SaaS firm signs up agencies, others to analytics/RM platform

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In another sign of industry's nascent embrace of Big Data, several healthcare marketing agencies and business service firms have signed on to use a cloud-based relationship marketing platform from software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Appature.

Digitas Health and closerlook are using the Seattle firm's Nexus tool, which integrates digital campaign history and activity, third-party data from companies like IMS Health and Crossix, and a host of other data sets that are relevant to the commercial organization.

Marketers are applying the analysis to adherence and consumer marketing programs. The tool promises to help them examine campaign data on a granular level, with the hope of informing targeting and messaging.

“Data from disparate data sources will live together, with the potential to provide a new level of clarity into each marketing initiative,” said Asaf Evenhaim, CEO of Crossix, which integrated its Rx-based data into Nexus.

Appature has also launched a partner program in which its experts help with measuring/optimizing ROI and other marketing functions.

“How individual tactics integrate with each other and enhance relationships with HCPs over time is the real ROI story we are striving to uncover,” said Jon Sawyer, principal, closerlook, which signed on for the partner program.

Besides measuring the ROI of campaigns, what research questions do users hope to answer?

While ROI is necessary, it's “no longer sufficient to get good ROI; you also have to get scale,” added another Nexus user, Pratap Khedkar, managing principal, pharmaceuticals & biotech practice, ZS Associates.

Said Khedkar, “What this means is that multi-channel or customer-centric marketing has to be able to get to 10 times as many customers as it has in the past, and data and advanced analytics are a very critical enabler of that.”

Marketers speak of the need to harness the mounds of data from every customer touch-point and interaction with a brand—online (digital media, website, email, social, mobile) and offline (print, events), as well as disparate databases. On the physician side, that includes sales calls and sample deliveries.

Capturing the synergy between different tactics and channels can uncover such diamonds as the ability to figure out and predict customer channel preferences, select tactics and, to some extent, hone content and messaging creation.

“As the industry goes from five channels to 50, these interactions need to be quantified in a much more rigorous manner,” said Khedkar.

When multi-channel marketing intelligence is mashed with business impact data (such as Rx and sales data), it can enable “deep insight into our audience's behavior and responsiveness to our marketing initiatives,” added Mukarram Bhatty, SVP, head of strategy, Digitas Health.

However, closerlook's Sawyer cautioned that technology alone cannot make up for poor “data hygiene.” That is, data that does not contain enough unique HCP identifiers or is structured poorly. Pharma companies, he said, should “brace themselves for understanding that not all their data will be useful in its current state.” 

In addition, Sawyer said, large systems that aim to pull data together often do not do a good job making insights available to individuals working outside the organization's IS function. Newer analytics systems, he said, should “democratize access to pharma's data.”

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