Anthill is a healthcare digital agency. Early on, we saw the potential of technology to improve HCP engagement. As one of the first pharma marketing agencies to specialise in digital life science communications, we saw an opportunity to solve our clients' challenges by merging powerful storytelling with the scale and personalisation technology makes possible.
Today, we partner with pharma companies around the world, delivering a wide range of services: digital marketing strategies at company-wide and brand levels; content elements and solutions for channels like eDetailing; omnichannel systems, technology integration services, and even our own products like Anthill Activator.
To enable the digital transformation now taking place, pharma companies need a new kind of healthcare marketing agency — one that understands both the potential of digital technology and the specialised, regulated nature of pharma’s engagement with healthcare professionals (HCPs).
A decade ago, there were just two possibilities for companies seeking to digitise their HCP engagement: a general healthcare marketing agency or a digital agency. Both options were problematic. Healthcare marketing agencies were established in the ‘analogue world’. While they understood pharma's business well, they lacked true digital competencies and couldn't advise clients on how to get the most from technology. The other choice — hiring a digital specialist — brought the opposite problem. Lacking healthcare marketing understanding, general digital agencies couldn’t direct technology to meet the realities of pharma marketing. ‘Making a splash’ on social media is very different to building a long-term relationship with HCPs.
A new kind of partner — a healthcare digital agency — was required. To meet this need, Anthill was formed more than a decade ago. By bringing people with pharma marketing backgrounds together with technologists and creatives with a certain way of 'digital thinking', Anthill could offer something new. As a specialist healthcare digital agency, we can create solutions that fit pharma's established marketing practices while opening new opportunities for our clients.
Anthill has worked with more than 77 life science brands, including seven of the top 30 pharmaceutical products based on revenue. Working closely with our clients, we developed pharma digital marketing techniques and solutions that are now standard practice in the world’s leading healthcare companies. Today, we continue to build on this experience — unlocking more value in ‘traditional’ digital marketing channels like eDetailing and innovating new solutions that meet HCPs’ changing requirements, such as automated self-service detailing. We also leverage our expertise through consultancy work that ensures companies to get started with pharma digital marketing correctly and enables leading companies can take the next step on their digital journey.
At Anthill, we believe you need to take a holistic approach to healthcare digital marketing. An agency should balance pharma marketing strategy with technological excellence and creative flair. Each element — strategy, technology, creativity — needs to be in place, though the degree to which each is expressed will depend on the project.
For example, we have recently been helping companies unify their brand website presence on a single technical platform. This might sound like a pure technology project, but aligning the content of hundreds of websites worldwide requires excellent research, a clear strategy and governance model, exceptional creative guidelines, and multi-lingual project management.
Likewise, building an eDetailer for a pharma product launch requires not just creative abilities to present content engagingly and the technical knowledge to build the solution. It also demands that the eDetailer correctly expresses the global marketing strategy, is understood and supported by affiliates and — as is increasingly the case — is integrated into an overall digital ecosystem for an omnichannel product launch.
The holistic nature of any pharma marketing project is why Anthill is structured into cooperative teams of experts. Our strategists ensure that projects will achieve Commercial’s objectives and deliver ROI. Our creative specialists know how to engage HCPs and pull them into your product story. Our technologists understand pharma companies’ digital infrastructure, with a deep knowledge of platforms like Veeva. And our project managers know how pharma companies ‘tick’, so projects progress on time through marketing review, MLR, and localisation.
While technology provides a huge opportunity to transform pharma communication, you can only unlock full potential by taking account of people — their hopes, dreams, biases, needs and beliefs. This requires deeply understanding not only the marketing audience but everyone — internally and externally — who are involved or impacted.
That’s why we believe that to be truly effective as a healthcare digital agency, we have to act with The Human Factor in mind. It's fundamental to how we think and built into every project plan. The result is internal stakeholders who are activated and excited to be involved, and HCPs fully engaged in your marketing and services.
The potential applications of digital technologies in healthcare marketing never stop. What was cutting-edge just a few years ago is now likely everyday practice, soon to be superseded. Keeping up with the pace of development can feel like a full-time job — especially for pharma marketers who already have one!
The continual change in digital pharma marketing is one reason why we seek to act as a partner for our clients. Partnership is a different kind of relationship in which a healthcare marketing agency does more than complete assigned jobs, such as providing content for approved email. As a partner, we also keep your overall marketing goals in mind and actively seek opportunities to achieve them. In other words, you don’t have to think of everything.
This partnership approach might be expressed in bringing to a client’s attention a new channel possibility, such as on-demand self-service detailing. Or it can be 'behind the scenes' opportunities that lift a client’s entire marketing organisation. For example, we are now working with a number of companies to improve their content supply chain. As pharma switched from multichannel to omnichannel marketing, it became clear that the increased content volume required was stressing organisations. What was needed was a fresh approach that was more efficient and much faster — a process that we call content excellence.
The same in-depth knowledge earned working on projects as a healthcare digital agency is now also applied to software development. For example, we saw that our clients needed to get more value from their Veeva investments. The result of this insight was Anthill Activator. This is a content management system that is fully integrated with Veeva Vault. Activator speeds content creation, MLR, and localisation — making everything easier — thereby enabling companies to increase content production volume. Many pharma companies now use it.
What isn’t covered above are the intangible factors that make for a great client / healthcare digital agency relationship. Personal chemistry matters as much now as it has always done. If you'd like to get to know Anthill and meet some of our people, do get in touch.