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05.07.2022 | Health Strategy

Customer centricity and segmentation is essential for pharma customer engagement

By Luke Wilson

The 2022 Customer Engagement Europe event was back in person and there was a genuine buzz at the opportunity to reconnect with peers and learn the latest best practice. The CREATION.co team attended across the event, as media partners, and these are the two topics that we felt were big priorities.

Customer centricity is the foundation of customer engagement

Lutz Bonacker, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Operations Europe at CSL spoke on customer centricity and how it impacts commercial teams in CSL and pharma more broadly. Bonacker suggested 4 important areas to consider:

  1. Start with understanding and listen to your customers.
  2. Join your customers throughout their journey, rather than helicopter in and out.
  3. Bring Patient Advocacy Group (PAG) representatives into the company.
  4. Push the understanding throughout the company. It shouldn’t be siloed and stop at one point of the company.

Darius Hughes, General Manager UK at Moderna, carrying on the theme of considering the whole customer journey, shared that starting at the end of the journey and working back helps to become more customer centric. He cited one example with Moderna where their vaccines were sitting in warehouses and not accessible to customers because -20˚ freezer packs hadn’t been approved. More vaccines wasn’t the answer but this issue was highlighted by talking with HCPs on the frontline.

Erasmus Holm, Chief Marketing Officer at MSD highlighted the importance of not just adding the digital marketing and digital sales bow to our quiver but consider marketing and sales as a whole in the digital world. At MSD the company structure has moved from a high sales force focus to more marketing, where marketing and sales reps work closer together. 

Carmen Jack, Senior Director at GSK and Shwen Gwee, VP and Head of Global Digital Strategy at BMS said one of the key things is to understand the problem, before going after the solution – make sure you are defining the customers’ problem not just your own. It is too easy to do the shiny new thing; it must be connected to a felt need of HCPs and a tangible business need. Dmitry Schourov, Senior Director at Pfizer agreed and shared that understanding customer needs will help understand how your field force team can support them.

Segmented marketing should be based on qualitative not quantitative insights

Also starting with an understanding of customers, Maria Raad, Vice President Customer and Digital Strategy at Janssen reflected that while it is easy to get to generic personas – we need to get deep insights in order to create specific and relevant personas.

Raad shared that Janssen started this in Commercial but Medical Affairs is a critical area which needs access to data and physician personas.

Jose Maria Guido Avila, Customer Engagement Transformation Lead at Sanofi gave an engagement presentation and started by taking a step back; “customer behaviours are being changed and shaped constantly”. HCPs don’t appreciate all of pharma’s digital expectations and initiative. HCPs’ expectations are being formed by experiences with Netflix and Amazon.

Netflix isn’t likely to do a campaign to all lawyers, or all architects. It is based on other considerations and in pharma we need to make more intelligent segmentations, than simply by role type.

Through a series of examples he showed that a success on a specific channel doesn’t mean it will be effective for every customer. You don’t need to capture every customer on a single channel, rather you should focus attention on the customers who do convert on each channel and are therefore likely to do so again.

Segmented marketing should be based on qualitative not quantitative insights.

Do you have the digital insights to understand your HCP customers?

As we have seen, understanding customers is at the core of meaningful customer engagement which can be achieved by customer centricity and segmentation. We follow a similar process when helping our clients solve their problems:

  • Create an in-depth 360° understanding of your customers
  • Learn how HCPs engage around scientific events and data releases
  • Address unmet needs and differentiate from competitors
  • Discover the HCP influencers who matter to you
  • Capture HCP engagement and learn for the future

To see examples of how we have solved challenges similar to those you are facing, please get in touch, we’d love to chat.

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Meet the Author

Luke Wilson

Luke brings a design thinking perspective to our Marketing & Communications, working to keep CREATION’s brand presence and message front of mind to all key stakeholders.

When he isn’t learning about fatherhood, Luke enjoys watching and playing football, being an over enthusiastic fan of Liverpool FC.