Connecting the Dots for a Digital Deploy: A Guide to Engaging Pharma Stakeholders


Strategic tips for pharma to develop an overall business strategy around digital engagement.

The pharmaceutical industry serves many masters, including regulatory bodies, organized health care providers, payers, physicians, and patients. Although medication decisions were once made by physicians, a host of different stakeholders now fight for share of voice and a place at the treatment decision-making table. In the process, these players are adding complexity to the prescription process.

To successfully navigate this new landscape, pharmaceutical companies must pivot from delivering a single message through traditional channels to a multi-pronged message delivered across a growing number of digital and traditional channels. This change requires a coordinated strategy across stakeholders including patients, providers and payers, and is accomplished by incorporating digital as an integral part of the overall business strategy.

Pharmaceutical executives should keep these 4 key strategic tips in mind:

1. Leverage analytics

Pre-planning to collect pharmacoeconomic data and real-world evidence is the new standard, made necessary by the growing focus on health outcomes. With unrelenting pressure on stakeholders to cut costs and deliver more value, both payers and providers are expanding their use of health economics and outcomes research (HEOR) for access and reimbursement decisions. According to Capgemini Consulting research, today’s providers now rank real-world evidence as even more important than clinical trial data to drive treatment decisions.

Pharma companies should therefore include identification and collection of HEOR data, as well as real-world evidence, in their armamentarium when communicating the value of their products. Done right, this strategy could cut the time it takes to gain market access and increase the breadth of that access. In particular, the ability to demonstrate positive clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness at the pharmacy, organized provider, and payer level is critical to success.

2. Personalized approach

The prescribing process has also become more fragmented, requiring pharmaceutical executives to divide their focus among diverse stakeholders. It’s not enough to understand these various needs at the macro level. The needs of each target audience differ in specific situations across channels and devices.

To address this increasingly diverse set of customer and stakeholder requirements, pharmaceutical companies should gather input from all of their available resources to complete a strategic message map for each target group. This personalization matrix should capture the specific data requirements and channel(s)/format(s) needed. As a next step, further populate the map with impactful brand and marketing messages that are tailored to each audience and channel/format. This will allow the right messages to reach decision-makers in the time and way they need it.

3. Communicate effectively

While regulatory restrictions, cost pressures, and technology advances can make it more complicated to communicate the benefits of your brands, the reality is that everyone you are trying to reach is digitally connected. Today’s pharmaceutical company must be connected in order to communicate its brand message to customers when and where that message will have the greatest impact. Not having a brand in front of a decision-maker when they need it most is a lost opportunity upon which your competition will capitalize.

To deliver your message and orchestrate the various touch points and strategic messaging so that your targets have the right information at the right time and via the right medium, you’ll need closed-loop, multi-channel marketing capabilities connected to your CRM. Identify the key decision-makers and influencers then monitor which touch points are having the most impact. Shift resources to support the most effective messages and channels for your key segments.

4. Plan for the future

To find your digital focus, consider the following: bring results data back into your organization and analyze for return on investment; create a platform to unite information from various silos and identify common insights that add value across the organization; expand digital capabilities to all levels and functions in the organization that are aligned to a core strategic vision; develop and communicate a value proposition that is digitally integrated, and benefits patients and positions you to deliver value to your stakeholders; tap into emerging digital channels, and engage health system customers by integrating supporting resources with electronic medical records (EMR) and other health information technology (HIT) systems.

Before you leap

A digital initiative will only be as successful as your organization’s ability to translate insights into programs that deliver tangible returns. Pharmaceutical companies need to start with an implementation framework that allows executives to regularly evaluate the impact of data-driven insights across all levels of customer interaction. Such a framework also should give an organization the flexibility to step back and, if needed, re-engineer existing processes.

About the Authors

Tim Moore is an executive vice president and global life sciences practice lead at Capgemini Consulting, the global strategy and transformation consulting organization of the Capgemini Group. He can be reached at Keith Bailey is a principal in the practice.

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