Written by Richard Marcil on June 22, 2012
in Healthcare Marketing

I recently attended the Eyeforpharma Sales Excellence conference – and certainly some major themes bubbled up over the two days of discussion: (1) the growing importance of patients and market access in treatment decisions and options, and conversely the diminishing role of the physician; (2) decreasing access to all HCP’s, requiring marketers to abandon reach & frequency thinking, and focus on value-add and meaningful engagement; and (3) the need to transform sales reps into the “trusted advisors” they once were, easier said than done for most companies.

In many respects, none of these are new. We’ve been observing and experiencing these trends for the last decade, and there’s little to suggest that these will be improving anytime soon. However, the magnitude of the patient opportunity streamed through most of the presentations. In the end, it’s really all about patient outcome, and more than ever patients have a say in treatment options and choice. So why not empower and engage them from the outset, and help physicians better counsel and manage these patients?

While none of this is new, it’s hard work for traditional pharma marketers who have historically been physician centric in terms of go-to-market strategies and tactics. Furthermore, patients and consumers are immensely more complicated beasts; they can’t easily be segmented in CRM/CLM systems and act irrationally at the best of times. What’s a pharma company to do?

In short, pharma marketers must better understand the patient journey. To do that, let’s get down to basics in terms of customer journey mapping so we can better understand treatment motivations and distractions. Bringing all of this home was a statistic I read last week in Marketing: Health, reinforcing that even in the highest touch of chronic condition patients spend less than 0.07% of their time with a physician compared to 99.93% self-managing. Perhaps it’s time to shift more focus and investment against the 99.93% of time spent self managing.


One thought on “Diagnosing the patient journey”