Recent statistics show that pharma’s spend in digital is less than other industry sectors (multichannel budget is 15.6% of total marketing budget compared with 20% in other industries). Many believe the industry is lagging behind in its adoption of digital as part of the overall marketing mix, so it would follow that we need a little “positive discrimination” in favour of digital to redress the balance, no? Perhaps a big awards competition to celebrate the innovation, the successes and the creativity in digital strategy and tactics in the healthcare sphere?

When we (Matt and Dom) wrote the first TechnoBlog for PharmaTimes six months ago, entitled Ten Digital Pharma Failures (, we were surprised at the level of “excitement” some showed in their response on Twitter, via email and in conversation specifically about our comment regarding digital awards. Since we’ve just come through a particularly busy awards period (inaugural Cannes Lions Health awards, Creative Floor awards, IPA Best of Health, Communiqué), we thought it a good time to revisit this subject.

The gist of our original comment was that we felt current digital awards shows were not showcasing examples of true digital excellence but instead highlighted somewhat mediocre campaigns/executions. Do we want to select work via a spreadsheet that looks to reward entries purely based on outcomes vs key performance indicators or those that are pushing the envelope, experimenting and innovating, utilising creativity in ways that would not look out of place in a consumer campaign?  

To find out what Dom Marchant (@DJMSolutions), managing director of DJM Digital Solutions, and Matt Lowe (@teammjl), head of digital at Creston Health, think about digital awards and their role, read the new PharmaTimes TechnoBlog here. And let us know what you think by tweeting @pharmatimes