According to the latest Promotion Audit by Cegedim Strategic Data (CSD), the U.S. pharmaceutical industry increased its professional digital marketing spending by 65% from $534 million in 2011 to $879 million in 2012. For the top 5 EU markets, the trend is much less dramatic: a 39% increase from $65 million to $90 million. (see charts below and this press release):

Obviously, despite digital pharma being “alive and well” in the EU (e.g., see here), the total pharma digital marketing spend in the EU is only a fraction — about 10% — of the spend in the U.S. I’m not sure if non-digital spending in EU is also 10% of what it is in the U.S.

According to CSD, the pharma industry spends about $17 billion on physician promotion: $15 billion on detailing and $2 billion on meetings (see here). I assume these numbers include digital. Digital is only 879/17000 = 0.0517 (5.2%) of that. This means that the U.S. pharma industry, which spends nearly $1 billion on professional digital marketing, has a long way to go before it reaches “digital maturity” on a par with other industries. I estimate that “par” to be 20%.

“Digitally Mature” or not, this shift to digital detailing must be part of the reason for the 10% to 12% sales force reductions in the US and EU Top Five countries. For more on that see: “Pharma Sales Jobs Take A(nother) Tumble! Digital’s Slow But Relentless Impact.”

Speaking of “digital maturity,” Capgemini/MIT Sloan Center for Digital Business categorize 33% of global pharmaceutical companies as “Beginners” — i.e., they “do very little with advanced digital capabilities, although they may be mature with more traditional applications” (see chart below).

By this qualitative measure, however, pharma is about on a par with the packaged goods industry, which is much more of a “Digirati” — “truly understand how to drive value with digital transformation” — than is pharma. “Fashionistas,” BTW, are companies that have “implemented or experimented with many sexy digital applications.” I’m not sure what “sexy” means to the people at MIT, but I can’t say that I’ve seen many “sexy” pharma digital applications, unless you count Pfizer’s “Facebook Fiasco: Chapstick Slapstick Ad Uses Woman’s Ass as a Prop.”

I’ll stick to my quantitative measure of “digital maturity,” thank you very much.

The pharma industry often blames FDA regulations for its lack of “digital maturity.” I’ll buy that when it comes to the patient/consumer side of the business (see “Lack of FDA Clarity Regarding Internet Rules Leads to Greater Pattern of Enforcement Against Digital Pharma Promotion“), but, IMHO, it lacks credence for the professional marketing side. I haven’t seen, for example, any NOV letters regarding e-Detailing, e-Meetings, or e-Mailings.