Marketing to Professionals: Tomorrow's Changes Today - Pharmaceutical Executive


Marketing to Professionals: Tomorrow's Changes Today
Quantitative research is helping marketers conduct more targeted product launches.

Pharmaceutical Executive

Medical education companies are also taking advantage of understanding influence within a local market. HealthLogix, for example, regularly recruits physicians for speaker's programs, advisory boards, and clinical advisory programs. With influence per customer quantified and influence clusters pinpointed, the company uses analytical techniques to target optimal groups to enhance the impact of physician-to-physician interactions.

By using influence data, "we were able to not only identify influential speakers, but also identify the most appropriate audiences likely to be the most receptive to our message," says Brian Budisak, a founding principal of HealthLogix.

"Uncovering influence within social networks allows us to identify physicians who are more likely to be influenced by one another," says Budisak. "Not only does it provide our clients with more productive meetings, but it also makes it easier for us to recruit quality physicians who enjoy each others' company."

Calculated Solutions

It's nearly impossible to distinguish events by using conventional static measurements as indicators. Here are some advanced-analytic solutions to common issues:

Issue: Optimization of speaker program resources.

Solution: Companies must match the right speakers with the right audiences and measure the outcome. For example, use quantitative measures rather than opinion to select the right speakers and the right audiences—audiences that are most likely to interact with others that you want to be privy to your speaker's message. Then, measure the impact over time.

Issue: Physician valuation. For years, prescription data has been the primary variable used to value physicians, ignoring the vast social networks, peer influences, and payer restrictions that together tell a more complete story.

Solution: Pharma must employ quantitative metrics. While there is still a place for qualitative research, advanced analytics provide metrics based on actual behavior. Using "learning" algorithms, analytics allow you to measure and adapt your marketing programs to customer changes as they are occurring—not after the fact, when competitors are doing the same.

Issue: The perfect program cocktail. Some physicians prefer sales calls, some prefer dinner meetings, and others rely on journals or teleconferences to learn about new agents. It is critical to determine the best combination of tactics in order to affect real change.

Solution: Advanced behavioral modeling is defining today's customers in minute detail compared with conventional segmentation techniques. Brand teams have more detailed customer data, including behavioral forecasts, influence networks, and forecasts pinpointing ideal timeframes in which to implement programs— for each individual customer rather than segments.

This emerging shift from opinion-based research to the use of quantitative, predictive models is helping brand teams map out the terrain of a pre-launch, launch and post-launch marketplace with greater accuracy than previously possible. Marketers are becoming more targeted in their approach to drivers within a therapeutic class, from as early as two years pre-launch to the end of a product's life cycle.

Kelly D. Myers is CEO of Qforma. He can be reached at


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