Tipping the Balance of Power With Digital Patient Information - Pharmaceutical Executive


Tipping the Balance of Power With Digital Patient Information

Pharmaceutical Executive

Market opportunity assessments, sales force territory management strategies, internet initiatives, DTC ads, and insurer market message development have historically been organized around product-specific silos. Market information and the systems that analyze and interpret resource allocation decision making data have been implemented around product-specific questions, within each marketing resource domain-physician, DTC, or insurer-rather than across the whole spectrum. As a result, it is nearly impossible to calculate the total return a company receives from its combined investments in a single physician. Nor is it possible to assess and optimize the interactions among physicians, DTC marketing, and insurer sales and marketing programs. A new business model requires the coordination of those efforts to maximize the total profit of the product over time.

Pulling It All Together
Business intelligence systems are critical to help sales and marketing professionals make decisions about resources and priorities. As the world of digital pa-tient data takes hold, it will be vital for those systems to integrate multiple data sources and formats to enable real-time overall views of investments and paybacks across customer segments, products, and therapeutic classes. (See "Pulling It All Together,")

Coordinated marketing efforts that link direct and online physician-specific marketing efforts with formulary selections and DTC marketing must become the norm rather than the exception over the next several years. Pharma marketers' decisions about how much to invest in direct visits, samples, vouchers, promotional materials, and educational efforts with individual doctors will need to incorporate patient insurer profiles and historic levels of patient compliance once the scrips are written. DTC efforts will empower consumers to ask their physicians and their insurers the right questions as well as motivate compliance.

The end game is to realign resources so that the 15-20 percent of physicians who generate the majority of revenue get the greatest amount of the right resources. To do so, companies must align traditional and digital systems so that those who re-spond to one communication mode better than another are served in the way they prefer. It may also mean that some doctors, traditionally lavished with direct personal attention, may get fewer details or samples if the ROI analysis shows a lack of return.

Just as various physicians require different levels of investment and types of marketing outreach, individual products deserve unique levels and mixes of sales and marketing investments. Some products may go to market driven primarily by DTC efforts and limited physician educational efforts. Others might be pushed by aggressive insurer promotions and rebate programs. Perhaps only the most complex therapies will have targeted physician-focused, one-to-one marketing strategies. With marketing costs often surpassing R&D, optimization of sales and marketing investments against the potential total return on a product is the most critical element affecting product profitability.

The Journey Although the endpoint of allocating resources according to ROI-based customer segmentation and optimizing the go-to-market mix for each product seems clear, getting there is a challenge few marketers have tackled. Successful execution requires that companies realign their culture and their internal decision making processes extensively. It must start with senior leaders agreeing that the time has come to question the conventional wisdom about how pharmaceuticals are sold. It will move forward with development of a new business vision that calls for more segmented and differentiated market strategies. Careful executive consideration of strategies, ranging from support for the physicians' traditional role to investments that accelerate patient choice, should be part of the discussion.

New analytic tools will be needed to permit real-time queries and analysis of the information available from a broad range of internal and external sources. During the next five years, the most successful pharma companies will break out of their silos and assign resources based on individual physician ROI segmentation and go-to-market resource mixes tightly customized for each product and therapeutic class.


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