How Trends Help Us Innovate in Uncertain Times

In my last column, I discussed the importance of continuing to innovate in times of rapid change. This time, I’ll talk about how watching trends can help us get that done, despite uncertain times.

  • Technology is disruptive. Digital and mobile technologies continue to significantly change how we communicate, how we do business, and how we approach healthcare.
  • Medicine and science are disruptive by nature, testing the boundaries of knowledge to expand humanity’s possibilities.
  • The political environment is disruptive as the new administration in Washington nears the end of its first hundred days.
  • Even our current demographics are disruptive. As Baby Boomers age toward retirement, the even-larger Millennial generation has reached adulthood, and America grows ever more racially and culturally diverse.

The biopharmaceutical industry’s fundamental purpose and highly regulated processes have kept it risk-averse. While the industry looks positively on innovation, it doesn’t always take well to disruption. So how can pharma marketers forge ahead despite rocky waters? In a word: Knowledge. We must discover where the changes are to see how to best take advantage of them.

New Medicine: Changes in healthcare are underway, altering the work of healthcare professionals around the world. Digital connectivity is changing what “healthcare” looks like. Retail clinics are now replacing  doctor’s offices, and seeing the supply chain evolve with technological advances. Overall, healthcare is evolving as we increasingly focus on measurable health outcomes and preventative care.

New World: We are all a product of the times, and regardless of our jobs, we share in the evolution of technology and consumer expectations. Nearly all of us are touched by tech like the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, voice response, and virtual and augmented reality.

New Marketing: To be good marketers, we must take all cultural changes into account, but we also have our own trends. We are learning many new tricks—agile methodology, marketing automation, programmatic media buying, and an increased use of video to effectively and authentically engage with our target audiences.

Uncertainty and innovation can make uncomfortable compatriots, but we must bring them together to succeed. It’s human nature to speculate when the future feels unclear, but it’s best to take the evidence at hand and use it to push ahead in the smartest ways we can.

We must analyze current trends and developments in technology, marketing, and medicine; investigate how they interrelate; and determine how to build on that understanding. With this knowledge and expertise, we will create useful solutions that improve the customer experience and human health. That’s far more than being “on trend.” It’s truly making a difference.

  • Faruk Capan

    Faruk Capan is CEO at Intouch Solutions. Faruk heads a 17-year-old pharmaceutical marketing agency known for its clients-first approach to service. Intouch has 650+ employees in offices in Kansas City, New York, Chicago, and London.

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