be perfect is to
ROI on the rise: mature vs. emerging markets
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While regulatory issues and lack of strategy are consistent top barriers across
mature & emerging markets, ROI is much more important in emerging markets.
This seems a bit strange, as the opportunity for cross-channel marketing is
even higher in emerging markets with more limited salesforce reach and strong
adoption of and trust in digital channels by all stakeholders vs. Europe & US.
Possibly, it’s a catch-22 syndrome here: they do not invest a lot in digital as they
have not been able to see a strong impact, and as a result, the likelihood of
seeing a significant impact remains low...a vicious circle.
In general, it is clear that senior management is increasingly pushing for
measurable business impact of digital and cross-channel. This offers great
opportunities for digital organizations, who can demonstrate impact to
management through well-designed pilots and robust company-wide
Managing Director, Emerging Markets
The future of digital
in life sciences
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The future of digital
in life sciences
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• Cross-channel marketing and strategy development
remain major priorities for most, joined by tablet
• Developing and executing a customer-centric strategy
and leveraging customer intelligence is in the early
• Digital initiatives remain a small percentage of the total
marketing budgets vs. other industries.
• While marketing budgets continue to be reduced, the
growth in digital budgets is slowing significantly too –
to single-digit growth for the first time in 3 years...this
trend is clearly in contrast with other industries.
“As for the future, your
task is not to foresee it,
but to enable it.”
Antoine De Saint-
The “success” of Tablet Detailing
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Tablet detailing has risen fast through the mix ranks in pharma and is now
the second most used tactic besides websites.
The “innovation” effect of the first-mover was short-lived, as most pharma
companies are now offering tablet detailing and most customers have one or
more tablet devices at home or in their practice too.
The opportunity of tablet detailing remains high, but pharma will need to
move beyond the obvious mass-digitization of existing detail aids and
develop segmented offerings with a strong customer intellligence back-end,
excellent change management and integration with the other channels,
thereby really closing the loop. The scores for customer-centricity &
customer intelligence are still quite low, confirming the pain points in tablet
Here too, it is not about the technology – that’ s a commodity - but about
being clever with it. That’s where a sustainable competitive advantage can
Vice President Europe North
Setting up the multichannel organization
Managing Director, Germany,
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In a recent study, Capgemini (The Digital Advantage) finds that pharma is
the least developed industry in terms of digital maturity (or
“transformation management intensity” as they call it).
As long as digital offerings sprung from the product silos and were
disconnected from other channels, the organizational issue remained
latent. But with the emergence of cross-channel & multifunctional
approaches centered around the customer, this model is rapidly showing
It is clear that pharma needs to organize differently for cross-channel or it
will continue to play catch-up and never realize the full & impressive
returns from cross-channel marketing.
So what are we waiting for? Let 2013 be the year of accelerating the
move towards the cross-channel organization. Let’s gear up!
Life sciences spending on digital
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For the first time since the start of our Digital Barometer, the growth of
digital budgets has dropped to single-digit levels, reaching 16% of the
marketing budget….which continues to decline too.
In other industries, the average is well above 20%, and marketing
budgets are more significant vs. sales budgets there anyway.
We believe that part of this hesitation is due to the lack of tangible ROI
(see previous section on barriers)…and the lack of robust business
metrics overall. With increasing budgets flowing to digital, in line with
other industries, executives expect a tangible return – “show me the
money” – but most measurements have been anecdotal and “soft”. A
strict approach is needed here to help convince top management.
A key enabler for ROI optimization is marketing mix modeling, but also
here pharma has only started to mine this key opportunity: only 8%
find it (relatively) simple.
Robust mix modeling coupled with zero-based budgeting, higher
investments in digital, and flawless execution are the way forward…
Edwin de Fouw
Managing Director, Netherlands &
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2013: the end of the beginning?
Managing Partner, Across Group
CEO, Across Health
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With satisfaction levels declining, senior management support falling and ROI
concerns rising quickly, it is almost inevitable that digital budgets are flat or even
decreasing in 42% of our respondents...
It is clear that you cannot walk away from digital, despite its mixed track record to
date. Getting the right cross-channel team in place, defining the right KPIs,
allocating a relevant budget to digital and ensuring buy-in and expertise with the
customer-facing teams will be key drivers to help companies reach the slope of
enlightenment...which will lead to the “New Normal” level of productivity...
Together with you, I trust 2013 will later be seen as a transition year, which will be
followed by the fast-paced adoption of powerful cross-channel frameworks with a
strong focus on customer centricity and mobility. The opportunity is huge in the US
and Europe...but arguably even higher in the emerging markets.
I wish you all good luck on your journey towards the New Normal!
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How do we work?
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The 4 i’s
We summarize key trends, best practices
and benchmarks - also from related and
other industries - and compare them to
your current situation.
Landscape analysis &
marketing mix assessment04Impact
We measure the impact of the new
strategy using dashboards, KPIs,…
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Effectiveness, ROI &
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We come up with an innovative, balanced
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We advocate a balanced approach
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• Customer experience
• Online marketing
• Search engine optimization
• Social media optimization
• Mobile strategy & tactics
• Social strategy & tactics
• PHR/EHR strategy
• Innovation pilots
• (on-site) programme management
of large-scale projects: cross
-channel projects, teledetailing,
self-service portal, …
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Health Units of MarCom
Cross Industry Life Sciences
We have a CAGR of 35+% over the past 4 years
and have a very loyal customer base
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2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
A customers 250K/yr 2 4 7 8 8
B customers >100 < 250K/yr 4 2 3 8 7
C customers < 100K/yr 16 26 35 23 37
Some of our key references
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We serve our customers all over the globe
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United Kingdom Germany
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Current presentation is confidential. All proposed concepts and
ideas presented here are intellectual property of Across Health,
and are to be used in collaboration with Across Health.
These results have been compiled by
Boris Chu & Fadi Baddur
Fusion Marketing for the New Normal