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Developing advanced marketing capabilities

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Developing Advanced Marketing Capabilities for Ongoing Success in Pharma Marketing

In this month’s Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN) Focus magazine, Fiona Hirst and Gary Durkin draw attention to a lack of investment in the capability development of marketing teams to meet the current need. In a recent survey we conducted, only a quarter of respondents said they had activities focused on advanced capability building for experienced marketers.

The pharmaceutical and customer environment is constantly providing new challenges for marketing teams to address, and as the pharmaceutical industry continues to evolve and develop new and innovative treatments, so too does the way in which they are marketed.

Yet, in the recent survey Ashfield Excellence Academy (now Nazaré) conducted of marketing and training professionals in the pharma industry, only a quarter of respondents said they had activities focused on advanced capability building for more experienced marketers.

The emergence of omnichannel has led many pharma companies to focus their efforts on developing the specific technical and data-led marketing skills and capabilities required for omnichannel activities. There is also a tendency to focus on more fundamental capability building, which perhaps is not surprising.

However, the ability to navigate and perform well in a constantly changing market and customer environment requires more advanced marketing capabilities. Focusing on technical and data skills over strategic capabilities can lead to a strategic capability gap, which in turn can lead to sub-optimal strategy development, including future omnichannel efforts.

The lack of higher-level capability development also impacts on the quality of feedback, challenge and coaching that more foundational marketers get as part of their on-the-job development. Given that our survey also found a desire for more practical on-the-job learning, supported by peers and line managers, this lack of investment in the development of more advanced marketing capabilities could have a significant impact.

In fact, there are many reasons why pharmaceutical companies should invest in training their more experienced marketers to develop more advanced marketing capabilities:

Cost saving: By developing the capabilities of existing staff, companies can save on the costs and time associated with bringing in new hires and getting them up to speed with the company’s products and marketing strategies.

Improved coaching: Investing in higher-level marketing capability development can help foundation-level marketers learn on-the-job via high quality feedback, challenge, and coaching from their line managers.

Employee engagement: Employees who are given the opportunity to learn new skills and grow their careers are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased productivity and innovation.

Increased effectiveness: A well-trained team who share a common understanding of advanced marketing principles and best practices working together will maximize the impact of marketing strategies and improve outcomes.

Long-term success: Equipping teams with advanced marketing capabilities effectively prepares them to navigate future challenges and adapt to the ever-changing landscape, laying the foundations for long-term success.

With these reasons in mind, let’s look at how we develop advanced marketing capabilities in more experienced marketers. There are three stages to the development of advanced marketing capabilities:

  1. Development of marketing capability/competency frameworks. Such frameworks provide a consistent structured approach to marketing capability assessment and development.
  2. Development of a robust, structured and ideally objective approach to capability assessment, aligned to the capability framework to evaluate capability level across key marketing skills and identify any key gaps.
  3. Creation of tailored development programmes, with development activities focused on advanced capability building for more experienced marketers.

The pharma industry is constantly evolving and innovating, and so should the marketing teams that drive its growth. Developing the marketing capabilities of their more experienced marketers is a worthwhile investment for many organizations that want to create a competitive edge and achieve better results.

Fiona Hirst is principal marketing training consultant with Nazaré, part of Inizio Engage XD. You can contact Fiona through linkedin.com/in/fionahirst.

Gary Durkin is marketing training consultant with Nazaré. Contact Gary through linkedin.com/in/garydurkin.