The analytics-driven marketing evolution in life sciences


42-35013593PharmaVOICE recently published an article: Analytics Driven Marketing for the pharmaceutical industry and I was fortunate enough to be interviewed. The article discusses the increased use of advanced analytics to make better marketing decisions, the progress that has been made and the challenges that still need to be overcome.

Within the industry there has been a clear evolution over the last few years regarding the adoption of marketing analytics. The two primary areas of focus have been analytics-driven targeting and analytics-driven messaging.

Analytics-driven targeting

Conventional wisdom in the industry was to channel sales teams and marketing resources towards physicians that historically had been high prescribers (or “top deciles”) of a particular therapy– a strategy that was, and to some extent still is, embedded in the pharma culture.

There is a clear trend in which companies are now using predictive analytics to develop profiles of high-value physicians based on mining of sales, CRM, socio economic/demographic and patient longitudinal data to create a more robust identification of prescribing patterns so that they can better target the right physicians in the future. By better targeting we mean identifying physicians that have higher value and are much more likely to respond to sales and marketing activities.

Analytics-driven messaging

Having identified the right physicians, it is essential to deliver the right message. The article features Pfizer’s use of analytics to engage physicians with information that is more meaningful. Pfizer accomplishes this by identifying the combination of messages that are most useful to physicians by providing them with information that will drive optimal patient outcomes.

This example clearly show an industry that is starting to advance in analytical maturity by understanding (with deeper context) customer behaviors and preferences.

What’s next?

Developing these advanced analytic capabilities is a journey of discovery. The next leg of the journey is understanding who your target customers are and what messages resonate with them so you can better orchestrate your interactions.

And it’s a challenge because of the data silos that still exist between sales, marketing, medical affairs and IT. Interactions with physicians across these functional divisions takes place daily. Without having the ability to views these interactions across all of the silos, it is not uncommon for a physician to be contacted by the same company multiple times in the same week – even the same day – for a single brand. This lack of coordination can do more harm than good and could have physicians clicking the unsubscribe button, especially if this excessive interaction is combined with a lack of relevancy. By eliminating these data silos you can then create a holistic view of physicians across the enterprise.

The challenge ahead

Now that the industry has started to evolve in developing analytic capabilities, it should attempt to connect the dots across data silos using master data management (MDM) to develop unified physician data – a foundational step that is necessary when you are faced with the type of problem described above. For example, you will have instances where a physician’s identity and other details are expressed differently in each silo leading to the question – is it the same physician or a different physician? MDM holds the answer. MDM maps out and unites all of these different identities and creates one golden record that is used for all marketing interactions.

Many life sciences companies looked at implementing MDM capabilities for the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a regulatory initiative that requires more accuracy in physician identification.

Now that life sciences companies are starting to move up the analytical maturity curve, tackling MDM to better serve and provide more relevant marketing to their physician customers will be a more important capability as you continue on your analytical journey.


About Author

Patrick Homer

Advisory Industry Consultant

Patrick Homer is a thought leader in the field of transformational analytics across clinical and commercial pharma and has been involved with both the long-term strategy and development of SAS' solutions in these areas. His analytical expertise resides in predictive, optimization, business intelligence, data management, forecasting, artificial intelligence and the development of analytical platforms. Since joining SAS in 2008, Patrick has overseen the development of a portfolio of advanced analytical capabilities for life sciences. Most recently Patrick lead the development of an analytical platform for global price intelligence, revolutionizing the industry approach to global launch sequencing with next generation optimization algorithms. Prior to working at SAS, Patrick spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, progressing through sales and management roles and on to executive business development for outsourced sales teams. Patrick graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from University College of Cardiff Business School and a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from University College of Swansea.

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