How ROI needs to evolve in a time of constant change.

By April 14, 2014Uncategorized

With change the only constant, new Big Data tools, broadening media habits and customer-centricity a deeply established reality, how do we as marketers measure effectively? How do we know all our programs, tactics, Brand Plans, Outcomes programs, patient support online and offline are truly working? Recently I proposed a new measurement model at the Customer Experience Summit in Princeton, run by my friend Tom Hanley and his company PanaGora. I share this because like a relay runner, I am hoping this is me passing the baton to someone who can take the idea even further.

This is about a new way to construct the new measurement model needed for today — but especially tomorrow. 
The formula for the new measurement model is as follows: Return on Investment is fed by Return on Experience (UX) and finally, the hardest but most necessary component, Return on Empathy. ROX and ROE feed ROI.
Big Data gives us, with the right deep dives in the database, the nearly endless well from which to seek, target, gather.  For health care, Pharma, hospitals, ACO’s, even pharmacy chains, Big Data is critical to the herding of cats that this crazy world of too much media, too many choices and too little time has created.
But those same “too many’s” hold an X factor, a variable that is at the heart of customer centricity, treatment adoption and adherence: how easy did you make it for me to find and understand what I need (ROX) and how did you treat me, know me, support me, when I needed it, how I needed it; many call in going “beyond the pill” into a services model, but that is too simplistic. That views human needs as static whereas in reality, our culture, self views towards health and media change how we feel every day.
This is where Return on Empathy needs to be viewed as a serious new idea worth considering and implementing in your marketing.
Let me make the case for the power of Empathy as a marketing tool. And please refer to the attached PowerPoint for the entire “story.”
 Read the ROE presentation here.
Empathy is a common sense means to connect with people — especially those you do not know. Want to see some proof? Go to and see how while so many companies use high cost nurse-lines to try and answer questions, provide baseline medical support, and a authority-based form of Empathy, Pleio uses real people to connect and listen and sympathize — at a much lower cost than nurse-lines — and they have proven to increase long-term adherence. What’s more, every study they do shows people just simply feel better and more positive. They have been at this for several years and are the best known example I can find. Starting a new medication? How about talking to somebody who simply cares how you’re doing.
Here is a Word Cloud made up of several Pleio adherence program patients:
From a scientific perspective, Empathy has been shown to activate different areas of the brain.
And this is not lost on medical professionals — some med schools are now using a form of long-term personal bonding with patients to show how Empathy can enhance the doctor-patient relationship. Guess what? These Med school programs have shown positive outcomes for a variety of conditions like hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes.
If you ask why, let me lay it out: unlike the doctor who is struggling to get what they need from you and to you in a little over ten minutes, showing they care? Well, that may be more effective than a check list. If you are in Pharma, hire Verilogue and do an experiment.
Inherently this is the vanguard of the new form of marketing: H2H. Human2Human. Deeply connected, very emotional and complex. Emotional marketing does not come easy to health care organizations, especially those so highly regulated. But in the same way digital marketing was once alien to Pharma, so to is the path to Empathy.
If you need a way to implement this approach try these steps first:
1. Define your patient segmentation.
2. Create as simple as possible a survey that allows a patient to fill out and be identified.
3. Recruit a panel of these patients (try to account for geographic diversity) through your Sales Force (Pharma) or Departments (hospital/ACO). Offer the practice or Dept. more emotionally oriented practice support.
4. Assign this panel a Patient Advocate from the company, hospital or Brand team.
5. Align the panel to where they are in the life cycle of their relationship to your product (Pharma) or service (hospital/ACO).
6. Give them the means to report their experiences, both quantitatively and emotionally across a period of time.
7. Measure the results back to ROI.
I guarantee, if you have done this right, you will see the lift and loyalty that impacts word-of mouth, treatment choice, adherence and ultimately outcomes. Write or call me and let me know what you learn.
Let me end with a personal anecdote. A couple of years back, on the way to a client, I had a car accident as I was about to get on a highway; I was not hurt, but I had a bad concussion and had to kick out the back window and crawl out. As I stood there looking at my demolished car, in the fifteen minutes before the fire truck and EMT’s came, one out of two cars that passed by pulled over and asked me if I needed help and was ok. I said yes, and most looked reluctant as they left. The last was a guy driving a Lay’s Potato Chip delivery truck. When I said I was ok, he refused to leave until the EMT’s arrived. He was a stranger. He spoke to me the entire time. He probably messed up his whole schedule and day. He didn’t care. Or rather, he did care. To this day, at the moment of this writing, I recall his face, and am a still moved.
From a professional perspective, I think this would best be applied in oncology, auto-immune disorders, diabetes and neurological disorders.
At the end here, I leave you with a highly useful info graphic. To truly “get” Return on Experience, here are some useful tips from CrazyEgg on how people consume content on various devices and how to design for maximum impact.