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Digital Media Buying is Embraced by Bayer Pharma

Information reigns supreme in an increasingly digital world. And one of the main reasons Bayer is bringing its digital media buying in-house is to manage data better. Following its consumer group sibling  Consumer Health Division’s switch to in-house digital media buying more than two years ago, Consumer Health Division is exiting the pharmaceutical business.

Even more critical to Bayer than the apparent cost savings from not paying an outside agency is that bringing purchasing in-house means better data control. Brian Cantwell, Bayer Pharma’s vice president for digital strategy and operations, said, “Digital media and our ability to improve the return on investment of our digital media in dollars is at the core of this.”

Cantwell said that while the outcry over Google’s plans to phase out cookies next year has grown, it wasn’t a deciding factor in decision to bring media in-house. Instead, Google’s move confirms that the company is making the right decision in moving to a more direct data management model in the post-cookie era. As a result, Bayer is creating a dedicated department of in-house digital specialists, including analytics, branding, and creative experts, to help with the changes.

While consumer marketing has been bringing digital media buying in-house more and more, pharma has been slower to catch up. Bayer, according to Cantwell, is the first pharmaceutical company to embrace the new model fully. Fortunately for, the anticipated difficulty of the shift turned out to be more concerning than the actual move. Cantwell described the operational transition on Jan. 1 as “seamless.” He sees a cultural change from essential pharma duties to in-house strategic media planning and buying as the more significant challenge.

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