Lisa Banket
Cofounding Partner/Publisher
Taren Grom
Cofounding Partner/Editor-in-Chief
Heather Hummel
Project Coordinator
Dan Limbach
Producer, Webcast Network
Denise Myshko
Managing Editor
Kim Ribbink
Features Editor
Robin Robinson
Senior Editor
Marah Walsh
Cofounding Partner/New Business Development

PharmaVOICE Editors' Blog

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How Do You Establish an Emotional Connection with Customers?

relate to the consumer

Watch this amazing commercial and then come back for the context.

We've all seen our share of pharmaceutical commercials. People skipping through fields, happy and healthy. Regulations prevent us from getting too specific about how the drug works, but we can't use that as an excuse for making mediocre commercials that waste air time and sometimes even alienate consumers. I feel we are not connecting enough with the consumer on an emotional level. We're leaving a gigantic opportunity on the table and our brands are suffering for it.

In most drug commercials you quickly know you are watching actors playing a role in front of the camera. The actors are just too perfect. They wear stylish clothes that are clean and pressed. They look like they just came from the salon. Their houses are immaculate. They are antiquing and canoeing and cooking and dancing and gardening. They are blissfully happy thanks to a breakthrough medication. Unfortunately, there's no emotional connection to the message. Therefore, the response is weaker than it should be and the company makes up for it by running more commercial spots. It's the brute force approach. Just get the branding out there and move product.

Consumers write off these commercials as fantasy. In the real world, we deal with pain and loss and uncertainty and hopelessness when we have a medical condition. And fear. I've never seen fear used seriously and effectively in a drug commercial, have you?

The problem is, most commercials only cover the end of the story. They don't cover the embarrassment and shame a couple may go through when they are having trouble physically in the boudoir. They don't show people suffering with COPD or diabetes, and reveal in real terms what it means to their lives. Sometimes they employ humor to avoid the real emotions associated with the condition.

Companies want to gloss over the problem, get right to the solution, and pitch you on how you can be happy again. But they miss the most crucial part of the story. People have to identify with the bad stuff before they can really get on board with the good stuff. Show you can relate to them before you offer them hope.

Take a look at this commercial if you haven't yet, and see a great example of how to tell the whole story. It's not a drug commercial, but I feel it appropriately demonstrates how emotion is a powerful force in reaching people. More powerful than money. More powerful than logic. So why is honest emotion so poorly executed in almost all of our commercials? That's the billion dollar question.

Yes, the example commercial is a bit long at 3 minutes. However, infomercials are 30 minutes long, and they run day and night, raking in billions for their companies. So length is not the problem, and budget is certainly not the problem. It's the fear of exposing the dark side of the condition, and all the anxiety and sadness that comes with it. That's why all we see is manufactured "Authenticity." It's a real miss by the advertising folks.

I think there is a place for story-heavy, long format commercials in the pharmaceutical industry. There's certainly a need for more authentic, emotional spots of any length. Do you agree?

Not reality
This is a fairy tale

Monday, September 23, 2013

Five Keys to Successful Collaboration: Genpact and AstraZeneca Reveal What It Takes to Work Together

Organizations that believe a successful outsourcing partnership is built on a 400-page contract, an abundance of SLAs, and the sensation of stinging non-performance penalties are the same ones that, two years into a deal, spend millions of dollars on consultants to undo what went wrong. Avoiding that kind of scenario requires an outsourcing relationship that leverages five essential activities of collaboration, which are outlined in this case study.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Are You Prepped for a Health Care Hurricane?

Are we prepared for a possible health care storm?
It's hurricane season, and it's also the season of the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act. Obviously this directly affects the Pharmaceutical industry. Will it be a Class 5 disaster or a pleasant tropical breeze? We clearly don't know. Predictions abound, and many political factions are posturing and offering their thoughts. Most offer an extreme outlook on one side or the other.

I've visited over a dozen web sites this week looking for some consistency. I scoured news sites, analyst sites, and manufacturer sites, and I still have no clear idea how this will play out. The range of opinions and lack of consensus is downright intimidating. Some say this will revolutionize health care for all Americans. Others say it will be a bumpy ride for years, before we get it right. And still others say it will be the demise of quality health care as we know it.

So here we sit with far more questions than answers. Here are just a few causing loss of sleep in our industry.
  • Will some pharmaceutical companies take a financial hit under the new system, while others benefit?
  • How will it affect our market share?
  • Is our pipeline strategically sound given this new health care reform?
  • How will company health care plans be overhauled under the new plan?
  • Will patients receive better treatment?
  • Will HCPs know how to navigate the system?
  • Will payers be able to process the reimbursements properly and in a timely manner?
I must admit that I don't trust any of the predictions I read. The issues are polarized beyond understanding. This is one instance where we should prepare for the worst and hope for the best. The key here is preparation.

Here are some points every pharmaceutical company should review before the program begins enrolling patients on October 1.
  • Are we prepared to make quick and informative communications to the public?
  • Have we game planned many of the possible issues that may arise?
  • Will we add clarity or chaos to the mix of information?
  • Is our customer service group staffed up and adequately trained?
  • Have our reps been communicating with their HCP clients about the changes under the PPACA?
  • Have we been working with providers and plans to ensure we are in compliance with their new processes?
  • Are our pharmacy customers comfortable with the new processes for receiving and dispensing our products?
What are your thoughts on the PPACA? Leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Follow This Hashtag for Health Care Trends in Social Media

health care social media

Are you involved in health care marketing? If so, then you know social media is a mature, yet still growing opportunity. We already knew consumers were getting lots of health-related info from the Internet. Social media has only added more fuel to this information explosion. Twitter is a great way to stay on top of trending topics in social media for health care.

I highly recommend the hashtag #HCSM.

It stands for Health Care Social Media. There are often some very interesting conversations and resources in tweets that use this hashtag. You never know what you'll find at any given time, but most of the time there are some interesting topics. Just type #HCSM into your twitter search box and see what comes up. Here's a snippet of what I saw today.

health care social media
Search results for #HCSM
You can even set it up as a column in Tweetdeck. Aren't you using Tweetdeck yet? Well, you should be. It's free, and it helps you organize what you see on Twitter.

Once you are "plugged in" to this hashtag feed, you can start following the thought leaders on this topic. Their posts will automatically start showing up on your Twitter page. And when you are tweeting on social media in health care, make sure you include the hashtag #HCSM. You may earn some new followers of your own.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Risk-Based Monitoring for Late-Phase Research

Risk-based Monitoring White Paper
A number of factors are leading to the paradigm shift in the way that clinical research is conducted. The increasing cost of research and the adoption of EDC technologies that provide real-time access to data have forced the industry to look at optimized methods of conducting clinical studies. In addition, several studies have shown that 100% SDV may not result in higher data quality. All of these factors have led to increased interest in RBM strategies.

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Risk-Based Monitoring for Late-Phase Research

Download Related Podcast
Risk-Based Monitoring for Late Phase: Implementation Strategies

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Risk Based Monitoring

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Risk-Based Monitoring for Late Phase: Implementation Strategies

Podcast and white paper clinical studies
Maria Harrison, Vice President, Late Phase Services, PRA
In this podcast, Maria Harrison discusses the past, present, and future of Risk-based Monitoring. She also covers challenges and solutions, as well as a real-life example of RBM in a clinical study.

Download Podcast
Risk-Based Monitoring for Late Phase: Implementation Strategies

Download Podcast Transcript

Download related white paper
Risk-Based Monitoring for Late-Phase Research

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Risk Based Monitoring