Segmentation and Personalization Brings Targets into Focus

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Robin Robinson

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With the tools that are available today, the industry can hone in on the right targets.

Sophisticated technology and a more diverse field of targets are creating a new segmentation model that moves away from the practice of solely monitoring prescribing behaviors.

The new environment requires strategies that can effectively determine the most appropriate channels and the best message for each of its audiences. Timing, channel, media, content, and even tone are all variables that can be tweaked to produce effective messaging. Technology advances in capturing real-time data and the need for reducing costs and eliminating waste in messaging the wrong targets are driving this trend.

Pharma has been using the same decile model for years, but its value is diminishing in the world of hard-to-reach or no-reach physicians. While this approach made a lot of sense in the past, our experts say the time has come for the industry to embrace newer technologies that will allow it to include other data in its decision making, such as how many patients the providers have in their practice that could potentially be right for the product, or getting to know patient behavior to better target patient messaging.

Armed with this type of information, marketers will be able to reach valuable targets with personal messages that resonate.

“I have been in the industry for 20 years and I have never before seen an opportunity like we have today to leverage technology to communicate with physicians and their patients — it’s just an incredible movement,” says Jeff Meehan, chief commercial officer, MD On-Line. “The pharmaceutical industry has been working with the same segmentation model for many years, and it needs to start expanding its thinking to include not only physicians, but new technology that allows access and insights to patient-level data.”

Segmentation Goes Beyond the Decile

The industry spends so much time and money creating value-added programs, but without evolving their segmentation, their programs will fail to determine who should be receiving the programs. With the tools that are available for targeting today, more focus should be spent on getting those programs to the right targets, Mr. Meehan says.

For example, there is no need to message providers who don’t have any patients that can use the service.

“Value-add programs don’t do any good unless they make their way into the hands of providers and patients who need them,” Mr. Meehan says. “Segmentation today must evolve to put the patient first, and it’s about segmenting providers based on the number of patients they have, not necessarily just on how many prescriptions they write.”

David Ormesher, CEO, closerlook, agrees that using deciling as the primary method of segmentation is outdated thinking.

“Unfortunately, this rear-view method of segmentation has left out many potential customers, and even when digital nonpersonal promotion became a cost-effective option, there wasn’t a methodology in place to score out-of-target healthcare professionals,” he says.

Mr. Ormesher suggests that marketers revisit the target with a more sophisticated methodology that looks at proclivity to prescribe based on attitudinal and behavior profiles. It is possible to develop a high-potential profile based on an analysis of the current most valuable customers to create a prospective target list, he says, and this analysis can uncover a significant delta between the decile-based target list and a more valuable set of target segments.

Comparing the old strategy with the new strategy, Mr. Meehan says marketing’s aim was to get as many patients on the drug as possible and the new model shifts the focus to getting the right patient on the right drug to derive the best benefit. Some companies have already started using this new model, and are approaching segmentation in a more responsible way that is aligned with clinical guidelines, peer review literature, and evidence.

A good example can be observed in the asthma category, according to Mr. Meehan. Asthma affects almost 25 million people, and 60% of these patients suffer from a reaction known as the allergic response, which creates IgE antibodies that produce allergic symptoms long after the patient’s initial contact with allergens. Genentech’s asthma drug Xolair has a mechanism of action that addresses IgE antibodies and manages allergies by acting early in the allergic cascade of events. Instead of trying to reach all 25 million allergy sufferers in the United States, Xolair can only target patients who can most benefit from its IgE-based treatment — those who have both allergies and asthma and are not controlled by other methods, Mr. Meehan says.

“Ten or 12 years ago, marketers would have attempted to get every asthmatic in the country on the drug, whether their asthma was controlled or not,” he says. “But this is not the case anymore. Pharmaceutical company marketers have become more responsible in their approach by positioning their products to make sure they are delivering the greatest benefit.”

The benefit is two-fold; if a provider is having a positive experience because the product has been positioned in a way to derive the best benefit, this is only going to lead to a better experience for both the provider and the patient, but it is also going to lead to positive outcomes for the brand.

Personalization Helps Patient Programs reach the Right Targets

Whether targeting physicians or patients, the key to personalization is knowing the consumer and understanding his or her behaviors and using that knowledge to improve the messaging.

In particular, understanding patients and their treatment journey is at the center of developing targeted and personalized approaches that support patients in meaningful ways, says Lou Shapiro, senior VP of business development, Tunstall AMAC. When marketers clearly understand patient behaviors, they can create targeted and personalized approaches built on value, commitment, and trust with patients.

“The most important strategic and tactical consideration for the industry is how to bring new value-added programs to customers, especially patients,” he says. “Companies need to focus their initiatives and programs on patients and to understand their needs and behaviors in managing their condition and treatment.”

Personalization is the marketing version of mass customization, Mr. Ormesher says.

“Mass customization for most companies is actually mass configuration,” he says. “In other words, mass customization doesn’t mean actual customization at the individual level. It typically involves dynamic configuration of a finite number of feature variables that appear to be personalization when experienced by the consumer.”

In the same way, he says, marketing can be personalized to a healthcare professional by creating a finite set of approved content messages that can be reconfigured and presented as personalized messages to the end user based on his or her profile.

“There are several key factors that are driving the industry to more carefully segment their patient population and to personalize their marketing initiatives. The first is the need to maximize their marketing investment, and an immediate area to improve is adherence rates, which are historically low,” Mr. Shapiro says.

Additionally, providers and managed care organizations want to see data that demonstrate an improvement in patient outcomes and quality of life. Patients who do not adhere to treatment typically have additional healthcare issues related to episodes of noncompliance to treatment, which leads to increased healthcare costs.

According to Pat Connelly, associate director, corporate communications, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, digital marketing is one of the first areas where a personalized approach is taking root. While marketing data of one sort or another can be obtained — digital data provide behavioral insights. “By understanding how people consume, advocate, and discuss information we can identify needs or opportunities,” he says. “This helps develop an effective personalized approach, because with segmentation we’re more interested in what people do than what they say they do.”

Digital communications have been pivotal in the new model of segmentation, as they have allowed marketers to segment like never before by implementing different tracking mechanisms in their ads. According to Neil Weisman, executive VP and general manager, Blue Chip Healthcare Marketing, technology has enabled marketers to determine which versions of the ads are most effective down to the ZIP code level.

“We can learn the traffic patterns from each ad and the device, browser, and version of the browser consumer’s are using,” he says. “We can track each ad version and segmentation down to the randomized patient. We are also able to use pharmacy prescription data and ICD-9 codes to access highly targeted and challenging patient profiles. We partner with leading electronic medical records companies to integrate into our marketing mix as well. The potential is incredible.”

The changes in the industry’s potential audience over the past 10 years has made it necessary to employ personalization techniques. The targets have expanded beyond physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to include payers, social workers, patients, caregivers, and specialized members of the healthcare team.

With this in mind, personalization demands a more specific understanding of the audience and the market, Mr. Connelly says.

“It is now the norm to see specialization in payer and network marketing, and digital marketing is a critical component to almost all pharma marketing teams,” he says. “I think it is incredibly important to note that segmentation lives and dies by data and the insights that can be gathered from this information.”

Overall, there should always be two considerations for every campaign: the audience and channel, he adds.

“The message may be exactly the same, but how and when it is communicated might be different,” Mr. Connelly says.

Marketers can’t lose sight of the basics however, even when using personalization techniques.

“The most effective communications campaigns are united in one fundamental area: they all arise from strategically sound foundations,” Mr. Weisman says. “The strategic process should always be disciplined and consistent and begin with answering a few basic questions: who is the target audience, what action do we want them to take, what will prevent them taking action, and by taking action, what’s in it for them?

“The better we understand the mindset of the target audience, even multiple targets, the more effective and relevant the communications will be,” he continues. “For healthcare specifically, the habits, motivations, and feelings among the core target are critical; this information impacts our ability to empathize, understand their path to treatment and purchase, and recognize the barriers that are inhibiting action.”

It’s also important to note that there may be multiple target audiences, each requiring a different strategy and communications program. For example, with consumer products, there may be a purchaser of the product, a user of the product and an influencer of the product — and they all may be different individuals with different profiles. In retail and entertainment it is commonplace to weave multiple media and content into one communication, like a television spot, providing different segments alternate content to enrich their experience and strengthen their relationship to the brand.

“By providing the consumer with a better experience, they are more likely to become engaged and loyal,” he says. “When we apply these same principles to healthcare and patient recruitment both the response and conversion rates to our communications are off the charts.”

Average industry spend on ­segmenting physician audiences: $346,389
Average number of physicians: 4,417
Average cost per physician: $78
Source: Cutting Edge Information

“By understanding how people consume, advocate, and discuss information, we can identify needs or opportunities.”
Pat Connelly / Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

GSK Improves Process for Digital Engagement

Global digital services illustrate importance of online communication.

GlaxoSmithKline has partnered with ­Infosys to optimize digital channels across its global ­consumer healthcare and ­pharmaceuticals business lines by creating Global Digital ­Services, a new shared service that will drive standardized processes and sharing of best practices in creating and ­securely delivering ­information across ­multiple digital channels. The partnership, in association with Fabric Worldwide, a WPP company, will simplify and improve the ­effectiveness of how GSK delivers digital ­engagement with consumers and healthcare professionals. The proprietary BLUE (Build, ­Listen, Understand, Engage) framework of the platform will allow GSK to build digital assets and listen to consumers across an array of ­digital channels. GSK will be able to use the platform’s advanced analytical capabilities to better understand consumer segments and leverage audience insight to deliver an ­engaging brand experience. The platform will allow teams to collaborate through superior workflow capabilities, and foster re-use of ­digital assets. Infosys, in partnership with ­Fabric Worldwide, will also provide specialized digital marketing services, around brand and agency liaison, and advanced analytics to ­enable GSK to improve the effectiveness of digital media.

Phil Benton, VP, global digital services at GSK Core Business Services, has been quoted as saying: “We recognize that our customers, consumers, and other external stakeholders ­increasingly want to engage with us online. Global Digital Services will enable us to ­provide globally standard processes, scalable assets and advanced analytics to support ­better and more efficient engagement with these external audiences.”

Source: GlaxoSmithKline

“Digital communications have allowed marketers to segment like never before. ”
Neil Weisman / Blue Chip Healthcare Marketing

“Using the rearview mirror approach of decile segmentation can miss many ­potential customers.”
David Ormesher / closerlook

“When marketers clearly understand patient behaviors, they can create targeted and personalized approaches built on value, commitment, and trust with patients. ”
Lou Shapiro / Tunstall AMAC

“Never before has there been an opportunity like we have today to leverage technology to communicate with physicians and patients.”
Jeff Meehan / MD On-Line

 

Experts

Pat Connelly. Associate Director, Corporate Communications, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, a biopharma company. For more information, visit millennium.com.

Jeff Meehan. Chief Commercial Officer, MD On-Line Inc., a provider of electronic data interchange solutions that ­facilitate the critical connection between ­doctors and payers. For more information, visit mdon-line.com.

David Ormesher. closerlook, inc., a digital marketing agency that helps pharma brands build and maintain meaningful relationships with their most valuable healthcare professionals. For more information, visit closerlook.com or email dormesher@closerlook.com.

Lou Shapiro. Senior VP of Business Development, Tunstall AMAC, a global provider of living technologies and 24/7 healthcare communication services to connect individuals, caregivers, and healthcare providers to empower better health. For more information, visit tunstallamac.com.

Neil Weisman. Executive VP and General Manager, Blue Chip Healthcare Marketing, leveraging brand building, pharmacy, retail marketing and healthcare insights in marketing campaigns ranging from home blood pressure monitoring and cholesterol testing to improving patient compliance. For more information, visit bluechipmarketingworldwide.com.

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Audience Segmentation: The Benefits of Targeted Messaging

Technology-enabled solutions that can define populations for targeted communications can bring a number of benefits for companies and patients alike.

Maximizing marketing investments, improving adherence, and cutting costs are just a few of the benefits that are driving companies to more carefully segment patient populations and to personalize their marketing initiatives.

In a climate of pharma cost-cutting and consolidation, with many blockbuster drugs going off patent and pipelines shrinking, there is an ever-growing scrutiny on all investments made to drive results in the industry these days, and theoretically, a personalized approach improves effectiveness and efficiency.

Pat Connelly, associate director, corporate communications, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company, says if companies can identify smaller appropriate audiences and engage these patients, the value can far exceed capturing a larger segment with a broader marketing approach.

Beyond cost-cutting, segmentation strategies that accelerate timelines for commercialization and patient recruitment can also reduce the time to market, according to Neil Weisman, executive VP and general manager, Blue Chip.

“An efficient marketing campaign means that trials can be completed quicker and products can reach the market sooner,” he says.

Mr. Connelly says the power of information is key. He compares segmentation to that of translational research in oncology. The amount of clinical data available is enabling scientists to understand seemingly infinitely complex factors, such as genetic markers and pathways of resistance. The industry is using this increased understanding to help deliver the right therapy, to the right patient, at the right time.

“To a similar point, we can now look online and pattern definitive behaviors for each one of our audiences,” he says. “This allows for the customization and placement of audience specific materials. With segmentation the data and understanding we have of our audience is helping us to deliver the right information, to the right audience at the right time.”

This type of targeting also works well with patient recruitment. A manufacturer can learn a tremendous amount about its core target by setting up analytics that capture many more details that segmentation and personalization can provide, Mr. Weisman says.

“Companies are able to learn a significant amount about who the target audience is, what they respond to, what the barriers and motivators are, etc.,” he says. “This information not only enables recruitment campaigns to be adjusted mid-stream, it can also provide the commercial teams with incredible insights about the early adopter population and significantly help improve and accelerate launch strategies.”

The information learned from segmentation can also help to create messages that break through the clutter that consumers face, especially online.

“Let’s face it, we all are distracted,” Mr. Connelly says. “Marketing — in particular digital — competes with a lot of other forces. Online users exist in a world where they are at the center, and it’s all about them, their friends, and their interests. Facebook, Twitter, even Google searches all reflect back to a user’s own interests. Because they expect the digital world to change to suit them, it is best for marketers to talk to customers and stakeholders in ways that resonate. To cut through the noise, content must be relevant, the campaign strategy needs to be able to flex to patient needs, and messaging and efforts must be consistent.”

Because the old rear-view mirror approach to targeting based on decile is not working, the industry needs to turn to new ways of reaching its target audience, says David Ormesher, CEO, closerlook. Segmentation can be ultimately much more efficient in reaching meaningful targets.

“Deciling overlooked many potential customers and even penalized sales reps for spending time with non-target physicians,” he says. “The new approach to segmentation revisits targeting based on variables other than just historical scripts. It looks for profile and practice similarities between high-value customers and non-customers to identify high-potential prospects, and then recommends the most appropriate messaging and approach to convert them into most valuable customers.”

Another area in which audience segmentation and a targeted approach can make an immediate improvement in adherence rates, which are historically low.

According to Lou Shapiro, senior VP of business development, Tunstall AMAC, statistics show that only 43% of patients who start a therapy are continuing it after six months, therefore the industry must constantly find new patients, which is considerably more costly than retaining existing patients.

All chronic conditions have high rates of patient noncompliance, he adds. It is commonly reported that patient compliance to therapy averages between 50% and 65%. Patients who do not adhere to treatment typically have additional healthcare issues, which leads to increased healthcare costs.

“The goal is to motivate patients to remain on treatment,” he says. “Support is critical to increasing patient adherence and providing the right support is multi-dimensional and deeply personal.”

Marketers should think about proactively reaching out to patients at various points in their treatment journey and provide opportunities for them to ask questions of clinically trained representatives, seek emotional support, request educational materials and links to resources, as well as receive appointment reminders.

Mr. Shapiro says there are many ways companies can deliver customized information to improve compliance through patient support programs, such as on-demand live call center support, online resources through websites and social networking sites, click-to-chat support through websites, mobile sites and applications, and vital sign monitoring devices.

“Additionally, providers and managed care organizations want to see data that demonstrate an improvement in patient outcomes and quality-of-life,” Mr. Shapiro says.

Jeff Meehan, chief commercial officer, MD On-Line, says the pharmaceutical industry is still struggling to provide the triggers or motivation for patients to continue on a medication or treatment.

“Pharma companies continue to struggle to provide the right trigger, and this is where technology comes into play,” he says. “When the right triggers are applied, companies can create change.”

A New Data Landscape

Databases, platforms, and surveys are adding not only to the collection of data available to marketers, but are enabling implementation of personalized campaigns that were not possible in the past.

“The improvement in technology has provided pharma marketers a whole new landscape to explore, but they need to leverage the data into meaningful action,” Mr. Meehan says. “The industry has always had lots of data, but today companies need to do more than directionally guide the salesforce based on the information available. They now need to discover the channels and platforms that can make the data actionable.”

For example, the ability to place display advertisements using behavioral, audience, contextual targeting, and retargeting based on technology-enabled data is one way personalization can work in pharma, Mr. Connelly says.

“We can now attempt to segment an audience based on the online behavior they exhibit, the audience demographic they fit into, and the type of information they are searching for,” he says. “All of these target markers have been shown to drive brand lift. Some tactics, such as retargeting, tend to perform well above others.”

Segmentation and personalization are complementary tools for targeting and retaining customers, Mr. Ormesher says. The ability to develop more accurate and sophisticated segmentation schemas is based on better analytical and data-mining applications. Integrating third-party data with sales and marketing response data is still a specialized technique, but marketing operations are beginning to demand this level of analysis.

Personalization, however, is still as much an art as it is a science, and begins with a centralized customer database and a commitment to CRM.

“Platforms such as Appature’s Nexus allow for the integration of multiple data streams from various marketing tactics, as well as the ability to tie these inputs to a unique ID in a customer master database,” Mr. Ormesher says. “A strategic digital agency can use this platform to distill insight and make recommendations that determine the tempo and arc of personalized campaigns.”

Research is also a critical step in the process to confirm and quantitatively validate data before finalizing a strategy and deploying any tactics.

“Consumer and patient behaviors are changing rapidly,” Mr. Weisman says. “A company may have a tremendous amount of experience targeting a specific patient population, but if this experience is more than two years old, it’s hardly relevant today as technology has simply changed behavior and where and how we consume information. This is precisely why it is so important to always conduct some type of communication validation prior to launch.”

 

“If companies can identify smaller appropriate audiences and engage these patients, the value can far exceed capturing a larger segment with a broader marketing approach.”
Pat Connelly Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

 

Experts

Pat Connelly. Associate Director, Corporate Communications, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company., a biopharma company. For more information, visit millennium.com or follow on twitter @millennium_US.

Jeff Meehan. Chief Commercial Officer, MD On-Line Inc., a provider of electronic data interchange solutions that facilitate the critical connection between doctors and payers. For more information, visit mdon-line.com.

David Ormesher. CEO, closerlook inc., a strategic marketing agency that brings healthcare clients closer to their customers. For more information, visit closerlook.com or email dormesher@closerlook.com.

Lou Shapiro. Senior VP of Business Development, Tunstall AMAC, a global provider of living technologies and 24/7 healthcare communication services to connect individuals, caregivers, and healthcare providers to empower better health. For more information, visit tunstallamac.com.

Neil Weisman. Executive VP and General Manager, Blue Chip Healthcare Marketing, leveraging brand building, pharmacy, retail marketing and healthcare insights in marketing campaigns ranging from home blood pressure monitoring and cholesterol testing to improving patient compliance. For more ­information, visit bluechipmarketingworldwide.com.

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