Thursday, March 26, 2015

Payers, Personalization and Patients

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This post is brought to you by our partner PharmiWeb Solutions and originally posted on their website.  PharmiWeb Solutions was born in November 2003 - the brainchild of a group of people who saw the benefits of bringing digital to pharma and healthcare. 

By: Avril Humphrey, Client Services Executive (US Office) 

Increasingly in the Pharma industry, we are seeing that the rather fixed mindsets that can result in frustration among digital marketers are being challenged by the evolving world of our customers and the consumers of our products. How can an industry stand still when there are new decision makers, new ways of sharing information and, critically, new ways of seeing how that information is being received by patients or physicians?

ePharma 2015 touched on all these topics and more, allowing speakers to present their experiences and insights into how we can navigate new territories or, at least, start to enter arenas which have so far been perceived as too risky. 

So, who are our payers, how are we targeting them and are we doing this effectively? The Affordable Care Act, part of wider Healthcare Reform, is cited as the most impactful change of recent years, and the effects are still being understood, including the influence on access to physicians and the consideration of a new customer segment of decision makers. As we consider the breadth of roles that now impact prescribing, we need to think about the content that is being promoted and how this is being done. This is where digital is integral to ensuring that the Pharma industry can stay relevant and adaptable. The tools in the field and online represent an opportunity to tailor your message across different channels and audiences; the data analysis tools above the field allow you to assess how successful your strategy is.

Tailoring your content and targeting your audience are essential to a strategy that presents the right people with what they want or need to see. We’re not in a position to create an experience for physicians, and they don’t necessarily want this – distinct from other industries, customers within Pharma are skeptical of the information they are being given and what they have to provide in return to see it. Within these limitations (and others), the only way to cut through the deluge of material available to, and directed at, physicians is to give them information that provides value, in a way that they want to see it. To do this, though, is to evolve the approach to content creation and distribution, as well as to navigate the complex course of federal and organizational approval systems and processes. Continuous analysis of the result of these efforts, however, makes it possible to gain a real return on the investment by evaluating and subsequently adapting tactics based on the evidence available.

As for the patient, can we accept the risk of evaluating their experience or creating a dialogue with them? Patients have opinions: they care about the drugs they are taking, how those drugs are making them feel and how those drugs are making other patients feel. The opinions of patients matter: an informed and supported patient is more likely to see the value in the medications they are prescribed, leading to better adherence and outcomes. Methods of opening up this communication with patients exist and there is a drive to use these from patient advocacy groups, as well as patients themselves and brand teams.  As Pharma continues to recognize the mutual value of this sort of engagement, and the qualitative results that can be gained, the commitment to new interactions signposts a promising trend towards transparency and consideration for the patient experience. 

As ePharma gave delegates an opportunity to see, digital is opening up better and more intelligent avenues to personalize the physician, payer and patient experience by providing the means through which we can target users, tailor content and appraise the results. It’s up to us to use it properly to reap the benefits.

Do you need help in creating your very own Digital Ecosystem? At PharmiWeb Solutions we help our customers understand what their customers want from a digital experience and deliver on this, from strategy and scoping to data & insights. Contact us to find out more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why You Should Sync Your CRM and Marketing Automation

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By: Zach Watson, content manager, TechnologyAdvice

Disagreements between marketing and sales are well documented. More often than not, the two departments most responsible for fulfilling the needs of the customer can’t seem to get along.

What keeps the fires of their feud burning? Usually, misalignment and data silos. The bickering between sales and marketing often comes down to the quality of leads and the consistency of follow up. Marketing generates poor leads. Sales doesn’t follow up with enough opportunities to make an impact.

To get marketing and sales to stop bickering and start collaborating in a productive (and profitable) way, you need to make sure both parties have access to longitudinal data about their customers. In order to do that, you have to sync your marketing automation (MA) software with your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

Clarity Through Connection

Because marketing and sales are the two most customer-facing departments, it makes sense that their main software systems would hold the majority of customer information.

For sales, the CRM has long been the repository for lead and contact information, and it’s more recently become a type of operating systems for emails, social selling, and other important sales tasks.

The marketing automation platform is a less mature product, but it’s finding a place as a central hub for a number of marketing tactics that span email, social media, landing pages, pay per click marketing, and more. This wide range of functionality means these systems gather a tremendous amount of behavioral data.

Connecting the online behavioral data from a marketing automation system with the qualitative data in a CRM helps build a more holistic buyer’s journey, complete with data on leads throughout the funnel.

Better education. Better Leads.

Connecting these two systems is especially important for increasing revenue. MarketingSherpa reports that 61 percent of business-to-business marketers (which includes pharmaceutical and life science companies) pass every lead directly to sales despite only around 27 percent being qualified.
Talking to sales early in the purchasing cycle is contrary to how the majority of consumers — both business and personal — make decisions about products and services.

Postwire Founder and CEO Cliff Polan explains, “in the old world of sales, salespeople controlled the information. Today, all of the information is publicly available on the internet. The salespeople must now add value, because if salespeople aren’t adding value to the discussion, they’re losing.”

Consumers want educational material that helps them construct their own perception of the market. This reinforces the importance of marketing in the early stages of the funnel. For salespeople to remain relevant, they need to access and make use of the behavioral data generated from marketing automation to provide context for their conversations with leads.

Proper lead nurturing through educational marketing will also ensure that sales doesn’t intrude on the consumer when they’re still in the research phase. It takes some testing, but marketing should be able to use behavioral cues as a signal that a lead is ready to move to the next stage.

But this continuous buyer’s journey breaks down if sales can’t intuitively access the marketing data. Connecting the two systems is key to arming sales representatives with the context they need to address customers’ problems in a meaningful way.

Measurable Marketing ROI

Just as sales benefits from accessing a customer’s online behavioral data to clarify and confirm what they’re interested in, marketing enjoys a greater understanding of the success of their campaigns by accessing data from the CRM.

Since CRMs often record revenue data on a per-sale basis, marketing can quickly tie that information to a lead’s profile and segment campaigns based on number of deals closed, or actual revenue.

This may seem like an obvious goal for every organization, but being apparent doesn’t equate to being easy. Only 21 percent of B2B marketers say they excelled at measuring ROI in 2014. Many of them were not thinking of ROI in terms of revenue.

Aligning sales and marketing has key strategic benefits for both intra office morale as well as revenue. With the growing prominence of marketing automation, businesses now have an endpoint with which to connect the CRM.

Fusing these two databases breaks down information silos and creates a more complete view of the customer that benefits all parties. When selecting marketing automation software, be sure to look for integration with popular CRMs, or at the very least API availability that enables easier interface development.

About the Author: Zach Watson is the content manager at TechnologyAdvice. He covers gamification, healthcare IT, business intelligence, and other emerging technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Millennials and the New Health Revolution

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Preventative Health is Best Thought of When You Don’t Have to Think About It

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Unfortunately paying tribute to this age old adage in practice can be a lot more difficult for most of us than it sounds. Our healthcare system could be better described as a great sick care system, with only a fraction of resources focusing on preventative health measures. 

But here come the Millennials who will infuse new life into the wellness and preventative care sphere, and will be the first cohort fully immersed in real time health monitoring. From disrupting the boundaries of traditional health and forcing stakeholders to rethink healthcare delivery, Millennials are also shifting the notion of preventive health and what it means to be healthy. For them, health inextricably goes beyond weight loss or avoiding a visit to the clinic. It’s about emotional wellbeing and leading a balanced lifestyle and perhaps more fundamentally, it’s about everyday decisions. These perceptions are rooted in an utter dissatisfaction for the healthcare system we have today-inefficient, expensive and impersonalized. Part of the new appeal for wellness is anchored in watching their elders, from diagnosis to treatment, traverse an often cumbersome, paternalistic, and choice limited healthcare journey.

We talk about the shift towards delivering better patient experiences and outcomes in healthcare. The wearables market will underpin these value propositions, introducing real time health monitoring in almost every aspect of your daily life.  As the patient becomes more empowered with millions of personalized data points, getting patients to share data could be a barrier to effective implementation of real time monitoring. Thankfully, the Millennial generation is amenable to sharing, and that will include health experiences. Whether you choose to share with your clinician, friends, or family will lead to the emergence of a new health revolution where wellness is just as important as health. It’s more about searching for an enriching healthcare experience and switching life health coaches if you don’t like what you are dealt with.  

Wellness communities will emerge, led and followed on Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp, including groups from stress reduction to yoga and mindfulness, and from nutrition to fitness challenges. This movement will also help establish social proof and lead to the more widespread adoption of preventative health as integral mantra of one’s lifestyle. Preventative health shouldn’t be extra work, and as wearables form a key layer in our personal space, more engagement in wellness activities will be as common. Deeper insight is great, but insight without lack of actionable context and behavioral change is almost as useful as having a car without an engine. The most successful health stakeholders in this new health revolution will be able to engage and induce behavioral change.

The traditional boundaries of healthcare are slowly eroding as millennials engage in new spheres of health engagement and where health will be projected onto everything you do. As the delivery of healthcare takes place more and more outside traditional institutions, the new social norm will shift towards the establishment of a reward system for the maintenance and promotion of health. Millennials are breathing new life into wellness and prevention, and new horizons for stakeholders interested in providing enriching health experiences await-are you ready?

About the Author: Aaron Sihota is an award winning pharmacy innovator and recently hosted a webinar for the ePharma Summit  discussing emerging healthcare trends and opportunities for healthcare provider engagement for a younger health consumer generation. He has a keen interest in the application of innovative solutions to address today’s healthcare issues and actively promotes community pharmacy practice initiatives. He is a recent graduate of the University Of British Columbia Faculty Of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Digital Impacts Improving Patient/Doctor Relations

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Digital impacts on consumer insights have grown more vital in improving customer inclusion. Disruptive innovations are becoming paramount to improving consumer experience. These innovations span a wide variety of fields and a recent system has been introduced to the healthcare industry that has revolutionized patient involvement, physician time management and the health of patients.

Collabobeat, the brainchild of Italian entrepreneur Floriano Bonfigli, is a system designed to share doctor’s notes with their patients. The patient then can use the system to see what the doctor recommended when home in case they had either forgotten or weren’t clear on what was instructed. In the US alone, billions of dollars are wasted due to patients not following their doctors instructions. Thousands of patients become ill or potentially worse as a result.

The system has been trialed at 3 American hospitals involving 100 physicians and 10,000 patients. The results in general showed a huge success for the system. It was found that there was a 70 percent increase in patient medical adherence which leads to improved results in patient recovery. The results also showed that 92 percent of the doctors spent less time addressing patient’s questions outside of consultations. This platform for increased connection with the patient helps to give them a sense of involvement and empowerment. It stops information from the physician getting lost in translation as the ability to comment on and reread doctors notes means less of a chance for the patient to get instructions wrong, thus not putting themselves in harm’s way.

The system will be integrated into other software that is already utilized in the healthcare industry. The merging in of the system allows patients in time information at their fingertips that allows for a better relationship between patient and doctor. A strong relationship between industry and consumer is important in making the service feel more personal to the consumer.

Innovations like these show the greater need for consumer interaction that will improve experiences across industries. Better physician and patient relationships can translate into other fields such as retail whereby increasing the amount of information that is available for the consumer helps with their decision making and thus giving them a better retail experience.

Information is key to improved customer insights and digital impacts are increasingly improving the way in which industries and consumers interact. Personalization is key to making the customer feel more involved and having as much knowledge as possible about what they need. In a world that is becoming increasingly mobile and interconnected, digital innovations are becoming more important for the future of consumer insights.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at