Top Pharma Marketer Insights from Tricia Brown, Executive Director, U.S. Marketing, Merck & Co., Inc.

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What do you wish your advertising agency partners knew about your role on the brand side?

I have a sense of urgency about how quickly we need to change. I would like my internal teams and our external agency partners to assess our current thinking, processes and approaches to find ways to increase our speed, flexibility, and the way we communicate with our customers. My most important role, beyond running the business, is to motivate people to have the courage to think and do things differently.

What kind of partnerships are you looking for to help you leverage the new marketing tools and technology available today – who will those partners be?

We need partners who have digital expertise and who can teach us how to evolve–partners who have created more relevant digital content and more engaging customer experiences in other industries and can help us apply those learnings to our industry.

Creatively, is there something you wish agencies did more or less of?

We’ve been developing marketing campaigns and media plans in the same way for years. I feel that our agencies have also been doing things in the same way for a long time, perhaps because we’ve asked them to follow our approach, or because they feel that we won’t accept new approaches. I want our agencies to be more vocal than they have before, with rationale tied to customer experience and business necessity. I want our agencies to present to us differently as well (e.g., thinking and showing “digital first”).

Do you feel drug manufacturers should partner more closely with the FDA to push the Creative boundaries further than they are today?

Yes, absolutely. I would like to foster conversations about digital marketing (e.g., the role of different channels, how communication of promotional messages and safety information may need to differ by channel and how that might contribute to increased understanding/improved health literacy).


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