Ours is an industry that has long pursued its customers along a traditional path. Sales reps conducted details and filed call reports. Some of us used supplementary direct mail and call centers. Although we may use computers to process information resulting from these communications, we haven’t necessarily gained the real-time feedback that today’s technology platforms allow. As we tackle the steep curve of implementing this “instant gratification” technology to support our sales and marketing efforts, we are finding the task of processing this information flow somewhat daunting. How do we best utilize all this data we are collecting?

It’s no secret that for years we have lagged behind other industries in the mining of customer databases. Think of Amazon.com: one purchase quickly leads to a recommendation for other items that match your buying habits. Wouldn’t it be nice for us to market similarly, to serve up content based on an individual physician’s prescribing habits, information consumption, and expressed interests as well as the specialty and geographic region?


Technologies exist to deliver content meeting the target’s interests, and certainly we have data sets to mine. Field forces and digital outreach capture data in real time. Behavioral market research studies, regulatory records, sampling, and prescriptions…everywhere we turn, valuable raw data surrounds us. Where we struggle is in centralizing and analyzing data so we can fuel tailored messaging and content delivery across multiple channels.

How well we do this will define our ability to truly understand our target physician’s interests, and then tweak our messaging down to this individual level.


It takes tremendous effort to develop a database of hundreds of thousands of health care practitioners over multiple specialties, one that can drive digital and direct mail campaigns tailored to the individual physician. Having this database makes it possible to analyze behaviors among like groups to predict future actions and deliver individually tailored content. But this does not come easy. Developing the database takes time, and parsing it into comparable segments takes even longer. And the job is never finished: Diligent updating is a must. The next step is to incorporate other data streams, such as those from field visits, to make the data set as complete and rich as possible. Only when that’s accomplished can we can truly offer a customer relationship interface rivaling any other industry.

Just think of what we can accomplish by integrating insightful personal and non-personal promotion via a unified database. We can define our targets in a cloud database that also integrates our sales force automation platform, research and formulary reports, and dashboards on physician non-personal promotion engagement. Messaging can then reflect the physician’s historical prescribing behavior, current expressed interests and concerns, formulary considerations, compiled attitudinal data, and what other physicians in the class are writing or where they have expressed interest—all in real time. We will be in a much better position to engage the physician and provide a superior user experience every time we make contact, leading to increased brand interest and an uptick in NRx.


Undeniably, the complexity of managed care has reduced our target populations significantly. Physicians we once considered prospects may no longer be able to prescribe our brands. At the same time the cost of doing business just continues to escalate. Therefore, engaging those who are influencers or writers is a must. Doing so with meaningful content driven from a unified database can certainly give us a greater payoff. Our experience has shown that tailoring messaging to match individual interests can increase the NRx as much as 98% in some cases. It’s not easy, but there is gold to be had in that data. We just need to find a way to mine it successfully.


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