This article reviews the metrics companies currently use and introduces new tools that offer marketers a real-time understanding of physicians' prescribing behavior. Armed with that knowledge, they can measure the effectiveness of their promotional tactics and respond accordingly.
Old School: Track the ScorePrecise measurement of a promotion's impact requires targeted physician Rx data and the ability to track the right metrics. Fortunately, the quality of the data used by pharma marketers to track not only their own promotional activities but those of their competitors has dramatically improved since the 1980s. At that time, all that was available were defined daily dose (DDD) data, which provided a historical measure of aggregated sales, but didn't allow companies to track prescribing by geography or physician specialty.
The inclusion of renewals in NRx data distorts our understanding of the promotion-sensitive segment of the market: new patients and those switching therapies. Renewals represent the historical response to promotion, and since they can represent a large percentage of NRx volume in many therapeutic classes, they mask the impact of current promotion on physician prescribing behavior. This often makes it impossible to adjust marketing activities in time to make a difference in share trends.
NRx data are at least a month old. Many marketers think that time lag isn't significant because they believe physician behavior doesn't change very rapidly. But, with newer, more sensitive metrics, it is now possible to detect changes in prescribing in the "new Rx" segment of the market in real time. Recent examples of successful marketing events and promotional campaigns demonstrate that, in fact, contrary to most marketers' beliefs, physician behavior often does change rapidly—and not always as one assumes.
New School: Real Time