Let's face it and let's be brave about it: the balance of power has shifted permanently from the marketers to the marketed.
The budgets necessary for shout-and-be-heard marketing are no longer feasible. Marketers no longer have the luxury of captive
audiences sitting in front of their TVs for hours on end, hanging on every word of the advertising copy. To make matters worse,
technology continues to drive rapid proliferation and fragmentation of channels and information sources, resulting in a pool
of resources, content, answers, and options for HCPs and patients to pick and choose from. HCPs and patients have much more
control over what they see and where they see it, and they confirm the validity and reliability of what they see and hear
through discussions with others like them, before making a choice.
The role of marketing must shift from attracting attention to delivering value. We must embrace the belief that confident,
empowered customers (both patients and healthcare professionals) are the key to driving business success. We must enable relevant,
valuable, and meaningful customer experiences that facilitate our customers' healthcare journeys—journeys that are no longer
linear and isolated by channels. Our customers can touch our brands anywhere, at any time, and flow in and out of the brand
experience at will. Creativity in this consumer controlled digital age goes beyond compelling creative design reproduced in
every channel. It demands orchestration of multi-channel customer experiences and deserves ideas that are generous and generative
without arbitrary channel boundaries.
Enter big data
Today, more than ever, data gives us almost live intelligence about where people are, who they are, what they are doing and,
most importantly, what they are looking for. From data-driven personalization engines fueling the
http://Amazon.com/ experience to the reinvention of entire industries giving rise to the likes of Netflix (and the demise of Blockbuster as
we knew it), the power of the consumer, and the data that helps marketers tap into this power, have forever transformed marketing
and the creative big idea.
And pharma is not going to escape this shift unscathed. Deeper customer insight is forcing pharma marketers to re-articulate
marketing goals, re-consider crucial touch points, channels, and connections, and most importantly redefine customer experiences.
While still not the norm, there are a few prime examples of brave, data-driven ideas creating value and relevance for both
the customer and the brand.
A recent example is AstraZeneca's Customer Driven Initiative designed to supplement sales force efforts to increase the quality
and quantity of physician interactions. With physician access becoming an industry-wide challenge, the goal was to deliver
on-demand, rep-like services through physician-preferred touch points whenever and wherever they needed them.
Digitas Health explored physician needs and preferences through custom and syndicated research; analyzed physician-rep interactions;
evaluated search and online activity; and identified content, tools, and resources that could be delivered to the physicians
in a non-personal setting. In-bound call centers were supplemented with a centralized and shared suite of services and technologies,
including e-sampling, e-detailing, and custom content—made possible through strategic partners like Medscape, MDLinx, MedManage
and Epocrates—to ensure a continuously evolving and current value proposition.
Creativity lay in ensuring seamless connectivity between brand-specific content and the centralized, shared content, providing
an integrated, customer-centric experience across multiple brands, audiences, and channels. The foundation of this service
is a technology infrastructure that is adaptable and responsive to support changing physician and brand needs and leverages
data and analytics to drive optimization and accountability.
The result for AstraZeneca was a customer-driven initiative that continues to surpass industry norms for physician participation
and engagement, while delivering centralized efficiencies and business impact.
Another example is where we put data at the heart of a very successful behavior modification program for a smoking cessation
therapy. The step-by-step approach started with a questionnaire revealing the smoking habits that increase the urge to smoke.
This data allowed us to build a year of support that delivered tips, tools, and a personalized "quit strategy" to combat the
desire to pick up that cigarette.
This rich, surround-sound program connects across multiple channels and uses data to define the content of each communication;
help progress trackers pin-point where each patient is in their journey; and celebrate the successes along the way. Along
that journey, relevant content is delivered every day for the first five weeks and then weekly for the rest of the year to
help patients alter behavior to achieve goals that otherwise might be unattainable.
The idea of using data in this fluid, "live" way to create dynamic content changes the creative process. It forces you to
imagine beyond the 60-second commercial and into the 52-week year; to stop thinking like traditional marketers and more like
When you see data being employed like this, you realize that it is not a big, ugly, scary monster out to undermine your every
creative thought and idea. It is the knowledge, insight, and wisdom marketers need to create relevance and be responsive to
the needs, challenges, motivations, and passions of our audiences. Pharma's legacy systems, infrastructures, and conceptions
of marketing design and execution are struggling to cope with this mass of data.