Genentech gives MR a psychodynamic focus

Laura Sullivan
Laura Sullivan

Genentech is thinking outside the traditional focus group to better understand patients which, in turn, is helping address adherence and brand preference.

“Pharma companies are drowning in data but starving in insight,” said Laura Sullivan, group manager of patient insights, Genentech, at the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group (PMRG) 2012 Annual National Conference in Orlando, FL, held in late March.

Since the “non-conscious” plays such a big role, “we need to access the emotional brain without giving consciousness to the subject that that's what we are trying to do,” she said.

Genentech partnered with social science agency Brandtrust to adopt advanced visualization and psychodynamic research techniques to find out why patients are not taking Pulmo­zyme (cystic fibrosis) as prescribed and, for Tamiflu, to gain insights on what makes patients take action quickly. Researchers conduct interviews with respondents, recruited behaviorally, and interviewers have no pre-communication with the client and so are blind to study objectives.

Three key insights emerged:

• The way a product makes a person feel emotionally is greater than any physical benefit;

• There's a good side to being sick (sickness is patients' sanction time); and

• “If you give [patients] permission to skip the ritual…they are more likely to take [the medicine],” Sullivan said.

The technique “is moving the needle on these brands,” she said. “The new Tamiflu DTC ad campaign all started with this project and these insights.” But, Sullivan acknowledged, it can be a hard sell internally.
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Features

Email Newsletters


What does going "beyond the pill" actually mean? At MM&M's recent inaugural spring conference, audience members heard from real-world companies that are managing the organizational, technological, and promotional challenges inherent in this transition, such as partnering with health neophytes, harnessing technologies that allow deeper engagement with patients, and adopting a new commercial mindset to serve, not sell. Download here.


A wave of more effective anti-cancer drugs has set the oncology world on fire with enthusiasm. While many hail this as a new era, an equally vocal faction questions the money spent for the value gained. This medical and commercial trend report for marketers of anti-cancer modalities touches on many of the latest shifts that have expedited product launches and otherwise impacted promotion and reimbursement of these drugs. Click here.