Pharma needs to be patient centric but not treat patients as customers

The global Pharma industry is under serious pressure from a large number of innovator molecules facing patent expiration, a thin pipeline of new drugs, regulatory challenges and pricing pressures. As a result organizations are focusing on newer commercial models, adjusting cost base, strengthening value of medicine, adopting patient centric approach and paying greater emphasis on Pharmerging markets for future growth.  Some of these shifts are new and radical to Pharma industry and Pharma is looking towards other industries for guidance and ideas. Adopting Patient centric approach/philosophy falls under such category of change.

Over the last few years, there have been discussions and few initiatives by Pharma towards patient centricity. The good part is that some of these initiatives have worked well and have helped organizations to take the overall patient experience to the next level. Use of digital channels to reach out to patients, platforms facilitating interactions between patients and physicians and patient’s targeted programs are some broad areas under which all the initiatives can be grouped. Let us look at some of the initiatives:

Pharmaceutical companies have experience with physician-centric models where they can be said to have physician market knowledge. Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) usually fulfill the role of championing the voice of physicians within Pharma. Unfortunately, however, Pharma is lacking when it comes to Patient-centric champions who understand what consumers think and want. Eyeforpharma.com

  • Didget from Bayer: The new Didget bllod glucose monitoring system rewards kids for consistent testing with fun games they can play online or through their Nintendo DS.  The bottom line is “Test, Play and Win”, because being rewarded for testing is a simple win
  • Paitentslikeme.com: PatientsLikeMe is committed to putting patients first. They do this by providing a better, more effective way for patients to share their real-world health experiences in order to help themselves, other patients like them and organizations that focus on their conditions. Companies like Biogen, Merck, and Novartis etc are partners to this initiative
  • J&J Health Channel: A YouTube channel by J&J focusing more on sharing patient experiences and helping in advancing health and well being of others around the world. They have weekly focus areas and range from obesity to serious conditions like leukemia etc
  • Myalli.com: GSK’s Alli is a FDA approved weight loss aid. GSK has brought concepts of compliance, affordability, patient experience, discussions and education under one initiative called as MyAlli.

If we review all the above initiatives closely, the common themes are around compliance and persistency along with defining results in patient terms. We will witness more innovations in this area in the coming years as more and more Pharma companies adopt this approach. But with this enthusiasm comes a word of caution for Pharma Organizations.

Pharma should not treat patients as customers. There is a very fine line dividing a patient from customer as we understand. There are some inherent difference between a customer and a patient:

Patient

Customer

Does not undergo the complete purchasing cycle. i.e. traditional   marketing concepts and theory does not work Undergoes the complete purchasing cycle. i.e. Traditional marketing   concepts and theory works
Does not enjoy his/her current status i.e.  People don’t seek out medication without a   reason. Something is wrong and patients want to solve it and get back to normal.   It’s not an enjoyable state Enjoys his/her current status to a large extent i.e. likes to be   pampered
Collects information, but cannot take decision i.e. The patient   cannot make decisions, there are external factors ( HCP, Insurance etc) that   make decisions Collects information to make a decision i.e. this is called informed   decision making

Pharma Co. needs to appreciate the fact that the fundamental premise to their business does not mandate patients to be drivers of sales. Some examples in the market by Pharma Co. do indicate dilution of this premise.

In response to a generic competition; one large Pharma in one of the APAC markets ran a campaign focused towards patients, asking them to question physician on prescribing generics.  Termed as an awareness campaign, this surely seems to miss this objective by miles. It can be debated that the above example also falls under the ambit of patient centricity, but that can only be for the sake of argument and nothing beyond that.

The “empowered and informed patient” movement encourages patients to become informed and to take greater control over their medical care; but providing information, access and independence — so often successful in other consumer settings — do not necessarily drive better care or experience for patients. Walking this tight rope and creating patient centric programs and initiatives is surely a challenge that Pharma organizations are facing.

Ability to Create Multi-Channel Ecosystem: Overlooked Challenges

The struggle to create the much-needed Multi channel ecosystem to reach out to targeted customers continues, and organizations are grappling to unravel the mystery. As per Gartner’s survey one of the top business priorities for CIO’s is to “attract and retain new customers”, but strikingly when this translates to Technology Priorities, Multi-Channel enablement does not even figure in the top ten. There is a clear contradiction. Is this because, organizations have given up on creating this eco system or are they so naïve not to understand the repercussions of not enabling this? I think it’s more of the former that the latter.

There has not been one business discussion where business leaders do not stress on the merits of a having a holistic multi channel strategy and enablement and they generally get good response; this makes me believe that the benefits are recognized. The issue  starts when organizations sit at the drawing board and start sketching their future business architecture. The challenges this exercise poses are three-pronged, viz. People, Process and Technology Challenges. Organizations generally make the mistake of overlooking the people and process challenges and all efforts are spent in identifying and resolving the technical challenges viz. Platform, vendor, Products etc.

Recently I was fortunate to work with William Band, Vice President & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, so I bounced this thought with him for his opinion. Bill says “I agree with your premise that the core issues that stand in the way of effective multi-channel management are people and process issues. Most companies are not organized to manage across channel silos, and functional silos (as you know)”.

The easiest challenge to overcome is technology and organizations need to think and strategize more on overcoming the people and process challenges. As a discovery exercise, organizations need to first answer the following questions and gauge the exact nature and extent of challenge that they will face.

  1. What is the business objective (enhance reach, provide seamless experience to customers, etc) behind enabling a multi-channel environment?
  2. Is my structure (organization) ready to support this initiative? What changes do I need to bring to my organizational structure?
  3. Do I have process defined with proper entry and exit points?
  4. How would channels interact to each other and what is the overall business architecture?
  5. How would I engage each channel, maintain a uniform message and use them on their merits?
  6. Have I identified the different stakeholders and mapped them in terms of resistance offered and change needed?

The above questions are not the complete set, but surely the reference point to start. These questions are hard-hitting and require organizations to put on the self-evaluation hat to answer and create logical and realistic next steps.

Skipping this first step will result in creating a multi channel ecosystem that either does not function or functions in absolute silos. Over the last few years organizations have managed to deploy multiple channels but have failed to create a Multi-Channel ecosystem.

Its time organizations start this discovery exercise and rethink on their multi-channel strategy.

Special Thanks to William Band for taking out time to review this post and provide his comments.

Some Suggestive Reading on this topic

http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/solutions_converge_to_support_multichannel_customer_interactions/q/id/60914/t/2

Four Steps to Social Nirvana

Last night I was on Twitter and read this fantastic blog from Social Media Today http://goo.gl/fb/VbAtm  A very good step by step guide to create a successful social media strategy and put that into action. I have my own three steps towards social Nirvana.

Step 1: It’s important to be present on this Media: Is there a choice? Forrester considers “Social CRM” as one of the Top 10 trends for 2011. Organizations need to plan, evaluate and implement these channels as a part of the overall CRM strategy. Organizations need to be serious about this initiative and be responsive to the typical demands of these new channels. There are three types of Organizations in the Social Space:

  1. Organizations actively involved and using Social Media to support multiple customer engagement objectives (Listening, Talking, Energizing, Supporting and Embracing).
  2. Organizations just using the medium for a subset of the above objectives
  3. Organizations have joined the bandwagon without much thought and are now either Dormant or Dead

Organizations need to aim to support multiple customer engagement objectives after doing a due diligence of their typical Business ecosystem.

Step 2: Get used to the chaos of the social media: The space is Messy. There is no Order. At present there is lot of churning and eventually there will be Order as an output. Organizations need to be aware of this fact and plan their move accordingly. There cannot be a strategy cutting across multiple years, without any mechanism to evaluate and provide input based on the changes in the environment. What organizations can do is to create a strategy that is evolving with tollgate criteria to evaluate the strategy on a regular basis.

Step 3: Imbibe the culture across your Organization: The concept should be all pervasive. Organizations need to adopt this as a habit and should make this as a DNA. Do not expect to climb the maturity curve without internal adoption of the concept. This will also help organizations gather internal feedback where by refining the strategy further.  

Step 4: Look for an Elastic Platform: Expect the unexpected is somewhat normal in the social space. Organizations should therefore look for a platform that can scale up and down based on the need. The idea is to implement the strategy on such a platform that can provide the length and breadth of services across various social channels and help to collaborate effectively.

Add to this list and let me know what you think it takes to get this right.

Four Important trends in Mobile CRM Space

Last week one of my colleagues bought an iPad. He is currently gripped by something that people call the iPad syndrome. Ipad has helped people understand and appreciate the concept of mobility…in fact it has taken a giant leap in the mobility space. I have been receiving requests for mobility CRM much more in the last 2-3 months as compared to last year. Is it because of Ipad? Not sure, but the requests do translate into providing Mobile solutions that can run on mobile device; 1 out of 3 requests specifically for Ipad. One of our friends has put his thoughts around this revolution  http://social.eyeforpharma.com/story/will-ipad-kickstart-pharma-sales-and-marketing-revolution (read here).

I have been thinking off late on how should we go about designing the overall Mobile CRM solution? What should it contain? How should it be deployed? How will it provide enhanced value to organizations?  

Four Important Trends in Mobile CRM:

  1. Mobile CRM has moved beyond SFA on PDA: It is just not “Contact Management”, “Call Planning” etc. There are Features like Inventory/stock management, order reconciliation & tracking, Service Request Management, Real time analytics and “on demand” collaboration between field sales reps, service reps and customers. The new Mobile CRM needs to support much more functions and not just be a trimmed down version of the enterprise CRM system.
  2. Mobile CRM needs to be componentized: As organizations move away from the typical “arms race” in the sales function, where the sales volumes do not have linearity with the size of the sales force, and small groups of specialized sales force evolve; the need for CRM to accommodate the specific needs for these groups will increase exponentially. One solution fits all is not valid. What will work here is to have a bouquet of functionalities that can be made available depending on the end user need. End users pick and choose what he needs to be part of his Mobile CRM solution.
  3. Mobile CRM solution needs to be “On Demand”: The new age Mobile CRM solution needs to be available to the end user “On Demand”. Nearest parallel that one can draw is the “Blackberry Apps world” or” Ipad apps”. Organizations will maintain (can be a service provider) an application store and users can download needed application or components, use them and get rid of them from the mobile device after use.
  4. Mobile CRM solutions will drive the functionality: There was a time when the Mobile solution was a replica of the CRM solution with lot of restrictions w.r.t functionality and usability. Those days are gone. On Premise or Cloud Based CRM solutions will just provide robust backend and will not limit the Mobile CRM solution scope. The Mobile CRM solutions will have its own identity (the way functionality is achieved and enhanced usability features) and will integrate with the available CRM solution.

What do you think? Do you think that the Mobile CRM space is slowly transforming? Let me know your thoughts and comments.

Multi-Channel Marketing an Example: ETIOS by Toyota

So how many of you are not aware that Toyota has launched a Vehicle named “ETIOS”? I have not met many. I am a person who can endlessly browse the web to find news related to new cars and their reviews. I followed the complete Toyota ETIOS story very closely. I personally feel that this is one of the best examples for Multi-Channel Marketing. I am no expert at this but with my limited knowledge this is what I felt…

Given the importance of this vehicle for Toyota globally, Toyota created a campaign that engaged and informed the customers over the last 10 months.

Jan 2010…Toyota showcased the vehicle at the Delhi Auto Expo. The same day a TVC was launched to communicate about ETIOS. They came up with a very innovative Logo…The “I” in ETIOS has been written as the Indian TEEKA( a symbol of good luck and blessings of victory). The tag line also was chosen to aptly describe the essence of the vehicle “India First World First”. The whole positioning of the vehicle was very Indian. High time Toyota realized that India will play a major role in their Global Position as a Market leader. At the same time the Facebook and Twitter accounts were created. The initial buzz was created. Challenge at hand was… how to maintain this till the launch that was scheduled for the year end.

Again a very innovative TVC and Media campaign…”Q Promise” a campaign focused at demonstrating and placing Toyota as a Quality driven organizations. This was followed by an all India Tour “Q World Caravan” with the ETIOS concept. The choice of cities was very unique here…Chandigarh, Lucknow, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Cochin, Chennai, Bangalore, Calicut, Goa, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Coimbatore, Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata, Siliguri, Guwahati, Varanasi, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Indore, Surat. At first glance one can make out that this is just not a random selection of cities, these are cities that hold lot of potential and are slowly turning out to be biggest markets after the metros. This event ended at Surat on the 15th August 2010…symbolic gesture to project that the ETIOS is for India.

In the mean time the social channels were very effectively used to drive the concept and the research that went behind creating this car. Social channel is the only channel that has the strength and merit of creating a 2 way communication. Toyota rightly used this to create a community that can discuss the Car and provide feedback and reactions to the ongoing campaigns. Exemplary use of social channel to inform, listen, and respond. I am not sure but I believe; these channels also enjoyed some exclusivity in terms of information. The exact launch date was first communicated here followed by a press release.

End of September the New ETIOS website was launched. Facebook and Twitter users were the first to know. The website provided information on the ETIOS concept and had games, quizzes (all focused towards INDIA First concept). Winners were awarded with some ETIOS branded stuff… (I was not lucky to get one). Website used as a teaser and to further strengthen the India First message. The launch of the vehicle was live on this website. One will be surprised to note that the content of the website changed the minute the vehicle was officially launched @Bangalore. Such meticulous planning and exemplary execution.

In the history of car launches in India, I cannot think of any other example that can either match or come a near second to this.  Analyze this information and one will find some best practices for Multi Channel Marketing:

  1. Use the channel as per its Merit
  2. Each Channel needs to have its unique message but with a single objective
  3. Distribute the three key functions of Marketing( Inform, Engage and Listen) across channels
  4. Create an ecosystem to provide seamless experience to the customers
  5. Continuously monitor and study the channel effectiveness
  6. See if channels can be provided some exclusivity

I am not sure of the sales figures that ETIOS will have in future, but for the time being the marketing team has exactly delivered what they would have envisioned 10 Months back. Great work … This campaign is also INDIA’s FIRST …

Hybrid CRM: Is it Just a Deployment Model?

I was having a call today with one of our clients around the Hybrid CRM that they envision to build. The definition of Hybrid CRM is not uniform. It is an open subject and people have the liberty to define. For some of the organizations…Hybrid CRM is having Cloud based solution and Traditional on Premise solution in the same landscape, this means some functionality/capability on Cloud and some on traditional platforms. For some … Hybrid CRM is having the database reside on premise, but still pay for the consumption of the licenses through subscriber access licenses. Another flavor is…If you have your licenses, but do not want to deploy the solution in house, then hosting it on some cloud (CRM Hosting Companies) by just paying the hosting fees.

So is Hybrid CRM Model just a deployment model and nothing beyond that? In my opinion it is much beyond that…some definitions do not really mean Hybrid CRM, they actually mean Freedom/Choice of deploying your CRM solution.  

So let me define what I think is Hybrid CRM: Hybrid CRM is a vision to create a CRM ecosystem whereby one can synergize the power of on premise with the flexibility of on demand solutions. So actually it means that one should perform an “In Out” analysis of capability to create a structured, scalable, flexible and functional Hybrid CRM Model.

What stays IN (Premise) and what goes OUT (on the cloud) will decide the way this model eventually shapes up? Can there be a single roadmap for this? That is to say…A particular capability can be completely achieved using a cloud solution… should we decide to move it to cloud. Another scenario may be… A capability cannot be achieved in its current state in a cloud solution… so does this mandate that it needs to be on premise? The point that I want to drive here is… Just by creating a matrix of what can be achieved on cloud and on premise one should not decide the hybrid model. Organizations need to perform evaluation on these dimensions:

  1. How dynamic is the Functionality/Capability: Some functionalities/capabilities are very dynamic in nature. They need to constantly change in order to meet the changing needs of the business. E.g Contracts Management in managed care. With change in regulations the capability needs to undergo changes. These changes can be small or big. Such functionality need to adopt quickly and cannot wait for the long change cycle that is typical trade mark of an on premise solution.
  2. How Complex is the Functionality/Capability: Organizations have complex functionalities… some are genuine others are complex just because no one ever thought for a simple solution. Organizations should look back and categorize the functionalities under “genuinely complex” and “Can be simplified”. Then the decision to move them on cloud/on premise becomes straight forward.
  3. Logical grouping of functionality/Capability: This is the most critical part. Organizations need to evaluate capability in a logical group and not stand alone. For E.g Contact Management functionality is achievable in cloud, but activity management needs to be on premise. Does this even sound logical? The end result will be horrifying for the users. Data governance and management will go for a toss. So it is very important to look at capabilities as logical groups so that the objective of creating a structured, flexible, scalable and functional model can be achieved.    

What has been your experience around this? Will you like to add to this list. Just as a closing note… IDC states that 3 quarters of European business plans hybrid CRM.. hope they get it right….

Mobility Solutions: Pharma Case Studies

“Mobility Solutions” another Buzz word in the market today. This is one subject that has slowly found its way to the board room discussions. Lot of action around this concept… In Pharma also we see lot of action around this.

In Pharma the use of mobility solutions were limited to “PDA” based solutions…organizations were busy assisting the sales force with providing applications on PDA/Tablet to help them perform on the GO. But that was another era… the present era has shifted the focus from sales force to the customers. Organizations have started using Mobility Solutions to take the concept of Patient Compliance and Wellness programs to the next level.  “After all people might leave home without their glucometer but not without their cell phones.” Says Ryan Sysko, CEO of WellDoc, a healthcare company that develops technology-based solutions to improve diabetes outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. These solutions provide information and services at the point of consumption and sending mails just does not fit in the current changed paradigm of how consumers want information and how they consume it.

Case Study1:

Pfizer Canada launched its mobile solution smidge™. This is its first-ever “app” and health motivator. As per the press release “A first for Pfizer Canada, smidge™ identifies and celebrates small, easy actions that impact the body, mind and spirit. As you build momentum over a 21-day period, smidge™ shows you how to do just a little bit more by choosing across six activities that include: Be Positive, Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Train Your Brain, Take the Stairs, Deep Breathing and Drink More Water. “This application is available on Blackberry apps store and on Apple store.  Refer this for more details http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/It-Takes-Motivation-Healthy-Habits-Start-Here-Pfizer-Canada-Says-Start-With-A-smidge-1323863.htm.

Case Study2:

The WellDoc solution is a cell-phone based platform that enables real-time, any-time communication between health providers, physicians, and patients. Patients get reminders on their cell phones to take medication. They have access to live coaches and wireless diaries. Meanwhile, providers can track them as they input information and identify where and when they’re diverging from their plan. The cell phone is used as a device to reach patients, to do things like not only remind them when to take their medications and when to test their blood glucose, but also to put their physician’s instructions in the phone. This product has already being cleared by FDA (http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100802005216&newsLang=en)

Are these solutions effective? So far, the data is compelling that such platforms can work. In one study, published in Diabetes Technologies and Therapeutics, patients who used the cell phone platform experienced an average 2.03-point decrease in their A1C levels, while the control group experienced a 0.58-point increase. Additionally, patients who used the phone were more likely to switch to brands that offered such a platform, and doctors gave the product a 100 percent physician satisfaction rating, stating that it made the information they could see about their patients more comprehensive.  Similarly for free applications also the date available is quite encouraging. If you navigate to the BB apps store, you will find that smidge™ has a high user satisfaction rate.

Let me know about your experiences and thoughts on such solutions in Pharma. Is Pharma also becoming more socially responsible?

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