Friday, January 18, 2013

Disruptive Ideas (eyeforpharma guest post)

Today’s guest post is from Kevin Dolgin, Meeting Facilitator at eyeforpharma.

In this guest post, Kevin recaps the recent eyeforphama Disruptive Ideas workshop which is part of the eyeforpharma Philadelphia conference launch. More industry-led panels on this topic will be held at eyeforpharma Philadelphia on June 5, 6, and 7 in Philadelphia, PA.

Please contact Theo Fellgett, Event Director at eyeforpharma ( or 201-234-4802) with any questions about the article or event.

by Kevin Dolgin, Meeting Facilitator & Content Captain, eyeforpharma

Disruptive ideas... sounds pretty threatening, I suppose, but these are disruptive times and the best way to deal with them may well be via disruptive ideas. Perhaps that's why eyeforpharma decided to hold a special workshop during the last European sales and marketing conference, to generate some disruptive ideas from among the participants.

Twenty participants from the conference got together in special sessions to think decidedly out of the box and see if they were inspired by what they saw, heard, or dreamt about.

So what were the disruptive ideas they came up with? They can be grouped into four major themes:

1) The Customer Knowledge Officer. The group talked about setting up a CKO position - someone responsible for gathering, analyzing and using knowledge about customers. If we remember that marketing is supposed to be a two-way street... not just promoting to customers, but listening to what they have to say, then it is crucial to find and use information about your customers: who they are, what they want, how they want it. The group pointed out that with the information revolution, this requires some serious consideration.

2) The forgotten P's. Building on the 4P customer definition, of prescribers, payers, patients and providers, it was pointed out that while pharma has always paid close attention to prescribers, and increasingly to payers, that there is a great deal to be done with patients and providers – primarily pharmacists. Of course, if you measure your business success solely by share of prescriptions then the impact of these two groups is limited, especially that of pharmacists. But if you measure in revenues, and for that matter, health outcomes, then they are key since it is the patients who determine adherence and pharmacists and nurses who often have a greater impact on adherence than prescribers. The group suggested building marketing plans and policies that do not leave out these two key groups.

3) Virtual reps. Customers (and remember, we're talking about all four P's) spend a lot of time in the virtual world. If you want to access them there, then the best way to do it is with virtual reps. The group considered web-based forums in which pharma companies could send virtual reps to attend to customer needs and pointed out the benefits of letting customers choose how they will be approached.

4) Hyper-Specialization. As marketing and sales becomes more sophisticated, moving out of the sales force wars of the past, it may well be that the value chain in pharma is shifting dramatically. Is there still a reason why the same companies should always be doing both R&D and promotion? One idea was that some companies should perhaps focus exclusively on R&D while others become pure sales and marketing organizations.

Of course, many of these ideas have already been put in place in one form or another by some companies, but for the vast majority of pharmaceutical firms they are disruptive indeed... and therefore kind of exciting.

For a blow by blow account of the workshop take a look at the eyeforpharma Disruptive Ideas briefing document, created for you as part of the 2013 eyeforpharma Philadelphia conference launch.

Kevin Dolgin
Meeting Facilitator & Content Captain – eyeforpharma Philadelphia

Theo Fellgett
Event Director – eyeforpharma Philadelphia

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