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Activating precision marketing at scale

24 Sep 2023
Amazon, Netflix, and a handful of brands across industries have pushed the boundaries of personalization via precision marketing at scale. Can the life sciences industry take a leaf out of these brands’ playbooks and get the precision marketing journey right?
Lauren Li, Senior Director, Global Head of Commercial Digital Innovation, Ipsen, and Anurag Thakore, Senior Director and Head - Digital Operations, Bayer Pharmaceuticals shared their perspectives on this topic in the Indegene Digital Summit 2023.
The key highlights of their conversation are summarized below.
Pharma’s new GTM priorities
Talk to any life sciences commercial leader, and they will have an interesting story to tell on how marketing has changed post-Covid. Life sciences organizations have had to significantly evolve their marketing strategies. But Anurag reminds us about the first principles - “It’s not about the channel, the content, analytics, or the brand. It’s always about the customer”. While marketers continue to place great weightage on content, they are thinking about hyper-segmentation and how to take the right message to the right audience, at the right time, and via the right channel. Why? The degree of hyper-personalized engagement that the bulk of HCPs and patients have started to seek now, is unheard of in the life sciences industry.
In theory, precision marketing at scale enables life sciences organizations to go beyond broad strategies and tailor their marketing efforts to individual customers' needs and preferences. By utilizing sophisticated data analytics and customer insights, organizations can identify patterns and trends that influence decision-making, allowing them to craft personalized and targeted campaigns.
Think of precision marketing as one holistic incubator, and a collaborative, cross-functional model
– Anurag Thakore
What we now need to see is for organizations to step back and take a more comprehensive and deeper view of customer psychology and insights that drive decision-making. Sounds daunting? Not as much, if you use the right technology, that is!
But given the influx of new technologies, be it the Metaverse, or more recently, Generative AI, how can life sciences leaders make the right bets? Even as Generative AI use cases in life sciences get well-defined, both Lauren and Anurag agree on one basic premise: that organizations and leaders must thoroughly evaluate the business problems they are trying to solve, and then zero down on the technologies they want to embrace - rather than the other way around.
Get data-driven. There’s no other way!
Everything starts with looking at the right data, through the right lens - a sentiment both executives echo. In fact, adopting digital (66%), and building a culture of data-driven decisions (63%) are among the top 3 ways through which life sciences leaders are building future-ready capabilities, per the findings of the Future Ready Trends in Life Sciences report, which surveyed over 100 global life sciences leaders, from different functions and with different geographic responsibilities across different scale and segments.
The quality and quantity of the data is important. That will ultimately define the kind of outcomes you can drive. Equally important is the specificity of the questions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you won’t get the right insights.
– Anurag Thakore
It doesn’t end there though, according to Lauren. Understanding what customers want, whether that's physicians or patients, is key.
It’s not enough to just get the targeting right. We need to delve deeper and understand how they consume not just our content, but also which types of content - on what platforms/channels.
– Lauren Li
Such an approach helps marketers test their hypotheses, on what works and what doesn’t, in a more data-driven way. You can accordingly adjust and fine-tune the initial hypothesis and make it more and more tailored at the individual level.
Enterprise-wide collaboration is key
To make precision marketing truly effective, Anurag believes it’s not about one function or aspect alone. It’s about looking at all the pieces - across commercial, medical, market access, content, data, analytics, and more - and bringing it all together in the form of one holistic incubator.
Lauren cites the example of modular content, and how it’s become almost table stakes today. Ultimately, the content from across functions should be in sync, she stresses.
HCPs don’t care which function shares the content they need. They just want an integrated, well-orchestrated content experience.
– Lauren Li
Precision will almost become synonymous with personalization, according to both leaders.
Will hybrid omnichannel drive the future of personalization?
The industry has heavily focused on a sales rep-led model for commercial success. While sales reps continue to remain critical, not many life sciences leaders are looking at sales reps as a channel - albeit an important one - that’s part of the larger hybrid, omnichannel mix.
A sales rep needs to become the quarterback of all the different channels.
– Lauren Li
We think that’s a very realistic proposition. The findings of the Biopharmaceutical Hybrid Go-To-Market Model Trends, which surveyed over 100 life sciences commercial leaders around the world, reveal that, in the face of ongoing challenges to HCP access, leaders cited improving access as a top motivation to transition to a hybrid model. 24% of respondents ranked it as their top priority, and an overwhelming 59% ranked it as a top 1, 2, or 3 priority!
Precision marketing is here to stay, and organizations that master how to do it at scale, will leave those that don’t, far behind in the commercial race.