Episode 1: How Technology is Changing Marketing with Matthew Pritchard
Matthew Pritchard is the US Digital Programs Director for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals. He has led digital transformation for startups and well-established businesses for more than 20 years, including some of the most-known brands in the world.
Over the course of his career, he has made use of cutting-edge technology to develop tailored, customer-focused campaigns that seamlessly fit into the broader marketing strategy.
He continues to create game-changing solutions and is widely regarded as a pioneer in the digital industry. His talent and widespread reputation for digital leadership have earned him profiles in multiple publications, including AdAge, Campaign Live, and The Drum.
Matthew joins us in this episode to discuss the influence of technology on marketing, how to incorporate technology and educate about the effects it has on business, and how to encourage teams to embrace and leverage the change.
To learn more about Matthew, you can connect with him via LinkedIn.
Transcribed by Otter.ai
Hi, welcome to the Circus Street Podcast. I'm Jonny Townsend. Today I'm joined by Matt Pritchard. Hello, Matt. Welcome.
Hey, Jonny. Good. See? How are you?
Good. See, I'm very well, thanks and what helped your world to Matt, start by telling us who you are, where you work. And you've got to where you've got to what you
do love to. So, Johnny and for your listeners, Matt Pritchard. I am the US digital Programs Director for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals. I've been with ese for the last two years. And my role really is to partner with our US business, to transform from a traditional approach to marketing to a much more modern marketing approach. So I get the joy of working with some of our biggest brands across the world, in respiratory immunology, vaccines, and CRM. And I get to work with our brand teams, I get to work with our IT teams and our operations team, all geared around, how do we create integrated customer experiences for our customers, our patients, and physicians and HCPs.
And that's really interesting, because you I've known you a long time. You've been in various companies, you know, people would assume that what you've just talked about is is very, very relevant for FMCG companies, CPG companies, which which you've worked with, maybe less so for pharmaceutical companies, obviously, you've you've been on this journey a while. What what do you think has been the impact of technology on the marketing function? You know, from your times in, in Kellogg, through to you know, what you do now? How is it how has it changed the role of a marketer? How has it changed your job and your career?
Yeah, Johnny, you know, you said, I've worked in various industries, and I've been in digital for just over 20 years. And it says, Why Pharma? Well, for me, I think the pandemic really created a sense of urgency in the pharma industry. We had a tried and trued method method of engaging with our customers, which was face to face sales reps. As soon as you can't get into the the office of the physician, then you got to look at alternatives. And that was that's what triggered those things. But going back to your question, I think if I look back over this 20 years, one thing remains true, the core element of marketing still exists. What's really exciting is we got numerous ways of now engaging with our customers. And we got new technology, we got new data that also emphasizes that opportunity. But what happens is you've got a ton of new ways to engage, but an audience or an internal capability that isn't ready to embrace or even leverage that opportunity, or exploit it. So what's been consistent is marketing still there to solve business challenges and drive growth. And then what we do now is how do we teach and enable and build capability, not just in our marketers, by the way, but in our sales teams, in our IT teams and our operations teams to say, this is how you can embrace this opportunity. And this is how you create new ways to engage. And you know, it's tough, the marketeer of past had a great time. This should be so exciting right now, but it's difficult and you've got a plethora of choices. So at the heart of it, the future marketeer is continue to evolve. It's different than it was five years ago, and it's certainly different than it was 20 years ago, but that evolution isn't going to slow down. So marketeers really, for me, we try to build three core skills. I need to make sure they've got the passion. They've got curiosity, but they've got resilience. And if you've got those three underlying skills, and then you start to build on top, the core fundamental knowledge of how do I do this? And more importantly, why am I doing this? That's what makes the difference. And that's the biggest impact. What I can tell you is nothing about technology per se. Buying technology is easy, convincing people and building their confidence, trust and capability to leverage that technology or that data or that new channel. That's where the challenge comes in.
That's really interesting. So is the is the appetite determined by those three things that you that you mentioned, the passion, the resilience, etc? Is that what drives the appetite?
I think I think that that entrepreneurship and that little curiosity is the start. But it's got to be grounded in business impact. So if you think about it, the last 20 years of me of my role has been around, why would we do this. And to get C suite and senior business leaders on board, you've got to better talk about this change approach in terms of how it's helping you deliver business, otherwise, you will just do a digital transformation for the sake of it. And it will never stick because not core to what the business needs to do. So what does it mean for your business? What challenges do you have to overcome? And then how can you make this approach ladder up to the business strategy, digital strategy that isn't linked to business strategy is just a nice pet project. So again, I come back to the core fundamental of our businesses. This is my challenge. This is the opportunity now how can modern marketing help solve those problems, and it's gonna be different for each business.
Yeah, we often talk to clients and people in the market that we're talking to about how all of this stuff is really about business modernization. And it's just the latest example of how technology is modernizing your business. And, you know, technologies always modernize your business. And companies have always ultimately embraced modernization and embrace the technology to modernize their business. However, the difference in in this phase of modernization is that technology is happening so fast, that people can't organically catch up. So, so how you taught about how technology should deliver business impact? How is how is technology, digital technology, etc, helping your business to modernize, if you got some examples of that.
Yeah, so a couple of things. I think, again, I talked a lot about the reps. So when when the physician offices and open to you, you still want to engage in your physician still want to understand the new technology, the new technologies, the new medicines, the new the new therapies we've got. So you then start to use different technologies to do that, you've obviously got the obvious ones like email and CRM in that sense. But you've also got new engaging ways to run a webinar, or even to bring the physical and digital together. So there's nothing better than when you're when we got back together over the last six to nine months as the restrictions ease that you have an in person event. And then you can use technology to augment that. So that that that speaker series or that Congress no longer has to be the start middle and end of any of an experience, it could be the start, because actually, I can capture data about you, I can easily follow up with what you see what you saw, I can use technology, when you're interacting with our digital properties to make sure when the rep comes and sees you next time, we understand what you're interested in. And we can then do that. And then also just new ways to engage. Sometimes someone just wants to send a text or a WhatsApp message. Like two years ago, we wouldn't have engaged in that space. But we do now, if that's the preferred method of contact. And I think going back to he said a few minutes ago. The other thing that's going on pace is customer expectations are going through the roof. And they're actually ahead of us. So whether we like it or not a customer who orders a sample from us expects to get the sample in two days. Why? Because if they can get an Amazon delivery in two days, why can't AstraZeneca Get me my sample in two days. Now, historically, that may have been come in sign a piece of paper will get it much like we've had to rethink those entire customer journeys, because the customers expectations have gone through the roof. So what's happened is, whilst you've got a plethora of new channels, you've also got the fact that in your professional life, your expectation from your consumer or non professional life are merging. And we are not starting to see that things are different. And people are going through the revolving door when they walk in the office. And they're less and less thinking about oh, my world is different. Now I've come into the office. Actually what they're seeing is no, I can do this in in my day to day life. Why can't I do it in my professional life, that puts pressure on the business? Because what you've got in Brisbane businesses is a lot of muscle memory, you know, it takes time. So why go back to this is all about change management, and it's all about people. And that's what makes it tough.
Yeah, so you've got you bring in the technology, you then educate people on the impact that it can potentially make on the on the business. But then you've got this added layer then having you of having to To change the way you do stuff having to transform your business practices, I guess that's what digital is all about is is, is taking your current business practices, and not just making the work faster, but rethinking them. Right?
Yeah, 100%. And again, just think of the life of a marketer. When when I chat with our marketers, or a really bright, intelligent people, they're looking, where do you want me find me the time to do this, I haven't got any time as a moment. So people still not quite getting that this is no longer in addition to your day job. This is the future of the day job, like a modern marketer in 2022, will not be the same as a modern marketer in 2025, and certainly won't be a modern marketer in 2030. So we've got to help show that it's not additional, it's, I'm changing your role, and you're changing your role based on the needs of the customer. And again, all of this stuff has happened in history. But it's the pace it's happening at now that people get uncomfortable with, but you can't keep adding stuff into the funnel without taking stuff away. And that's what gets hard is how do I transition from what I used to do to what you want me to do? One I quite liked what I was doing two is very comfortable. And three, you're now asking me to do something I'm not comfortable with? And I don't know. And yet it's gonna be the future of my job.
Hmm. Yeah. There are quite significant challenges, I guess. Are there any other challenges that that you think jump out and in in this journey?
Yeah, one of the other hardest things, particularly when you're working for big multinationals, and I've had the pleasure of working for companies like GSK. Obviously, AstraZeneca, Kellogg's, Prudential. And Campbell Soup is, they're big organizations. And it's tough to transform an organization. Because you've got such important stakeholder management needed, you need absolute alignment through the levels, but also through the functions. And if I if I would focus anywhere, I always try to focus on what is the aligned objective, because if you can just hold that as a Northstar, you've got a fighting chance. But Johnny, we've talked before, you know what, I don't know what the number is now. But let's say 70% of digital transformations fail, I bet you a big chunk of it is because we're not aligned, truly aligned across multiple functions and multiple layers in an organization. And the best way to do that is to is to spend the time upfront, getting that alignment, and being really clear on what's the macro objective, but what do those individual functions want to get out of it? What are their goals, because if you can understand that, you can start to make sure there's a win win for everyone. And that's how you can get people pulling in the right direction. It's funny, everyone will talk to you, for me, about, it's essential to get the CEO on board. And those things, of course, it is any changes needed. But from my experience, the associate director or the marketing director on the ground, is the person that will enable it and the person that will drive the impact and, and the buy in and the energy from their team. So you just can't go and speak to a board or an executive committee and then say it's gonna happen, you've got to be able to the ability to get that buy in, but then to be able to see all the way through the levels. And that's probably where the resilience skill comes in. Because it's hard work. And, you know, sometimes I go back and go, we've made so much progress. And then one week, you'll go back 10 steps, but that was also fun about it,
huh? Yeah. And that's a really important point. Because as you go through those levels, their daily drivers aren't what the share price is, right, like the CEOs is, their daily drivers are what's in front of me today. And how do I how do I get this done? At the same time as as thinking about the future? Do you think that's the secret sauce to encouraging people to want to embrace change?
Yeah, I think it is, I think you've got to look, at the end of the day, we're all humans. And by default, we don't like change. So therefore, you've got to show show each of those stakeholders, what's in it for them. And there is nothing from a person driving a transformation. There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone eyes light up when they were skeptical to occur, I'm willing to learn to I've just done and then to then be the voice, the advocate. One of the things I love to do is, you know, when you look at the groups like mine, and sometimes the coaches that exist, you talk to yourself about the impact you've had, anytime we go to senior leaders, and talk about the change and the successes but the learnings I have one slide and it's called voice of the customer. And I you don't need to hear from me because I can tell you the nuts and bolts, but here is an associate director of marketing on launch brand, who will tell you X, Y or Z and then they talk for five or 10 minutes about what's been different and what they've achieved and what they've learned. Like, you've got to bring people with you on the journey. And what you can't do is simply push things out and expect everyone just to say, Yes, I understand. And I'm with you on this journey, you've got to, you've got to help convince them, but let them find their own way.
Yeah, that's really, really important. Do you think it's, do you think it's gonna slow down? Do you think it's gonna stop altogether? Do you think it's just gonna keep going all this impact of technology on businesses,
you're joining, I guess I'm just chuckling to myself, because I, I remember having this conversation with you in 2013. And I think I was at Kellogg's at the time and I said, you know, if I do my job, right, this team I've got won't be around in three years time. So we're 10 years plus on nearly, it's still there, you're always going to need some elements of expertise and foresight to go after those big changes. But modern marketing will happen. Although I think we've got a problem in our education system. And it's preparedness for people leaving college, I always thought that I could actually have to educate and train like 35 year old pluses. But thinking modern marketers will just come because they'll go to college, and there'll be taught all this stuff. And creating the best TV spot in the world won't be the the be all and the pinnacle of their career. But that's not the case. It again, we are trying to change massive parts of the value chain, starting from school, all the way through to a to a CEO. So to answer your question, no, I don't think it's going to slow down, I think it's going to get harder, I think that the amount of new people coming into the workforce aren't going to be exactly grounded and everything, and they're going to need to be taught. And I'm excited by the fact that I honestly believe that if you've got that passion, curiosity and resilience, you could be a sales rep, you could be a marketer, you could be a pharmacist, if you want to go into this world world of creating integrated customer experiences. I don't think there's a holding anything back. I think that actually it is more accessible than it's ever been before. And I think half of that starts by the fact of you understand what are good experiences in your own life. That's what excites me.
Yeah. Well, it's exciting, isn't it? Yeah, absolutely. There's, so what factors do you think will be driving change in the next two years?
As we get back to normal, whatever normal is, I think that will continue to drive change. I don't think that a world post pandemic ought to be like a world pre pandemic, which is going to be really hard for companies that have a more traditional way of going to market. I think that the fight for talent is going to intensify. And I think it's going to intensify across corporations, but also agencies and tech companies. And I think that's going to be a really interesting dynamic. My fear is technology will continue to grow exponentially. And it's how do you make the right choices? And where do you focus. But again, at the heart, if you truly stick to what is impacting your core business, and how you can make that better based on whatever your needs are, then I think that's where you'll win.
And what's one piece of advice or learning that you'd share with our listeners?
For me, the power of empathy when you're driving change, just brings people towards you. And when you get them close to you, then you can make the magic happen. So I think the best way to get empathy is to start by listening. And once you've listened, then you can adjust and, and refine your story, and your guidance and your support and your plan. So use that as a North Star. And I think you'll just have people wanting to rally around with you, because they think you're in it with them to make an impact whatever their challenges are.
What do you think we should be talking about that we aren't?
We should, we should carry on talking about the need to engage our users in a really transparent way. Because data has given us lots of opportunity. But it's also created mistrust, mistrust, by consumers mistrust by governments, and it just confuses people and causes us well. So I think the way to get around that is to be really explicit, and and start to talk in a language they understand and talk about the reasons why I think consumers get there's a push and pull. You just weren't clear on what that push and pull is and you need to be transparent around it. So I think I think the data and privacy pieces, particularly in my world of healthcare, is just absolutely going to be at the forefront of what we do. I think we've talked a lot about building capability. I think that capability is no longer just about the market here. When we're talking about digital marketing or integrated customer experiences. It's what's the sales team doing? What's the legal team doing? What's the review team doing other regulators in the healthcare industry. So it's the challenge has just got so much bigger, because it's not just about one core group. Now. It's about those other groups, which you think about it are an absolute key enabler to whatever marketing we do. So they are part of the journey. And they can't just be left on the side because you change one part, and then it falls down because the others haven't changed.
Now, this has been great. You always give tremendous insight and I think anybody that's listened to you over the last 20 minutes or so 30 minutes, will have gotten a lot from it. So thank you very much. It's always great to see you. Thank you for your time and good to see you again.
Yeah, good. See you Johnny. Take care. Have a great day.
Thank you don't have to stop it. Love it.
A bit of poetry.
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