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15.02.2018 | Health Strategy

HCP customer insight: How to make it work for you

By Adam Doggett

At CREATION, we deliver industry leading consulting by learning from healthcare professionals (HCPs) online. We have vast experience of delivering expertize to the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector for 20 years, presenting actionable insights to global audiences based on solid understanding developed through tried, tested and improved methods of HCP and industry understanding. In January 2018, I had the opportunity to share our world class methodology at the annual ‘Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry’ conference. Following on from that presentation, I have shared below the advice I presented to inspire others to think about what they can achieve by implementing a successful HCP customer listening study.

Define the business need

When developing a successful customer insights study, it is really important to define the business need or challenge; we need to get a clear picture of what we want to understand from or about our customers, and the desired outcome. At CREATION we work with pharmaceutical business leaders who are able to define a specific challenge or opportunity that they are facing, that can only be solved through a better understanding of their HCP customers. If there is no vision for successful action implementation based on insights then it becomes a lot more difficult to make the research valuable.

For example, considering the product development pipeline, there are several areas where it would be hugely beneficial to look at HCP conversations. We could use HCP online insights in the pre-launch year, the launch year or post-launch. HCP insights have the most strategic value when they are used at an early stage in the launch process (pre-launch) because it allows us to identify customer needs and solve them before they develop into bigger issues.

Here are few examples of how a social media study can be made really useful:

  1. Use your customers’ language
  2. Meet customers’ expressed needs
  3. Develop digital customer advocates
  4. Improve offline marketing
  5. Provide timely patient support
  6. Target digital content
  7. Integrate social and CRM data
  8. Prepare informed policy response
  9. Differentiate from competitors
  10. Leverage congress meetings

Ask Questions

Once we’ve defined the unique challenge, we can consider some more specific issues relating to the business need. We call this the ‘Study Initiation Phase’; it gives an opportunity to imagine what is possible, to dive into the mind of the customer and uncover the details we’ve always wanted to know. A successful implementation of this process would lead to a closed loop system where we can see how content, particular interactions or changes resonate; and then keep informed with customers’ changing needs in order to anticipate and respond.

Find the right people

The Pharmaceutical industry has a great advantage in that it already has a clearly defined customer audience: HCPs are the key group to understand and engage with since ultimately, they will be making the decision regarding treatment and prescription. With CREATION Pinpoint, we can filter out all other noise and just focus on HCP conversations. This allows CREATION Pinpoint to fill the gap between traditional market research, where there is a low volume of data from a selected group, and conventional social media listening, where there is a high volume of data from anyone and everyone who wants to talk about a particular topic online.

HCPs such as Philip Gardiner and Richard Brady have been pioneering social media use and have demonstrated effective use for professional collaboration.

This kind of collaboration is far from an uncommon phenomenon; right across the healthcare spectrum we see HCPs connecting with one another online. In a UK study carried out in Type 1 Diabetes, we found that the top 25 digital opinion leaders (DOLs), those HCPs who are the most influential and guiding the online conversation, exist in a highly connected network of following relationships. This allows peers to collaborate quickly and extensively and for their opinions to be heard by global networks of followers.

In Conclusion

CREATION has the ‘360° perspective’ on all HCP conversations, tracking open and closed networks in large and small markets.

Identifying the conversations that matter allows us to stay ahead of the game. Knowing the needs and questions of customers helps us to address them before turning into significant issues. In order to ensure this is a successful endeavor, we need to:

  1. Imagine what’s possible
  2. Define the business need
  3. Ask questions.

All these steps are framed around the end-goal of producing actionable insights to solve a challenge or need through a strategic approach to HCP social listening.

For more information on how to make an HCP customer insights study work for you, sign up to one of our webinars which are free to those in pharma/healthcare organizations. Alternatively, request a case study that is relevant to your therapy area or specialism.

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Meet the Author

Adam Doggett

As Head of Analytics Solutions, Adam brings an innovative perspective to solving bespoke client challenges and developing methodologies, helping our clients get the most value from their data and overcome the healthcare challenges they face. Adam enjoys acting and cycling, but interestingly not at the same time.

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