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Micro-Scale: What it Means and Why it Matters

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion within the industry about how pharmaceutical companies are increasingly using marketing channels to promote to and engage with Healthcare Professionals (HCPs).  While we agree that this trend is going to continue, especially given the digitization of media, we also notice that there is a significant opportunity to drive increases in HCP engagement rates, revenue growth and ROI via Micro-Scale.  Micro-Scale is an approach to optimize marketing promotion by customizing content, cadence, and channel to the preferences of each HCP. To do this successfully, Life Sciences companies will need to significantly change the historical approach to promotion planning and delivery. 

To understand this opportunity, it’s instructive to understand today’s business-as-usual marketing approach.

Business-as-usual marketing approach – most pharmaceutical companies promote to HCPs via marketing tactics, including e-details, mobile messages, direct mail, email, etc.  The business-as-usual marketing approach typically starts with selecting a tactic, delivering that tactic to HCPs on the brand target list, and then measuring the value that tactic delivered.  If the tactic worked (that is, if the test group outperformed the control group), then the tactic is considered a success and is likely to be re-run.

That’s it. A single tactic delivered to HCPs with the focus being on a payoff for that tactic. 

The challenge with this approach is that the revenue generated from this tactic is likely to be very small. For example, a $150,000 tactic may return a 2:1 ROI, generating $300,000 in revenue. A drop in the bucket for a billion-dollar brand.

Micro-Scale – The only way to successfully scale marketing programs is to integrate all marketing assets and customize / personalize the marketing promotion to the individual customer. This is done by collecting data for each customer as they engage in any asset, analyzing that data, and then using it to develop and deliver personalized / customized content to that customer.  It also requires that we continuously expand the number of customers who engage with our content. 

To achieve this objective, it is necessary to follow an iterative promotion process. Consider the following example:

  • Marketing promotion is delivered to a target list
  • Responders and non-responders are identified and tracked
  • Detailed information is captured about who the responders are, and why the responded
  • Detailed information is also captured about who the non-responders are, and why they did not respond
  • This information is used to enhance the second campaign – for responders, we continue to emphasize why they responded to the first campaign, while for non-responders we develop a separate campaign geared to address their needs and drive engagement with the second campaign

This process continues iteratively each time a new campaign launches. This implies that, ultimately, there will be many versions of the campaign in market, all tailored to the specific customer’s needs and preferences.  This is micro-scale – the ability to target and engage individual customers based upon their needs and preferences across the entire marketplace, generating significant scale when measured in terms of customer engagement or revenue. 

Micro-scale integrates all marketing assets across the enterprise – direct mail, email, mobile, websites, banner ads, and can even include the sales force for HCPs as well – in a continuous customer learning process. This enables us to take a $100 million marketing spend and drive a 5:1 or better ROI. 

Marketing promotion is becoming increasingly important to driving sales growth. To unlock the potential, we need to move past the business-as-usual approach and start leveraging the opportunity in front of us. We need to start thinking about micro-scale.

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