Posts Tagged ‘Relationship Marketing’

Creating Pharma(x)

pipe1Mention change in the pharma industry today and you’ll get raised eyebrows along with a sarcastic alliterative remark suggesting you must be Sherlock Holmes…

No, the question is not whether change is happening, it’s how you predict, control and channel change to your advantage. Or acquiesce and allow it to happen to you.

Secular industry change is risky and challenging. But it’s only through market-defining challenges that companies and people come out stronger and better poised for the road ahead. Embracing risk and creating ambitious goals is what keeps companies moving forward and ultimately leads to new and exciting discoveries.

Larry Page, co-founder and CEO of Google, recently commented that as Google takes even more ambitious and costly bets, one would expect their failure rate to go up. But in fact, it hasn’t. And even when they may not achieve an ambitious goal, the path they take often leads to important things. Read Full Article Now »

Good patient data is not always meaningful patient data

I’ve been thinking recently about some of the newer sources of health data, namely patient-generated data. My working headline is something like “Good patient data is not always meaningful patient data.”

mobile3I have the distinct sense that our rapt attention to mobile devices, mobile health, patient data, patient-generated data, etc. is all really exciting for those of us who are in technology because we love the idea of sensors and capturing data that could never be captured before and building massive databases and doing all this great regression analysis on it to look for tipping points and trends and turning it into cool graphical reports. It’s fun and exciting and sexy!

But patient-generated data often breaks down when it meets the physician. And here’s why.

There’s a tidal wave of patient generated data from apps and devices that is only increasing. When you read stats about how many tens of thousands of medical health apps there are in the Apple Store and how new devices are being launched every other week, it leads to a deluge of patient data.

Data from patient apps and devices – activity level, heart rate, blood glucose, etc. – is all “structured” within its environment, that’s good, but it’s not interoperable with any other data. This means that the data is seldom integrated with any electronic medical records system (EMR) at the physician level. That’s a problem for doctors wanting (required) to leverage these systems to interact with their patients.

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Pharma Banner Ads vs. Brand Websites – Where Should You Invest Your Marketing Dollars?

boxing ringA recent study by the online research company comScore offered fresh data on the impact of various forms of digital marketing. What we’re beginning to see is a very interesting and dramatic comparison between the benefit and efficacy of banner ads versus branded websites for pharma and the role that they play in a multi-channel marketing strategy.

Banner Ads
Not surprisingly, banner ads have an effect on unaided awareness. So if you’re browsing the web and you come across a banner ad with compelling content and optimal placement, it’s likely you will experience a modest but still statistically significant increase in awareness of a particular product, or in our case, a prescription drug.

What is interesting though is that the data indicates that banner ads don’t actually translate into product interest or an intent to discuss with your physician. According to this study, banner ads are good for general brand awareness but by themselves do not lead to any new scripts, which if you are a brand manager, is what you need marketing to do for your brand.

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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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Three Key Strategies to Drive Better Patient Care

When it comes to health technology and new mobile apps, we often jump right into a discussion about cool features and social media. But the real question should be impact. What positive impact are we having on patients and their physicians, the ultimate gatekeepers?

The bottom line for most physicians is efficiency: “How can I be more productive with the time I have with my patients given the clinical load I carry?” Therefore, a good place to start in any technology impact discussion is how to enhance the physician-patient interaction to make it better and more efficient.

There are three important activities that influence physician efficiency:

 1) Precise diagnosis of ailments

 2) Patient education support

 3) After-care compliance and home monitoring

These are also three activities that can have a significant influence on patient outcomes.

All three of these are time-consuming but critical activities, and all of them can benefit greatly from technology.

1) Precise Diagnosis

Stopwatch1During the typical 15-minute office visit, in addition to collecting as much medical and family history as possible, physicians will review a patient’s symptoms. Very often they’re listening for that random clue that might influence the diagnosis, something that maybe the patient hasn’t thought of or hasn’t remembered since the last office visit.

When a patient walks in a doctor’s office, particularly if they don’t have a caregiver with them, they often are stressed and very often forget or misread symptoms that might have happened at home. It’s kind of like when you take your car into the shop and suddenly that engine knock isn’t there anymore, and the garage guy rolls his eyes and tells you to bring it back when there is a real problem.

Technology can play a supportive role here by capturing a wide range of patient symptoms as they are experienced at home, at work or socializing with friends.

One solution to this challenge is an mHealth (mobile health) iPhone-based symptom tracker. A mobile app can capture relevant patient experience data and efficiently provide it to the physician to inform the diagnosis – information that the patient might not even remember or consider important. By providing additional diagnostic clues, a symptom tracker will enhance the conversation about health between the physician and patient.

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The Nature of Superpowers

I recently spent two hours in a conference room with some really smart people and three accomplished musicians from a young, innovative Chicago-based chamber orchestra called Fifth House Ensemble. We talked about the nature of the professional musician and what it takes to become world class.

The leader of Fifth House suggested that the world’s best musicians have four “superpowers” in common:

Self Knowledge

“I picked this path, and I’m committed to it.”Superpowers

Professional musician generally choose their artistic path as early as four years old. Most of the rest of us are not picking our careers when we’re that young, but the concept is still very relevant. Do we know exactly who we are, what career we’re creating, and what kind of impact we’re having in the world?

2) Self-Discipline

Musicians all over the world practice two to six hours a day every day just to maintain their skill. More practice time when they are learning a new technique or piece of music. And they do this from the time they’re four years old. It’s really good for creating muscle memory, but it does require extraordinary self-discipline to spend hours every day in a solitary practice room. This single-mindedness begins to affect how they observe and experience the world, putting much of what they see and hear in terms of music and rhythm, tone and emotion.

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Empathy: Why Good Physicians Will Always Matter

In the comments section of a recent blog post, a reader commented:

The idea of using a computer to aid in making a diagnosis is not new. When hand held PDAs came out in the 90′s, I was one of the first to download Epocrates to mine to aid me in making the most informed diagnosis if a particular patient’s symptoms or problems were complex, or hadn’t responded to my treatment. It is an expected outcome that as more and more data and information has become available in the ‘cloud’ that we as physicians will utilize it more often… But will a computer or cloud computing ever replace the value of face-to-face contact with a real physician or mid-level care provider. Patients are all so different and 90% of the art of medicine is taking an accurate history, which frequently requires getting patients to open up or share that one last symptom that they either forgot or were afraid to share for a variety of reasons. It can actually make the difference between life and death in some cases. I fully embrace the future of what cloud sharing offers all of us in any business or occupation. But there will still be no way to improve on the Marcus Welby, MD “model of medical practice.”

Despite my belief in the value of technology to support better patient care (The Avatar Will See You Now), I agree wholeheartedly with the central role of the internist. When I talk to physicians and inquire about their methods, I’m always fascinated by their intake process and the central role of patient history. As the writer says, “90% of the art of medicine is taking an accurate history.”

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Deeper Relationships in Pharma: The “Give To Get” Side of Marketing, Part II

Recently I wrote about the idea of “Give To Get” marketing, the premise that you need to give value to your prospective customers before you ask them for their business.

To further reinforce this topic, I want to share a compelling story that a physician friend of mine shared over breakfast:

Laughing, she said, “I had an interesting experience yesterday with a rep. As you know, I’m hardball with sales reps. I rarely give them time. I walked in the back door to my office yesterday morning, and there were eight reps standing there, waiting. The office manager had told them there would be another doctor who would sign for their samples. I walked in, waving my hand, and said hi to everybody. I told them I would not be able to talk to anybody but that I would happily sign for their samples.”

This doctor is the highest-producing physician in her practice. Just having her sign for their samples is a big deal to these pharmaceutical sales reps.

repsShe marched right through to her office – with a smile the whole time – and closed the door. A few minutes later, the office manager came in with eight different signature devices. The doctor dutifully signed for them and handed them back to the office manager. It was at that point that the office manager handed her a piece of literature from one of the reps. She had a hunch that the doctor would find it interesting. And it did catch her attention.

“Okay, I want to see this rep. She’s got 30 seconds but I’m willing to see her.”

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Stepping into Your Customers’ Shoes

Physicians are justifiably skeptical when a drug rep walks in the door. The relationship is purely transactional. The rep wants the doc to commit to writing more of whatever the rep is selling. The doctor is late for her next appointment.

There is an alternative however. It requires a great deal of patience and a willingness to take the long view, something not every sales organization is ready to do. There is the potential to create a competitive advantage in the market by stepping away from the hard sell long enough to determine, “What are the challenges facing this practice right now and how can we solve them?”

This attempt at true understanding is a great deal more effective than just trying to persuade the overworked doc to write more of your drugs. Although it may take a few months to persuade a physician of the sincerity of this question, it has the potential for changing the nature of the relationship.

Pharma needs to move beyond simple product promotion and much more towards long-term relationship building and thought leadership recognition. Brands need to position themselves as partners with physicians, not just as the manufacturer. Technology can be an enabler to help brand teams do just that.

Using Technology to Help Physicians Quickly and Effectively Diagnose a Patient

Most doctors are extremely busy. One of their biggest challenges is getting to a diagnosis as quickly as possible. Often they have only fifteen minutes with each patient…

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Transforming Physician Insight Into Actionable Pharma Strategies

As marketing as 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 recently 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 »