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Engaging the Four Target Groups in Pharma Today: Why a Coordinated Approach is a Must



Leslie C. North, a speaker at the marcus evans PharmaMarketing Summit 2014, discusses how pharma companies could better engage with their target groups.

NEW YORK, NY, Apr 17, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - "Pharmaceutical product marketers have always had to get the target, message and frequency right; that has not changed. However, with healthcare reform, they now have four different groups of targets, each one requiring a different strategy. To be competitive, a coordinated approach is a must," says Leslie C. North, Former Vice President, Marketing, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.

North is a speaker at the marcus evans PharmaMarketing Summit 2014, taking place in Palm Beach, Florida, May 12-14.

- How is pharma marketing changing? What advice do you have for brand strategy building that would help improve customer retention and brand equity?

We have four different targets, where healthcare providers, consumers, payers and now hospital groups are all keys to success. Each target requires a separate and substantial strategy and approach.

It is critical that the different approaches are coordinated between the sales, marketing and market access teams, and they must be involved at the inception even before clinical trials are done. To be competitive when it comes to the four targets, there must be studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy, but also pharmacoeconomic data that supports putting the drug on formulary, especially if it costs more.

Patients continue to be critical, as they can have a significant impact on a payer or hospital group if patient demand is sufficient. Providers are important because if they are unaware of the brand profile or do not see value in it, they will not prescribe it even if patients ask for it. Payers and hospital groups are also critical and they must now respond to new regulations and guidelines that can have a significant impact on the bottom line, patient satisfaction and outcomes. Use of non-formulary brands can result in penalties to providers and patients, yet patient satisfaction and outcomes are paramount.

- What strategies should this coordinated approach include?

The approach must have strategies designed to maximize patient involvement and facilitate a passion for the brand. It has to include strategies to ensure healthcare providers are familiar with and see value in the brand and be willing to prescribe it. Lastly, there must be a focus on the new guidelines and regulations to insure payers and hospital groups see how the brand can add value to patient satisfaction, outcomes and or the bottom line.

- What about the message itself?

If there is no science to back up a value message to payers, hospital groups and providers do not bother communicating it. With consumers, you have to be where they are with a message that builds the relationship and passion they have for the brand.

- In your experience, what helps engage patients?

Patients must know you exist. Then they need to see value in your brand. What value represents has become complicated with healthcare reform, but it all boils down to understanding the customer. Do the market research and have conversations with the customer to understand their needs, to put together an insightful strategy around how to get them engaged. Every patient is an individual, however, you can boil them down to certain psychosocial or demographic groups, then look at them from various perspectives. If there is a way to approach them, so they feel the message is personal, that adds a lot of value.

- Any final comments?

Be comprehensive, from the inception. Make sure your strategies for patients, providers, payers and hospital groups are coordinated, and that the messaging for each of them is based on science and something of value to them.

About the PharmaMarketing Summit 2014

This unique forum will take place at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, Palm Beach, Florida, May 12-14, 2014. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on digital marketing, building a brand strategy, generating new revenue streams and boosting physician engagement.

For more information please send an email to [email protected] or visit the event website at www.pharmamarketingsummit.com/LeslieCNorthInterview

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