Written by Richard Marcil on September 19, 2016
in Healthcare Marketing

Check the latest AccessMonitor™ study from ZS Associates titled Want Better Access to Physicians? Understand What’s Top of Mind. It’s Halloween-movie scary.

Only 44% of physicians are now considered accessible to reps, and the trend is firmly downwards.


Furthermore, budgets remain anchored in a traditional go-to-market approach despite this shrinking HCP access, declining communication effectiveness and changing HCP behavior.


Early efforts in non-personal promotion have been disappointing because they replicate the traditional sales model, i.e. maximizing reach and frequency of messaging.  Not surprisingly, HCP’s are overwhelmed with marketing messages and underwhelmed by the value they bring.  That’s a real issue in a world where HCP’s can self-serve across a number of terrific properties – like Medscape, Sermo, Doximity or even HMO portals – and could easily restrict our access to new, high-touch channels like email.  For pharma and medical devices, a big play for 2017 is extending sales-centric CRM/CLM activity to the marketing team.  Think of adding marketing automation capability through a platform like Salesforce.com, connecting to Veeva CRM that many already use.  This would enable better targeted, personalized and responsive email, mobile messaging, cross-channel experiences, etc.

There’s also need to move from broadcasting to utility marketing.  In most therapeutic areas, there’s still significant unmet need around patient education, engagement, and support – well beyond current direct-to-consumer and direct-to-to-patient efforts.  Think along the lines of patient programs that improve outcomes beyond the pill, the injection or the device.  A number of non-traditional “competitors” are doing just that, e.g. MySugr (diabetes), Crohnology (auto-immune), Omada Health (chronic diseases), etc.  The same applies to HCP’s who are overwhelmed by technology, new workflows, and new guidelines.  Think of tools can we bring to bear to help measurably improve the professional and patient experience, e.g. Memotext (adherence), CellScope (diagnosis), Ginger.Io (extended care), etc.

Bottom line – the data is clear, we need to reboot our go-to-market approach.  In 2016/17, we have access to tools and technology that can help us reverse engagement trends.  Let’s challenge the status quo of our businesses, hack our way forward, and test-and-scale to success.  Our future depends on it.

Richard Marcil is the General Manager of Ariad Health.

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