Non-Personal Promotion: Devil in the Detail

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Non-Personal Promotion: Devil in the Detail
Non-Personal Promotion: Devil in the Detail

Tactical ROIs aside, pharma must go beyond the detail to create longer-term value, say Croom Lawrence and Kent Groves, who offer a few tips for new brands

Every now and then, industries make swerves. That's what the Affordable Care Act is to non-personal promotion (NPP). Physicians' ability to integrate formulary direction into treatment selection is under pressure. Even if short-term tactical ROIs remain positive, pharma marketers must bring value beyond the pill to optimize longer term access, as reported at ePharma Summit last year (“Docs to pharma marketers: you're not getting it,” MM&M March 2013).

The brand director's dilemma

Brand directors face a new dilemma. While predictive analytics and channel optimization will continue to produce positive tactical ROIs, the field force incentive model should better align with long-term value creation. Investments by pharma in e-detailing firms (e.g., Merck/Physicians Interactive) suggest that industry is hedging its bets in adopting a new go-to-market model. But data, market analysis and customer insights suggest that repetition of key selling message (KSM) is not all that's required to drive a script.

Exciting pockets of innovation exist beyond the detail. MM&M Award winners in the diabetes category reveal a remarkable corner of the pharma universe: Novo's Cornerstones4Care, Sanofi's Discuss Diabetes Blog, and Medtronic's Insulin Forward program are wellsprings of consumer innovation and brand leadership.

Also consider school nurse programs raising awareness for anaphylactic shock and allergic response,  pediatrician awareness campaigns that provide the ability to create viral campaigns around given disease states, and third-party driven changes to the research paradigm that turbo charge speed-to-market around new therapies like Stand Up To Cancer.

Branded and corporate trust-building have the potential to impact both enterprise level KPIs as well as brand. Failure to listen and meet the needs of customers (patients, HCPs, MCOs) reinforces the broadly held perception that “no one is listening to us.”

To set the stage for longer-term value creation, a new paradigm for dimensionalizing the success of NPP must unfold—starting now.

3 things to incorporate into 2014 NPP programs

1. Listen for, and detect, user interactions that tell what type of experience the customer wants to have—Data-driven, real time insights are table stakes for tailored, connected experiences. Listen for the customer's preferences, behaviors, locations and affinities. Ideate messages, new information offers and content assets to build trust as the context for the KSMs. Connect across channels, devices, locations and times.

2. Stop repeating the same mistakes over and over—Use a scientific approach to evaluate case studies. Document what works to change behavior, but encourage a culture that rewards rigorous marketing experiments, including socialization of the points of failure (and success). Advance your collective intelligence by getting to the why.

3. Look for innovation in unusual places—Extend your process of ideation and offer testing across the broader enterprise. Align short-term tactics with higher-order enterprise goals.

Science has never been more exciting. Pharma is harnessing real-world treatment data to show reductions in hospitalizations, thus validating formulary positions. Analysis of thousands of individually delivered bio data points will provide a platform for a quantum leap in the NPP-driven value of our patient and HCP relationships.

Pharmaceutical business models must remain intact to fuel R&D and serve the next generation of healthcare. This business model will only survive if long-term value is created by responding to individual needs. Listen and act on what physician practices are asking for, and the roadmap to the future will be much more clear.


Croom Lawrence is senior director, customer experience group, and Kent Groves, PhD, is VP, life sciences, Merkle.

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