Can pharma rely on one agency to create both its traditional and its interactive advertising? Or is there a “best agency model” (pure digital, digital group within larger holding company, or a mixture of both) that industry can follow? This was the question addressed by four panelists today at the ePharma Summit in Philadelphia.
Bill Drummy, founder and CEO of Heartbeat Digital, said the difference between a traditional and a digital-focused agency is that digital is an interactive medium; itâ€™s not interruptive like an advertisement.
William Martino, vice president, digital strategy, of Saatchi & Saatchi Consumer Health + Wellness, took an opposite prospective: â€œI think traditional agencies have a significant advantage over pure digital [agencies] because of a deeper understanding of the audience or the consumer. However, the traditional agency has to evolve, so they are not labeled.â€
Eli Lilly would, ideally, like to have the best of both worlds. However, Lyndsay Younce, the companyâ€™s marketing consultant, said that Lilly hasn’t yet found one agency that can bring everything they need to the table.
For e-marketing space, Eli Lilly relies on digital agencies. â€œI donâ€™t care if they have an integrated offering. But I want them to integrate well,â€ she said. â€œA lot of this has to do with the brand. It’s hard as an e-marketer to move away from the traditional advertising mentality, but you have to be able to speak that language in order to move. I have yet to see an agency come in with a specific measurement about their digital work.â€
Both types of agencies have their pros and their cons. For example, according to Martino, a digital agency has the tendency to recycle ideas across brands with no understanding that audience and therapeutic areas are different.
â€œAt the end of the day, a really good integrated plan is all about vision,â€ said Dorothy Wetzel, chief marketing extrovert of Extrovertic. â€œIt really takes the brand team to consider all ideas and options and then put it together. The worse thing you can do is put agencies together and say to them, â€˜Come up with a good integrated plan.â€™ The new school of thought is about building the number of brand advocates.â€