customer analytics

10月 012013
 
If a key concept of customer centricity is understanding relationship networks and any individual’s sphere of influence, it is critical that the organization of the data incorporate two different aspects of these networks. The first is the concept of a relationship, which can bind a customer to some other entity [...]
9月 202013
 

A table of contents lets you quickly find something in a book - often at a glance.Have you ever tried to find something quickly in a book? Say it's a book you've never read before - how do you approach it? You look first for the table of contents, right? We've all done it hundreds of times - if you scan the table of contents, you should quickly figure out what chapter or pages to turn to for what you need.

So how does that apply to marketing you might ask? Well, think of data visualization as a way to get a nice table of contents on any data set.  You can scan it and quickly draw some conclusions, and then zero in on what you need. You get good insights more quickly that let you make confident decisions at the speed of your market. It's really that simple.

Using data visualization is a way to see data graphically within a business context so you can understand it better. It can help you easily spot hidden patterns and trends, which lets you quickly figure out where you need to dig deeper. For marketers, that can mean getting more quickly to key answers, such as:

  • Finding which messages are best suited for different customers.
  • Knowing whether time of day or day of the week are more important for certain offers.
  • Figuring out how which activities have the lowest impact - so you know where to cut if you're asked.

Click on the video below for more details. In just under 2 minutes, you can see a quick story that illustrates the power of data visualization for marketers:

If you'd rather see it spelled out in a paper, download "Why Marketers Need Data Visualization" and read it at your leisure. Either way, I hope you'll quickly see what a difference data visualization can make for marketing.

 

tags: analytics, customer analytics, data visualization, marketing analytics
8月 202013
 

With the rise of mobile devices, marketers have perhaps the most robust source of customer insight and consumer access that they’ve ever had. Handled properly, they will also have the ability provide the next generation of content, coupons and services for consumers. By 2014, mobile is projected to overtake desktop Internet usage globally1, meaning the window into consumer online behavior is literally in the palm of our hands.

The opportunity for customer analytics is vast, and the volume of information generated is unprecedented. The age of big data for marketers is driven by smartphone data.

The mobile wallet race
As consumers become increasingly attached to their mobile devices, everyone from telcos, retailers, banks and payment networks (such as Visa, MasterCard and Amex) to new media providers (like Facebook, Google and Apple) are rushing to offer mobile apps that allow consumers to leave their wallets behind and make purchases directly from their phones.

Beyond simply engaging consumers at an app level, think of the customer insight marketers would have with the added insight of customer purchase patterns. The mobile device becomes the new credit card and window to the world, opening up a whole new vista of marketing and payment analytics.

Mobile: It's not just another channel
For marketing analytics practitioners accustomed to mining huge volumes of channel and campaign data, mobile could be looked at as just another channel; it's just one more component of a multichannel marketing strategy.

Marketers might even view mobile myopically as a push channel, a place to send SMS messages and offers as part of an integrated campaign. But that would just be scratching the surface of mobile's customer insight and marketing potential.

Marketing has evolved into a dynamic exchange whereby marketers capitalize on what they know about a customer based on past behavior, combined with new insights gathered through live channels in real time. Marketing has become a game of connecting content to customers. That content could be offers, but it could also be product or service information, or a myriad of other items that help create an exceptional client experience. The marketer who does that more quickly and relevantly than the competition gains share of mind – and wallet.

And that’s why mobile is not just another channel to “push” marketing offers out. The mobile device is a digitized projection of consumer interests and intent. It’s a gold mine of data for marketers looking to serve up a supreme experience – and it’s a consumer engagement platform with unprecedented power to influence, taking a 360-degree client view experience to a whole new level.

Effective mobile strategy
Consider this: Today, smartphones influence 5.1 percent of annual US retail store sales, translating into $159 billion.2 Yet by 2016 it’s predicted that influence will climb to 19 percent, or $689 billion3, according to Deloitte.

The message is clear: If you want to engage your consumer, you need a mobile strategy. And if you want to have an effective mobile strategy, you need analytics.

That journey begins with setting up the right data hooks to better understand your customers' behavior on mobile devices and mapping back to what you know about your customers via all other touch points – on and offline.

From there, you can use marketing analytics to understand and predict what content to present to customers and prospects based not only on their past behaviors and interests, but also contextually based on what they're looking for and where they're located. To do that effectively requires not only integrated marketing analytics, but also an integrated marketing system to enable that flow of content when and how the customer needs it.

The smartphone offers great potential for relevant and timely engagement, something marketers have long strived for, and consumers crave. Marketers looking to gain a competitive edge need to invest the time to capture and convert mobile data into insight that enriches the client experience. Without that, marketers will be left toiling away in traditional marketing channels that will quickly become displaced and marginalized by the power of the tiny screen sitting in the palms of our hands.

1 Source: Stanley Research.
2,3 Deloitte, The Mobile Influence Factor in Retail Sales, 2012.

Original Publication

This post originally appeared as an article in the 3rd quarter edition of sascom magazine, published by SAS. It was written by Lori C. Bieda, the Executive Lead for Customer Intelligence at SAS. As a marketing and analytics executive with 20 years of experience devoted to driving profitable business growth through the strategic use of customer intelligence, Bieda has helped Fortune 500® organizations across many sectors evolve their marketing and analytics expertise.

tags: customer analytics, marketing analytics, mobile, strategy
8月 052013
 

I don’t want to have a relationship with a marketing department. I don’t want to be your friend. I don’t want to engage in conversation with you. I feel no loyalty towards you. When I say I like you I’m not entirely sincere.

And yet I chose to share an enormous amount of my life with you. The detail I’m able and happy to share has grown big. Really, really big. But understand this: my reason for sharing this data is entirely motivated by self-interest. You see, I know as much about you as you do about me. I know how valuable my data can be to you. So I expect you to use this data for my benefit. Because you can be damn sure I will be.

This is the challenge we face. This is the opportunity for us to seize.

Big data is the topic of the moment in the world of marketing. As a concept, it has been very difficult to get to grips with. The term big data is nebulous. Most definitions of big data are so broad they provide no real insight into the subject. Yet there is an often overlooked truth about big data: big data is made up of lots of small data.

Specific and concrete

Our lives are full of small data. We generate it constantly as we go about our lives. In the websites we visit, location tracking on our smartphones, the time-stamp on our receipts, our Facebook updates. The jigsaw pieces of our lives that allow a marketer to better understand the individual’s personal context into which we plan to act. Small data is specific and concrete. We can understand it; where it comes from, what it says, how we can make good use of it.  I can think of no better way to illustrate the value of this specificity than with a specific and concrete example.

Importance of small data

Recently, while browsing an online article on the 10 best gaming gadgets, I found myself confronted with banner adverts for dieting, depilation and Disney. A baffling mixture of seemingly randomly selected products with no conceivable relationship to the subject matter of the page. But there is small data associated with this page that is of enormous potential value. For, as with any well-designed website, the page was loaded with key data. That metadata serves a useful purpose. It is there to help us (and Google) find the page. Eight simple phrases: wireless technology, Google Android, gaming, Apple Inc, information technology, computers, Apple Mac, and computer accessories. Eight phrases that tell you everything about the content of the page. Eight phrases that bear no relationship to dieting, depilation and Disney. Eight small, specific, concrete pieces of data that when visiting that page tell you my current interests. Not in the recent past, but right now. Eight pieces of data that marketers should use to determine if an offer for depilation is likely to be relevant to the reader.

Unlike insight derived from a person’s demographic profile or prior purchases (which tends to be relatively stable) situational context is by its very nature short-lived. So when situational context and a customer’s known preferences coincide with a product or service we wish to provide, the confluence of circumstances demands that we should act. Such opportunities may not long persist. Mid-morning coffee becomes lunchtime sandwiches; the laptop is turned off and the TV is turned on. People move on with their lives and the situation changes around them with surprising rapidity. To recognise and seize this moment when our relevance to the customer is at its highest is the key to success.

Changing the way we think

Access to these streams of small data about an individual’s ever-changing situation allows us to change the way we market. To be truly effective we may also need to change the way we think. Marketing in this environment is no longer about delivering a mass message according to the schedule we determine. It is not based on what we knew, rather it is based on what we know and it is entirely determined by the customer. Not explicitly, however. We should not sit back and wait for a call that may never come. Like a
good butler we should be invisible, observing and waiting in anticipation of the moment when we can step forward to serve, even before the recipient realises their need. Discrete, appropriate and timely. Not intrusive, overeager or too frequent. Not pretending our relationship is more than a potentially valuable adjunct to the customer’s life.

To make effective use of this small data we must understand our customers. The journey they take in deciding to make use of a product or service. Rarely simple and linear, hidden within the weave of such decisions are patterns and connections. A time, a location, a website visited, a call made, small pieces of data that in isolation may be missed, but combined act as a signal of potential intent. The challenge at the heart of big data is not then one of technology and calculation, but rather one of imagination. We need to swap our
focus from the sea of data and instead focus on the quantum of our customers’ lives and where we fit within them.

I don’t want to have a relationship with a marketing department. But I will continue to share my own personal small data with you, so that you understand when input may be useful, and equally when it is not relevant in the hope that you can serve me better.

I am happy to share this article on this blog. I originally submitted it to Marketing Week UK, which published it on May 29, 2013

tags: big data, customer analytics, customer experience analytics, customer intelligence, marketing, marketing analytics, real-time decisioning
7月 232013
 

Marketers – like most people – like to see their accomplishments in some sort of visual representation. We are a profession who lives in PowerPoint, prezi or some other sort of tool that makes what you are working on look really, really good – sometimes – better than it really is. Data visualization solutions have become pervasive for this very reason. As we become more analytically capable and adaptable, we know that we need to back up our data with more than just a logo and a byline. SAS Visual Analytics allows those trying to surface their marketing analytics  in something that is flexible, digestible and actionable.

Why data visualization matters to marketers?

 Data visualization is a way of letting you visualize big data within a business context so you can consume it quickly. The right data visualization software helps you  spot previously hidden trends and identify opportunities for further analysis. Analytic visualization takes it a step further by performing sophisticated analyses very quickly – even instantaneously – and presenting results from which marketers at all organizational levels can draw insight for:

  • Getting the right messages to the right customers.
  • Driving revenue growth.
  • Managing marketing performance to do more – better – with less.

Marketing analytics embraced

Google Adwords serves up reports that are clean with modest breadth and depth of analysis for free. Google has a vested interest to make the analysis beautiful so marketers can spend more money with them. They are really good at showing you where you need to spend money with them. They do this through data visualization.

Data visualization  needs to do this for your other marketing channel investments as well – website, events, ad partners, third party syndication partners and more. Data visualization also helps surface other valauable marketing analytics and performance indicators  that might be important to your business – customer lifetime value, demand generation, marketing mix efficiency and sentiment analysis.

Speaking about web data, SAS VP of Marketing, Adele Sweetwood said in a MarketingProfs article (republished on our Customer Intelligence Knowledge Exchange):

If marketing can see the digital dialogue, the opportunities are endless. The ability to analyze visitors’ behaviors, assign scores accordingly, predict which offers will be most attractive, and deliver the right message at the right time… translates into high conversion rates and happy customers.

 

tags: customer analytics, customer intelligence, marketing analytics, marketingprofs
7月 092013
 

Having the right perspective matters in marketing. In particular, having the big picture view in mind while focusing on issues at hand or dealing with specific parts of the marketing function allows us to quickly prioritize tasks or even whole projects. I am sure we would all agree that marketing has become a complex business but applying an integrated marketing framework around marketing can help simplify the process and coordinate all the pieces you'll see in the chart below.  With that in mind, I propose that we take a big picture look at how an integrated marketing management approach is the best approach for getting the most out of Customer Intelligence solutions.

Consider the scenario when someone says to you – “Man, have you seen Company X’s new commercial? Their marketing has really taken a huge leap!” – what comes to your mind? Has a clever advertising agency come up with a slick message (something Mad Men-esque)? Can I picture myself drinking the latest coffee creation and using the latest technology gadget from Apple? No matter what the image is that comes to mind when someone speaks of "marketing," marketing messages are crafted to capture mind share with a desired outcome.

At first, we had some ideas of what integrated marketing management should look like but we didn’t quite know if we could visualize it appropriately. Well, after many revisions and many inputs from folks both inside and outside of SAS – we have created the following visual  to uncomplicate a complicated subject, which will be explained piece by piece.

Integrated Marketing Management Full Visual

Vendors in our space all use slightly different terminology when describing what they “do” or “focus on” – and SAS does as well. As I have discussed in previous posts – the terms we use fit nicely (in my mind at least) into a hierarchy. Customer Intelligence, Customer Analytics, Integrated Marketing Management, and Marketing Analytics all have their respective places in an organization’s ecosystem.

The above is a depiction of how SAS views the Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) process and the capabilities that we provide with regard to IMM. Let’s quickly define the terms at the top of this visual before we get into the visual itself.

Customer Intelligence is any information or intelligence you have about your end customers. This information can be collected by and reside in varying business units/departments across the organization (sales, support, service, marketing, etc.).

Integrated Marketing Management, a subset of Customer Intelligence, is the application of Customer Intelligence methodologies by the marketing department of an organization. Application of the IMM framework helps organizations better execute the “closed loop marketing” process – which we will define.

This IMM framework contains four categories:

  • Strategy and Planning
  • Information and Analytics
  • Orchestration and Interaction
  • Customer Experience

We will discuss each one of these four categories in detail in subsequent posts, but today I want to first speak to the visual as a whole.

First, you will notice the visual is circular. This represents the “closed loop marketing” process. Simply stated, closed loop marketing uses customer actions and feedback to refine future marketing messages and customer interactions. SAS believes that organizations should continually refine dialogue with their customers in order to drive loyalty, retention, customer migration, and overall long term profitable growth.

You will see no product names. SAS believes that capabilities solve business issues and product names can only serve to complicate. As we move into the category capabilities and descriptions in more detail, we can certainly outline individual products if needed.

The shape of the gray sections that house the capabilities for strategy & planning, orchestration & interaction, and customer experience. These allude to the movement between categories. The process, although definitely not linear, typically starts with strategy and planning. Strategy and planning is exactly as named, and allows for enterprise marketing initiatives to be created prior to execution. From there, we move to the orchestration and interaction category – where marketing programs are executed. Customer experience comes next, where the results of marketing executions are measured and pushed back into not only strategy and planning to refine planning initiatives, but also into the information and analytics environments to detail customer contact history even more.

Next, you will see that the customer is at the center of the visual. Customer centricity is imperative when undertaking IMM initiatives. We would all agree that a marketing message must be three things to be exceptional – it must be anticipated, relevant, and personal. It has to be all three of these things – not just one or two of them. But how do you foster effective, healthy, and positive customer engagement through the delivery of an anticipated, relevant, and personal message? You do this by ensuring that your message is underpinned by three components:

  1. Synchronization – Can your organization synchronize the messages that it delivers across channels, over time – in order to ensure a lapse in dialogue doesn’t occur? SAS can help with that.
  2. Real-Time – Can your organization respond immediately, in real time, to an inquiry or concern that your end customer may have? SAS can help with that.
  3. Optimization – Can your organization optimize the messages that are delivered to your customers – so that common problems like over contact or customer saturation don’t occur? (Think credit card direct mail messages or retail email messages!)

Next, you see a blue bidirectional arrow connecting the customer to the orchestration and interaction section of the visual. While all components of the IMM process are critical to marketing technology success – this arrow depicts that customer engagement occurs through the orchestration and interaction category of IMM, which we will talk about in more detail in a following post. SAS can help organizations interact with their end customers via numerous marketing channels, which are displayed in the orchestration and interaction section of the visual.

Finally, the blue “ocean” of information and analytics. The three categories mentioned above seem to be floating on top of information and analytics. In essence, they are. SAS believes that having a sound information and analytics environment is essential to executing successful marketing programs. While this section could absolutely have its own subsequent post – we feel that a strong foundation of information and analytics is essential for any software solution – not just Customer Intelligence solutions. This layer is essential to all of the IMM categories in grey in this visual. The capabilities represented within information and analytics – segmentation, modelling, forecasting, data quality, social network analysis, and calculating customer lifetime value – are just a few of the capabilities that a solid information and analytics environment will incorporate. The other three categories in the visual rely on this stable, foundational environment in order for the solutions in these categories to operate effectively and efficiently. If this information and analytics environment is not managed, cleaned, and tested properly – than the results of the marketing programs that are executed on top of this environment will be substandard. There is a saying – “garbage in, garbage out” – that sums it up nicely. Any marketing operations, campaign management, or social media solution that is underpinned by information and analytics of poor quality – will not produce valuable insight that will drive profitable revenue growth – it’s as simple as that.

Shew! And that’s just the start! Please stay with us as following posts will dive into the three categories of strategy and planning, orchestration and interaction, and customer experience in more detail! As always, thank you for following!

tags: customer analytics, customer intelligence, marketing analytics
7月 092013
 

Having the right perspective matters in marketing. In particular, having the big picture view in mind while focusing on issues at hand or dealing with specific parts of the marketing function allows us to quickly prioritize tasks or even whole projects. I am sure we would all agree that marketing has become a complex business but applying an integrated marketing framework around marketing can help simplify the process and coordinate all the pieces you'll see in the chart below.  With that in mind, I propose that we take a big picture look at how an integrated marketing management approach is the best approach for getting the most out of Customer Intelligence solutions.

Consider the scenario when someone says to you – “Man, have you seen Company X’s new commercial? Their marketing has really taken a huge leap!” – what comes to your mind? Has a clever advertising agency come up with a slick message (something Mad Men-esque)? Can I picture myself drinking the latest coffee creation and using the latest technology gadget from Apple? No matter what the image is that comes to mind when someone speaks of "marketing," marketing messages are crafted to capture mind share with a desired outcome.

At first, we had some ideas of what integrated marketing management should look like but we didn’t quite know if we could visualize it appropriately. Well, after many revisions and many inputs from folks both inside and outside of SAS – we have created the following visual  to uncomplicate a complicated subject, which will be explained piece by piece.

Integrated Marketing Management Full Visual

Vendors in our space all use slightly different terminology when describing what they “do” or “focus on” – and SAS does as well. As I have discussed in previous posts – the terms we use fit nicely (in my mind at least) into a hierarchy. Customer Intelligence, Customer Analytics, Integrated Marketing Management, and Marketing Analytics all have their respective places in an organization’s ecosystem.

The above is a depiction of how SAS views the Integrated Marketing Management (IMM) process and the capabilities that we provide with regard to IMM. Let’s quickly define the terms at the top of this visual before we get into the visual itself.

Customer Intelligence is any information or intelligence you have about your end customers. This information can be collected by and reside in varying business units/departments across the organization (sales, support, service, marketing, etc.).

Integrated Marketing Management, a subset of Customer Intelligence, is the application of Customer Intelligence methodologies by the marketing department of an organization. Application of the IMM framework helps organizations better execute the “closed loop marketing” process – which we will define.

This IMM framework contains four categories:

  • Strategy and Planning
  • Information and Analytics
  • Orchestration and Interaction
  • Customer Experience

We will discuss each one of these four categories in detail in subsequent posts, but today I want to first speak to the visual as a whole.

First, you will notice the visual is circular. This represents the “closed loop marketing” process. Simply stated, closed loop marketing uses customer actions and feedback to refine future marketing messages and customer interactions. SAS believes that organizations should continually refine dialogue with their customers in order to drive loyalty, retention, customer migration, and overall long term profitable growth.

You will see no product names. SAS believes that capabilities solve business issues and product names can only serve to complicate. As we move into the category capabilities and descriptions in more detail, we can certainly outline individual products if needed.

The shape of the gray sections that house the capabilities for strategy & planning, orchestration & interaction, and customer experience. These allude to the movement between categories. The process, although definitely not linear, typically starts with strategy and planning. Strategy and planning is exactly as named, and allows for enterprise marketing initiatives to be created prior to execution. From there, we move to the orchestration and interaction category – where marketing programs are executed. Customer experience comes next, where the results of marketing executions are measured and pushed back into not only strategy and planning to refine planning initiatives, but also into the information and analytics environments to detail customer contact history even more.

Next, you will see that the customer is at the center of the visual. Customer centricity is imperative when undertaking IMM initiatives. We would all agree that a marketing message must be three things to be exceptional – it must be anticipated, relevant, and personal. It has to be all three of these things – not just one or two of them. But how do you foster effective, healthy, and positive customer engagement through the delivery of an anticipated, relevant, and personal message? You do this by ensuring that your message is underpinned by three components:

  1. Synchronization – Can your organization synchronize the messages that it delivers across channels, over time – in order to ensure a lapse in dialogue doesn’t occur? SAS can help with that.
  2. Real-Time – Can your organization respond immediately, in real time, to an inquiry or concern that your end customer may have? SAS can help with that.
  3. Optimization – Can your organization optimize the messages that are delivered to your customers – so that common problems like over contact or customer saturation don’t occur? (Think credit card direct mail messages or retail email messages!)

Next, you see a blue bidirectional arrow connecting the customer to the orchestration and interaction section of the visual. While all components of the IMM process are critical to marketing technology success – this arrow depicts that customer engagement occurs through the orchestration and interaction category of IMM, which we will talk about in more detail in a following post. SAS can help organizations interact with their end customers via numerous marketing channels, which are displayed in the orchestration and interaction section of the visual.

Finally, the blue “ocean” of information and analytics. The three categories mentioned above seem to be floating on top of information and analytics. In essence, they are. SAS believes that having a sound information and analytics environment is essential to executing successful marketing programs. While this section could absolutely have its own subsequent post – we feel that a strong foundation of information and analytics is essential for any software solution – not just Customer Intelligence solutions. This layer is essential to all of the IMM categories in grey in this visual. The capabilities represented within information and analytics – segmentation, modelling, forecasting, data quality, social network analysis, and calculating customer lifetime value – are just a few of the capabilities that a solid information and analytics environment will incorporate. The other three categories in the visual rely on this stable, foundational environment in order for the solutions in these categories to operate effectively and efficiently. If this information and analytics environment is not managed, cleaned, and tested properly – than the results of the marketing programs that are executed on top of this environment will be substandard. There is a saying – “garbage in, garbage out” – that sums it up nicely. Any marketing operations, campaign management, or social media solution that is underpinned by information and analytics of poor quality – will not produce valuable insight that will drive profitable revenue growth – it’s as simple as that.

Shew! And that’s just the start! Please stay with us as following posts will dive into the three categories of strategy and planning, orchestration and interaction, and customer experience in more detail! As always, thank you for following!

tags: customer analytics, customer intelligence, marketing analytics
6月 102013
 
Cable, satellite and content providers can apply SAS Visual Analytics to real-time audience data, helping more users unearth customer insights in seconds that improve leverage in carriage negotiations, boost ARPU (average revenue per user), increase ROI (return on investment) on ad dollars, and informs packaging and programming decisions.
5月 262013
 

Pharmaceutical companies (“Pharma”) operate in a very complex environment – to begin with, their customer is usually referred to as “the patient” and it gets more complicated from there. The relationship between Pharma and the patient is not always a direct one, and whether or not the customer is “delighted” often depends on other parties in the mix. Other parties usually include the “Payer” and the “Provider,” and sometimes even the Pharmacist. Given all the players in this “P party” of patient care, should they try to delight customers? It really depends on how you define “delight.”

What it means to delight the customer

For Dennis Urbaniak, VP of US Diabetes for Sanofi, his patients have a serious chronic condition, so the "customer" doesn’t really even want to be his customer, and privacy is an issue as it relates to patient data and how and when you can engage with your customer.

Dr. Linda Harpole, VP of Global Health Outcomes for GlaxoSmithKline, holds that traditional views of the patient for pharma would be from a regulatory standpoint, so it was about patient safety and efficacy, and ultimately the translation of that to your patients or providers.

For Sam Malik, Managing Partner at Percipient, there’s a steep slope for pharma to actually “delight” it’s customers, largely because we don’t really understand how the customer can be delighted. The “customer” for pharma is also the intermediary – whether its Medicare/Medicaid in the public sector or commercial health plans. And in his words, "we all know that insurance companies do not delight their customers one bit." Talk about an understatement.

For Paulo Machado, CEO & Founder of Health Innovation Partners, the question of delighting customers for Pharma needs to be considered in light of the current restructuring of the health care system in the United States into an actual system, versus an industry. As a result, there’s a lot going on in terms of becoming patient-centered. Among other benefits, reform will address traditional hurdles to “delighting” customers, such as siloed data which can be addressed by the health exchanges.

Becoming more patient-centric

Urbaniak believes that Pharma needs to get beyond the brand-centric world and learn about what drives patients' decisions. What are the communities they engage with? How do they spend their time and what are they interested in as people? His position is that Pharma has a chance as an industry to take a much more holistic view around the people and then orient their approaches to better satisfy some of their needs in ways that are relevant for them.

There is an industry-wide drive to become more patient-centric, even among regulators such as the FDA, according to Harpole. And that dialogue about patients is impacting all areas of Pharma, including clinical trials.

Some developments there may naturally foster a better connection between Pharma and the patient with the impetus now to look more holistically at what end points matter to the patients and to build that into the trial process. It seems natural that the patient will perceive the shift when the trial process involves talking with them about priority diseases to understand the end points that matter to them. Pharma may even help patients feel more vested in the process if they can potentially incorporate patient-reported outcomes as part of promoting and demonstrating the value of the medications.

The shift to dialogue engenders trust

The terms and conditions of the world we live in have changed, and more than ever, engagement with customers is a dialogue and not a broadcast. This applies to all industries, and the catalyst behind this shift is the advent of social media. Urbaniak shared that Sanofi now has a community manager, and his biggest challenge at the outset was to get his internal team to not think of it as just another channel to pump advertisements through. In his words, "people are tired of this one-way push at them." He further added:

"Pharma companies have to understand that because if they remain internally focused on just their brand – they will be bypassed by everyone. The one-way push will not engender trust. We have to rethink this idea of selling and marketing, and focus more on deeper insights and really understanding what people need. Doing that can help you better connect with your patients. Pharma companies that are having the [should we be in] social media debate are already five years behind the mark. And by the way, regulatory is not really an issue if you act the right way – you can satisfy the regulator and you could do a really good job of satisfying some of your potential customers."

The potential of patient data

No current discussion about this industry or patients can happen without consideration of healthcare reform underway due to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Machado posed the question as it relates to the Payer engagement model being impacted by the "smarter-better-more data rich payer/institutional setting, considering they've been lacking data historically and how seeing a massive change with healthcare reform.

Malik sees promise in patient data, adding that the problem on the Pharma and the Payer side is that they are both traditionally afraid to get too much data on their patients and look at it really hard. He put it rather directly when he said:

"There is a strong fear of discovering inconvenient truths."

From his perspective, the Payer industry is transactionally focused on claims. On the other hand, Pharma is interested in patient data from payers because it’s the one way you can see them longitudinally. Success in harnessing data for better insights will depend on Pharma's ability to convince payers that they know something about their patients that would help them. Doing that requires positioning themselves as having a closer relationship with patients, and not necessarily one that’s adversarial to payers. The experience of other industries shows there is no better way to harness data for better insights than using predictive analytics, and for our increasingly online and social world, it's customer experience management and social media analytics.

 Healthcare Reform catalyzes change

One of the biggest impacts of Healthcare Reform is what Machado calls "this massive shift in terms of how the system is going to get paid, transitioning from a fee for service model to one that’s based on the experience." and how people feel about the experience in healthcare. The impact on Payers and Providers is more explicit than is the case for Pharma, and it will certainly have an effect on the relationships with patients.

Urbaniak believes that one aspect of reform is clear regardless of where you sit or what your opinion is – everyone in the healthcare systems is going to have to demonstrate measurable "real-world" benefits of improvements. It's all about ROI, and it applies to the "commercial" side of Pharma as well. In his words, "we have to measure baselines within targeted populations, and then look at triple-aim ideas as a commercialization effect, and then essentially move from selling products to selling outcomes. "

Harpole also referenced the emphasis on ROI and illustrated how quality metrics and demonstrated outcomes can impact how an accountable care organization is compensated. Pharma itself has an obligation to continually learn where its medications best fit because data is limited when you go to market, and actual usage data provides valuable insights that can help healthcare become more efficient and improve quality. She sees a "tremendous opportunity" in turning all the data available into knowledge. I couldn't agree with her more.

In the context of healthcare reform, Malik cited the promise and the pitfalls of performance guarantee programs in how Pharma engages with payers. He specifically called attention to how sometimes it appears that pharma companies "aim too big in performance guarantee programs," and how sometimes they try to do too many clinical trials to try to prove too many things. To me it seems that this is one way of hedging against failure. He believes that in spite of that, Pharma will need to focus on producing more evidence (in the drug development process) and do it fairly early on. In his words, "if we can create more evidence to start with, we can have better claims and we can link our product pricing to the performance we can demonstrate in our claims." It seems clear enough - and it's probably way easier said than done, but considering the added emphasis on ROI throughout the process it is not optional for Pharma companies.

The power of the patient story 

One point Malik made that resonates from a marketing perspective is that "it's about the patient and the better we are at discovering and patching together the patient story, the more powerful we will be in our marketing." He shared his perspective that Pharma has traditionally emphasized sales over marketing, and "to do it right, would require a greater push toward marketing prowess rather then sales prowess, which means being able to understand your consumer, being able to gather information from them."

For me, this idea of the patient story gets at the core of what all of the players in the“P party” in patient care need to be focusing on:

What is the patient story and what kind of ending will it have?

There is no question more important than that one, and what Pharma should realize is that imperative is not too different from what companies in all other industries are facing.  The two major differences for Pharma are the regulatory framework and the high stakes for the patients - often facing life or death, or significant quality of life impacts. And yes, every patient has a different story, and for each patient their story is what matters most to them. Again - that's not too different a problem that a retailer faces today, or a bank, or hotel, manufacturer, and so on. In all cases, the empowered customer will gravitate toward the vendors that pay attention to them. Period.

There was some skepticism among these industry experts that Pharma could actually delight customers. And I think their skepticism is well-founded, but it's not entirely futile. To Malik's point about performance guarantee programs, there is risk in aiming "too high." And as Urbaniak put it very aptly, the patient often doesn't actually want to be the customer, so I don't think the question is a matter of whether they can delight the customer. I simply think it's a matter of focusing on factors that they can control, and even working to influence key factors that are out of their direct control, but can be influenced. While it may not rise to be described as "delight," it may enable outcomes that allow each patient to pursue their own version of "delight." And that's a goal that's both valid and valuable.

Putting the patient at the center of all business issues is always going to be the right answer because the patient is the one constant in the complex and ever-changing healthcare system. And the details of each story are in the patient data - not just therapeutic data, but a more holistic view that includes economic factors, lifestyle, life cycle and all the ways to describe the patient. Applying customer analytics to the data can also allow predictions about how the patient story ends. Who wouldn't want to know the ending of such an important story. I'm just saying...

Paulo Machado, Dennis Urbaniak, Linda Harpole, Sam Malik

This panel of experts came together for the 10th annual SAS Health Care and Life Sciences Executive Conference at SAS world headquarters in Cary, NC.

This session was preceded by a presentation from Ed Gaffin, Director of Marketing Analytics at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. When following a presentation from the undisputed world leader in delighting customers, it's no surprise that the question of how to delight customers loomed large in this discussion.

You can catch recordings of this and the other sessions at our On-demand Virtual Conference. This session was called "Patient Centricity Through the Life Science Continuum." Tune in and let us know what you think. 

And as always, thank you for following!

 

tags: analytics, customer analytics, customer experience analytics, healthcare, Life Sciences, social media, social media analytics