ELITE 2019 Strategist Lori Holland-Hancock of Merck & Co. Inc.

Lori Holland-Hancock

Associate Director Oncology Multichannel, Integrated Customer Engagement Team

Merck & Co. Inc.

Winning the New Space Race

We’re in a new space race. For marketers, space used to be a place where they put an ad. But Lori Holland-Hancock is making it so much more than that. For her, space is where you learn about your customer.

As Charles Benaiah, CEO, watzan, tells it, Lori once asked, “Forget ads—how can I leverage PubMed?” Lori was aware that two new stories hit PubMed every minute—that’s one million new stories each year—which makes it a great resource to glean insights about your target audience. For instance, let’s say Lori’s ad sits between stories from JAMA and NEJM. While most marketers would focus on the ad click, Lori is just as happy to learn which story the HCP chose to read. That’s because her customer’s content choices build profiles more powerful than an ad click.

Those profiles provide Lori with many advantages when crafting her marketing strategy. For example, during a big blood cancer conference, she saw a 39% drop in interest for solid tumor cancer. She called this, “The ASH Effect.” It’s similar to when you tune out other things when the Super Bowl is on. But because of this, Lori now charts weekly interest in her brand’s other indications. And by having an endemic score, she can benchmark marketing success. She is also able to tell which media outlets engage best around each customer. From there, she can see the story gaps where customers could use more content, which informs her publication planning groups.

Lori has even been able to turn conferences into a competitive intelligence tool. Conferences nowadays have updates sent out via emails or apps, attendees sharing their experience on Twitter, videos capturing key moments, and even beacons tracking location. All of this allows Lori to track the intent of her audience through their content decision as well as the larger trends surrounding topics, KOLs, sessions, and more. She then turns this into nightly reports for her team that give them a next-day edge.

Lori’s insights into the changing of media consumption have helped her predict what her brands must do to not only stay relevant, but excel.


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