The limits of Value Segmentation & Targeting.
Both my co-founder Ruben and I have been active in the Life Sciences industry for quite some years. We've seen the same practices being repeated ever since we started our professional career in 2009. Customer (Potential) Value and Treatment Adoption Rate are used to select the right channel investment for an individual healthcare professional (HCP):
- more expensive interaction channels such as physical visits are reserved to the highest-potential HCPs;
- while lower-cost alternatives such as email are rather used for lower-potential HCPs.
Traditional value segmentation & targeting approaches have proven to be very useful for driving value-driven growth. They are a great help in defining cost-to-acquire and cost-to-serve for the sake of customer profitability analyses, account development plans and related sales force sizing (which customers require a key account manager, and which ones could be better managed by internal sales - based on the expected P&L impact). Still, they embed a company-centric paradigm.
Taking a more customer-centric perspective, when it comes to creating relevant & consistent customer journeys across digital and physical channels, the traditional approach obviously reaches its limits. Value segments tell you who to address, while it is not giving the full picture on how to address these customers: which message & channel to use? What is the best sequence of communications? When are we communicating too little or too much? You could set channel targets and respect these, but in the end customer perception is reality.
We have heard from many commercial excellence experts in Life Sciences, that they lack a clear view on individual HCP needs and preferences, to shape better HCP experiences.
Inspired by our experience in the FMCG and Retail industry for clients such as Ahold Delhaize, and having been involved in the launch of several behavioral loyalty programs, we truly believe customer behavior should trigger communications in the first place. Together with the team we went on rethinking the Gold-Silver-Bronze approach to Segmentation & Targeting in Life Sciences.
The fact that a physician prescribes a lot and is a heavy advocate for your drug in a given indication, does not mean that she prefers a face-to-face visit over email communication. She might be engaging more heavily via online channels. Then why spend a cost of over 100 EUR to give her a physical visit? Someone else might need that visit so much more. Aside from that: do you communicate today? She might have been in contact yesterday with your colleague from the Brand Management team, and she might need some time to reflect on this conversation first.
Selecting a communication channel by offsetting its cost to customer value might make sense from a P&L perspective, but it neglects the needs of individual customers. In the long run, relevance will win.
Taking a different perspective.
What if you could use the power of behavioral data? There is so much non-performing data in different systems (CRM, marketing automation, ...). What if you could leverage on these data points to learn from them and match your communication approach to each individual customer's needs? This is not entirely new... Facebook is able to detect your personality type by no more than 10 likes.
With so many touchpoints with individual HCPs being logged in your systems:
- What if we could activate the related behavioral data (call logs with key messages and reactions, rep-triggered email opens, clicks and HCP portal visits) via a more data-driven promotional strategy in the Life Sciences industry as well?
- What if we could use exotic embeddings, convolutional neural networks and process mining techniques to activate all behavioral data available on individual HCPs, in a pragmatic way that adds value to the commercial approach?
- What if we could simplify the life of the sales rep and medical science liaison (MSL) with actionable recommendations on individual HCP level, automatically taking into account the most recent engagement across all touchpoints, based on a 360° view of each individual HCP?
- What if also brand managers would benefit from the same 360° view, in more consolidated smaller groups of HCPs behaving in a similar way, or to say, with a similar interaction pattern?
- What if you don't need to purchase expensive market research and customer persona studies to drive your multi-channel communication? What if you could get the same insights out of your available internal data instead?
Several cases in consultancy over the past 5 years, led us to develop a proprietary software technology for Life Sciences, that seamlessly integrates with existing CRM-applications such as Veeva and Salesforce. It consumes all data you already have, and translates that into Actionable Insights. Sales reps & MSLs don't need to leave their existing CRM application, brand managers are able to drive the HCP experience further forward, in full complementarity.
In a previous article, I wrote more about how we tackle this at KWARTS by applying AI on the various data sources that you have collected on HCPs.
Happy to have a talk!
Do you work in Life Sciences? What is your opinion on this? Do you agree? Have you taken any steps in this direction that you would like to share with us? Send me a private message or reach out to me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Bart Van Proeyen