Test Your Mobile Maturity


By Eunjoo Pluenneke, director, Client Solutions, Pursuit Solutions and
Steve Robinson, Partner, Sales and Marketing Operations, Pursuit Solutions

At a recent industry conference presentation, we challenged our audience with the same key question that we asked of our brand participants in our 2014 mobile study: How mobile-mature is your brand?

The result was a resounding agreement that we as an industry are not mobile mature. This may come as a surprise, especially for those brand managers who consider themselves early leaders in embracing mobile tactics and initiatives. And according to our lifecycle analysis (see Figure 1), we as an industry have been mobile-intensive long enough to be considered a truly mature candidate.


Life sciences, after all, had immediately eyed iPads when they were first introduced in 2010, as the industry quickly realized the natural fit of these innovative mobile devices with field business processes, in particular electronic sampling.

By 2011, a small minority of organizations validated that their businesses warranted iPads (an incremental investment to their existing hardware) through a defined mobile strategy, while other organizations, compelled by the benefit of instant-on, lightweight, longer battery devices, simply purchased iPads by the hundreds, deployed them to field personnel, and decided later on how to use them for business. In 2012 the focus shifted from “if ” and “how” to deploy iPads, to “what is working and not working.” Anyone who hadn’t deployed iPads by then actively sought to learn from the early adopters. Mobile health apps became extremely popular in both the consumer and healthcare practitioner community, for smartphones, iPads and Android devices.

As we entered 2013, digital equaled as the hot topic with mobile. Not only were brands looking to optimize mobile channels with digital content, they wanted to extend it across channels and make the idea of repurposing content a reality. If you were a technologist, undoubtedly you were asked several times whether you should build a mobile solution in native iOS or in HTML5, a tough question to answer without considering the digital side.


Which brings us to 2014, at a time when we challenged ourselves to ask, are we being effective in our mobile tactics and promotions and have we evolved as much as we think we have? We put our research hats back on, only to find out that our industry still feels we still have a lot to learn and are not mobile mature (Figure 1).Pc0560000

Figure 1: Pursuit’s Mobile Maturity Lifecycle – 2014

So why the low marks? Why are we not as effective with mobile as we should be?

According to our findings, which reflect 20+ life science brands, the most prominent reason was a serious lack of strategy (Figure 2). 67% of brands claimed that they had not developed any type of mobile strategy or, if they did have a strategy, they did not implement successfully against it.Pc0570000

Figure 2: Mobile Strategy Survey

Yet even in absence of a strategy, 80% of brands still decided to make significant mobile investments, in particular with mobile apps (Figure 3).Pc0570100

Figure 3: Mobile Apps Survey

This was arguably the area in which brand participants asserted the most interesting commentary in support of their mobile immaturity, questioning how their brands could have deployed mobile apps without a strategy, metrics, or any true business objective other than to receive app downloads.

While we recognize that brands will have unique use cases for mobile apps (the most common types we heard were consultation or treatment visualization apps targeting consumer customers), the objectives of those mobile apps were generally not met, and in some cases, not defined. Mobile apps for the most part failed to drive increased engagement and did not achieve measureable outcomes, according to the majority of brand participants who had deployed apps.

Unexpected mobile outcomes: Are we reaching our target audience?

We also uncovered some unexpected mobile outcomes with respect to mobile apps:

• Brand X decide to deploy a consumer mobile app, which ironically was adopted more by physician customers

• Brand Y deployed a mobile app, based on the failed assumption that target customers would shift away from mobile web when searching medical information

A correlation here, perhaps? An ill-defined strategy makes it challenging to claim success in achieving the desired outcome. Without a well-defined strategy, the investment in mobile apps needs to be well thought out in design, but also in execution and rollout.

We were curious to discover that Responsive Web Design (RWD), the innovative approach to optimizing the web experience across devices, did not have even close to the adoption numbers we expected. Our findings indicated that only 20% of brands had moved towards RWD and those brands expressed much dismay about the ultimate and unforeseen expense and duration of these novel projects, citing missed timelines and budget shortfalls along with a short supply of necessary skillsets (Figure 4).Pc0580100

Figure 4: Responsive Web design Survey

Other prominent feedback highlighted the fact that certain brands were simply unsure how to implement, while others felt mobile was not a priority in comparison to other channels. In either case, both considered themselves mobile immature, one due to a lack of execution capability (despite having developed a preliminary vision), and the other due to a conscious decision to hold back.

Top Four Perspectives

Based on the outcomes of our 2014 research, we identified four main mobile perspectives that characterize our industry today. We subsequently classified each brand to a perspective, based our understanding of their degree of Strategy focus and Execution potential. These top four perspectives are as follows (Figure 5):Pc0580200

Figure 5: Top 4 Mobile Perspectives

1. Immature:

• Mobile is not a priority compared to more traditional tactics and promotions

2. Overly Technology Focused:

• Somewhat guilty of the ‘shiny new object’ syndrome

• Premature investments in mobile technology with minimal strategy

3. visionary but Hesitant:

• Strong vision and buy-in but unsure about investing in mobile

• Unclear on what it takes to deploy and support technology

4. mature:

• Strong execution against a defined strategy

The majority of our brand participants fell into the ‘Immature’ category while there was a fairly equal split between those who are ‘Overly Technology Focused’ and ‘Visionary but Hesitant.’

It is worth noting that one of our brand participants led the pack as a true stand-out with respect to the success of their mobile initiatives and hence viewed themselves as mobile mature. Interestingly, from this brand’s standpoint, their mobile technology was no better than that of any other brand, nor was their strategy any more creative. Despite popular opinion, this brand did not believe mobile greatness was measured based on the technology itself.

What really separated this mature brand from others was the simplicity of a well-defined roadmap, from which they defined simple but clear metrics, both short and long term, people and process plans, and financial ROI criteria. In short, they developed a solid mobile strategy. Also adding to this brand’s differentiation was the fact that their mobile strategy was part of a broader multichannel strategy.

While we were not privy to this elite brand strategy or roadmap, we developed our own high-level roadmap, based on our top four identified perspectives (Figure 6). We encourage you to see where your brand aligns today, and then focus priorities to get to the next level. In the end, our research led us to some important conclusions:Pc0590000

Figure 6: Multi-channel Planning Roadmap

• Life sciences is falling short with mobile tactics and promotions

• Conducting a mobile strategy is generally not a priority, a similar observation we made in 2012

• The overall emphasis on deploying mobile apps may be clouding the importance of enhancing mobile web for our customers

The good news is that the industry has gained valuable learnings. Brands remain committed to Mobile as a commercial necessity and we believe that life sciences is gaining capability that will enable it to rise to mobile maturity. •

67% of organizations interviewed said they have NOT developed a mobile strategy

Those who did conduct a strategy did NOT implement successfully against their strategies

80% of brand leads interviewed have deployed one or more mobile apps

Those who have deployed apps focused on consultation and treatment-visualizing apps


HOWEVER apps are NOT achieving desired objectives

Only 20% of brands surveyed have moved to Responsive Design

Eunjoo Pluenneke is responsible for managing relationships with client stakeholders and delivering strategic leadership with expertise in sales and marketing technology solutions. She has led numerous CRM technology, strategy and solution initiatives for pharmaceutical sales and marketing organizations, evolving business capabilities and providing organizational cost-savings. Previously, Eunjoo served as IS Commercial Business Partner at Sanofi-Aventis, where she developed several key solutions for the Commercial business in the areas of Sales Effectiveness, Digital and Mobile Capabilities, Multi-channel Marketing, Sampling/ Resource Management, Incentive and Compensation, and Field Analytics.

A senior strategic CRM sales and marketing executive with an extensive understanding of Multichannel marketing and sales force enablement, Steve Robinson has over 15 years of experience coordinating technology, sales and marketing resources, and providing large scale marketing solution architecture and operations for CRM clients. He also focuses on the organizational change management often required in these engagements, ensuring his clients can become architects of change optimization. Prior to founding Pursuit, Steve worked with Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Epsilon and Ogilvy, in the healthcare, financial, and consumer goods industries.

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