BBC reported on June 23, 2016 the United Kingdom opted to exit the European Union. The pharmaceutical industry in Europe will soon split geographically in two—those inside an EU-wide trading block and those outside. As with any earth-shattering change, this means enormous challenges and opportunities for digital technologies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Brexit offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Once the market uncertainty clears, I’m confident we’ll have a world-changing, once in a lifetime opportunity to shape our businesses for the future. It wasn’t until I watched Clay Christensen’s You Tube video on Disruptive Behavior that I could put my finger on why I felt this way.

Video Summary: Disruptive innovation transforms a product into an accessible one that everybody can have access to around the world.

Brexit means that all digital evangelists have an opportunity to be disruptive, to define new products and services that are unique and deliver real value for clients. We must also resist the urge to do things cheaper– a ‘race for the bottom.’  Our driver should now be the ‘innovators dilemma’…developing truly world class offerings which enhance real-world benefits and value. As Guy Kawasaki puts it, “Value is not price; value is anything but price.”

Value table
Credit: Guy Kawasaki

Back to basics: the patient journey

So where do we start? Reimaging the patient digital journey, envisaging what makes HCPs interact with our brand and advocate and choose medicine A over medicine B, will help us work towards our own ‘uniqueness’. Digital media lets us identify who we are speaking to (data), make suggestions on what is important to them (predictive digital), and allow them to continue the conversation where they feel comfortable at a time to suit them (demand 24/7).

We all, in the digital pharma industry, have a responsibility to do away with the need to ‘just get a website online, quickly’ with little thought around who needs this and why. Brexit allows us to retrace our previous steps but draw a different future, a credible alternative for colleagues and customers alike.

Keep challenging for meaningful experiences

Cadient’s philosophy has always been to keep challenging by crafting meaningful experiences for our clients. Our competitors located within the newly drawn (ink-still-wet) EU borders may offer cheaper solutions due to lack of levies. Our challenge now is to continue to offer a valuable ‘alternative view’ where we put the patient and health care providers (HCP) at the center of the pharma digi-ecosystem. I am proud we can offer a product portfolio based on true value, built upon by years of Cadient experience delivering a personal digital experience every time. It is our responsibility as guardians of the digital future to deliver on time, personalised content which is valuable, meaningful, and relevant. Remember that the patients and HCPs will always view online what’s relevant to them.

Disruptive behavior is about finding new markets for your new product. Our challenge will be to define who wants to procure value rather than work to the ‘I have a budget’ mentality of the past. We’ve all had those conversations where ‘we’d like to work with you but agency x is cheaper’. The race to the bottom is the key driver and often seen as the biggest bang. Our role is to work with customers to articulate why the ‘pile it cheap’ mentality will never work. Brexit means the UK pharma digital sector now needs to embrace digital disruption like never before—not only to survive, but to thrive.

Let’s Talk about how the pharma digital sector can embrace digital disruption and find new markets for your products.

This post was originally published on the Cadient blog.

Richard Long

Richard is Account Director (Life Sciences) for Cadient, and is based in our London office. He has extensive experience in the digital... Read more