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A Tale of Satisfied and Dissatisfied Pharma Managers


01 April 2015 : Blog issue N°6 by Fonny Schenck

Across Health has been running its Multichannel Barometer since 2009, and this program has now resulted in a consolidated database of pharma managers’ views and opinions on digital marketing. 

In this article, we focus on the differences and similarities between satisfied and dissatisfied pharma leaders (satisfied: n=130, dissatisfied: n=314). The definition of ‘satisfied’ vs ‘dissatisfied’ managers is shown in the picture below.

Overall, the level of satisfaction has not increased significantly since 2012, not even reaching 20% after 6 years…So what is underlying this?

People, organization, culture

First of all, there is a clear correlation between the degree of organizational digital maturity, and the degree to which managers are satisfied with their companies’ digital strategy. This trend is clearly visible in the graph below.

Also, when rating their own knowledge, satisfied managers are more optimistic, claiming that it is ‘sufficient’, whereas dissatisfied managers see more room for improvement (no chart).

Dissatisfied managers find that the lack of in-house digital knowledge and strategy are important bottlenecks vs satisfied respondents. However, both groups agree that regulatory, legal and compliance issues remain the biggest hurdle.

Business and technology processes 

In the Multichannel Barometer 2014, both satisfied (n=50) and dissatisfied managers (n=99) state that they have a local and international digital team. Remarkably, more than 20% of satisfied managers are convinced that their local digital team is highly effective and even half of them think that their international team is highly effective. On the other hand, less than 10% of dissatisfied managers feel that it is effective. This is shown in the graph below.

However, when it comes to grading how complex it is to define the optimal channel mix, both groups agree that things are at least ‘somewhat complicated’. 

Channel integration

Satisfied and dissatisfied managers indicate the same channels as “most used channels”. However, unsatisfied managers rate them consistently lower.

Interestingly, ‘Integrated cross-channel campaigns’ are seen as the most impactful channel tactic by both groups. However, satisfied managers use it twice as often...


Even though satisfied managers consider ‘ROI issues’ as their second most important bottleneck, they are clearly more optimistic than their peers in this area.


There are clearly some striking commonalities between satisfied and dissatisfied pharma managers: they both agree on the key bottleneck (legal/regulatory hurdles) and on the difficulty of developing an optimal channel mix. However, satisfied managers have a much better feeling about their digital strategy, the internal teams that support these, impact measurement and the impact of key channels. Interestingly also, both groups rate “cross-channel campaigns” the most impactful channel…but satisfied respondents execute them with much more rigour (50% higher use)…As a result, we trust this analysis helps you identify how to move from good to great…and beyond!

Fonny Schenck, CEO    
Charlotte Merckx, consultant

PS Want to know about the key trends for 2015? If you have not yet participated in our Multichannel Maturometer 2015 yet, please do so now, and join over 250 colleagues. You may even win an Apple Watch!

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