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Pharma marketing
Mar 14, 2024

Pharma marketing could shake up with Pfizer’s new generative AI

Chris Yu
Author Chris Yu

The recent introduction of Pfizer’s generative AI, “Charlie”, could be a game-changer for the world of pharma marketing.

Big changes may be in store for pharmaceutical marketing and advertising thanks to Pfizer’s recent unveiling of its innovative AI platform, Charlie. Drew Panayiotou, Global Chief Marketing Officer of Pfizer, revealed more details in February 2024 of its up-and-coming AI-powered marketing workbench.  

Panayiotou states that “this innovative platform is designed to accelerate collaboration, ideation, and campaign development” between Pfizer and their agency partners around the globe. The company is still in the process of rolling out Charlie to the marketing organization, but the platform is already being used by hundreds of people in Pfizer’s central marketing team and thousands of employees across the company’s various brands.

In a world of rapidly fragmenting media and audience attention, tools like this can help increase the speed of execution and creative exploration to penetrate critical cultural moments that influence behaviors impacting individual health.”, Panayiotou further adds. 

Many see this news as revolutionizing the way people execute pharmaceutical marketing and healthcare advertising in light of continuous innovations in (as well as the ongoing rise of) AI technology. 

Get to know Charlie

So who is this “Charlie”? More so: what is “Charlie”?

Named after the company’s co-founder Charles Pfizer, Charlie is a generative AI platform that aims to streamline content supply chains and enhance its marketing strategies. This is done through the centralization of content creation, editing, and reviewing, leading to increased efficiency and accuracy. 

The pharma giant has collaborated with Publicis Groupe for this initiative. It harnesses Marcel’s AI technology (a custom AI platform used by Publicis employees) to provide seamless access to centralized intelligence and shared collaboration tools (such as Adobe Workfront, Experience Manager, and Slack), as well as enhance Pfizer’s ability to crowdsource ideas.

By serving as a central nucleus for marketing activities, Charlie can streamline the process of creating digital media and emails, crafting sales presentations, and assist in researching and drafting medical articles. 

Features such as the automation of repetitive tasks, natural language processing, and predictive analytics enable marketers to provide more personalized and optimized real-time insights to healthcare professionals and consumers.

The platform also aims to help with fact-checking and legal reviews with its “red, yellow, green” tier risk system, allowing better identification of areas of review when labeling content, according to Pfizer’s VP of Customer Engagement, Bill Worple. 

Breaking ground in pharma marketing

Across industries worldwide, we have seen many companies adopt and develop marketing tools and technology (such as journey advertising platforms) that help them get to better know their customers. Pfizer’s AI-driven strategies bring this phenomenon to light, breaking ground in pharma marketing that could usher in a lot of benefits and changes to the industry.

The introduction of Charlie illustrates how healthcare entities can potentially implement their pharma marketing strategies in the future, shaping the evolution of pharma marketing. It indicates how the streamlining of processes and the shift towards a more personalized, sustainable, and customer-centric approach is something that we will possibly see more amongst global pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. 

In other words, we can expect to see wider applications of AI and customer-centric approaches across the industry.

The adoption of generative AI by Pfizer could also potentially bring a lot of economic benefits such as reducing production costs and expediting marketing processes that would otherwise be costly and time-consuming. 

However, with the integration of AI technology in marketing initiatives, ethical considerations and the appropriate ways to use AI need to be considered as well. We can expect issues surrounding data privacy and potential bias in generated content become bigger topics of conversation in the healthcare marketing space. 

Given how establishing trust and maintaining transparency with patients and healthcare professionals is crucial, brand authenticity and ethical and legal considerations will be big talking points as well. 

As a result, we can expect more regulatory compliance implications. This could be fact-checking and legal reviews to ensure that every piece of data is precise and accurate, as well as regulations on responsible AI technology practices. Pfizer’s stringent adherence to privacy requirements can set a precedent in how firms worldwide use and integrate AI technology in their processes. 

Final thoughts

This isn’t just news about a company undergoing automation. It is potentially a paradigm shift regarding the usage and integration of AI technology – not just for pharma companies but also to companies worldwide. Charlie is a concrete demonstration of changing and transforming with the times; marketers will be watching closely to see how this will influence and impact the pharmaceutical and advertising world. 

Regardless of the implications, Pfizer’s Charlie is heralding a new era of accelerated content creation, regulatory compliance, and customer engagement in the world of pharma marketing.

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