Posts Tagged ‘physician CRM’

Three Steps To Restoring Relationships in Pharma after a “Pinch”

At closerlook, we think a lot about relationships. We think about those that we have with our pharma clients, those that our clients have with their customers and especially those that we have with each other in the office and with our business partners. Healthy relationships are important for the business ecosystem. Therefore, it’s invaluable to know what to do when a relationship is not going well.

pinch3When there’s a “pinch” in a relationship, it can go one of two ways:

  1. It can lead to frustration, mistrust and ultimately the demise of the relationship.
  2. It can actually become an opportunity to redefine and strengthen the relationship.

Here are three strategies to use before, during, and after a pinch to increase the odds of a good outcome:

1) The Goodwill Bank

Relationships are never perfect. Even in the best relationships, things happen that will challenge that relationship.

Recognizing this, it’s very important to keep a strong balance of goodwill in the relationship bank. This will ensure that there are enough reserves so that when there is a pinch and a subsequent draw down of goodwill , you don’t go into overdraft mode.

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Transforming Physician Insight Into Actionable Pharma Strategies

As marketing has evolved from mass advertising and promotion to a more sophisticated interactive approach, marketers have many new choices. But in this new environment, marketing decisions must be based on true insight derived from verifiable customer feedback and not just educated hunches or agency hype.

With the sheer volume of new communication platforms, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the huge number of variables that can be involved in an interactive marketing program. I recommend starting with baby steps. Two simple but very effective ways to personalize marketing are the choice of communication channel and the development of custom content. Channel and content. Often just getting these right will have a significant positive impact on building value-based customer relationships with healthcare professionals.

As a place to start, channel and content are both necessary. It’s one thing to come up with great, personalized content – but it’s a total waste if you’re not using the channel that a target physician is monitoring or uses. On the other hand, you might discover the unique channels a specific physician prefers, but if the content is irrelevant or inappropriate, you have lost an opportunity to build affinity.

Lessons Learned from Breakfast
breakfast w forkI had breakfast with a physician friend of mine. We’ve had a number of great conversations about her practice. She is very busy internist with over 2400 patients, making her a “top decile” physician, the segment that pharma needs to reach. Not surprisingly, given her large patient load and full calendar, she has very strong opinions about pharmaceutical sales reps and the value she gets or doesn’t get from their daily interruptions.

There are certain media channels that she uses regularly. She knows she needs regular access to information on new FDA approvals and emerging therapies. The major peer-reviewed journals and online content portals are two of those channels; the sales rep channel is not. Try to communicate using any other method and she simply won’t get the message. And like most professionals, she’s very particular about what kind of content she’s interested in. It’s got to be related to internal medicine. Go ahead and try to offer content outside her areas of interest but it won’t matter – she’ll turn it off and walk away. Read Full Article Now »

How to Turn “Lots of Data” into “Big Data” for Pharma

Pharmaceutical firms, like most large sophisticated marketing organizations, spend a lot of money in promotion and branding. Individual brands will use multiple sales and marketing channels to reach their customers, including sales reps, traditional direct mail, drug samples, journal advertising, websites and edetailing, conferences and symposia and small dinner meetings. It’s not unusual for a brand to use six or more different ways to reach and impact their target doctors.

The Lack of Integrated Campaigns

While each of these tactics may be implemented by best-of-breed agencies, there is generally little coordination or sophisticated strategy that enables the whole effort to be greater than the sum of the parts. Unlike in other industries where marketers have learned how to build multi-channel programs, pharma has continued to use its traditional silo approach.

For example, in pharma you rarely see integrated campaigns in which one tactic, say direct mail, launches a chain of touch points by presenting a call to action to go to a website, where there is a prompt to opt-in to an email newsletter program or register for a conference.

Why is integrated marketing so important? There are two reasons why a more sophisticated approach to marketing is beneficial for both the brand and physicians.

Two Reasons Why Integration Is Important

Integrated marketing acknowledges the fact that there is an adoption path over which all of us travel during the process of becoming aware, considering, evaluating and eventually making a purchase decision. An integrated marketing program understands what types of information and presentation formats are most helpful at each stage in the decision making process.

Secondly, an integrated multi-channel approach respects that fact that individuals use and respond to different marketing media. Some physicians prefer sales reps, while others insist that they receive their information digitally. Some professionals need clinical documentation while others want to hear from a colleague…

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On Getting Nimble

As pharmaceutical companies attempt to become more nimble and decisive, senior leadership will need timely access to relevant data, insight and recommendations. Brands can no longer wait months for campaign activity reports or ROI analysis. Senior product managers feel the pressure to make mid-game go/no go decisions and to reallocate marketing budgets even before a campaign is complete. This urgency requires a level of real-time access to data, ad agency transparency and partner collaboration that is still uncommon in this industry.

big data delugeThe attention that “big data” has been getting is warranted, but to date, most of the large data sets still reside in their respective marketing silos. The coming year will begin to see integration of marketing and response data across agencies, data partners, and internal IT, offering product managers and their bosses a real-time insight sandbox. This will require a new reporting framework that will increase transparency and accountability both internally and externally and give managers the ability to make smarter and more timely investment decisions.

Think this is a discretionary, nice-to-have capability? Think again. The music has changed. The reality of health care reform has set into motion a myriad of changes that will have a major impact on pharma, especially for those companies not nimble enough to dance to the new soundtrack.

Pharma’s Tahrir Square

tahrir_squareOur work has taught us many lessons, but probably none as important as the impact of relationship marketing on a pharmaceutical company’s organization and culture.

Taking Baby Steps
Relationship marketing often starts simply as the coordination of tactics or customization of emails based on customer profiles. These activities are important baby steps towards building a strategic orientation that determines how an organization and its various functional silos and vendor partners work together to serve physicians.

In this new world of relationship marketing, every promotional tactic, whether direct or through an agency, becomes a measurable touch point that can be captured and analyzed. Soon the brand begins to recognize the value of embracing open, cross-sharing of customer insight. Soon people can start to get a little crazy.

The Dysfunction of Disconnected Data
While some level of data capture is likely happening already among individual marketing programs or within the sales force, seldom is all this data brought together into one dataset for a true single view of the customer that is made available to the entire sales and marketing organization. Financial, technology or regulatory limitations are often blamed for disparate and disconnected data sources, but generally this dysfunction is more the result of competing fiefdoms among departments and ad agencies.

A strategic approach to relationship marketing requires a cultural transformation, and this change must begin at the top of the organization. It requires a sincere commitment by senior leadership to an “open systems” view towards the capturing, analyzing, and internal syndication of customer insight.

Culture Spring Without the Chaos of Tahrir Square
For many traditional hierarchical companies, this definition of relationship marketing amounts to a cultural revolution. If handled well, it can be a “Culture Spring” without the chaos of Tahrir Square. The “democratization of insight” promises a sales and marketing organization that is truly aligned around relationships and that becomes increasingly smarter about how it engages with its best customers.

All for one, one for all.

The hammer is about to drop on marketing budgets

The hammer is about to drop on marketing budgets. While there will still be discretionary spend on mobile and tablet pilot projects, executives are looking for measurable productivity from their marketing spend. Unproductive tactics must be prepared to surrender their pound of flesh.

The unflattering ROI spotlight that outed R&D’s poor productivity and unraveled many large sales forces is now turning its stare towards marketing. Everyone has to share the pain. But simplistic all-for-one, one-for-all across the board budget cuts are absolutely wrong. I’m concerned that this habit of making room in the budget by simply shuffling the marketing deck chairs will just punish existing physician relationships and confuse new ones.

Silver Lining
The silver lining is that this greater fiscal scrutiny should lead to more customer-focused physician marketing. Unfortunately, many brand leaders may not have the data or insight to know whether poor ROI is the result of a bad tactic, the wrong target, or poor execution.

Most launch brands spend considerable money and time crafting a unique selling proposition to differentiate their product in the marketplace. Exhausted by this grueling exercise, they tend to fall back on the standard, undifferentiated marketing playbook to promote their message.

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Physician Marketing, meet CRM

A lot of ink has been spilled on the decline of the blockbuster and the search for a new specialty-product commercial model. But less attention has been paid to how that changes physician marketing strategy.

In the traditional PCP blockbuster model, promotional saturation was effective. The medical claim could be simple and the sales message clever. It didn’t matter if marketing tactics existed in their own silos with little or no coordination. Whether it was a leading statin or ED product, there was strong consumer demand and the marketing strategy could be share of voice.

In today’s specialty market, these old assumptions are just plain wrong. Not only is the target audience smaller, the buying criteria are more sophisticated. Writing a $15,000 oncology regimen is different from writing a monthly $150 PPI script.

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