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2011 – The Year of Accountability. Are You Ready?

In 2006, I started Return on Focus with an exclusive focus on Evidence-Based Marketing. It was a pretty lean year back then. The plain truth was our industry didn’t demand that level of accountability.

Our initial Clients had a certain intellectual curiosity and internal drive to demand a higher level of accountability in their marketing investments. But four years ago the drive for a higher level of evidence came from within rather than from their organizations. WOW, have times changed!

I have no doubt in my mind that 2011 is the tipping point for our industry with regard to marketing accountability. Many catalysts are driving this change.

  • Scale is the New Reward – focus on getting ‘stuff’ out the door is being increasingly replaced with a pilot-test-scale mentality
  • Tolerance for Waste is Decreasing – everyone is expected to do more with less and as a result, marketing waste, which never had a place to begin with, is a prime target from multiple constituents
  • Sales Forces are Demanding Intensified Focus – reps are getting less time, if any, with their docs and they don’t have the bandwidth to navigate a 20-page detail aid or a 5-message call
  • Patients are Asking for More – while multiple dynamics are at play here, the simple fact is that patient activism is only increasing
  • MLR (Medical/Legal/Regulatory) Review is Increasingly Conservative – if it’s not explicitly in the PI then it can’t be used in promotion induces a sobering clarity that marketers must absorb
  • FDA (and maybe FTC) More Active – While you may hear this every year, I think the totality of FDA actions speak louder than words

I’ve listed just a few and welcome your additions and/or deletions to the list.

If you believe we’re entering a new era of accountability, you need to ask yourself a few questions over the holiday break:

  1. Are you comfortable with the level of evidence behind your 2011 plan and corresponding investments?
  2. How confident are you that you’ll be able to hit increasing sales targets with smaller budgets?
  3. When your boss knocks on your door and asks, “How’s it going?” do you have the marketing rationale and metrics to confidently address the question?

Accountability is the “new normal” for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Are you ready? We are!

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