Well, this is it. We’ve reached the end of 2016, and it’s been quite a year. But before we celebrate a clean slate and welcome in 2017, let’s look back one more time at the principles that have helped Intouch become what it is today. Here’s Part 3 in our three-part series on thriving — not just surviving — as a pharma marketer.

Go Beyond Basic
Marketing and advertising agencies aren’t just competing with each other anymore. These days, we’re competing with companies like Accenture and PwC; companies that offer solutions across the whole breadth of a client’s operations, and that can standardize and create efficiencies well beyond the scope of most marketing agencies’ imaginations.

So if we’re going to get into the ring with the Accentures of the world, we need to start using the assets we have — our creativity, our adaptability, our technological know-how, and most importantly our deep experience in healthcare — to out-Accenture the Accentures. We need to think beyond basic communications and marketing services and start offering things like enterprise-level sales-platform deployment and support, or data-analytics consulting or marketing-operations support — services that go far beyond a single brand.

Rethink What It Means to Be a Partner
And beyond simply expanding the scope of services, agencies have to expand the scope of how they think about client partnerships. We need to be prepared to be true partners beyond the brand, to meet the client’s every marketing need, to bend over backwards to do so; to be the trusted “fixer” who gets the call when anything goes wrong; to deliver the unexpected; and to do all this with the client’s whole-business interest in mind every step of the way.

Right now, pharma brand managers can, and frequently do, change agency “partners” like a teenage girl changes clothes, barely noticing the difference. After all, what most agencies refer to as a “partnership” really comes down to providing one or two very-close-to-commodity services for one or two brands.

Be Indispensable
Agencies that will really win in the coming years are the ones that will find ways to become indispensable to clients at the enterprise level, across brands, disease portfolios, subsidiaries, everything. Because the applications of the sorts of creativity and adaptability a great agency possesses can be applied far beyond building individual brand campaigns — and that’s what our clients want and need, even if they haven’t entirely realized it yet.