Five Customer Engagement Strategies to Drive Brand Growth

Step up your game or expect to be left behind: that’s the message to pharmaceutical brand managers. There’s a new mindset among physicians and patients who now expect to interact and relate to these brands in the same way they connect with consumer brands in their everyday lives. The pressure is on, requiring new strategies that are clearly more viscerally related to the customer.

Make the information available and accessible – on their terms.  When communicating information that goes beyond core brand content, it needs to be delivered on the customer’s terms – the channel, format, and timing of his or her choosing. Digital and traditional channels are now conveying brand messages, but this doesn’t mean physicians have easy access to the information they need when and how they want it.

It’s important to transmit the brand promise through every customer interaction,and create meaningful customer engagements that drive brand adoption and loyalty.

Customer engagement is worth the investment. Gallup advises that a customer who is fully engaged represents an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer. This not only justifies the upfront investment, but also validates the need for ongoing dedication of resources.

Improve upon the overall customer experience.  Each element of the process in developing customer engagement can drive brand growth and optimize resources. It’s a continuous cycle of evaluating results and deepening customer knowledge so that each interaction with the brand has meaning for the individual.

Multiple data sources, analytic methodologies and research avenues exist in combination to build the customer insights that drive successful customer engagements.

For example, longitudinal patient data, combined with clinical notes and other traditional data sources, can reveal treatment patterns that could be used to predict financial value and establish brand adoption goals at a physician level. Advanced analytic methodologies can uncover causal relationships and reveal customer behaviors and sensitivities that help define the “Moments of Truth,” tipping points in the decision-making process that allow the customer to continue on their journey.

Moving from Awareness to Advocacy.  Every touch point must deliver the brand promise and move the physician down this path. Whether the touch point is about exploring a clinical study, clicking through to an eDetail, writing a script, or sharing with a peer, each must have a strategy that drives engagement.

For example, a brand can reinforce the physician’s treatment choice by delivering a message that includes post-launch outcomes data, brand adoption statistics or physician satisfaction feedback. This reinforcement, coupled with his or her patient’s success on therapy, influences a critical Moment of Truth.

Today, customers research, compare products and read peer recommendations, and they reward brands that meet — and exceed — expectations with adoption and loyalty. When done right,it’s a win-win for both customer and company alike.

For more information, download Alliance’s white paper “Customer Engagement Strategies Drive Brand Growth” here.

Alliance Life Sciences Formalizes Software Organization, Launches Separate Division

SOMERSET, N.J. / LONDON – October 27, 2014 – Alliance Life Sciences Consulting Group (ALSCG), a leading global life sciences consultancy and technology provider, announces the launch of a separate division focused on life sciences price optimization software and the appointment of Mark Costa as senior vice president of Products to lead and drive the strategic and operational direction of this new software product division.

Costa brings over 20 years of software sales and management experience primarily in life sciences to this division, created as a separate group from the Company’s service offerings in order to provide more effective product development and better alignment with market needs.

Alan Crowther, CEO, ALSCG, says, “Costa has relationships with many of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies, and comes on board at an exciting time for our organization as we experience the growth of this newly created division. We built this separate software division to support an appropriate structure for growth and to allow the right partner ecosystem to evolve around the product. Costa is absolutely the right person to accomplish these objectives, while delivering great customer satisfaction.”

Coming most recently from Revitas, a global life sciences revenue management software company, Mr. Costa is an expert in complex enterprise solution lifecycles and customer adoption of new technologies within the global revenue management segment of the life sciences industry. As founder of multiple information technology businesses, Costa has the experience to direct entrepreneurial and high performance organizations and teams, propelling them to meet and exceed goals and generate the customer satisfaction necessary to sustain high year-over-year revenue growth.

Costa says, “It is exciting, and an honor, to be part of the ALSCG organization. The new structure will help to deliver more value to our customers and partners. I’m looking forward to driving our software business, focused on our customers’ business and their success.”

 

Optimizing Contract Management and Operations

For the Managed Markets division at a pharmaceutical manufacturer working in silos, along with an exclusive focus on individual responsibilities can lead to downstream issues if not properly aligned with the needs of other groups. When the Contract Management, Rebate Processing, and Government Pricing teams work harmoniously together, optimal efficiency can be achieved across the division. However, failing to do this can impact processing speed and integrity, squander company time and resources, and incur unnecessary financial penalties.

Strategies and Language

The life cycle for managed care contracts begins with the negotiation of the paper contract. This is critical for the groups implementing contract strategies to have an understanding of the downstream impact this can have on the organization. Prior to entering into contractual agreements, knowledge of the gross-to-net and government pricing calculations needs to be effectively communicated between all involved groups. Since contract management groups are seldom involved in day-to-day operations, creative and innovative pricing strategies, which appear to be saving the manufacturer money, may actually be extremely problematic. Potential savings can be lost due to language that is left open to interpretation.

Revenue Management System Setup and Maintenance

The majority of Life Sciences companies purchase a revenue management system for administering contracts with Managed Care Organizations (MCO) and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM). While the benefits of these systems are evident – accurate calculations, prompt payments, and a centralized secure data warehouse – it is only with the proper configuration, realistic contract strategies, and efficient processes that a manufacturer can see the true benefits. To configure these environments most effectively, it takes years of industry and system specific experience and continuous communication between all parties involved. Without such coordination, the system may seem, at best, burdensome, and at worst, create a significant bottleneck in the rebate payment process.

While there are a variety of ways to set up a contract in a system, it is critical to understand the manufacturer’s long-term needs in order to develop the most efficient setup.By effectively translating the terms of a paper contract, a consequent improvement can occur to the bottom-line as a result of minimizing late fees and eliminating unnecessary headcount. While processing time varies by the complexity of the contract, failure to perform adequate evaluation is often the catalyst for future dysfunction.With contracts configured in the optimal format, an experienced rebate analyst should be able to process submissions against even the most complex agreements in less than 90 minutes. Spending more time than that is likely the result of a poorly configured contract.

Downstream Effects

Oversights that may seem minor in the initial stages can trigger a ripple effect that has significant consequences. Vague contract language can have the greatest impact on an organization and end up costing millions of dollars in additional rebates. It is recommended that the Government Pricing and Contract Management teams collaborate to develop the proper language within contracts. Once this is completed, the Rebate Processing team can configure systems properly and work to ensure all necessary calculations such as the Average Manufacturer Price (AMP) are accurate. Understanding the impact and interplay between contract negotiations, day-to-day operations, and Government Pricing is a crucial component to achieving long-term success.

Operating at an optimal capacity is a feat all companies nominally strive to attain, but few are able to achieve. Alliance Life Sciences can help you establish practices that are proactive and communicative to benefit you company across the spectrum of contract life cycle.

Click here for more information on our services.

The Right Customer Relationships

Following the lead of many others, the pharmaceutical industry is shifting to a customer-centric business model in order to drive growth and deliver cost efficiencies. This new environment will require a brand to think differently about their relationships with customers, as the customer-centric approach recognizes that consumers want to get information for their individual needs on their own terms.

Before a brand decides to build relevant relationships with customers, the below challenges must be addressed:

  • How can we accelerate growth for my mid-lifecycle brand?
  • Are there more customers who could help grow my brand?
  • How can we maximize ROI for my mature brand?
  • What are the implications of budget reallocation?
  • How can we optimize our current campaign?

The Evolution

The customer-centric evolution is built on data, analytics, customer connectivity, continuous change, and technology. Integrating new intelligence and methodologies to solve today’s challenges allows a brand to adopt customer-centric practices to drive growth and optimize investment. This evolution dictates an organization change requiring a new level of intelligence and technology.

The best data strategies still begin with traditional customer demographics, which allow you to draw correlations and understand historical behavior. By expanding data exploration and analyzing this data together in a way that has not traditionally been done before, brand managers can gain an even deeper understanding of both customer behavior and sensitivities.

The introduction of new data produces complexities and technology challenges with many legacy systems. There are a variety of options available to build data foundations for brands that do not have the depth needed to achieve this customer understanding. Standardizing data into a consistent framework, enables an analytic ecosystem and provides a 360-degree view of your customer, this is the key.

Utilizing Advanced Customer-Centric Analytic Methodologies

Translating the complex information into knowledge requires advanced analytic methodologies.  Various modeling techniques and predictive algorithms can help brand managers to derive associations, facilitate comparisons, and uncover causal relationships generating insights that lead to deeper customer understanding and higher performance. In combination with viewing data in a customer-centric analytic lens, new customer insights are discovered. These insights will reveal customer behavior and sensitivities, predict value potential and likely responses to promotions while answering the following questions:

  • What brand behavior needs to be changed?
  • Who are the right customers?
  • What are the most effective and efficient ways for our brand to engage with them?

Standard analytics primarily look at correlative relationships, such as when A occurs, B also occurs, but a customer-centric analytic lens observes a causal relationship and identifies how one variable affects a second variable. Exploring causal relationships across expanded data allows brands to fully identify value potential, predict how customers are likely to respond to promotion, and understand behavior triggers. Pharmaceutical data scientists understand the business behind this data allowing them to determine relevancy, correct for bias, and draw sound conclusions.

Connecting with Your Customer

The insights revealed through a customer-centric analytic lens can drive new customer strategies designed to continuously elevate brand engagement and optimize ROI while defining how to build the right relationship with the right customer. True customer engagement is similar to a dialogue that strategically layers personal and multi-channel interactions offering content based on customer needs and delivering content when and how customers choose to receive it.

Promotional thinking shifts from campaigns to conversations in a customer-centric world. True success shifts from quantity of brand-customer interactions to the quality of fewer connections.  A fully developed customer engagement setting will move beyond segmented campaigns.

ROI Success

Once communications are implemented, a constant feedback loop delivers new information that allows for performance optimization. Key Performance Indicators (KPI), established as part of every engagement strategy, are aligned to your brand’s strategic priorities. KPI’s define what you want to achieve and evaluate the engagement quality, incremental customer performance, and ROI. The continuous input of data into the analytic ecosystem allows the right adjustments to be made to target audience, channel mix, message, and allocation of value added assets. Modifications to the conversation are customer-led rather than channel-led.

Beginning Your Journey

The customer-centric journey begins with vision alignment across the organization, with agency partners and channel vendors. This includes expanded data, new analytic approaches, conversations versus campaigns, different measurement plans and new technology.

The key to success lies in identifying the right partner for the journey. For more information, please visit the link below.

http://www.alscg.com/expertise/commercial-operations

Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity.

During the first quarter of 2014, Alliance began our journey to develop a new message that would embody our company as a whole.  Our clients and internal team provided feedback that shaped a new prospective leading to the launch of our re-branding.  Through all of our development activities, one theme prevailed, the importance of our customers.  The ultimate outcome being, that it’s not about what we do but who we do it for and how they benefit.

Keeping both the feedback and the end goals of our customers in mind we developed our new tagline Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity. Through this process, we found that it’s not our knowledge, solutions, and proprietary tools that our company thrives on. It’s the team of passionate people.

Who better to ask what the new Alliance brand means then those people themselves? Check out their responses at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvIyErRkDII&list=UUiPA3dAD-HVHSyfsVgQ5mmg

To celebrate the re-birth of our brand, we held a “brand day” party on September 26th, 2014, which luckily for us, and our executive team whom were elected to take the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, ended up being a warm Indian summer day.  Equipped with a Taco truck and various team building activities the day left our team with high moral and many laughs to take with us.

taco truck

 

Alliance’s V.P.Global Client Development Jon Kizner and Executive V.P, Global Sales and Marketing Jeff Erb order lunch!

ring toss

 

CFO Jason Watters playing Ring Toss to raise money for ALS.

ice bucket challenge

CEO Alan Crowther takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

 

Alliance Life Sciences Launches New Brand and Website Brings Focus to Customer Centric Impact

SOMERSET, N.J. / LONDON – September 29, 2014 – Alliance Life Sciences Consulting Group (ALSCG), a leading global life sciences consultancy and technology provider, announces the re-launch of its brand and website at http://www.alscg.com.

After a thorough review of its brand positioning and their client’s motivations for engagement, the company debuts it’s new positioning through the tagline: “Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity.”

ALSCG is a global innovator that delivers peace of mind and unlocks business value with unique solutions to complex commercial problems. The company combines proprietary technology and consulting to maximize product portfolio value through strategy, insights, technology and customer engagement.

“Our customers think of ALSCG as the definitive go-to resource, helping them to rethink contracting, sales and marketing, pricing and market access operations to meet emerging stakeholder requirements and expectations,” says Alan Crowther, CEO of ALSCG. “We are strategically aligned with our customers to unlock business value with unique solutions to these problems.”

After conducting research utilizing an agency, Alliance‘s new brand direction closely portrays a bold and innovative approach to solving challenges within life sciences, while providing messaging that align with its customer’s motivational drivers.

Through its three practice areas that focus on revenue management through a product’s lifecycle, Alliance creates meaningful and compelling value, with global projects that have included:

  • Pricing study delivered in Switzerland
  • Global pricing system delivered in Germany
  • Health economic study for a “Top 5″ pharma company in Taiwan
  • Animal health website delivered in Chile
  • Emerging market entrance pricing strategy in India
  • Revenue contract management system delivered in the USA

Are You Ready for Customer Centric Marketing? Part 2

The customer centric environment brings together data which most of the time already exists within your organization and analyzes it in a way that has not been done in the past. The result, a clearer customer picture.  While the best data strategies begin with traditional methods, they go both broader and deeper into incorporating all customer and influencer touch points from a content, channel, timing, impact, and cost perspective. Historical quantitative data is complimented by current customer perceptions and defined based on your unique challenges to remove extraneous or misleading information.  To avoid discrepancy issues, all data must be integrated, managed, and follow governance protocols. A cloud-based analytic ecosystem can help bridge the gap between today’s marketing decision making needs and the permanent operational foundation that supports them.

Along with the need to understand the attitudes and preferences behind customer behavior comes the ability to identify the characteristics most closely associated with customer defection so that pharmaceutical brands can adapt and deliver a relevant engagement. Analyzing customer interaction patterns and value potential can result in sales force augmentation or white space solutions that lead to efficient growth.

Whether you are looking to maximize the value of your customer contract strategy or project the market share impact of your promotional investment levels, analytic solutions can blend deep customer insights and microeconomic analysis to yield effective and efficient customer engagement strategies. Viewing data through a customer centric lens builds new relationships between customer attitudes and actions, as well as uncovers their revenue impact.

The experiences between a brand and its customer or prospect increase brand adoption and ultimately are the underlying principles laying the foundation for effective promotion. But what is the formula for a is.  Changing to an analytical-based model offers the ability to strategize, plan, and react quickly across all customer channels while integrating sales and marketing to relevantly engage valued customers.  To truly impact brand relevancy and increase adoption, particularly in a regulated environment, full business integration of analytics, data, marketing, and compliance is needed. You can achieve this framework and bring your brand to the forefront of your customers’ minds.

 

 

Are You Ready for Customer Centric Marketing? Part 1

Leveraging the success of other industries, pharmaceutical companies have entered the world of utilizing customer centric business models. These models can be a cost effective approach, allowing the customer to reach out for the information they want on their own terms, creating a customer and brand connection which results in financial benefits. As all new adventures, the customer centric model comes with challenges because of the new level of intelligence and technology it requires to effectively engage your customer and drive growth.

As a brand, you must ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What will motivate adoption?
  2. Have the legacy methods of patient education material/programs and co-pay cards/samples answered the needs of customers?

With the answers to these questions you can begin to think about creating the right brand without compromising your promotional budget.

Proving to still be powerful tools, the access to better data and advanced analytical models can improve decision making by delivering a deeper understanding of your customers’ behaviors and attitudes. This understanding enables you to dimensionalize segmentation and map engagement trajectory models, and expose efficient promotional investments. Integrating smart data elements and analyzing them through a customer centric lens becomes the goal.

But are you ready to transform your legacy infrastructures to handle the dynamics of customer centric marketing?

Stay toned for part 2.

Linking Health Economics and Policy Part 2

Results

The biggest challenge perceived by stakeholders is demonstrating the ‘right’ evidence. Specifically, evidence generation, demonstrating value and insufficient internal experience are the biggest factors playing into this.

Image 1

This mainly stems from demonstrating value in a way that is meaningful to
payers. This is best summed up by a Brand Director that participated in the
survey: “Showing value (is the biggest challenge). Is value based pricing a
reality? I’m not convinced yet myself.”

Add to that a lack of experience and expertise internally, which was the
largest output from the people category, and the headache turns into a
migraine. These two factors play into each other, as in order to generate the
right evidence, you need the right resources to plan and execute.

Results – Part 1

Nearly half of the KSFs from the survey respondents relate to the process
and people category. More specifically external and internal communication
and alignment are considered most important. This implies that having a
truly innovative offering/product is not enough on its own to optimize
access.

Surprisingly, having an innovative product does not even score high on the
KSF list, only 11%. Does this mean that pharma accepts that revolutionary
product changes are truly rare, and it’s the expertise of their resources that
truly make the difference?

Image 2

Having evidence to justify the value of the drug in a format that
stakeholders want is what is important, and this requires the internal
expertise to demonstrate that value. Once again, this is best summed up by
a respondent from the survey. The Head of Global HEOR from one of the
companies said, “Clinical data that truly differentiates your drug from its
competition (is the most important KSF). That is still #1”.

What makes a successful launch is a robust understanding of your internal
and external stakeholders. Connecting directly with your customer is
considered essential. Having the experience to efficiently ‘sift through the
weeds’ and find what is truly meaningful to stakeholders’ matters, and
communication internally is as important as externally.

Learnings

Based on the results we tabulated the top 3 learnings that enable
transformational market access:

  1. Know your customer: You must identify and prioritize your
    customers. You must understand their values and beliefs.
    Understand their constraints and limitations. Understand what
    motivates them to take action.
  2. Develop your evidence: What truly makes an impact on their
    values and beliefs? What trial design and endpoints will help them
    move into action? What data design and evaluations best support
    the evidence? What format should the data be in to be most
    relevant to them?
  3. Be crystal clear internally on strategy and execution: What is
    your plan? Who has the experience to execute them? When will they do it? How will they do it? What’s the contingency plan when something goes wrong?

Looking back at the Sovaldi case, how do those success factors apply to Gilead? The company confirmed sales for the first half of the year have exceeded expectations at $5.75bn, which now accounts for nearly 50% of the company’s turnover. These sales suggest the company clearly understood the market environment, and indeed the differential pricing in emerging markets, such as India. Furthermore, the evidence generation was certainly strong enough to warrant access without excessive restrictions. Perhaps a clear internal process and experienced staff also helped drive the process. So despite the continuing political debate over pharmaceutical manufacturers’ profitability, Sovaldi is a clear example of how Gilead has transformed market access.

In summary, market access is a complicated process with many moving parts and many obstacles to consider along the way. Understanding the strengths and shortcomings in your people, processes and evidence are going to be the keys to your success. Planning around these key factors will enable increased market share and ultimately enhanced revenue for your organization.

 

Linking Health Economics and Policy Part 1

Transforming Market Access

In the face of rising healthcare costs and the rapid development of more innovative and expensive medical technologies, there is a growing recognition of the bearing cost-effectiveness has on the decision-making process of healthcare payers.
To gain further insight into the specific issues and key success factors which impact market access, Alliance conducted a global survey with key global and local stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry.
The clear standout results from the survey highlighted 1) the importance of identifying and prioritizing the most appropriate stakeholder. Getting this first step right is critical to the success of pharmaceutical product. 2) Equally as important is ensuring sufficient evidence generation to provide support for products. And finally, 3) a clear strategic pathway for access to a product must be established by a manufacturer.

Stretching government boundaries or seeking true value?

As the US and EU economies struggle to bounce back after exiting the financial recession, healthcare budgets face constant restrictions and containment measures. Increased scrutiny is placed on pharmaceutical manufacturers regarding the manner in which they price their products. The trend for cost containment is very much alive today, with certain classes such as antibiotics, being publicly undervalued and under-priced.

Cheaper prices have led to global over-prescription by GPs and other healthcare professionals. This heavy overuse of antibiotics has gradually contributed to the prevalence of antimicrobial resistance. The number of antibiotics coming to market has dropped consistently since the 1980s, and with no clear market leaders forthcoming, the public may now realize we have hit a ceiling in our development of this class of drugs.

Newer, more expensive antibiotics such as Durata’s Dalvance, will test the current price-conscious healthcare environment. Dalvance, indicated in patients with skin infections, has a better administration profile than generic vancomycin, and may also lead to reduced length of hospital stays. The value of Dalvance lies in the vastly improved patient quality of life and reduction in healthcare resource utilization, albeit at a higher unit cost per treatment than generic vancomycin.

The recent furor surrounding Gilead’s US launch of their Hepatitis C drug, Sovaldi, has shown how a seemingly high price can be politicized and criticized without a clear understanding of the lack of effective treatments within the Hepatitis C treatment landscape. Sovaldi has managed to show a 90% cure rate for patients in a therapeutic area where rates historically have been ~50%. Interferon is the primary alternative agent which is effective in these patients, but with high relapse rates and poor tolerability, the launch of Sovaldi was highly anticipated.

Gilead managed to secure a treatment course price of up to $84,000 in the US, as a result of their solid evidence generation and the clear unmet need for Hepatitis C patients. Sovaldi, however, became a target for politicians as well as insurance companies, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act also driving negative opinions. Add to this, Gilead offering Sovaldi at heavily discounted prices in markets such as India, has led to US stakeholders and key opinion leaders campaigning against the company and its perceived greed.

Historically, pharmaceutical companies have been dogged by severe criticism around ethical standard and an emphasis on business-driven goals as opposed to a patient-focused approach. Health is often seen as a right rather than privilege, and pharma’s close interaction with healthcare systems have often deflected away from inefficient governmental and poorly regulated private systems. Furthermore, a lack of clarity over the true cost of bringing a product to launch, with the manufacturer’s themselves often unable to confirm exact values, has contributed to a lack of understanding around prices which pharma wish to set for their products.

Companies such as AstraZeneca have reported an average spend of ~$12bn on research for each new drug. Healthcare will always remain a controversial discussion point, and the fact that financial gains or potential losses may shape a pharmaceutical company’s strategic directions will always ensure a somewhat negative perception. Avoiding sensationalist media campaigns and a greater clarity around the ultimate goals of pharma will allow for a closer relationship between the public and the pharmaceutical industry.

The Alliance Market Access Survey

As we have seen, market access is the ultimate goal for medical device and pharmaceutical companies, yet it remains one of the biggest current and future challenges for the industry. To uncover the specifics on the challenges and key success factors, we recently conducted a survey with global and local stakeholders to find out more.

We asked the stakeholders two main questions:

  1. What do you consider to be the top three challenges from a price, reimbursement or market access perspective of launching a new drug?
  2. From your experience, what have been the top three key success factors related to price, reimbursement or market access, of launching a new drug?

In our next post we will discuss the results and findings from the Market Access Survey.