The most important way for companies to gain a better understanding of what their customers want is to shift focus from doctors to patients.
Posted Jan 9, 2003
According to a new survey conducted by Braun Consulting Inc. and the Institute for International Research, many pharmaceutical companies are not seeing value from installed CRM systems, or are not implementing systems at all.
To compound the problem, many marketers are struggling to adopt and embrace these new technologies and organizational processes in the face of aggressive performance goals, and against a backdrop of slowed product innovation, the survey says.
"Relationship marketing is somewhat of an unnatural act for pharmaceutical marketers, who traditionally focused on a product launch with little follow-through," says Deborah Furey, director of Braun's Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals practice. "But there is a real opportunity here for companies to differentiate and become more competitive based on customer insight."
Shifting focus from doctors to patients is the most important way for companies to gain a better understanding of what their customers want, Furey says. Companies striking a strong balance between analyzing feedback from both doctors and patients can gain a competitive advantage, she adds.
Furey says that while many companies see the need to better manage customer relationships, many companies participating in the survey said they lacked the capabilities needed to do so.
The study identifies three key strategies as most critical to successfully implementing a more relationship-oriented marketing operation:
1. Knowing customers thoroughly--the ability to identify, understand, and target physicians and patients persuasively at a micro-segment level
2. Converting knowledge into action--applying customer knowledge into action through focused strategy development and tactical execution
3. Distilling new insights from action--building proprietary customer and program insights to serve as the key drivers of successful marketing and customer relationships
"Understanding the barriers and challenges is the first step to improving marketing effectiveness, and pharmaceutical companies have taken the critical first step," says Tom Murtagh, vice president and coleader of Braun's Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals practice. "Now, to really make an impact on their bottom line, they must adopt and embrace new technologies or risk being left behind by their competitors who do."