Attending the Reuters Pharma Marketing 2023 event on March 28-29 was a fascinating experience as the pharma marketing industry continues to return to in-person events.

The event included a focus on Medical Affairs, as a reflection of industry moving away from a ‘church and state’ approach to medical and commercial.

We also saw the addition of a track focused on Cell and Gene Therapy, as Pharma ventures into the commercialization of therapeutics.

There were a few key themes that were constants throughout the event – including omnichannel, customer experience, the customer journey, and – more than anything else – data. It’s worth repeating the industry mantra of reaching the right person, at the right time is still a core tenet in overarching customer engagement models.

Marketing and analytics teams’ collaboration is critical in building more data-driven omnichannel engagement of HCPs and patients.

In previous events, we have heard a lot of talk around ‘The Netflix Experience’ and how pharma can use this as a template for improving CX – but we heard a new comparison on a number of occasions; “Google Maps” – and the need for real-time access to insights to adjust your engagement roadmap on the fly. A more ‘systematized’ approach to insights. Can digital solution capabilities for real-world insights be like GPS for commercial decision-making in the future?

“How do we fish where the fish are?” Generating insights from data that leads to better extrapolation for Next Best Action is another important theme of the event. Are we about to see Next Best Action evolve to Next Best Content and then Next Best Messaging?

On data, some interesting comments included:

  • “We need to do better with less (data)”
  • “In rare diseases – my competition is the lack of data rather than traditional competitors.”
  • “We talk about the need for modularized content but we also need to modularize data”
  • “Data is too siloed – it’s like finger lakes. We need to find ways to interconnect between these lakes”
  • “Data lag is an issue – we are too reliant on existing timelines in access to data”
  • “Measurement – is the data you capture in a campaign measurable?”
  • We are told we had X million impressions – but so what! How can we measure the quality of engagements”

There were many other hugely interesting topics discussed across a jam-packed agenda over the 2 days. Digital transformation for example – but is organizational digital readiness prepared enough to actually execute it?

Is pharma too wired in a POA mindset? Quarterly reviews and resets on content for example may not be adequate. Should a framework exist to review and reset content daily?

What do we hold up as the main barrier to achieving omnichannel excellence? And what is the rep’s role in omnichannel?

These were just a few examples from an exceptional speaker faculty and an extremely insightful event. The exhibit hall had a great buzz and lively conversations throughout the entire show.

Congratulations to the Reuters team on a great job, well executed! Especially at times when budget cuts, pharma marketer bandwidths, and inflationary pressure make live events difficult.