The U.S. healthcare market is becoming more complex and is under greater pressures from population growth, higher costs, payment reform, and market demand for more comparative data to improve quality and substantiate value. Pharma marketers who embrace the winds of change will rise to the top.
Gone are the days of decoupled approaches to establishing good formulary access and driving share growth through prescribers. Several factors continue to narrow the funnel for today’s brand marketing teams. Leveraging targeted, analytics-based deployment pull-through efforts aren’t a “nice-to-have,” but are proactively defined “must-haves” driven by critical success factors!
While challenges range across every level within the U.S. healthcare space—everything from evolving benefit designs and expanding coverage to market consolidations—let’s focus on how you might increase the effectiveness of your specific pull-through efforts.
As your teams continue to compete for market share in a continuously competitive environment, these are a few considerations for re-imagining pull-through practices and stakeholder engagements to translate access wins into share wins:
1. Create Localized Relevance
Large influential customer organizations are increasingly forming as the independent HCP and medical groups continue to fade. Physicians who used to focus purely on patient care are now far and few between as today’s evolving healthcare marketplace calls for HCPs to balance both clinical and business goals. While clinicians’ priority remains fixed on achieving the best patient outcomes, breaking down silos and short- and long-term cost implications are also necessary.
The market is pivoting from a volume-based reimbursement model to one that’s value-based. Understanding this shift and the dynamics driving today’s systems is a critical part of the brand marketer’s messaging platform—namely creating localized relevance reflective of the success metrics of the prescribing physician’s organized customer affiliation. As the marketer responsible for activating “share wins,” you therefore need to incorporate this new prescriber reality into your marketing plans, and think about messaging that will resonate beyond the basic formulary tier placement of your product.
2. Target Broad and Deep
With larger, more integrated customer groups comes hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of HCPs who become pull-through targets for the sales representative. Acting as a “single” customer, our targets demand from us an evolved approach and supportive resources. Marketing teams, therefore, need to focus on targeting the leadership or C-Suite of the customer group, while messaging their affiliated HCPs, who are in turn required to practice medicine within the guardrails defined by the leadership of that larger system.
So as a marketer, you need to define:
- An integrated pull-through approach that utilizes the account managers and the field force, along with a detailed multichannel customer marketing plan.
- Leverage a dynamic, multichannel mix of activation tools while augmenting access messages with the most relevant, localized messaging to drive higher engagement are prerequisites to success.
Plan the Measurement and Measure the Plan
As we continue to move toward greater sophistication with targeted, localized pull-through planning and activation, it’s vital to create a measurement plan that helps you learn from and build on your challenges and successes. Consider a very simple, actionable, and measurable key performance indicator (KPI): The token mention of your brand’s access at the end of a rep detail: Did the sales representative deliver the final message? Yes or No? Boom. We’re done, right?!
Not so fast! With campaigns built on technology platforms that target and deliver the most relevant customer-centric messaging, a simple “yes” or “no” won’t cut it these days. Instead, we have to continue disciplining ourselves to define and build KPIs early on and identify the actions and outcomes that are the most representative of the campaign’s goals, thereby creating buy-in and approval from all relevant stakeholders on what happens during the pull-through planning process. A cross-functional team should convene to define what success will look like.
It would seem simple that measurement of share growth would be the golden criteria for defining success, but let’s consider growth at the HCP level overall. We must factor in the regional or national plan level, increase attributed to personal vs. non-personal channels, and so on. The important thing to remember is: As the marketer, you must define the measurement plan and ensure all activation efforts are tracked and aligned back to your initially defined success criteria.
There’s no doubt the U.S. healthcare marketplace is already complex, and becoming increasingly so. While brand teams are often already overwhelmed, they must also help ensure all access wins are translated to the more significant level of share wins. The marketer has to consider the various levers, and proactively engage their cross-functional teams to effectively and efficiently implement localized programs.
The future state of targeted pull-through demands that a planning and activation approach is operationalized across the enterprise and all portfolios. Only then can you, as a multichannel marketer, be assured you are set up for success by optimizing the yin and yang of your brand’s access and share wins.