Customer facing effectiveness: Time for a new approach?

The era of customer centricity has arrived. But what’s the best way for pharma to engage?

Words by Samir Paul

One of the areas we have always been passionate about as an industry is understanding the impact of brand campaigns with our customers and also understanding the impact that our sales people have with our customers, particularly in how both of these elements shift beliefs and behaviours in our key healthcare stakeholder groups. Essentially, how effective are we being when facing our customers?

Core measures

Historically we have conducted quantitative market research to understand these elements and have measured things such as:

  • product usage
  • message recall
  • usage of materials
  • how good the sales person is
  • intention to prescribe and so on.

The list is variable depending on a brand’s focus and priorities but fundamentally there are core measures which we have always tracked, and have tended to do this annually, maybe twice a year, budgets permitting!

One thing I have always struggled with though, is if we measure things this way, and by that I mean quantitatively, nationally, at a point in time, generically, top-line, with pretty much the same recommendations of ‘campaign materials need improving’, or ‘the reps aren’t closing’, or ‘efficacy message isn’t being recalled’ etc., I truly challenge as to whether this is enabling us to understand how effective we are being with our customers and whether we are having that intended shift in customer beliefs and behaviours.

Dig deeper

So I pose some questions: Is it time for a more qualitative approach? Is it time to really try to follow the trail from strategy, to planning all the way through to delivery and impact? Is it time to dig deeper and get that top-bottom line of sight as to what is really happening out there? Is it time to think more cross-functionally on all the stakeholder inputs in delivering on a brand plan? Is it time that we build recommendations and actions that can be clearly owned with clear accountability and timelines?

Some food for thought, but in my opinion, if we really want to understand what is driving customer beliefs and behaviours for our brands, and identify the gaps and opportunities in a more granular way, we have to take a more wholesome approach that connects all of the relevant and important jigsaw pieces to provide us with that key insight and ultimately action.

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