Life Sciences marketing & sales is dead. Long live community engagement

We live in an era of social media, communities, and connections. The consumer and healthcare professional (HCPs) market space is no exception they expect digital convenience. HCPs are looking for relevant scientific and medical information 24/7 across content ecosystems. Most importantly, they’re looking across Life Science product and department silos. But the Life Science industry still communicates with them through a sales and marketing lens. So, what needs to change for organisations to effectively communicate with HCPs?

Jens Roeper
Stefan Raupach

Life Science research and development profitability is declining. 40% of the worldwide product launches of new drugs fail to meet their 2-year sales forecast. 40% of Germany's doctors will retire within the next 5 years and be replaced by an HCP-generation of digital natives. Life Sciences at an inflexion point to change outdated approaches and rapidly move into new realities.

This means that chief marketing and sales officers are under immense pressure to modernise their approach to the market because having a robust marketing strategy isn’t enough anymore. The future means pivoting to a humanity-centred, digital-first mindset, using AI to create stronger, more authentic interactions with HCPs and patients.

Engage your HCP community in a circular ecosystem

The information HCPs get today doesn’t match what they’re looking for and need. That’s why an omnichannel marketing approach currently doesn’t work. Life Science companies need to understand that HCPs' main priority is obtaining relevant content, continuing their education, and exchanging ideas with colleagues. So, instead of centring its communication around products and product-related services, Life Science companies should immerse themselves in the HCP ecosystem and understand that the HCP focuses on patients, their disease areas, and stages, how to better apply treatment regimens, as well as new treatments. They should look to foster communities (e.g., Patient Assistance Groups) and de-centralise and curate content to enhance meaningful engagements.

3 To Dos to align with HCPs’ new expectations

Enable hyper-personalisation
2. Measure and adjust your data
3. Work across disciplinary boundaries

A one-size-fits-all mentality and culture live on in many Life Science companies. But if 80% of HCPs don’t feel personally targeted, even when they request specific content, it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.

Enable hyper-personalisation

Life Science companies need to be aware of the fundamental shift in HCPs’ behaviour. HCPs want meaningfulness, empathy, transparency, and convenience. Through hyper-personalisation, companies can send highly contextualised communications to specific customers at the right place and time and through the right channel. This supports companies to maximise impact and revenue, reduce costs and significantly elevate customer experiences.

Relevant content needs to be placed across the specific content ecosystem, embedded in expert vlogs, blogs, platforms, mobile apps, and other digital assets for HCPs to find. But HCPs are not only consumers of content; they also share and give expert advice (user generated content), meaning they bring a lot of value to platforms, companies, and other HCPs.

The ability to draw valuable insights from scientific and medical content allows HCPs to drive better quality of treatment for patients, information management, and business decision-making. Organisations should explore how data, advanced analytics, and AI technology can be embedded throughout the customer journey and generate new levels of specific customer insights and action.

Measure and adjust your data

Data on its own may not be worth much; it’s the insight obtained from the data that produces value. So the systematic use of data, analytics and AI is critical to engage with HCPs individually. There are three levels of data maturity to get to hyper-personalisation:

  • Descriptive: Using existing data to provide insights into what you should do can enhance your HCPs' overall experiences. For example, you get information that a piece of medical content was read more than other content. What was different about it?
  • Predictive: In this stage, data science allows sales and marketing teams to make data-driven decisions. Start using statistical models to predict what will give a better outcome and enable the business to enhance the experience.
  • Prescriptive: At this stage, the organisation is really ‘customer centric’. Preferences, interests, peer-to-peer behaviours, and prescriptive analytics can offer the next-best action, like contextual, relevant, and timely content across the content ecosystem, in the preferred channel, at the correct cadence and time.

We’ve developed a systemic framework and process to understand the strategic objectives, uncover economic opportunities and make quick, informed decisions to improve the digital health ecosystem experience. This framework is called Actionable Analytics and combines data analysis, qualitative research, and artificial intelligence. The latter helps create stronger, more authentic interactions with HCPs.

This data-driven approach visualises the needs and values of the user and, in doing so, helps executives and UX teams make the right decisions that are more transparent and sustainable than those based on experience and assumptions alone.

Work across disciplinary boundaries

A customer-centric organisation helps businesses engage with meaningful and impactful HCPs and non-HCPs across the ecosystem. The focus on experience requires individuals and teams within an organisation to collaborate and innovate. If your employees are not trained to focus on the overall experience of customers, no marketing tool or strategy will be beneficial.

Like many other industries, Life Science companies are stuck in silo thinking, in business units and product categories instead of customer orientation. Sometimes executives follow the perspectives of sales representatives instead of setting up cross-functional measures. There’s an internal disconnect between Medical Affairs and sales and marketing. As medicines are moving into personalisation of drugs and services, there should be only one coherent user experience embedded in an end-to-end marketing mix across all organisational silos.

The only way forward is for company culture to overcome silos and support effective cross-functional interaction between teams to improve customer experience and enhance employee experience.

How to get started

The impact of orchestrating and managing ecosystems to produce a rich and desirable outcome is vital in today’s ecosystem. Life Science companies, like others, need to actively engage with users across the ecosystem to foster and curate the company’s content, use a multitude of content types, enhance user-generated content, boost SEO, increase referrals, time spent on platform (e.g., literature search for Clinical Studies) and ultimately engage with users on every channel.

Using design frameworks and methodologies as a systematic approach to developing innovative and life-centred solutions to complex problems is key to immersing in the HCP ecosystem.

We’ve created a value innovation framework to develop, build and implement new ways to drive value out of engagements. With a participative approach and specifically designed methodologies, ‘Future Dualities’ and ‘Value Archetypes’, we enable Life Science companies to build personalised experiences for HCPs, patients, and other stakeholders in the healthcare ecosystem.

Are you ready to engage the HCP community through a hyper-personalised, AI-powered, experience-driven strategy? Get in touch. We’d love to help you.