The Harvard Business Review recently interviewed 58 CEOs in the healthcare sector, and the words they most used to describe the keys to their organizations’ futures: Change and innovation. What else could it be? As the healthcare system continues evolving and becomes more focused on delivering value, companies need to find new ways to improve patient outcomes while reducing costs. Innovation may be more important to this industry’s success than ever before—and marketers are not exempt from this challenge. Not only should they help find ways to provide more value to customers, but they must also continue to adapt to the ever-changing means by which people communicate. This requires new solutions, offerings and thinking that can solve the problems life science companies currently face—as well as problems they are sure to face right
around the corner.
We highlight these forward-thinkers in our third annual Innovations in Pharma Marketing special issue and provide a guide to the Companies, Divisions, Products, People, Services and Strategies that can help create success in the New Year. Once again, our call for innovation did not go unheard. We were bombarded with remarkable submissions from across the industry. The following represent a select collection of today’s best industry innovations and innovators. These range from exciting new ways to speed up drug discovery and development to a platform that can revolutionize rare disease marketing. That’s just a taste! Between the 62 innovations/innovators in this issue and the directory of some of today’s most innovative companies, we believe you’ll find plenty of ideas to help make 2015
a great year.
Here are our picks for divisions. Formed to address a particular problem facing the industry or to provide a new service that marketers need.
There’s a “perfect storm” of change taking place in the U.S. healthcare system—including cost containment, an economy that continues to be constrained, an aging population and the rapid advancement of new technology.
One way Astellas is transforming to better reflect the evolving landscape and provide value-based service to better meet customer’s needs is through the Strategic Account Business Unit (SABU), the company’s evolutionary sales and marketing strategy, which has teams in five unique regional markets: The Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles, Dallas, Pittsburg and Boston.
SABU colleagues focus on understanding the unique needs of Astellas’ customers and identifying how the company can better deliver value-based products and services that will advance patient care. Some focus on engaging decision-makers on healthcare outcomes, quality and the economic burden of disease states. Others lead value proposition teams to understand and develop solutions based on varying customer sophistication and needs.
An evolution of the traditional pharma sales model is vital not just because of changes at the macro level, but also due to the increased consolidation of health delivery networks and a growing emphasis on delivery efficiency and outcomes. Per Bob Chib, SABU Executive Director, “We need to accelerate our response to the marketplace through increased customer centricity, test new approaches to adapt and innovate, promote learning without disrupting existing business and scale learning throughout the organization.”
Rare diseases present a diagnostic challenge for doctors. There are over 7,000 rare diseases, but because so few people have each one, most doctors have never seen a case. With more pharmaceutical breakthroughs getting approved, rare disease marketers face unique challenges. They need to understand the market for their rare disease and identify the physicians that see these patients.
Using analytics developed in the defense community, Vencore researchers are addressing this challenge. They have demonstrated tangible results by mining terabytes of data and identifying patterns to document the “patient journey.” This helps identify physicians who see patients who may suffer from rare diseases before they are diagnosed. By targeting these physicians with disease awareness information, rare disease marketers improve screening and diagnosis of patients.
This work entails many challenges, and the company has taken safeguards to ensure that patient privacy is never breached. The data mining challenge is also significant, as many rare diseases have incidences of 1 in 20,000 to 50,000 people. This requires massive volumes of data and sophisticated analytic tools to provide valuable outputs.
Pharmaceutical companies can now have greater guidance to deploy marketing resources. Considering the progressive nature of many rare diseases, faster time to diagnosis and treatment is critical, providing all who work on these marketing programs with a sense of satisfaction that they are doing well while also doing good.
Primary Source is a healthcare consultancy that delivers the often unexpected but vital insights that enable you to better understand your customers, realize your business strategy and grow in your market. Operating as a standalone division of Sudler and Hennessey, Primary Source brings together the insight-based creativity of a communications agency and the data-driven rigor of a consulting company. The company takes pride in being ethnographers, 3D design-thinkers, linguists and pure-play strategy consultants.
Together they solve fundamental business problems whose solutions are profoundly affected by a deeper understanding of human experience, expectations and behaviors. Their unique offering is based on the synthesis of qualitative and quantitative thinking as the primary source for creating results that resonate™ with market needs to drive success. That is also why they promise something different: A results-focused approach rather than the usual project-focused approach.
In 2014, Likeable Media launched Likeable Health, the first-ever division of the agency to focus exclusively on delivering social media success to healthcare brands, while remaining within industry compliance. Since its inception, Likeable Media has worked with different pharma/healthcare brands and has successfully built a strong understanding of both the social and legal worlds that healthcare has to contend with. Likeable Health designs a plan for your brand that will deliver a genuine, authentic persona on social media that is entirely planned around maintaining the legal structure put in place for brand protection.
Likeable offers pharma brands everything from the development of social playbooks for HCPs to full social media management, including content development, community management, advertising and social campaigns. The agency is able to leverage positive customer experiences, create an accessible and approachable online customer service model and deliver insights and recommendations based on your social community to continuously improve brand marketing.
Understanding the health needs of a multicultural America is a challenging task even for seasoned marketers. To help the industry bridge this gap, cross-cultural marketing agency XL Alliance launched XL Healthcare, a full-service division aimed at engaging America’s diverse consumers and patients.
This specialized unit offers solutions for business strategy, research and planning; marketing, advertising and public relations; and mobile, digital and social experiences. The agency’s team represents more than a dozen countries and six languages, and its management team comprises 100% former healthcare and corporate clients. With its combined healthcare, marketing and cultural expertise, XL Healthcare is uniquely positioned to drive its clients’ sales growth by tapping into the often-overlooked diverse patient.
XL Alliance has mastered the ability to connect with multicultural audiences using its proprietary Cultural Intelligence™ methodology, which dives deep into the mindset of consumers by recognizing the cultural cues that move their hearts, then connecting with their minds, and ultimately, opening their wallets.