Three questions data should answer for successful pharma marketing

In a recent posting I introduced the idea of a “master data vortex.” The one place where we gather enough data from enough customer activities to derive truly actionable insight.

If we’re only looking at one set of tactics, we’re only seeing one set of behaviors and attitudes about that channel. But what we really need is a data vortex that can suck in everything. Multiple streams of behavioral and activity data will deliver a much better representation of our customer’s DNA.

Marketing Analytics

Once we have that the data, we move on to the next step, marketing analytics. This is when we start to make informed choices. Decisions about budget investment and channel selection. Choices about how we should talk to customers, what messages to send them, and what we’re asking them to do.

At closerlook, we’ve been building a set of robust insight and analytics tools that ride on top of our “master vortex.” These tools allow us to look at a customer across all marketing channels to try to understand them better.

Three Questions

At the heart of the matter, all this activity focuses on answering three basic questions about our healthcare audience: Who cares? What do they care about? And when do they need to know?

Who Cares?

When we look at a population of physicians, the first question we need to ask is, “Who cares about our product?” And it’s not going to be everybody. This runs counter to the traditional marketing assumption. “If these doctors have patients that are sick with our kind of disease, then of course they’re going to care about our product.”

The reality is that not everyone does care. A physician may feel a product is too new, too redundant to what is already in the market or too expensive. Maybe it’s a new class of drugs for which the physician was never trained. Or maybe the physician just feels a particular loyalty to a competitive product. It almost doesn’t matter. The first job of any true marketing analytics platform is to distill the entire population down to those who DO care.

What Do They Care About?

Once we find a physician who cares about a disease and new therapies or approaches addressing a particular disease state, we need to know what they care about. Do they care about the price of the product? Do they care about access? How important is the side effect profile?

What about patient compliance and administration options (is it once a week, or once, twice or three times a day)?

Do they care whether it’s a new product or an old product? Is there a generic substitute? If the product represents a new drug class, do they care about who else is writing this product? Do they care about what key opinion leaders in their specialty are saying about this product?

Rare is the single marketing database that has enough data to answer these questions at the physician level.

The problem with traditional marketing is that it tries to address everybody, often with a single message. As we see from the range of possible attitudes, there is not one answer.

A good marketing analytics platform will help determine exactly who cares and what they care about on an individual level.

When Do They Need to Know?

The third question, “When do we need to know?” is critical because the answer is seldom “right now.” A customer might care, and you might even know what she cares about, but she just might not need to know about it right now.

For example, I often have 30 to 40 different browser tabs open on any given day. What does that tell you about me? It usually means I came across some content that I care about, but now is not a good time. And the only way for me to grab it in the moment without using bookmarks is to open a new tab for it. I click on the link, watch it pop up, then move on. I hope that at some point in the future, I’ll have time to scroll through all of the tabs, review what is still interesting and then close the browser.

When we try to engage a physician, we may know that they care and even what they care about, but chances are, now is not a good time. So how do we build a tool that allows them to either read it when we push it to them, or find a way for them to pull it later when they really need it?

In some ways, this is one of the most interesting challenges for marketers. Once we’ve zeroed in on this physician, how do we make it really easy for them to access that content when they need it? If we see that they’ve opened an informational email, but they haven’t responded to it, do we give them a little nudge at some point in the future? Or are we willing to create a personal portal for them that allows easy access to archived information?

Getting the Answers Right

Who cares, what do they care about and when do they need to know? These are three of the most important questions that a good marketing analytics platform and digital strategy needs to answer today.

Once marketers have all of their customer data in their master data vortex, they can begin to answer these questions.

Get the answers right, and you are well on your way to building engaging, relevant relationships with your best customers.

Related Thinking

How to use data to capture value in pharma

Related Offering

HCP Digital Playbook


David Ormesher, CEO

Founder and CEO of closerlook, a recognized leader in creating innovative relationship marketing solutions that help pharmaceutical companies get closer to their most important customers. Learn more about closerlook here.


Tags: data, technology

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The drugs, Optistavin, Easovartis and Librylin, and names, results, case studies and specific information, referenced in this advertisement are fictional and were created solely for illustrating the digital marketing capabilities of closerlook, inc. Any resemblance to actual drugs, medications, treatments, persons, living or dead, or to actual events, is purely coincidental. closerlook, inc. does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage or disruption caused by such party’s reliance on the fictitious information contained in this illustration.

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