PM360’s Innovations Issue, established five 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 divisions of 2016, which include new sectors formed to address a particular problem facing the industry.
Gray Consulting International
Scott Gray, CEO
A division of Gray Consulting International (GCI), a coordinator of meetings and events for the pharmaceutical industry, Clincierge was formed in July 2015 to help solve a particular problem posed by one of GCI’s clients but common to most companies who sponsor or run clinical trials—the difficulty of first enrolling and then retaining patients, especially for rare disease studies in which patients may come from areas geographically distant from the sites where trials are being conducted.
Clincierge improves the process and experience by enhancing the communications, coordination, and collaboration between stakeholders: Drug sponsors, clinical investigators, and trial sites, as well as patient volunteers, their families, and their advocates. The company’s innovative services, expertise, and technology boost patient recruitment and retention by reducing burdens on both patients and trial site personnel while improving communications and trial transparency. The result helps sponsors keep their clinical studies on schedule and on budget and the quality of the data generated high, while enabling them to effectively make patient needs and concerns a top priority.
Clincierge provides individual patient support services, handling the logistics of travel, lodging, transportation, and upfront payment or rapid reimbursement of patient out-of-pocket expenses. As part of their services, Clincierge employs Clincierges (“clinical concierge”) who collectively speak 20 languages and support 30 countries.
The company is currently implementing a new technology platform, Clincierge Connect, which is designed to bring additional transparency, coordination, and real-time communications to clinical trials. Ultimately, Clincierge Connect will provide external stakeholders with real-time access to the information pertinent to each stakeholder via a web-app, enabling them to view data on demand and improving transparency in all communications and delivery of services.
Justin Freid, SVP Search Engine Marketing & Emerging Media
Drive was born when CMI/Compas wanted to take a new approach to how pharma brands get the most out of their digital presence. A large HCP- and DTC-focused brand that used CMI/Compas for media planning and buying agreed to pilot the service, which incorporates SEO, SEM, and paid social marketing, and CMI/Compas was able to:
- Decrease Cost Per Key Action from $66.57 to $8.79
- Increase overall traffic to key content and assets by 38%
- Lower average CPC across Google, Bing, Yahoo, Gemini by 86%
Following that success, Drive went from a set of services to a stand-alone product offering. Now, Drive works across a brand’s owned, earned, and paid media to ensure the target audience is accessing accurate information as efficiently as possible. For example, in terms of SEO, the Drive team ensures clients’ web properties are up to speed on Google’s and Bing’s ever-changing algorithms and can be easily indexed. Drive also thinks about a brand’s presence outside of brand.com, optimizing other assets to ensure the brand is controlling the message searchers’ access related to the brand.
The team can also meet audiences’ demands for easily accessible content by developing paid search programs to answer the info-seekers’ questions and drive them to a brand’s website. They create efficient pathways not only to get the users to the information they need, but to also optimize the account to improve Quality Score. This leads to ads showing in higher position, more frequently, and lower CPCs. Additionally, through social listening, Drive’s social media strategists determine which networks and promotional tactics work for a brand and its goals.
Taken together, the Drive team takes a holistic approach to a brand’s web presence management to engage and support a brand’s audience.
EHSX: Private Exchange & Marketplace
John Burke, Chief Revenue Officer
eHealthcare Solutions Private Exchange & Marketplace (EHSX) is the first neutral, independent, private digital ad exchange built for healthcare and pharmaceutical publishers and advertisers. EHSX gives healthcare and pharma marketers the opportunity to buy and sell digital media and audience data programmatically in an environment agnostic of supply or demand-centric bias. This makes it a level playing field for all who use it.
EHSX is a private exchange—only the most respected healthcare publishers, medical societies, journals, and associations are represented, and only the most trusted brands are invited to participate. EHSX reaches healthcare professionals and consumers across all major diseases, medical professions, and specialties.
Furthermore, eHealthcare Solutions leverages its exclusive healthcare publisher network, including more than 85 of the most respected medical societies, journals, and associations, representing more than 400 digital properties on desktop and mobile. EHSX launched in March 2016 and is already providing extensive, cross-device access to more than 800,000 healthcare professionals, and tens of millions of healthcare consumers programmatically.
Chris Humphreys, Vice President, Strategic Planning and Innovation
With the changing healthcare landscape, the need for innovation in pharma is greater than ever. But the risk of failure often makes it difficult to recognize a good idea when it’s presented. Choosing the wrong idea means potentially wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars—not to mention the months, or even years, lost in development time.
To address this client need, Intouch Solutions has expanded its Innovation Lab offering into a full-blown business unit that leverages its proprietary approach. They call it exp.
experience: The agency understands that innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it doesn’t happen in the course of day-to-day work. You have to create an experience that fuels innovation and stimulates ideas. Their unique approach to idea generation brings together a diverse group of problem solvers to tackle a well-defined challenge through a variety of ideation techniques.
explore: The goal of exp is not just to generate as many ideas as possible. It’s about focused ideation. With a well-defined challenge, participants have the opportunity to explore ideas that can have real, meaningful results.
exponential: The result is not simply incremental innovation, but exponential innovation—through ideas that can revolutionize healthcare.
In addition to formal events that inspire rapid idea generation and prototyping, such as the agency’s recent #ALLin Accelerator held in September, the Intouch exp team’s core services include: Innovation consulting to help clients build out or refine their own innovation capabilities, partnering with clients to extend their own internal innovation initiatives, and holding ongoing internal innovation challenges focused on generating ideas from Intouch team members and continuing to drive the agency’s culture of innovation across the entire company.
Peter Rooney, General Manager
Ogilvy CommonHealth NANO is a healthcare agency reimagined. Designed to reflect the priorities and meet the demands of a rapidly changing industry, it was built to be nimble, agile, curious, accessible, and collaborative—exactly the characteristics that define its clients. It is innovative in its organizational structure, its startup culture, its test-and-learn environment, and its rapid delivery of solutions and services. Its name deliberately speaks to its small-but-powerful ethos, and its size and flexibility enable it to be a disruptive force and a true alternative for small-to-midsize healthcare companies.
NANO was launched in February 2016. Since then, the agency has been approached by dozens of companies, and won several new, innovative pieces of business (a mix of AOR and project-based) in the areas of healthtech, female sexual dysfunction, mental illness, chronic constipation, clinical trial recruitment, and corporate branding for an early-stage biotech looking to deliver cutting-edge pathogen-specific disease treatments.
NANO represents a new kind of marketing-services delivery for a new kind of client. Technology startups and biotech and specialty pharma companies are the driving force in healthcare innovation. These companies require speed and agility as well as disruptive approaches to bring their products and brands to market. NANO meets that need by aligning with industry shifts and changing priorities. When needed, NANO is also able to deliver additional client value by tapping into the vast resources and offerings of the Ogilvy network.
Oncology Business Unit
The Access Group
Jeffrey Gruenglas, Executive Vice President
Launched in February 2016 out of the need to help navigate an evolving oncology landscape, the Oncology Business Unit (OBU) was designed to build tools and models to facilitate decisions for access to care. Today, the number of promising candidates for cancer therapy is at a staggering all-time high. Beyond research and development, the rate of oncology commercialization for underserved and challenging cancers is growing exponentially and will soon break the $100 billion ceiling—placing access to care at the nexus of Washington, the media watchdogs, ethicists, health systems, and industry. With the rush of new technology and science has come new terrain and questions for FDA, policymakers, managed care organizations, providers, and patients.
The OBU was formed by a hybrid of oncology experts who comprise policy specialists, research scientists, cancer institutions, and industry experts. Together they collaborate with government, policy, and systems to identify trends that have implications for manufacturers on formulary coverage and access to care. These collaborations inform the development of proprietary models and tools that leverage big data and population health inputs to assess practice and adoption patterns for alternate payment models, patient financial toxicity and burden, oncology pathways, and access-centered journey simulations for any given tumor type.
In less than one year since its debut, the OBU has grown its oncology relationships and engagements by nearly 10-fold, as measured by the number of tumor types, indications, products, launches, and treatment modalities. The OBU model has yielded insights and strategies that are currently being implemented to facilitate and expedite access to care for a range of solid tumors and, anticipated in 2017, hematologic malignancies and immunotherapies.
Michael Contreras, Director/Co-founder, SensisChallenges
Dr. Michael Contreras, Director at Sensis, co-founded SensisChallenges to serve as the agency’s crowd-innovation practice. Through a user-centered approach, SensisChallenges has developed a marketing tech capability that crowdsources ideas and brings them to life for the private and public sector. Since launch, the practice has enabled eight innovation challenges in tech, health, science, sustainability, design, and education awarding more than $2.5MM in prizes.
With the evolution of technology platforms, the growth of the startups ecosystem, and the “gig-economy” mindset, organizations and brands now realize they can leverage exponential communities to solve tough problems. Innovators are collaborating all around—sometimes outside of their companies, and often in unexpected places. SensisChallenges connects companies and organizations with such innovators. The practice was designed as a new and creative way to help clients tap into the collective genius of experts in cross-disciplinary fields—a win-win for both the client and the innovator. In one case study from the Department of Energy, a challenge approach was 17x more effective in commercializing software technology than comparable grant awards.
But, “doing it how we always have” can be a longstanding issue with established companies that have traditionally used a more siloed approach. Thought leadership is key to showing evidence of how Challenges can work for them. For instance, when executing recent Challenges with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, clients were exposed to a multi-stage incentive approach to innovation challenges. So far, recent health Challenge clients have backed 30 teams with unique products being built and/or methodologies being bench tested.
The Perpetual Ideation Machine
Bruce Rooke, Head of Ideation
The inherent gap between a product you want to sell and the audience you want to sell it to is no longer bridged by clever ad campaigns (84% of Millennials say they distrust advertising), slick product.com websites (only 19% of HCPs go to a product.com for information), or fully animated interactive visual aids (53% of HCPs have severe restrictions on access).
The good news: Customers still long for a big campaign idea, along with engaging content—they’re just not longing for the traditional advertising approach to telling it. As an entrepreneurial independent agency, Fingerpaint had the DNA—and the freedom—to move innovation from the periphery to the center through a marketing innovation engine that the agency launched in June called the Perpetual Ideation Machine (PIM).
Foregoing traditional agency hierarchy and structure, PIM is a diverse table of talent—from strategy to ideation to cloud development to technology to UX to data-driven communications planning—with the mandate to create licensed software products and services, as well as customized big ideas to solve specific client issues, that give brands new ways to reconnect and re-engage with their ever-shifting audience. In short, PIM was built to change the first question an agency asks from “What kind of cool ad campaign could we do?” to “How do we get this brand into the hands of this customer?”
Examples of the division’s work include an October-launched suite of cloud marketing products (cloudaccessmarketing.com), the first-ever VR Fingerpaint Studio (which transforms art therapy for hospitalized children and the disabled), and next up, an information design-driven product that converts the rarely read consumer medicine information into a quick-reference, digital concierge for every drug available.