Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of the very innovative Walt Disney company says, “The heart and soul of the company is creativity and innovation.”
Creativity and innovation are clearly a marketer’s best friends. Trying something new and innovative certainly takes a lot of heart—it can be risky, no doubt, but can also lead to great success. It also takes a lot of soul: The ability to step into the customers’ shoes and feel what they’re feeling. Insights are uncovered here, giving marketers the ability to solve problems and anticipate needs now and in the future. These abilities may well be the kindling of innovation—the spark that ignites creativity, the fire in the belly that burns away the old revealing something utterly new.
In our second Innovations in Pharma Marketing special issue we highlight these types of risk-takers and problem-solvers in the following categories: Companies, Divisions, People, Products and Services. We received an overwhelming response to our call for innovation, proving what we already knew: This industry has no shortage of new ideas, and trailblazers are everywhere. On the following pages, we present 60 offerings we feel are making an impact on the industry and on the lives of patients, while making the lives of brand marketers a little easier.
Journalist Walter Lippman says, “When we all think alike, then no one is thinking.” This is a glimpse of the people and companies who do think differently, who are leading pharma into places it has never been before.
Here are our picks for the divisions formed to address a particular problem facing the industry or to provide a new service that marketers need.
CLOSING THE COMMUNICATION GAP: AHE Clinical Trials
AHE Clinical Trials
Artcraft Health Education
Brian S. Schaechter, Director of Sales, Clinical Trials Services Division
Misunderstanding has always separated the people who conduct clinical trials from the people who participate in them. Sponsors and investigators speak in medical terms at a postgraduate level. Participants understand plain language at a sixth-grade level or lower. The result is often low enrollment, poor compliance and high dropout rates.
AHE Clinical Trials is a division of Artcraft Health Education that specializes in closing the communication gap through health education. AHE Clinical Trials offers solutions and tools to support phase I through IV clinical trials in areas of recruitment, enrollment, retention, compliance and adherence. These solutions empower patients, study coordinators and investigators to better understand our clients’ clinical trials, and to fully appreciate their roles and responsibilities in the trials.
“Competition for participants has increased dramatically, as many studies compete for the same subject. Implementing a customized engagement program is key,” says Marc Sirockman, General Manager at Artcraft Health. “Recruiting the appropriate subjects and communicating expectations saves the sponsor time and money.”
The professional staff of AHE Clinical Trials—including nurse educators, medical writers, editors, certified medical illustrators and animators, designers and IT professionals—collaborate to visualize audience-specific interventions. We offer solutions in both traditional and digital media, creating materials as complex as a mechanism-of-action animation accurately showing processes at the cellular level, or, as simple as a refrigerator magnet reminding subjects to take their next dose of the study drug. Whatever the requirements of a given trial, AHE Clinical Trials offers cost-effective solutions that produce high ROI results.
FOCUS ON PATIENT OUTCOMES: Bliss Healthcare
Bliss Integrated Communication
Michael Roth, Healthcare Practice Lead
Bliss Integrated Communication formally launched its healthcare practice in 2013 to meet the emerging needs and tectonic shifts in today’s healthcare industry. Regulatory and cost pressures, combined with demographic disease/aging trends, have compelled pharmaceutical and device companies as well as payers and patient groups to rethink their current operations. We see the market transitioning to a new model that requires a range of skills aimed at practical outcomes, targeted disease messaging and patient-clinician-payer communications. Yet most agencies specializing in healthcare seem to be organized for a by-gone era: Staffed vertically, they tend to silo products, services and media.
Bliss has no silos. Our team of talented communication professionals helps clients improve outcomes by focusing on the peripherals that matter most (e.g., advocacy, access, partnerships, data transparency, internal communications and reimbursement). We offer a unique crossover within our healthcare practice by integrating the expertise of our innovative financial and professional service offerings, and we are growing—not just in size, but in our integrated services for clients.
In a short time, Bliss has built a remarkable array of global clients. Today, we are working with some the biggest names in pharmaceuticals as well as innovative health services organizations that are on the cutting edge of health innovation, including Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Fair Health, Procure, Agnitio and BCG Healthcare.
TARGETED VALUE PROPOSITIONS: Economic VUE
Senior Vice President, Strategic Solutions
Profound change in both the delivery and reimbursement of healthcare presents new challenges for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers seeking appropriate access, reimbursement and use for their products. Today’s economic buyers are diverse and have distinct decision-making processes.
Economic VUE was launched as a division of LLNS, a professional healthcare communications agency, to help clients successfully navigate this environment. Economic VUE is exclusively focused on communicating healthcare brand value to economic buyers. Our goal is to influence payer policies and purchasing decisions in order to maximize our clients’ brand use.
This division of LLNS brings together a team of professionals with decades of experience in healthcare policy, medical management, formulary decision making and managed care marketing. Economic VUE staff members have worked at government agencies, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers and leading communications and marketing firms.
Because one value proposition does not fit all economic buyers, we’ve developed a proprietary approach to identify the levers, value platforms and communications that will move payer policies and increase brand use. Where most companies start with a single value proposition, we take a broader view and develop a targeted value proposition for each economic buyer. Our proprietary methodologies enable a comprehensive look at delivery of care and at all stakeholders making decisions regarding a brand. From this, we develop a “Value Platform” that can be effectively deployed to the appropriate stakeholders through a customized tactical action plan.
DEVELOPING EMERGING CHANNELS: EMERGE
JUICE Pharma Worldwide
VP, Director of Emerging Technology and Media
Small budgets, crowded markets and unresponsive audiences? It can be hard out there for a pharma marketer. That’s why, in 2013, JUICE Pharma Worldwide launched EMERGE—a new division on a mission to explore the emerging trends and technologies that can break through the clutter, and effectively reach and motivate your customers into action.
At JUICE EMERGE, we work with the biggest companies and newest startups in health and marketing to create new uncontested channels for brands. We can help brands launch a worldwide developer challenge or integrate with EHRs throughout Latin America. We bring innovation opportunities right to your doorstep.
We help Davids trump Goliaths. We help the little guy win. We find the weakness and opportunity in competitors, and we move faster and more efficiently than anyone else because we are nimble and entrepreneurial. We are that group you always hear about.
Our business development network gives us unique flexibility to meet the most ambitious challenges. Combined with techniques like pretotyping and pop-up communities, we bring the full force of lean startup methodology plus unparalleled access to reshape and expand the pharma marketing world.
When clients need that “something special” to put their brand ahead of the pack or unseat an entrenched therapeutic giant, they call EMERGE to build the new digital expressway to get them there.
DEFINING THE MEDIA THAT MATTER: GTO Media
Greater Than One, Inc.
Associate Director, New Client Development
With the changing landscape and the myriad of media that brands now use to fight for consumers’ attention, we developed GTO Media—a purpose-built strategic media consultancy. We bring diverse backgrounds together that marry unmatched media strategy expertise and cutting-edge analytics. We are creating media experiences that ignite consumer engagement and stand out amid the noise. GTO Media is defining the media that matter.
Many agencies are getting left in the dust, repackaging the same campaign across different channels. Understanding how to make a campaign resonate across all media channels, however, requires an ever-evolving knowledge of consumer behavior, emerging platforms and technologies. This drives meaningful consumer engagement.
In order to create innovative media experiences, we use a highly customized and contextually relevant approach across on- and offline channels. We are extremely data-driven and our proprietary Launch Dynamics methodology leverages Big Data before, during and after campaigns to maximize insight and optimize results.
The biggest challenge we faced when launching this division was beating the stereotype that we’re “just another media shop.” We’ve developed a new agency model for the engagement age: Investing in a comprehensive media strategy at the beginning of a campaign and collaborating with channel partners, such as agencies, to create a unique network impact.
BETTER MEDICAL COMMUNICATIONS: Intouch Science
Sr. Director, Business Development
The pharma industry knows Intouch Solutions for its digital savvy and marketing chops. Now, Intouch has added science to the mix. Why? Because we believe interactions with HCPs must be meaningful, persuasive and engaging, and that takes not just digital savvy, but also medical insight.
In creating Intouch Science, we tapped into a well-known need to elevate the communication between pharmaceutical brands and HCPs. The division specializes in clinical guidance, offering a unique blend of digital and scientific marketing capabilities to create engaging and effective programs that speak to today’s HCP.
- Pharma brands: We wake up at night thinking about differentiators, MOAs, disease states, customer profiles and journeys for over 45 brands.
- Digital sales: We have created and built over 100 digital sales aids and engagement tools to spark HCP conversations.
- Data: Daily usage from thousands of representatives tells us what content gets HCPs excited and what they ignore.
- Benchmarking: We aggregate this knowledge into benchmarks and insights to help make our clients’ brands smarter.
- Expertise: We add a layer of medical experts to elevate our HCP message with clinical perspectives.
“We’ve designed hundreds of programs to reach HCPs with relevant information that helps them in their work,” says CEO Faruk Capan. “But dramatic healthcare industry changes are underway, and the landscape keeps shifting. Our industry as a whole has to get better—fast.”
AN IDEA FACTORY: Klick Labs
Peter Flaschner, VP Strategy
At Klick, we have some of the smartest and most entrepreneurial people working in digital health. Thing is, we are so busy working that it is hard to divert time and effort to develop the great ideas that arise in the process of doing our work. Klick Labs is our new product development and skunk works division that has been established to help bring these sparks of inspiration to full light.
So how does this division actually work? When our team members have an idea or create a solution that solves marketing, regulatory or clinical challenges in the healthcare, pharma or biotech space, they come to the Lab. The Lab team then works with them to determine if the idea can be commercialized and what kind of investment would be required to develop it.
The Lab is also creating partnerships with innovation-driven organizations throughout the healthcare industry and beyond. And, we have the ability to work with clients to conduct R&D for new solutions.
Essentially, “The Lab” is an in-house consulting service for strategic innovation, research and product development. We’re here to serve our clients, the healthcare industry and our team of inspired and inspiring people.
CLINICAL + BEHAVIORAL: MicroMass Medical Communications Group
MicroMass Medical Communications Group
Jude Kelly, Director of Business Development
Leveraging almost two decades of experience in analyzing and influencing human health behavior, MicroMass Communications created a new business unit, MicroMass Medical Communications Group (medcom.micromass.com), to help life science companies maximize product success in an environment where patients, payers and regulatory bodies increasingly affect commercial performance.
Recognizing that success for products in development today is largely driven by their ability to improve patient’s real-world outcomes, this division challenges traditional approaches to scientific outreach, believing that to truly improve patient outcomes, pharma must begin with a deeper understanding of human health behavior and use these insights to guide development and communication strategies.
This innovative approach seeks to understand and shape the drivers of decision-making, which include patient and physician knowledge, attitudes and health behaviors that often influence how clinical data are interpreted and applied to patient care. This approach maximizes the impact of medical communications efforts by creating a more compelling body of evidence and helping to actively change HCP and patient behavior.
The MicroMass Medical Communications Group provides a wide range of services, including identification of key influencers, advisory board strategy and execution, development of educational and training programs, clinical trial design consultation and data dissemination. Combining clinical and behavioral science expertise, the group is led by Rob Peters, Senior Vice President of Strategy, and staffed by seasoned professionals who have advanced public health backgrounds and pharmaceutical and medical communications experience.
PATIENT-CENTERED PHILOSOPHY: PRISM
Patient Relations, Insights & Stakeholder Management (PRISM)
LEO Pharma, Inc.
Director, Patient Relations, Insights & Stakeholder Management
John Koconis, President and CEO of LEO Pharma, was committed to making a patient-centered philosophy more than a buzzword. In January of 2013, he founded an entirely new division within LEO Pharma called Patient Relations, Insights & Stakeholder Management (PRISM).
Reports directly to the CEO: Rather than setting up patient-centricity under a particular brand or marketing function, Koconis mandated that the division be independent and report directly to him, a rare occurrence in a pharmaceutical company’s hierarchy.
Has a dedicated patient-centricity division head: Mike Edwards, the former training lead at LEO Pharma, was appointed as the head of PRISM. His responsibilities are strictly limited to patient-centric efforts across the organization.
Focuses on innovative programs: The division has been responsible for a number of innovative patient-centric programs, including: The launch of the expanded patient support program QualityCare (pictured above); “Patient Days,” which help connect LEO employees with patients suffering with skin diseases; and “Frontier Meetings,” where Edwards travels across the country talking directly to patients affected by a variety of skin conditions. For “bring your child to work day,” the company conducted mock job interviews where one candidate was in full makeup to demonstrate a common case of plaque psoriasis and the other candidate had unaffected skin. This showed the children the devastating impact psoriasis can have on the way patients are perceived and how it impacts their quality of life.
ACA MARKET OPPORTUNITIES: Quality Matters
Sudler & Hennessey, a WPP company
Olivia Banyon, Founder and Managing Director, Quality Matters
Quality Matters (QM) is the newest division within the Sudler & Hennessey/Y&R network and the only company dedicated to new market opportunities created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). QM develops solutions that aide clinical decisions, quality goal attainment and therapeutic selection through appropriate use of health information technologies (HIT) and assessment of care delivery. We implement novel strategies using HIT, including electronic medical records (EMRs) and clinical decision support (CDS) tools. We also invest in the development of real-world proprietary tools including accountable care organization (ACO)/integrated delivery network (IDNs) and medical group practice management e-tools, shared medical appointment and decision making tools, ACA field training tools, quality dashboards, and more.
Between 2012 and 2013, QM launched with one core focus: To develop best-in-class quality initiatives for improving patient outcomes, chronic disease management and medication adherence. Now we are expanding our core services to drive innovation along the entire engagement continuum. These services include:
- Access and Reimbursement: Business strategy and exchange of value-based solutions.
- Health Economics/Outcomes Research (HEOR) Specialty Services: Value creation through protocol development and real-world evidence generation.
- e-health: Engagement of patient, providers and payers through HIT solutions that leverage EMR/CDS platforms and drive brand choice and improved outcomes.
QM is expected to double its growth by the second year as clients are now more familiar with and ready to capitalize on our services.
TOP PHYSICIAN SOCIAL SITE: Sermo
SVP, Head of Global Business Development
With over 200,000 members, Sermo is the largest and most vibrant online community of fully verified physicians, ranked as the No. 1 social site for U.S. physicians by Manhattan Research. Now integrated with WorldOne, Sermo has bolstered its value proposition and is uniquely positioned for explosive growth and international expansion.
Along with a full platform redesign in 2013, Sermo successfully introduced dedicated resource centers or HUBs by specialty and disease state, serving as strategic marketing vehicles to engage targeted prescribers and thought leaders. Already proven to increase conversation, HUBs drive brand awareness and deliver key educational and clinical resources, incorporating balanced insights from physicians and industry stakeholders. Additionally, iConsult, Sermo’s peer-to-peer collaboration resource, formerly mobile only, now enables physicians to crowdsource targeted insights through all browser-based devices, connecting doctors from remote independent practices with large, geographically distributed hospital systems and networks.
While proud of what it has been able to accomplish, Sermo is poised to do much more, including global expansion. In so doing, Sermo will broadly cultivate its “community with a purpose,” delivering clinical insights to global practitioners and activating care across borders. While its agenda is ambitious, Sermo is focused on harnessing technology and elevating community to enable collaborative care models in order to improve outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and raise rates of patient satisfaction. Taken together, Sermo’s growth will help the organization realize its vision of transforming care globally.
HELPING TO IMPROVE PATIENT CARE: Transition of Care Specialists
Transition of Care Specialists Division
AstraZeneca Public Relations
Patients who survive a heart attack are at increased risk of death. More than one-third of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients did not fill their first Oral Anti-Platelet (OAP) prescription after leaving the hospital. AstraZeneca identified a need to educate HCPs involved in helping patients with ACS transition from the hospital to home. As a result, AstraZeneca partnered with inVentiv Health to implement an innovative program focused on transition of care.
Because of this program, more than 200 Transition of Care Specialists (TCSs)—all registered nurses with significant in-hospital CV experience—are now dedicated to helping improve ACS discharge through education. They raise awareness of transition challenges and provide education, resources and materials to discharge HCPs in support of their patients. TCSs’ prior nursing experiences uniquely position them to be intimately familiar with the institutional dynamics and connect with discharge HCPs on a peer-to-peer basis. TCSs also meet with retail pharmacists to discuss the importance of stocking medications, including OAP therapy, so ACS patients can maintain continuity of care after hospital discharge.
Since the launch of this program last July, the TCSs have been collaborating with HCPs and the feedback has been very positive.