Smaller Pharmcos Can Play in the Big League — And Win!

Key takeaways – and insights — from ePharma’s panel discussion “HCP Multichannel Marketing: at the Intersection of Physician Engagement, Smooth Communication & Smart Selling”



Terri Young, Ph.D., Head, WW Multi-Channel Management Partners, Bristol-Myers Squibb


Eric Rothstein, Executive Director, Customer Channels & Solutions, Merck

Robin Kamen, Senior Director, Digital Strategy, Pfizer

Erik Dalton, Vice President of Operations, Healthcasts

Anne Stroup, Vice President of Strategy, Alliance Life Sciences

You don’t have to cast a big shadow to turn data analytics into improved engagement strategies – and capture increased market share.

With a more nimble, flexible business model than their larger counterparts, small to mid-size companies have the potential to readily scale multichannel marketing and personalize HCP messages to drive business.

If you weren’t able to attend the recent ePharma panel presentation, here are some of the key-insights from top industry thought leaders. Essentially, smaller pharma may be inherently agile and positioned to advance these strategies more rapidly.

Turn Traditional and Expanded Data Sets into HCP Engagement Strategies

Marketing today is synonymous with data analytics. There is an unprecedented amount of customer data that can help build out personalized HCP communications creating a customized experience. However, with respect to the management of this data, without quick reflexes and agile technology, customer-centric strategies will fail to activate or reach full potential.

Deeper customer insights is the key to unlocking:

  • Behavioral and attitudinal trends
  • The value that a customer can bring to your brand
  • The customer’s  receptivity to your each component of your value proposition
  • Relevant content that keeps the customer engaged with your brand
  • The most optimal promotional mix

Evolved HCP Multichannel Marketing Focuses on the Customer’s Needs

As we have learned from other industries, brand loyalty results when a value-based relationship is developed between a customer and the brand.  Integrated multichannel marketing is evolving from a promotional campaign to a dialogue that builds into a relationship.

In order to establish and grow a relationship, the brand must both understand and act upon the customer’s needs. This means delivering the content they want, when and how they choose to receive it.  Content must be appropriate to their immediate need and accessible on-demand through multiple channels.  In addition to a deep understanding, this requires planning, expanded content, and the technology infrastructure to support customer focused engagement.  It is a different model than the product based push campaigns we have become accustom to.

Yes, the Rep IS Part of the Multichannel Marketing Strategy.

Channel Mix Modeling allows marketers to segment engagement strategies by the presence and depth of the field reps based on the HCP’s value.  Integrating all channels and selecting content based on previous interaction creates a cohesive customer experience.  With recent adoption of approved mail, reps can expand their relationship with physicians.  And brands can supplement rep generated interactions with incremental, relevant content.  When the rep and physician relationship is not firmly established, the integrated multichannel approach offers interaction options.    Creating this cohesive customer experience is about QUICKLY managing all the channels in real-time and a non-overlapping way.

Creating personalized customer experiences of the likes Amazon has with their customers requires agile data management, technology AND staff with quick reflexes. It’s important to evaluate your staff and systems with this in mind. If you don’t have the right parts and pieces in place, look for partners who can provide the industry experience, the big ideas, data management and the technology needed to build real physician and customer engagement.

To learn more contact:

You can also gain industry insight by reading Customer Engagement Strategies Drive Brand Growth 

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.

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.

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.