Pharma Digital Marketing: Will it Scale?

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation

Digital marketing isn’t innovation anymore.

 

The piloting of digital tools in pharma marketing, operations and R&D has been pervasive. But full implementation of digital in pharma marketing hasn’t happened yet.

A simple review of sales and marketing budgets tells the story. Digital marketing investments have remained modest. Only a third of pharma marketers spend more than 20% of their budget on digital. Most of that is on brand promotional emails.

Meanwhile, budgets for the field sales force or direct-to-consumer advertising remain strong.

Scale-Your-BusinessThe bottom line?
The bottom line is that digital won’t become core to the healthcare professional marketing mix until it impacts revenue. And in a meaningfully way.

Three major changes
Three major changes will need to happen before senior leadership will over-weight digital in the sales and marketing mix. These changes may be difficult, but they are all necessary.

1. Will it scale?
Sales rep access continues to decline and TV drug advertising is remains controversial. Yet both channels still command the largest part of a typical brand’s promotional budget. This has less to do with leadership’s enthusiasm for these channels and more to do with lack of confidence in digital marketing’s ability to perform as well at scale.

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Pharma Marketing: What’s the difference between Customer Insight and Customer Intelligence?

File under: Big Data, Global Pharma Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

When a business idea makes the cover of Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and the Nottingham City Council website, you can bet it’s become a buzzword. Analytics-driven “customer insight” has become ubiquitous from business schools to board rooms.

While it’s certainly true that consumer insight will change the way an organization builds its business and customer strategies, there are limits to its operational effectiveness.

In reality, no organization can manage new “insights” every day, every week or even every month, because then they’d be reevaluating their product mix, business focus, target customer and marketing communications all the time, which besides being impractical would obviously be silly.

Insights that emerge from data are valuable to setting organizational and market strategy. This is the value of companies like ZS Associates and IMS Health that create annual or biannual studies for territory alignment or for refreshing a decile analysis for the pharmaceutical industry.

But I would argue that an equally valuable capability is operational decision support, supported by what could be called “customer intelligence.”

Insight v IntelInsight is episodic, but decision support is ongoing
Insight-driven goals and metrics are developed for how a product, given certain business assumptions, should perform in the marketplace. Insights are distilled from market and customer data.

Insight is used to achieve differentiation. It’s critical to defining and creating value. Insight, I would suggest, is at the segment or persona level. But once the marketing strategy is determined and we know where we’re going, what our product is and who our target audience is, then customer acquisition and activation becomes the focus, driven by individual customer intelligence.

Customer intelligence is an operationalized decision support process at the individual and segment customer level. It determines messaging, targeting, channel and pacing for all of the practical weekly and monthly marketing campaign decisions.

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Filling the Digital Gap for Pharma

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Global Pharma Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation

Whenever there is a major paradigm shift in business, there is both a capability and a capacity gap.capacity 2 Rarely do companies have the right people, and enough of them, to fulfill the demands of a new business environment.

This is particularly true of digital marketing for pharma. Pharma management is looking to marketing to build the necessary digital channels to deliver content to healthcare professionals and patients. But marketing is experiencing digital capability and capacity gaps.

Capability: “Do we have the right people to do the work?”
Capacity: “Do we have enough of the right people to do the job?”

Most digital Centers of Excellence (COE) or centralized pharma marketing operations groups are lacking in one or both.

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Four Unique Strategies for Data in Pharma

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

A significant share of our business focuses on data. We build and manage marketing data analytics and reporting platforms for pharmaceutical brand leaders. What we’ve learned is that this effort requires much more than just data wrangling. It also involves a commitment to nurturing the right kind of “data mindset” among our clients.

We’ve worked with numerous pharma marketing operations and centralized digital marketing teams over the past few years. As a result, we’ve developed a clear appreciation for the range of commitment levels to data analytics. Based on that understanding, we know what makes for a successful data engagement. And it starts with a minimal level of organizational readiness.

Organizational Readiness
When we are discussing a new data reporting or analytics initiative with a client, we’re looking for “organizational readiness.” Putting one’s commercialization organization on a data analytics platform involves considerable change. It introduces a new experience of marketing transparency and insight. That can threaten conventional assumptions about channels, messages, agency partners and targeting strategies.

Not every marketing organization is ready for these changes. We’ve experienced our share of difficult engagements when working with a client who isn’t ready.

Mindsets imageBut we also know what it’s like to work with committed leadership that is ready and willing reinvent their future.

We’ve begun to recognize patterns across these experiences. This has led us to identify four distinct strategies or “mindsets.” These mindsets often foreshadow how transformational a marketing data analytics initiative will be. Read Full Article Now »

The 3 Questions that Data Should Answer for Successful Pharma Marketing

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Global Pharma Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Relationship Marketing

In a recent posting I introduced the idea of a “master data vortex.” The one place where we gather enough data from enough customer activities to derive truly actionable insight.

If we’re only looking at one set of tactics, we’re only seeing one set of behaviors and attitudes about that channel. But what we really need is a data vortex that can suck in everything. Multiple streams of behavioral and activity data will deliver a much better representation of our customer’s DNA.

Marketing Analytics
Once we have that the data, we move on to the next step, marketing analytics. This is when we start to make informed choices. Decisions about budget investment and channel selection. Choices about how we should talk to customers, what messages to send them, and what we’re asking them to do.

At closerlook, we’ve been building a set of robust insight and analytics tools that ride on top of our “master vortex.” These tools allow us to look at a customer across all marketing channels to try to understand them better.

Who What WhenThree Questions
At the heart of the matter, all this activity focuses on answering three basic questions about our healthcare audience: Who cares? What do they care about? And when do they need to know?

Who Cares?
When we look at a population of physicians, the first question we need to ask is, “Who cares about our product?” And it’s not going to be everybody. This runs counter to the traditional marketing assumption. “If these doctors have patients that are sick with our kind of disease, then of course they’re going to care about our product.”

The reality is that not everyone does care. A physician may feel a product is too new, too redundant to what is already in the market, or too expensive. Maybe it’s a new class of drugs for which the physician was never trained. Or maybe the physician just feels a particular loyalty to a competitive product. It almost doesn’t matter. The first job of any true marketing analytics platform is to distill the entire population down to those who DO care.

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Pharma Marketing: The Heart of Software and the Face of Services

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

Is the future of digital marketing primarily services or software? That is of course an overly simplistic question, but it’s one I think about frequently. My conclusion? It will be both. In the future, pharma marketing has to have the heart of software and the face of services. Head and Heart 1

Not just software
It can’t be just software — we’ve seen that movie before. Companies create a software application for pharma marketing and sell it to them, but pharma marketers become frustrated because they’re not trained to manage software. Marketing doesn’t think that way.

Not just service
But pharma marketing in the future can’t just be services either, even though that’s traditionally the way it has been sold. There’s too much great data available to rely solely on creative. Read Full Article Now »

Building A Master Data Vortex for Pharma

File under: Big Data, Digital Marketing, Global Pharma Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

Nothing powers measurement, intelligence and insight like data.

But what kinds of data, you might ask?

In the past, the “data” that fed customer insight and marketing strategy was usually based on gut instinct, with market research used to justify the final decision.

Gut instinct
Now there’s nothing wrong with gut instinct, especially when it’s based on years of experience in a consumer category that doesn’t change much over the years. But in an industry like healthcare that’s evolving at such a rapid rate, deciding with one’s gut is as likely to lead to irritable bowels as to true customer intelligence.

Gut instinct is a poor tool for measuring success, providing customer intelligence and distilling insight.

Another typical source of customer data has been the quarterly, episodic trend reports from the usual research consulting firms. But that means that the insight is often too little too late.

VortexWhat is needed today is continuous monitoring of our market and our customers and comprehensive reporting across every customer touch point. And to do that, we need a single centralized master database. I like to think of it as a “master data vortex.” That giant sucking sound? It’s the vortex pulling in every piece of data we can – sales and marketing – so that we have the basis for doing near real-time evidence-based analytics.

Single source of truth
Having a single destination for both personal and non-personal customer communications means there will be a single “source of truth” about which channels and messages are working against which segments. This becomes a rich asset that most brand marketers still dream about.

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Pharma Data: Expose It to Understand, Embed It to Transform

File under: Digital Marketing, Multi-Channel Marketing, Relationship Marketing

In my last blog, I talked about the technical challenges of  getting customer data from multiple agencies all in one place. Oh yes, and the corporate culture challenges, too! Challenging but not impossible.

So now what? How do we go about making sense of this bolus of customer data? What’s the process for making data actionable? How can we help pharma brands change the relationship they have with their physician customers?

What we learned is that there are three steps to building a strategic framework.

First, expose the data and the underlying framework of customer behaviors. Second, build a predictive model based on that data. Finally, integrate the model back into the customer experience in a way that’s seamless and automatic.

Exposed Data1. Expose the Data
For decades, finding a link between advertising and customer impact was almost impossible. Direct response marketing offered a step in the right direction, but as soon as more than one marketing tactic was involved, it became difficult to attribute dollars spent to customers created.

This led to an industry-wide acceptance of marketing opaqueness. Very frustrating.

However, digital technology now underpins most marketing activities. With the ability to attribute responses from most marketing tactics to individual customers, true marketing analytics is possible. Making decisions based on truth is now possible.

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Pharma Marketing: How We Learned to Deliver Confident Counsel

File under: agile methodology, Big Data, Digital Marketing, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

The transformation of closerlook into the firm it is today started simply enough. We realized that we had become what so many agencies strive for, the “trusted advisor” for our clients.

Trusted advisorBut that wasn’t enough.

The traditional role of an agency has long been one based on counsel. Agency heads would work hard to create a brand around the idea of a “proprietary” advisory relationship with their clients. Traditional agencies often built their reputations on the “big idea.” Success was when the client trusted you to craft a great story to dominate the media gestalt for a moment.

We started down the path of trusted advisor in earnest in 2008. That was the when we decided to focus exclusively on healthcare. We based this key decision on the realization that it wasn’t credible for a small agency to be an expert in more than one domain.
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Pharma Marketing: A Peak Behind the Curtain

File under: Digital Marketing, Healthcare innovation, Pharma innovation, Relationship Marketing

Changes in healthcare in the United States have reached the inflection point where everyone in the industry needs to reevaluate their business model and value proposition.

Full stop.

mazeThe parents of change
These changes didn’t all happen as a result of healthcare reform. Numerous environmental changes like aging demographics, poor diets and exercise habits (which lead to more chronic illness), a shrinking pool of primary care physicians, pressure to reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes and a market that’s evolving towards consumerism have all called into question traditional healthcare business models.

We’re finding that bigger isn’t always better, drugs don’t sell themselves anymore, and the respect that consumers and patients now show healthcare professionals, hospitals, pharma, and health insurance companies has never been lower.

Those of us in marketing face similar business challenges in our role as communicators and brand stewards. Just like our pharma clients, we are rethinking our role and value in the healthcare supply chain. Read Full Article Now »