Innovators 2015: Strategies

PM360’s Innovations Issue, established four years ago, serves as a comprehensive guide to our readers, providing a glimpse at the year’s most cutting-edge: Companies, Divisions, Startups, Products, Services and Strategies.

Here are our picks for the most innovative strategies of 2015, which include never before-tried approaches that are changing how the industry operates.

All Systems Go (ASG): Discovery USA


All Systems Go (ASG)

Discovery USA

Randy Isaacson, SVP, Account Director

At the start of 2015, Discovery USA developed a new strategy that starts with the core patient experience in mind, without bias of brand or product, and is designed to address the complexity of the massive healthcare changes underway in delivery, measurement and payment. The company’s Health Systems Solutions (HSS) group applies a proprietary strategic process called All Systems Go (ASG), which operates in a unique space above individual product brands and below the corporate brand to work across entire portfolios to improve the patient experience at point of care, impact the quality of outcomes, and subsequently strengthen clients’ relationships with their customers.

The value of this strategic marketing approach goes beyond increasing product sales. The heart of the strategy is in supporting and improving care and helping every healthcare dollar work harder and go further.

For pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare technology clients, Discovery USA’s Health Systems Solutions specialists are designing sales engagement strategies and tools that are helping clients build relationships at the highest levels of healthcare organizations (CEO, COO, Chief Experience Officer, Directors of Patient Engagement, etc.).

The ASG approach is being applied across a range of therapeutic areas, as well as multi-source categories and diagnostic technology to stretch the vision, contributions and deliverables of the marketing team. ASG is helping clients effectively position their enterprises in an environment in which individual prescribers are less important and system-wide protocols and health outcomes measures define the guiding principles of care. ASG is a vehicle for success as the healthcare business moves from volume-based incentives to value-based incentives.

Audience-Centric Organic Search: Publicis Health Media


Audience-Centric Organic Search

Publicis Health Media

Richard Deede, Vice President, SEO

Traditionally, organic optimization strategies focus on working first with the brand goals and crafting a strategy to boost visibility around brand activities and objectives. The problem with this approach is if what the brand wants to achieve doesn’t resonate with their desired target audience, it will be difficult to have any real reach and impact with that audience. Publicis Health Media’s (PHM) approach starts with the audience and centers on the concept of understanding who the audience is: Their habits, where they engage digitally, and what type of content will resonate with their interests.

This audience-centric approach to organic optimization takes into account several factors including the following criteria:

  • Define the audience (patient, HCP, male, female, age, habits, preferences, etc.)
  • Key audience(s)’s intent when searching (education, purchase, etc.)
  • Context of their search (device, location, seasonality, etc.)
  • Channel of engagement (website, app, social media, etc.)

Understanding all of the criteria above allows PHM to build a complete picture of who the audience is that the client wants to connect with their brand. The next step is crafting the proper strategy to place content online to be found when people are searching, wherever they are searching throughout the digital ecosystem.

While Google is the dominant traditional search engine, search can happen anywhere and PHM’s strategy for search optimization is dictated by where the audience goes. Finally, understanding a brand’s goals and the value proposition that the brand brings to the marketplace is where PHM looks to connect the audience to the brand and craft the ideal search experience throughout the entire digital ecosystem.

Bilateral Branding: Natrel


Bilateral Branding


Nicole Hyland, Chief Marketing Officer

If you work in pharma advertising, you live in a world of rules, regulations and restrictions—with an urgent need for a different, more innovative approach to brand development. Natrel responded by developing a unique Bilateral Branding strategy to help clients differentiate their brands in a saturated market.

Bilateral Branding ensures brand differentiation by appealing to both sides of the brain—the rational, analytic left side and the emotional, instinctual right side. Natrel augmented its work on claims and messaging with an equally methodical approach to the development of a brand’s essence by uncovering transformational insights that lead to a distinctive brand personality.

Emotion plays as great a role as reason in the decision-making process, so any branding that addresses intellect alone misses a huge opportunity. Yet despite these realities, the life science industry has failed to address personality with the same rigor that it brings to other analytic processes.

Bilateral Branding takes Natrel’s clients through a comprehensive personality workshop called Persona ID, homing in on the true identity of each brand—its soul. This disciplined process makes abstract principles such as emotion, personality and style tangible and often leads clients to that “aha” moment: A unanimous decision on the vision of their brand and a way to connect on a level beyond pure intellect.

Bilateral Branding was developed over the course of three years and formally instituted in the first quarter of 2015. The strategy has led to double-digit business growth and the addition of several global brands to Natrel’s portfolio—global business now accounts for more than a third of the agency’s revenue.

Creating Experience Managers: PulseCX


Creating Experience Managers


Kurt Mueller, Chief Innovation Officer

Traditional feature/benefit messaging doesn’t have the impact it once did, so PulseCX developed an innovative strategic framework to lead companies through the required transformation from a product-focused approach to a customer-centric experiential marketing model that is particularly applicable to face-to-face selling in the pharma industry.

This new sales model transforms “sales reps” into “Experience Managers.” It converts traditional feature/benefit sales calls (focused on efficacy, clinical study data and product benefits) into highly-personalized experiences that focus on the unmet emotional and functional needs of the HCPs. Instead of beginning with the core product claims, it starts with open-ended questions to generate dialogue about what’s most important to the HCPs. It then empowers the Experience Managers to deliver value against the interests that are unique to each HCP.

During each sales call, this new model empowers these Experience Managers with interactive visual aids that encourage HCPs to touch and take control of the device through meaningful interactions—to pull them in, educate them and delight them (the direct opposite of traditional selling practices).

To make this transformational change, companies must focus on four key elements:

  1. Build cross-functional teams that are focused on delivering excellent customer experiences.
  2. Gather and leverage data to provide insights into what HCPs and patients want/need.
  3. Create integrated marketing plans to deliver excellent experiences across all channels (not just through the sales reps).
  4. Establish campaign metrics that focus on customer experience marketing.

The results speak for themselves. In one case, this new model helped a brand move from the number two position to the number one market-leading position in only three months.

Micro-Segmentation Optimization Framework: Pursuit

micro-segmentation-optimization-PursuitMicro-Segmentation Optimization Framework


Peter Robinson, Co-founder and Head of Strategy & Analytics

Over the past 10 months, Pursuit has developed a level of granularity to its segmentation and targeting strategy that enables the selection of HCPs with precision. Through analysis of historic promotion and response data across multiple channels, Pursuit has identified the combination of channels and cadence that is optimal down to the practitioner level. It further informs which HCPs should be included in a campaign, based on their probability of being receptive and responsive to the promotion, relative to their cost of inclusion.

The Optimization Framework follows a standard process, but with a level of detail not previously seen in the industry:

Customer Engagement: Use customer level historical campaign response data for all brands to analyze customer behavior in different situations based on product lifecycle, offer, channel, message, creative, vendor, etc.

Business Impact: Use robust models to map between targeted and non-targeted (but similar) customers, and tie it back to customer level sales data to determine the business impact at customer level.

Impact Forecasting: Use forecasting models to estimate engagements to business impact by identifying a focused group of customers, who when targeted are most likely to respond to recommended channels/messages/vendors.

Real-Time Tracking Leading to In-flight Optimization: In-market tests deployed to update in-flight campaigns based on early results to provide marketers with visibility of what is working and what is not.

Campaign Measurement and Evaluation: Once campaigns are over, business impact analyses are conducted at customer level to determine the Rx behavior changes the multichannel promotions generate.

Using this framework, Pursuit has brought unique customer engagement rates from 10%-15% to 30%-35% and ROIs have ranged between 200% and 400%.

Supporting a Brand Launch: Healthcasts


Supporting a Brand Launch with a Targeted, Sequential Approach


Erik Dalton, EVP

In 2015, Healthcasts, in partnership with the brand Movantik, and the brand’s Marketing Leader, James Brandon Keefe, devised a solution that engaged more than 20,000 customers in an innovative way through end-user driven content and recommendations based on previous viewership behavior and practice needs. The program enhanced customer experience by allowing HCPs to engage with the brand on their own time. It extended presence to low and no-see physicians. And, it helped bridge the gap between brand launch and content creation and approval.

Prior to launch, Healthcasts engaged 10,000 target HCPs in a 15-minute, deeply clinical “Feature Video” including the brand’s KOL. The video explored the science around the condition; provided information on the pharmacology, clinical efficacy and safety results of Movantik; and alerted physicians to its future availability.

Next, by leveraging the physician-level data collected during the first campaign, Healthcasts identified physicians who engaged with the Feature Video and were pre-qualified for samples. By doing this, Healthcasts was able to reach 96% of sample eligible physicians who had seen the Feature Video on a 1:1 basis. Healthcasts then created new materials that drove physicians to the existing sampling call-center, which was promoted via email and an “in-app alert” for maximum impact.

The email open rate was 43%. And in a program evaluation survey of 772 physicians who engaged with the feature program, two-thirds strongly agreed that “The video provided enough information for me to prescribe Movantik (naloxegol), when it becomes available.”

Healthcasts and the brand teams are currently working to develop a supplemental program reaching additional specialists with messaging and additional opportunities to connect the field force with intelligence surrounding the digital execution.

The Biogen Biosimilars/Europe 360VR Experience: GSW & The Mill NYC


The Biogen Biosimilars/Europe 360VR Samsung 6 Experience

GSW, an inVentiv Health Company & The Mill NYC

Kevin Coleman, Growth Strategy Officer, GSW

Biogen Biosimilars, GSW and The Mill developed a product that breaks out from traditional media and beyond the boundaries of static 360 web experiences. The new narrative platform allowed Biogen to break down the complex process of developing a biosimilar by, quite literally, putting the audience in the doctor’s office and then into the lab to see the development and delivery process.

This June at the European League Against Rheumatism meeting, Biogen introduced their vision for creating biosimilars of advanced biologics with the first Virtual Reality 360-degree (VR360) film produced on the new Samsung 6 Gear platform. Biogen has outfitted key account managers with Samsung 6 phones and Gear Goggles to bring the VR360 experience to physicians and payers, creating an entirely new and welcome way to detail.

The eight-minute immersive VR360 journey transports viewers from a modern physician’s office (receiving their doctor’s orders!) through a future-scape of real high technology (the actual Biogen biologics plant in Hillerød, Denmark) including jaw-dropping special effects from The Mill. A hovering droid guides viewers on a tour of how advanced biosimilars are different from generics and first-generation biosimilars, and through the floor-by-floor process and scientific rigor that Biogen is using to develop and manufacture them. All the while, the viewers are free to look everywhere—up, down, and all around, watching scientists and the machines at work, which makes each viewing unique.

The best marker of success for the campaign: A competitor visited the Biogen booth to ask how they could create a VR360 experience.

What’s Your Why?™ Campaign: GSK Consumer Healthcare


What’s Your Why?™ Campaign

GSK Consumer Healthcare

Alyssa Leys, Manager

Nicorette® and NicoDerm® CQ® understand smokers don’t need to be told why they should quit—they already know “why.” So in December 2014, the brands launched the What’s Your Why?™ campaign to hear every single one of them. The campaign kicked off in NYC with “Dancing with the Stars” pro and former smoker, Mark Ballas. Having successfully quit with NicoDerm® CQ® one year prior, Ballas shared his “why” with top-tier reporters and on social media during quit season—when sales spike yearly.

Building off this momentum, this past May, prior to one of the largest global smoking awareness days, the brands sought to create first-ever, mid-year activation to reach the heights of quit season. The What’s Your Why?™ Smoke Swap was held in Times Square and encouraged smokers to share their “why” in exchange for free quit-smoking resources. Ballas and his mother, Shirley—a former 40-year smoker who quit with Nicorette®—spoke to national media about their “whys,” quit support and performed a “quit step” dance.

Then, in September—a month known for change—the brand sparked conversations once more and encouraged smokers to turn September into SELFtember, a time for smokers to begin their smoke-free journey. Mark interviewed with top entertainment press about quitting and encouraged LA residents to attend the What’s Your Why?™ Smoke Swap in Santa Monica.

The campaign generated a lift in sales for both brands in each month of the campaign including 7.1% (Nicorette®, NicoDerm® CQ®) in December, 14.4% (Nicorette® mini Lozenge, Nicorette® Gum and NicoDerm® CQ®) in May and 17.5% (Nicorette® mini Lozenge, Nicorette® Gum and NicoDerm® CQ®) in September.


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