Category Archives: Closed-Loop Marketing

Closed-loop marketing

Conduct

The importance of manners, by David Hunt

Speak when spoken to, remember your please & thank-yous, and listen to others – all important lessons I’m determined to teach my son, Hudson. They are essential to being a well-rounded member of society and equally essential in Pharma’s pursuit of social media acceptance.

We talk A LOT about governance, rules of engagement and process. For me this is the method and  internal mechanics, it’s of our concern and not our customers. Of far more importance to me is our product, their experience, which is determined by our behaviour & conduct. There’s little point in engaging in social if it does not help the community, and complement our commercial objectives. If we compromise our personality, we compromise our campaign.

Typically our behaviour is weighed down by bureaucracy; it is uptight, awkward & unresponsive. It lacks critical speed & authenticity. It can feel like a conversation with a committee, most likely because it is. Newspaper Editors the world over take responsibility for their publications. It allows them to publish breaking news, competing with their rivals, meeting the needs of their customers. The consensus is that Pharma cannot be so frivolous, the risks are too great. True, if we are publishing product related information, not true if we are engaging with a community relating to disease awareness. Of course there will be points when we can’t comment, but these should not compromise the many meaningful interactions we can have.

Of course governance cannot be underestimated, but it should be guidelines & not a rule book. It should inspire, not suffocate our interactions. And it must be built on a brand personality & values, a global tone for all markets & platforms.

By trusting intelligent individuals to take responsibility, thus replacing response by committee with a more human approach to social media, we too can become a well-rounded member of society.

Classroom

Closed-Loop Marketing is simply not difficult

Closed-Loop Marketing, by David Hunt
Part II, a roadmap to success

Please first read Part I, Start and therefore finish with insight

map

It’s a well-trodden path, yet very few make it to the ambition – high value customer interactions that build long-term brand equity. What happens? Where does it all become too difficult? When do organisations default to the status-quo?

Below are five tips established through more than a decade’s experience of hits and misses (from which you tend to learn more, ask Google).

 

Is imagination more important than perspiration in the pursuit of CLM?
Of course not. It takes commitment, it takes expertise & it takes total belief across an organisation. But how do we ensure dedication? How do we engage exceptional talent? How do ensure buy-in? Through case studies – we’ve seen them. Through stats – we’ve heard them. Due to awards – big deal. You win by imagination, you win by inspiring your organisation, you win by conceptualising an experience that really will be exceptional.

Tip 1 – Lead with an idea, lead with a vision, lead with imagination.

 

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it.”
David Ogilvy
The smartest people know to surround themselves with knowledge & expertise. I’m often amazed at individuals appetite for adventure, their brazen embrace of the unknown, and utter conviction in succeeding where others fail. It’s even more surprising when their qualifications are at odds with their latest challenge. Find someone with the t-shirt, someone with the battle scars, someone who knows how to succeed in CLM. Work with an expert, someone who can realise the ambition & become a catalyst for your success.

Tip 2 – To be the best, you need to work with the best.

 

The more you put in, the less they need to
Today we need almost instant gratification. We are spoilt in our interactions, and accept nothing less than an exceptional experience. As such the field demands an intuitive, flexible & rapid interface. The more we invest, the more 1% improvements we drive, the more we will engage the field, build their confidence and improve their performance. The more we do, the less they have to.

Tip 3 – The field force are your consumers, they need a consumer digital experience and not a pharma digital experience.

 

All platforms are equal, but some are more equal than others
I have never heard: “We’re really pleased with our platform, it’s exceeded all of our expectations!” Equally, I’ve never heard someone describe their OS, office software or email package as exceeding their expectations. Bizarre that whilst we are ambivalent to bugs from software power houses like Apple, we expect flawless solutions from software service providers to pharma. I’m not saying we should expect shoddy work, just that perspective will ensure we focus our efforts most appropriately. It’s easy to identify flaws in a platform, and easy to blame. Be brave and focus on the real issues limiting success.

Tip 4 – Remember it’s just a platform, and only part of the answer.

 

Perfection is enemy the enemy of good
In a digital world the best we can hope for is #FinalForNow. There will always be something new on the horizon. Waiting & wondering, standing on the side, reserving judgement – that’s easy. Being bold, seizing the initiative, capitalising now – is much more difficult. Guaranteed, in less than 12 months there’ll be better hardware, better software, more developed philosophies. Also guaranteed, the company that acted will be the company that leads.

Tip 5 – Don’t wait for the next technology push, it will always come round the corner.

 

 

It’s not about knowing their shoe size. It’s about knowing what makes them tick.

Closed-loop marketing (CLM), by David Hunt
Part I: start, and therefore finish, with insight

My first experience of healthcare marketing, and indeed closed-loop marketing, was in 2004. Even then it was being presented as the ultimate sales tool – the silver bullet for customer engagement. Almost a decade later, the story remains the same. Truly bespoke experiences are as unique in their delivery as they are in their frequency.

I am fortunate enough to have worked on some amazing campaigns, with some amazing people. And with 10 years’ experience, I have come to realise that delivering a true closed-loop experience is not about the technology, it’s not about budget, it’s not even about expertise – it is about absolute commitment to the vision across an entire organisation. You need the full support of senior management, experienced marketers that truly understand their customers and products, an engaged field force looking for a competitive advantage AND a flexible IT infrastructure that is committed to dynamic innovation. It is only with complete dedication that an organisation can deliver a SUSTAINED, tailored experience.

Conversations often begin with technology – a ridiculous and bizarre starting-point. Technology is only the platform. It is the idea that truly counts. First we need to really understand our customers. In face-to-face interactions we each instinctively perceive their interest. We do this based on a reaction, we do not do this because they have spent 12 seconds digesting a piece of information.

Within CLM, we shouldn’t just be looking at page metrics. At best it is inconclusive, at worst it is misleading. Who led the interaction? What was the facial response? What was the real reaction? My wife and I recently had our first child. The use of customer relationship management systems by large superstores is both exceptional and well documented. As a result of our “tells” we received the right offers at the right times. It wasn’t because of a request on our part, it was because of an action observed on theirs. To deliver a true closed-loop marketing experience in healthcare, we need to design and study genuine interactions, interactions with meaning. The late Steve Jobs and his team afforded us a revolutionary piece of kit. It demands engagement, it ensures participation and if done right, it absolutely captures true reactions and true, actionable insights.

So how do we know what makes our customers tick? We typically default to traditional market research, which has both its values and challenges. Research of this nature is set-up to validate a story, it does not convey the nuances of our interactions. I believe in multi-disciplinary teams, and I believe in iterative product design. Led by the brand team, with valued input from the field and true digital creatives, we can create interactions that are worthwhile to the customer and loaded with insight for us. The customer tell. We can create a campaign designed around a conversation to support the field, support the business and, most importantly, to support the customer.

It is not always possible to augment traditional research with robust, integrated workshops and numerous prototypes, but if we want to deliver closed-loop marketing we need to do more than embed the technology, more than talk about the benefits, we need to start, and therefore finish, with insight.

Part II: roadmap to success

Part III: judging the impact

eDetail Aid Apathy, Inevitable without Innovation?

eDetailing; Maximising the opportunity, by David Hunt

You have a stunning eDetail aid! It’s compelling, engaging, memorable. It addresses customer needs & it absolutely helps the representative. It has won awards & everyone LOVES IT!! Odd then, that the usage is declining. It’s not been used by the field and your customers have lost interest. It’s being left in the bag, tucked-up alongside last year’s leave piece.

As an industry we have become lazy. Apple did our job for us. With the launch of the iPad we could not fail. The device itself captured attention, implored the field to use our sales material & engaged the customer. But now what? Now the novelty has worn off, where do we go next? We can’t just sit & wait for the next Technology Push – we need to re-imagine, re-invent & re-define the detail aid. We need to be creative, innovative and smart. Finally, we need to really use the power of the hardware. Rather than a glorified PowerPoint, embellished with animation, we need to create a truly immersive experience.

iPad

Succeeding in a saturated market

It’s not easy. How many apps really deliver an experience beyond a website? How many sectors have successfully gone beyond the obvious migration? We are not alone in simply changing platform, rather than changing the experience. However the trend is changing, smart people are understanding the real opportunity & maximising the iPad. The lag is not uncommon, it takes game developers years to harness the power of the latest Play Station. But to maintain customer engagement & a competitive advantage they are committed to innovation. They are determined to master the technology at their disposal. We need to do the same. Now is our time to innovate, go beyond conventions and maximise the opportunity at our finger tips.

The future will be defined by ideas & not software;

  1. Social CLM
    Blending the value, credibility and authority of peer-to-peer endorsement with the relevant, tailored stories of closed-loop marketing. It is the promise of social media, within a safe environment.
  2. Active participation
    We strive for engagement, knowing the importance to message retention. Yet, we worry about a HCP interacting with the device, controlling the flow, taking an interest? It is a customer-centric approach at its finest, we need to re-design the interaction and maximise the opportunity.
  3. Agile story-telling
    The stories we tell are founded in a traditional approach that pre-dates the digital revolution. We can deliver our stories, but to make a difference we must be believed. To be believed we must earn trust. To earn trust we must engage and respond, telling the customer’s story and not our own. 

Has the iPad killed innovation in healthcare communications? Or, has it created the platform to drive innovation? I believe the latter, but only with the necessary ideas, insight and commitment to beat the technology.