"Value" Will Define the Next Year

Jan 10, 2018

Digital transformation has been the hot topic of 2017—especially in pharma—filled with conversations around the optimization of tech stacks, DAM (digital asset management) amplification, and ecommerce solutions. The need for transformation had been put into overdrive by market forces like the Triple Aim, changing demographics and the proliferation of data and technology. All increasing pressure on traditional industry players to deliver customer-centric engagement models.

Going into 2018, digital transformation efforts in pharma will put the broad construct of value into overdrivebringing to the center value derived from personalization, motivational content, and transparency. As the industry and technology continue to evolve at an accelerated rate, brands will only win by differentiating themselves around value. 


Why will value define 2018?

Healthcare needs an Apple. In this age of consumerism, people are playing an active role in their own health and are held more accountable for it. Individuals have unprecedented amounts of information at their fingertips and with such pressure to use it well, they will trust the brands that bring them value. Value in the form of support and value in the form of pleasure.

Because people trust Apple to help them navigate the complexities of technology and bring value to their lives, they remain loyal to Apple. In healthcare, consumers are seeking an "Apple experience”—where their experiences are seamless, coordinated, personalized and ultimately, motivating. They are looking for a replication of value that moves beyond the pill to custom health and wellness experiences.

Digital transformation has directly fueled a new value exchange in health, resulting in new engagement models that aim to deliver on the new needs of the digitized patient, outcomes-based programs, tripartite care, and transparency.


What value will doctors and patients demand from pharma?

The digitized patient is looking for a new value from health. They perceive their wellness more holistically and instead of relying on pharmacological interventions exclusively, want to be prescribed an entire health management program. This patient is looking for their care to be supported through real time engagement, omni-channel access, and always-on content.

Their expectations are defined by brands outside of, as well as within, health—brands like Amazon and Apple that are meeting their needs across continuums. At Wunderman, we recently conducted research that reinforced the point that brands need to operate within the context of the broader culture, not just their category. For example, according to our research, 87% of Americans measure all brands against a select few including Amazon (for more, see: www.wantedness.com).  

Similarly, with unprecedented access to data connected through machine learning and with new demands beyond the pill, the role of the doctor is shifting from diagnoses and treatment to holistic patient support. This marks an entirely new business and care model for doctors, who are looking to deliver tripartite care. They are looking for value in the form of partnerships with pharma and payers to help improve patient outcomes—fueled both by cost and the new demands of the digitized patient.

Finally, transparency will change the value of the customer experience. New forms of supply chain management and ecommerce will create great transparency around data like drug pricing. One catalyst is Amazon and its anticipated entry into healthcare, likely with a strategy focused on lowering price by eliminating the middleman, transforming the supply chain, and driving a greater share of generics. 

Combined with increased patient choice and empowerment, this force means that pharma must bring true value beyond the pill in order to remain dominant within the market. This pressure will be heightened by the increasingly high expectations consumers will have for these tools and resources. Amazon already has a platform built that can radically improve customer experience, supporting wellness and compliance beyond current disease specific programs, setting the bar for consumer expectations.

Pharma companies will need to shift the value they provide to physicians and patients and engage actively in their wellness, versus delivering the traditional product solution model. Creating services to support patients and HCPs. Playing a more active role in surveillance, adherence, and compliance. Helping patients make better decisions and manage their financial responsibilities. Partnering with outside institutions to create custom cocktails that cure. Facilitating care discussions that connect patients, doctors, caregivers, payers, and brands. Ultimately, simplifying and enhancing the doctor and patient journey.


How can pharma build an infrastructure for value?

Value is derived individually, yet the pharma industry continues looking to deliver it at scale.

This requires a shift from traditional TV campaigns and mass messages that raise awareness to data-driven, personalized marketing and content that motivates action. It places real people and data at the heart of marketing campaigns. Gathering the right insights—both using a brands’ data and marrying it with third-party data—and evolving practices from mass messages to capabilities that deliver dynamic content programmatically across digital and social channels. Taking into account the full patient—their lifestyles, perceptions (or misperceptions), desires, and more—and engaging them through the right motivational messages and the right channels.

The delivery of value – whether physician, patient, or pharma originated—will require datasets beyond traditional archetypic tools and customer mapping, thus leading back to digital transformation. This disruption will continue to create new forms of value and demand for it within health.

At the end of the day (or end of the year), while the landscape will continue to shift, data-driven, authentic engagement and solutions will always bring value—value that brings trust and massive benefits, both to brands’ bottom lines and to peoples’ health.


Cassandra Sinclair is global client lead at Wunderman Health.

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