In our past post The CLM Conundrum: Three Pillars of Success, we discussed why for many pharma companies, CLM has often failed to deliver on its initial hype, and discovered CLM’s first pillar, Personalization. In the second installment, we focused on Analytics. In this post we turn to the third and final pillar of CLM, Responsiveness.

Responsiveness: The Third Pillar of CLM

Responsiveness, the third pillar of CLM, is in many ways the most important piece of the puzzle. In any CLM program, Personalization and Analytics are rendered useless unless marketers actually respond to customer feedback with information that customers not only feel is relevant to them, but that is also delivered in a manner customers actually want to receive it.

Evolving expectations on the part of pharma’s customers contribute to this reality. The fact is, in the information age, HCP expectations have changed regarding the way they expect pharma companies to respond to their needs in both content differentiation and channel preference.

For the most part, changing expectations come as a result of a dramatic evolution of physicians’ daily behaviors and the way they consume media, due to their rapid adoption of digital technologies. According to a study conducted last year by Manhattan Research, 62% of physicians in the U.S. now use tablets. Moreover, a separate study by Capgemini Consulting of 11,000 physicians revealed that 85–90% are using their smartphones for Internet and email, and 18% for e-detailing.

One of the key conclusions of the Manhattan Research study was that “healthcare stakeholders should revisit many of their assumptions about reaching and engaging with this audience.” Other industries may have come to this conclusion years ago, but in many ways pharma has only recently emerged from its self-induced slumber and begun to make changes. Across the industry, marketers are coming to the conclusion that pharma needs to respond to tectonic shifts in media consumption to stay in tune with evolving tastes and preferences of its customers.

The good news is that, in a digital age, physicians still want to hear from pharma—and value their interactions with the industry. A recent Capgemini Consulting/QuantiaMD physician survey highlighted that 46% of doctors have an equal preference for receiving information from pharma companies and independent sources, and 18% actually prefer to receive information directly from pharma. Unfortunately, the study also underscored that pharma has been slow to react to the aforementioned changes: 51% of HCPs indicated that improvement in the speed of information delivery by pharma has either not changed or gotten worse in the past 12 months.

With changing expectations come new responsibilities on the part of pharma. In the past, pharma relied on the field force to report on physician behavior and preferences, with much of this data being stored in sales force automation tools. Content was modified infrequently, only receiving regular updates at large plan of action (POA) meetings that took place at most two to three times per year. In a world of digital technology, this model is clearly in need of an update. That’s where Responsiveness comes in.

Defining Responsiveness

At its core, Responsiveness means that pharma companies must respond to the data revealed by CLM Analytics and the insight it provides on customer preferences and behaviors. For a pharma marketer, responsiveness can be broken down into two areas of impact:

Content Responsiveness: Frequently adapting the content provided to customers based on data and feedback.

Mix Responsiveness: Continuously updating the channel mix to provide customers with content through their preferred channel.

Content Responsiveness

Content Responsiveness is fairly straight-forward and easy to define. It is the ability of the marketing organization to gather feedback on how the customers are responding to the messaging and develop a strategy to respond and update the content rapidly. The process is cumulative and iterative—new interactions present new information to the customer, allowing for further optimization of the marketing message and refinement of content and channel delivery. In a mature CLM program, information gleaned from customer’s responses today is used to help define future communications.

Regarding content creation, Responsiveness defines the frequency and scope of updates, as well as the process for choosing which changes to make. Responsiveness does not mean creating new promotional material for each customer based on previous discussions—that would be impractical, even with the latest marketing automation solutions. Nor for that matter does responsiveness mandate that new material to be made available to customers in real time. Instead, based on the collective feedback of multiple customers pharma marketers can identify and make small changes to existing digital content within that segment.

One great advantage of CLM is the potential for identifying and implementing content adjustments very quickly, which has tremendous benefits for marketers. For example, many early adopters of CLM discovered, to their chagrin, that personalized content often tested well during initial research, but was not fully adopted by or deployed in the field for various reasons. Fortunately, for many, CLM Analytics quickly revealed this fact and allowed marketers to understand why. In many cases, minor things such as too small font sizes or excessive presentation lengths proved to be a challenge.

For pharma marketers, Responsiveness means leveraging CLM Analytics to refine presentations accordingly, while deploying the new content to the field in a minimum of time. In some cases, Capgemini Consulting has seen pharma clients deploy content updates in a little as six weeks—a far cry from the traditional pharma POA cycle. These rapid-fire content updates have the dual benefit of significantly enhancing the value of the marketing message to the customer, while encouraging quicker adoption by the field force.CLM1

Mix Responsiveness

Mix Responsiveness is predicated on the understanding that today’s customers are truly multi-channel and expect to receive a similar experience from their brands regardless of where that interaction occurs. In this regard, pharma has been late to the party when it comes to providing a rich multi-channel experience to its customers. Until recently, pharma has relied on its field force to account for the vast majority of all customer interactions.

One potential reason for the slow transition is that physicians have been late adopters of technology themselves. “Analog Physicians” have long obtained information almost exclusively through books and journals, while maintaining large paper-based archival systems to house patient files. Now, the inexorable march toward digital is hitting the healthcare industry and many physicians are in the process of moving from analog to digital practices at a furious pace. The emerging “Digital Physician” consumes primarily web content, and manages patient care and correspondence through Electronic Medical Records (EMR). Digital Physicians are socially connected, comfortable with a real-time dialog between industry stakeholders to share and evaluate information. Digital Physicians are heavily dependent on mobile technology, particularly tablets, to receive industry news, transforming the way they consume content.

To implement mix responsiveness, marketers must understand contemporary channel preferences and implement a CLM program that is able to initiate and maintain a relationship with Digital Physicians using the proper mix of digital and analog channels. In the Digital Physician’s world, email, social media, tablets, smartphones, EMRs and other digital channels all play an important role and can be leveraged to communicate with pharma’s customers. Achieving Mix Responsiveness enables pharma to stay engaged with healthcare stakeholders and lays the foundation for a true two-way communication for the future by providing personalized, channel-agnostic content.

The State of Responsiveness in Pharma

When it comes to implementing Responsiveness, most CLM adopters have a long way to go.

In a Capgemini Consulting CLM Maturity Benchmarking Study conducted last year, 14 out of 14 companies surveyed rated their Responsiveness on a scale of one (CLM value not recognized) to five (CLM value fully recognized), as a three or worse. Three firms indicated that content updates are “Mostly driven by POA cycles,” and four stated, “There’s not enough bandwidth to update content continually.”

The fact is, in an age of CLM, most pharma companies still rely on the age-old POA cycle for content release. In other words, the marketing team identifies content changes and develops new promotional materials one, two or at best three times a year at a POA meeting when the entire commercial organization gets together. Because POA meeting dates are typically set well in advance, the schedule for content refinement is thus held hostage to an inflexible and protracted timetable. As a consequence, new content is deployed at best every four to six months, not in response to critical market events, evolving customer expectations or feedback.

Typically, sales reps visit their top customers every one to two weeks. Even the most effective and hard-hitting visual aid in the hands of the best rep is likely to become stale after a handful of details. Having transitioned to tablet-based e-detailing tools, some companies are now beginning to develop content in between POA meetings. Capgemini Consulting has worked with companies that are able to revise content based on customer insights and changes in the marketplace in an eight-week cycle. While this represents a significant improvement over the traditional model, we suspect this interval may still be too infrequent to keep the content relevant to the customer.

The most common challenges for marketing teams attempting to accelerate the content creation cycle are insufficient bandwidth and outdated business processes. Historically, functions within the commercial pharma organization have been set up to support the POA cycle. Accelerating the content updating cycle thus puts significant strain on existing resources. Affected departments include analytics, medical regulatory legal (MRL) and creative agencies, among others. In today’s “lean” pharma organization, adding additional responsibilities to an already maxed out staff is usually a recipe for disaster. The result is that even when marketing teams receive valuable customer feedback from the CLM program, they often are unable produce new content before the next POA release.

A Better Approach

In an information age, it is critical for pharma companies to take a step back to consider how to achieve “Responsiveness” in their CLM program. Achieving Responsiveness involves three critical steps:

Will and Desire: Motivation to listen to customers and adopt a mindset that customer listening adds value.

Responsiveness Strategy: Plan for collecting and analyzing customer feedback and engagement.

Capabilities: Ability to draw insights from customer feedback and turn insights into action.

The first step in achieving CLM Responsiveness, “Will and Desire” refers to adopting the necessary mindset to achieve the idealized state. Surprisingly this is still not prevalent across pharma. This means that firms must commit to listening to their customers, measuring their opinions and evaluating results promptly. For the entire pharma organization, this requires adopting a mindset that listening to the customer adds more value than telling customers what it is believed they want them to hear. To marketers in other industries, this is the norm, but keep in mind that pharma has historically defined customers from a product-specific viewpoint based on specialty or ordering history alone.

The second key component of Responsiveness is developing a specific “Strategy.” In a CLM program, Responsiveness Strategy means considering in advance what feedback needs to be collected from customers, and through what channels. Responsiveness strategy also means planning for how to quickly and efficiently gather, measure, and interpret customer feedback, as well as coordinate the dissemination of timely responses to each customer segment through the appropriate channels in an ongoing manner.

Finally, achieving Responsiveness necessitates that pharma companies have the right “Capabilities” in place from a people, process and technology perspective. From a people perspective, the marketers need to understand the value of responsiveness, learn how to draw insights quickly based on analytics and make decisions faster to modify the product messaging. The sales reps also need to be able to adapt to more frequent content changes and enhance their ability to deliver it to their customers efficiently.

From a process perspective, pharma should transform their content development, review and deployment processes. Bottlenecks should be removed from the MLR process to enable faster content updates that are rolled out off the POA schedule, potentially through virtual meetings. From a technology perspective, pharma needs to build the appropriate building blocks including digital asset management, campaign management, analytics and appropriate data warehouse capabilities to name a few.

These capabilities ultimately give pharma marketers the ability to collect, store, retrieve, evaluate and draw insights from customer feedback. Using Analytics, it’s up to the pharma company to turn insights into new or improved customer products/offerings, focusing on providing customers something that they are truly interested in based on their needs and attributes.


That concludes our series on Closed Loop Marketing. We hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please feel free to contact us.

  • Timothy Moore

    Timothy Moore is a Vice President at Capgemini Consulting Life Sciences, and is lead for the Closed Loop Marketing and Digital Transformation practices. Tim has more than 20 years of pharma experience, and he has led CLM transformations for over 50 brands.

  • Hala Qanadilo

    Hala Qanadilo is a Principal at Capgemini Consulting Life Sciences, and lead for the Marketing and Sales Digital Transformation practice. Hala has extensive MCLM experience in pharma and has launched CLM programs for more than 20 brands.

  • Rio Longacre

    Rio Longacre is a Managing Consultant at Capgemini Consulting Life Sciences. He is a core member of the Closed Loop Marketing and Digital Transformation teams, and brings extensive experience in MCM and personalized communications.


You May Also Like

Healthcare Watch July/August 2022

Brand Beat: Juul Fights FDA Ban Shortly after banning Juul from selling its products, ...

What Lies Ahead for Pharma Marketing in 2019

There are countless new technologies that are having a positive influence on pharmaceutical marketing. ...