Will Pharma Produce the Next Amazon or Netflix?

Pratap Khedkar, Principal

Customer-centricity matters because the customer is becoming increasingly in charge of the reach and frequency. In that sense, the old pharma model—where reach and frequency was controlled by the company, not the customer—has changed.

What this means is that if you really want to stand in the customer’s shoes, look at how they want to engage, and then convey information and resources to them using the channels they prefer. You cannot do this effectively without knowing individual preferences and the specifics of that preference.

It’s not enough to know [that a doctor is pushing] back on reps. But you might be pushing back on reps and non-personal channels. Or there may be people who are fine with both, or people who are fine with one, but not the other.

This new data and analytics need to do is to introduce customer affinity, along with value and response [and] combine the three. But then you need analytics to figure out exactly what to do with each of the 100,000 customers you have. And you might end up doing 100,000 different things, different channel mixes. That requires big data and analytics.

Outside the pharma world in the consumer world. Whether you take the Netflix example or the Amazon example, it’s been happening for a while. Amazon customizes what it recommends to you—it’s estimating your preferences for certain products based on what you’ve done before. Netflix does the same thing with movies.

So in principle, with analytics, with the right data, it’s absolutely possible. It won’t be 100% accurate, but you don’t need it to be. You need it to be more accurate about customer insight than you are today.

How do analytics enable customer centricity in pharma?

The first piece analytics will help you in is figuring out what is this customer’s preferences. Not just preferences by channel, but preferences by offer. What kind of information do they like to see? What resonates more with them? What are their questions more about?

The second piece is [answering] “OK, the insight is fantastic, but what do I do with it? How do I translate it into action?” So how do you go from preference to brand intention and fast responsiveness, which you’ve studied, how do you put this all together and come up with a tactical plan, customer by customer by customer?

A third application of analytics is really focusing on the engagement between the rep and the doc. They have all these electronic iPads and tablets and systems that enable them to discuss different topics, different slides with the physician. But that gives you a window into what the customer is thinking.

And the fourth piece is going back to how these different channels are going to work together. Remember, you translated them into action, but the action needs to get very specific—like, if I have a speaker program and a doctor attends that [and] if I do a detail within one week of it, I can magnify the impact of the speaker program by 50%. What other such tactical synergies exist? What is the tactical synergy between “X” and “Y” on the path to getting that prescription? Because you’re going to need many small touches to get the final prescription.

Figuring out the micro-analytics of the sequencing and the touches, even for an individual customer, is yet another level of analytics which can be turned into a science, given that we have the data now coming back on all these things.