Pharma’s customer centric new commercial approach

Having read our work on pharma’s impact and our blog on pharma’s focus on customers John Mack, better known as @Pharmaguy from Pharma Marketing news asked me to have an interview with me about this new commercial model for pharma, working customer centric. We were happy to oblige.

So here is the interview.

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We don’t have a transcript of the interview, but do like to present our preparing notes for the interview, which might enlighten some of the key points of the new customer centric pharma market approach:

Starting Point:
Pharma’s standard approach to all markets cannot go on as we do;
In general: we all know the genera threads to pharma markets, like loss of “blockbuster products”, limited access for promotion to Rx, pricing pressure, inroad of generics, new stakeholders, etc.
These are specific to all markets – And what’s more market conditions like access, regulations, promotional rules, preferences, prescription routines, etc. do make all markets differ substantially from each other, even within countries we have regions with their own health policy: e.g. Spain, France, Italy, or even onto local committees like in the UK and the Netherlands.

Need to look at new commercial models adapting to the different market conditions! How to localize/differentiate the market approach?

First Strategic positioning:
Does Pharma wants to be a business of supplying goods to health care, or does it want to be a partner in health care?
Both are good, but make a hugh difference to its market approach.
Specifically innovative new drug companies, cannot cope with the demands of selling drugs at a cheap price; There is the commodity trap …  – even generic drug companies move into “branded generics”

Being partner in health care means being the provider of better therapies.
Creating a better therapy is not about medication alone, but also about adherence, compliance, user instructions at first handout of medication, user support information, response to questions of any kind and complaints, support and coaching. Isn’t that a condition for the very idea of personal health?! Working towards patient satisfaction..
Pharma needs to conquer a place within this provider cooperation for better care!
And it may! For that:
Pharma needs to learn to build partnerships, with selected customers in their collaborating associations with other providers

Pharma’s  approach to the market, needs to change in three main aspects:

  1. The company’s Proposition to Customers;
  2. The design of the market approach that selects, focuses and builds on right customers
  3. The process of Change and Innovation of the company’s market routines

Ad 1:  Proposition: create an Integrated Offering, i.e. a value proposition promoting the therapy with the drug, concerning:

  1. the profile of the drug, specifying benefits for patients and therapy outcomes on population basis;
  2. augmented with support and service to patients;
  3. and with services to educate professionals to best practices in care;

Ad 2:  A Customer-Centric market approach:  Focus focus focus… in 5 aspects:

  1. System of Market Access; Keyword: Localizing to local Rx committees
  2. Segmentation and Targeting on both Potential and Quality Characteristics
 of Customers/Accounts
    – What about their approach to the provision of care: how do they actually handle their care delivery
    – How about organizational integrity – e.g.: what about their follow up of agreements made
  3. System of promotion
    A. Focus on getting the right engagement – two sided and reciprocal;
    B. Using e-detailing and online communication, social media as instruments for engagement, relation and collaboration – multichannel management;
    C. New construction of multidisciplinary account planning and management;
    [ integrating silo activity ]
    D. Developing tailor made proposition services: education, support services, patient tools for adherence/compliance, empowerment communication, shared decision making;
  4. System of development of partnership:
    In Phases:
    – Promotion and services, offerings;
    – Cooperation: setting common goals (even for educational courses, for example on implementation efforts);
    – Collaboration and partnering in setting new plans for development together;
    – Multidisciplinary, multi partner goals and contracts, combined efforts;
  5. System of care support: marketing/medical to develop accurate services for customer development!!

Ad 3: Process of Change and Innovation: reorganizing the marketing decision process within pharmaceutical companies.

TOOLS we have created in the process of developing this new approach:

QUESTIONS about the approach to ask:

1  Discrepancies with the traditional market approach of pharma – e.g. won’t the new commercial model stay away from personal face-to-face detailing?

2  As Pharma is busy now to implement e-detailing and CLM – isn’t the new commercial model actually the same as that?

3  How would a pharma company implement the new model?

4  Would the impact of the model be the same for any portfolio?

5   Is the change to this new model and the transition a policy that should come from 


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