Dec 24, 2012

Moving to CPG and OTC

Typical OTC Medication Aile in Drugstore or Grocery
I'm very excited to have made a career change, and as of December 3 have been working at Symphony IRI Group.  Formerly known as Information Resources, this firm for over 30 years has collected and analyzed shopper scanner data from groceries, drugstores, and other retailers.  They also manage a large consumer panel of individuals detailing their shopping patterns and motivations.

As a result, I will be deeply involved in data mining, and looking for innovative ways to summarize shopping patterns to help both manufacturers and retailers.  Application areas like media planning, inventory and assortment, and pricing.  These are the core business problems of consumer packaged goods (CPG). Fascinating discipline, filled with smart data scientists.  

From a healthcare perspective, most of my focus will now shift from the Rx world to the over the counter (OTC)  world; where consumer are playing an active role in managing their health in areas like pain relief, allergy, well-being, vitamins, skin care, etc.   One might think of this as the beginning of a patient's journey, before seeking physician consultation, or perhaps a parallel customer journey. 

Also on the docket, how does CRM, digital and social, affect the worlds of CPG and OTC?   Stay tuned.

Sep 10, 2012

Digital Commuting Rule of 2-1-1


Every morning I ride the NYC subway from my home to the CementBloc office in Manhattan.   Needing things to do, I have taken to conducting an informal poll of everyone in the subway car.  the poll is observational, and I am categorizing people based on how digital they are on their morning commute:

A)  Digital: Using some sort of electronic device:  smartphone, tablet, even an MP3 player with headphones

B) Analogue:  Reading a newspaper or a book, or a magazine.

C) Totally disconnected:  taking a nap, speaking with a neighbor, or thinking idly.

The typical results of my poll:  Roughly,   (A) is 50%, (B) is 25%, (C) is 25%

By the way, if you are like me, with the newspaper (Wall St Journal) and the smartphone (iPhone) checking email and music concurrently, ou get assigned to the Digital

In other words, the ratio is 2-1-1.  Of course, this depends on the audience and the time of year.  I find that around 7:30 am or 8:00 am the 2-1-1 holds due to students and business commuters that need to stay connected.  In summertime or midday if I run late, a different demographic takes over and you can get more like a 1-1-1 or a 1-1-2.

What does this mean for advertisers who are seeking CRM acquisition prospects?  You may have a captive audience if you can get mobile.  

Aug 10, 2012

Getting ready for the Fall Semester


I'm getting the syllabus and lectures finalized for my Fall 2012 course in

CRM at Rutgers Business School, Newark Campus.  I'll be using my textbook, Healthcare Relationship Marketing, by Gower Press, plus additional readings and other case studies.  The course will be cross-industry, and I expect to show many good examples from retail, financial services airlines, and hospitality.   WIll cover both consumer and professional

The emphasis will be on learning the practical aspects of designing a CRM program based on strategy, deploying with technology, and measuring.   Check out the syllabus.  Would love to hear ideas of best practices that you have on CRM.

Jul 24, 2012

Patients online finding, rating, scheduling doctors


Two websites that empower patients like never before have really taken off. 

ZocDoc lets patients schedule appointments with physicians, by linking directly to their office  scheduling systems.

HealthGrades enables patients to find a specialist near them, and rate the experience afterwords.

All about extending the convenience and immediacy of healthcare to patients, while providing access and promotion to talented capable physicians. 

Both are available across a growing number of major metropolitan areas, going national and perhaps beyond.

Think of this as a new entry channel for CRM systems.  Additionally in the future there should be a chance  to really perform analytics and understand the health consumption patterns across the country, by specialty.

Apr 29, 2012

Going organic: customers, markets, and analytics

It is fascinating to think about the depth of data and connections that one can find when focusing on a particular topic. Take "organic" or "all natural" My colleague Elizabeth Elfenbein and I wrote a Mediapost article with stats on organic trends in the USA. What seemed amorphous is actually quite organzed and is named: Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability. The trend is of continual growth.

We also brought up the perennial nature of organic online behavior, which tends to be of higher quality than promotion responses.   This is because organic visitors to web sites usually have already gathered some other information and are motivated to learn more.

We were also brought into the community of the National Marketing Institute, who has done significant research in this area. They contacted us directly with their expertise. Lesson learned: explore a research project in depth, and reach out to the experts.

Apr 1, 2012

iPharma Connect conference: interactive selling and patient advocacy groups




There were some very active conversations at the iPharma Connect conferences in Philadelphia this past week. Two in particular caught my attention:

Several examples of case studies of interactive selling with iPads, including a joint presentation by Novartis Vaccines and The CementBloc on iPad deployment and organizational change, and a nice presentation and moderated discussion from Jim Currie of PamLab.

Here are some eyebrow raisers:

* many of the District Managers who must train the sales reps on iPad usage have in fact never used a tablet or iPad for selling themselves

* physicians may be so impressed with iPad details they presume virtually unlimited information is magically available to show

* decisions on rolling out measurement vary across the industry

* some corporate boards are skeptical of iPad selling impact v. the investment

Another fascinating conversation was during a panel on "Patients Speak Out" where patient experts asked for pharmaceutical companies to provide more openness and transparency, even as they build relationships with patient advocacy groups.

For more of the tweets and reactions, see here:

There were

Feb 23, 2012

Lessons from the ePharma summit



It was a pleasure to participate this month in the ePharma summit in New York, giving a lecture entitled, "Transform Your Organization through Interactive Selling." The messages of gearing your whole organization for iPad selling, segmented messaging and measurement were quite resonant.
Please feel free to contact me for a copy of this presentation.

There were other lessons as well.

* Mobile pharma applications are increasingly common, and vary from text messaging to full scale applications.

* Social media presence in pharma remains predominantly corporate, but content is reaching out to consumer submissions.

* Professional non-personal and multi-channel promotion has become manstream, and solutions are proliferating.

All in all, a dynamic marketplace for sure. Keep reading here for the latest. Or read The Bloc's latest on Convergent Times.

Jan 14, 2012

New Year's Resolution: Pilot innovative analytics


With the new year coming, companies are thinking fresh regarding innovative programs they will be running. Examples may be:

* multichannel marketing,
* digital interactive sales aids on iPads, perhaps with segmentation,
* social media presences, or
* online portals or communities.

With these efforts and the appropriate measurement planning, will come innovative data sources for your companies. Your new year's resolution can be: let's explore analytics for these new data sources, learn how to analyze, and discover what trends there may be.

The right analytics partner can help in translating your business objectives into analytics frameworks. Your partner or staff can also determine the approriate exploratory analytics software. The image posted here is one example of a data visualization and dashboarding tool called Spotfire, of which I have found valuable during yeras of use for detecting trends and bookmarking insights. In addition, I remain a frequent user of Netbase for social media, SAS products for data cleaning and statistics, and Angoss data mining software. There are more tools, a great resource to find them is KD Nuggets.

So, don't wait, make it your resolution to dive in and mine those behaviors.

Nov 28, 2011

Rise in use of QR Print to Online Codes

hSince I last blogged about these 2-D print  "action codes,"  especially QR codes, in February, boy has there been a dramatic increase in their usage.  Take a look at the exponential increase in 2-D action codes in magazines:  over 500 in the month of September, as Mediapost quoted a study by NellyMoser.

QR codes have the highest market share of these at 60%.
The codes are mostly in consumer magazines, and mostly in advertisements.  Healthcare specifically is not cited.

 Thanks to the comment (below)  by reader Ardash K, we can also see there has been a dramatic rise in Google searchers for QR codes.

This shows the mainstream exposure to certain core demographics, and that is a trend that consumer healthcare marketers should realize is at least worth a test.

Nov 23, 2011

Copay cards - follow the money

Co-pay cards are an often used tactic to encourage patients to try a new branded medication that is prescribed by their physician, eliminating the concern for an expensive co-payment that can come with a Tier 3 drug. In CRM terms, they are used as a conversion tactic, and can even be the gateway to an adherence program.

Here is another perspective on co-pay cards:

In a very interesting article and interview in MMM, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association is cited in an estimation of how much additional cost must be reimbursed because of the use of copay cards: $32 billion over the next ten years. In addition, the PCMA clarifies who is paying for those costs: employers, unions, and state employee plans. As well as taxpayers.

In other words, someone has to pay the insurance companies the money they expected in their copayments. Some is borne by the phramaceutical manufacturers, but some is also paid for by those who contractwith the insurers, like employers et al. The details of this analysis are not crystal clear, but it most likley is based on the missed savings that would come from generic usage. In any regard, this is a thought provoking total.

Want to read more about the perspective of the PCMA?: Browse their website, or a research report (by Visante) about their planned drug cost savings over the next 10 years.