Life Sciences

How do we prepare for an uncertain future? Meet customers where they are now

Oct. 12, 2020 | Article | 22-minute watch

How do we prepare for an uncertain future? Meet customers where they are now.

Remember January? We were looking at an increasingly digitized world with changing customers and expectations. Technology from our personal lives, like streaming and social media, gave customers a sense of what was possible at work. Younger, more digitally savvy customers wanted more personalization and fewer in-person interactions. Organizations were meeting this future at different paces, but the goal was clear. Then came a pandemic. We went from a growing preference for digital touchpoints to universal reliance overnight. This fast-forwarded our future and made the work of satisfying our customers about mastering digital.


At Impact Summit 2020, we heard from a variety of ZS and industry experts. While they covered many topics, you may have noticed two central themes: 

  1. Better customer and patient engagement is critical to meeting both current and future needs. 
  2. Digital technologies are the key to achieving this and we must drive digital transformation to make it happen.

How do we prepare for an uncertain future? Meet customers where they are now.

Click here to watch these sessions from Impact Summit on demand.

Better customer and patient engagement have never been more important

As Maria Whitman suggested at the start of the summit, customer engagement is the biggest challenge facing pharmaceutical companies. While world events are in flux, we’ve glimpsed enough of our future to commit to doubling down on bold change. But how do you engage better with HCPs if reps can’t meet them in person? By shifting from a push to a pull model, we’ll meet customers where they are now and where many will prefer to be after the pandemic. To that end, we heard Jay Lichtenstein share five ways to create new demand generation to improve customer engagement. Jude Konzelmann and Chris Morgan talked about how adaptive execution can help you meet customers where they are. Pete Mehr reminded us of how critical concepts like customer centric marketing are right now.

“By shifting from a push to a pull model, we’ll meet customers where they are now and where many will prefer to be after the pandemic.”

Maria Whitman

Getting closer to patients is also critical. Laurie Meyers (Genentech) spoke with Hensley Evans about permanent changes to the patient experience and how we must adapt to their needs. Joe Stevens and Matt Ruple also shared how to become better allies with providers.

Drive digital transformation to improve engagement

Digital technologies aren’t about bringing marginal improvements to existing processes anymore. They enable us to reimagine these processes and transform how we do business. Our speakers covered the complicated topic of digital transformation from a variety of angles. Heather Wiederholt tackled the what and how of digital transformation: What is “digital” and how can pharma collectively work toward a future where we extract maximum value from our data? We also heard a lot from your peers. Larry Dobrow (MM+M) spoke with Ulrich Otte (Novo Nordisk) and Pratap Khedkar about the value of making bold, clear strategic investments in technology. Anita Moser (UCB) told D. Sahay how she used cutting edge AI to tackle an old problem (targeting), reminding us that transforming existing processes can be just as worthwhile as innovating the next big thing. Anita’s story was also a great example of how meeting the future that we all expected in January made her team more adaptable after the pandemic hit.


But driving digital transformation is about more than technology. It’s about changing habits, hearts and minds. Erich Wohlhieter (Amgen) spoke with Maurice Solomon about how he fostered a culture of innovation. Mike Hauser (Novartis) and Alan Williams (GSK) talked with Namita Powers about how to overcome siloes to drive success.


As Dr. Syra Madad reminded us at the end of the summit, it’s imperative to be prepared. We’ve clearly shifted from a time when a digital, more personalized future was on the horizon to a moment when that future has been thrust upon us whether we like it or not. Meeting that future is no longer optional. As the conversations we had with your peers made clear to us, pharma is heeding the call, and we’re excited to see where it leads us. 

If you enjoyed Impact Summit join us as we continue the conversation. Register for Impact Insights, a monthly webinar series about driving digital, marketing and sales excellence in your organization.