The phrase 'think globally, act locally' was coined by the environmental movement in the 1960s. Today that slogan is still used by the World Health Organization and is more relevant than ever.
The current worldwide economic downturn is a reminder that the world has become more global. Our increasing financial, commercial and technological connectivity sees us working through business challenges with long-time partners in the US, Japan and Continental Europe, at the same time as building new working relationships with colleagues in Brazil, Russia, India, China and Turkey.
Against this backdrop of globalisation, we are increasingly sensitive about protecting national regulations and community cultures and actively seek out conversations with those who are having similar experiences to us in health, work and life.
Specialist groups - some of them powerful lobbyists - are multiplying and, facilitated by the virtual world, generate an increased need for 'expert' communicators. For a healthcare industry in a recession, this translates into yet another game-changing slogan: 'do more with less'. Reach more specialist stakeholder groups and engage with them on a deeper, more meaningful level with less internal resource and the same or less marketing spend.
As healthcare marketers, it is our responsibility to adapt the ways in which we work and to revolutionise agency infrastructures and approaches to better serve and support the new age of the healthcare industry.
The new and emerging needs of the industry cannot be met by generalist and traditional marketing networks and silo-discipline teams. Clients need partners with the breadth and depth of expertise to navigate global strategies, local regulatory landscapes and multiple stakeholder groups simultaneously and no-one has the time to 'evolve' into those roles.
The new era healthcare marketing agency needs to deliver integrated and flexible marketing programmes that reach intended audiences with greater speed and relevance, ensuring behavioural change while also delivering financial savings.
We have to live change too, not just talk about it. While clients want the promise of efficient multi-channel and multinational solutions, they don't want multiple points of contact or to navigate numerous financial reconciliation processes that continually undermine a seamless team approach. They need a complete overhaul of the traditional outsourced solutions model.
The successful marketing agencies of tomorrow will truly put the challenge before the channel, they will be able to draw on a breadth of insight and expertise to frame multidisciplinary solutions delivered through seamless specialist teams and they will be much better equipped to work closely with outsourced clinical and sales organisations.
At inVentiv Health Communications Europe, our teams operate under a 'done as one' philosophy that brings together multidisciplinary and multinational teams from our best-in-class healthcare marketing businesses working under one P&L.
Working increasingly closely with inVentiv Health's clinical research, selling solution and consulting teams on broader commercial solutions, we believe we are ready to lead the revolution in improving outcomes and providing added value.
Views in brief
Which patient group has deployed the most effective comms strategy?
KT: One stand-out organisation is the Terrence Higgins Trust as it continually punches above its weight on a range of relevant issues. It is consistently proactive in its communication and has built a range of excellent spokespeople.
On which healthcare comms project are you most proud of working?
FH: Women for Positive Action, a muti-channel education initiative led by a broad coalition of healthcare professionals, women living with HIV and community representatives from Eastern and Western Europe, Canada and Latin America.