In brief

In brief

  • Accenture conducted research with 40 biopharma CEOs and their marketing leaders as part of a larger cross-industry research initiative with 564 CEOs and 935 CMOs.
  • We found that almost half of the biopharma marketing leaders surveyed say they lack a good understanding of what customers need or want.
  • Learn three steps biopharma marketers can take to drive growth by increasing their companies’ relevance to customers, patients and ecosystem partners.

For years, biopharma companies have celebrated their "patient-centricity", yet only 35% of patient groups say that the industry is "excellent" or "good" at putting patients first. This needs to change—and can change.

New Science - the combination of the best in science and new technology—is leading to much more personalized, targeted and effective treatments. At the same time, people’s expectations for what/when/how they want products and services is increasing based on their everyday experiences where hyper-personalization is becoming the norm.

This presents biopharma marketing leaders with the opportunity to grow their business and engage with their customers in new imaginative ways. Biopharma marketers can lead in creating the new healthcare experience that is noticed and valued by patients.

Insight led, hyper-relevant

To change this, biopharma marketers must become customer obsessed, using new insights to enable experiences that meet individual customer needs. And to evolve those experiences throughout the entire patient journey. All through an economic model that delivers business and customer value.

Biopharma marketing executives can be the catalysts for their organizations to drive growth by becoming "living" businesses. This means constantly adapting to changing customer needs with speed and scale. It means using data, insights and collaboration across the ecosystem to get a real view of how patients are engaging you, i.e., what they respond to (or don’t respond to).

Biopharma marketers can play an integral role in becoming a more trusted partner in helping patients manage their health.

Here are three ways to do so:

  • Orienting the commercial model around outcomes, including deriving greater insights from customer interactions
  • Architecting a new marketing organization that embraces collaboration and shifts mindsets and skillsets
  • Embracing data as an enabler of everything.

CEOs have high expectations of their marketing executives:


of biopharma CEOs expect their marketing lead to use technology to improve marketing impact–13% more than the cross-industry average.


of biopharma CEOs believe the dynamic orchestration of more complex ecosystems will become a core activity of the marketing executive.

Data & Artificial Intelligence – Challenges facing marketing leaders


of biopharma marketing leads say their organization isn’t ready for Artificial Intelligence.


of biopharma marketing leads have more access to data but struggle to make better decisions.

How to get started

Marketing leaders can get started by taking these steps:

  • Be customer-obsessed to deliver on the moments that matter. Life sciences companies must spend more time getting to know their customers holistically, as humans, to improve outcomes. Move beyond traditional market research and focus on new methods to gather insight (such as ethnography) to understand patients and customers and uncover unmet needs.
  • Breathe new life into your marketers’ mindset, skillset, and toolset. Digital technologies and advanced analytics have the potential to allow an unprecedented level of customer intimacy. Start capturing this potential by identifying new ways of working that bring together different skills and experience from across the organization. Marketing leaders must also identify future talent needs, including new roles not yet part of the organization.
  • Make better use of data across the organization—and outside of it. Marketing executives need to champion investments in data and AI, fostering new partnerships internally and externally to develop the insights needed to deliver exceptional experiences in real-time…all the time.

No single player, independently, will fully disrupt or transform the biopharma industry. Instead, continual change is occurring from scientific and technology advances and more engaged, informed consumers.

To lead in this new environment, biopharma marketers must embrace new mindsets, skillsets, and toolkits. Doing so is worth it. Marketing can become an insight- and innovation-engine for the organization, showing the the way to increase relevance to customers, patients, and ecosystem partners.

About the Authors

Jamie Antis

Managing Director – Life Sciences, Customer Insight and Growth

Eva Wiedenhöft

Managing Director

Elizabeth Otterman

Managing Director

Akash Patel

Managing Director


Become a living business
AI in commercial life sciences
Uniting pharma companies and patient organizations

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