Raising the Bar of Service

By December 10, 2007Uncategorized

Dear Pharma and Biotech Brand Marketers:

Here’s something to
think about: efficacy doesn’t mean what you think it does.

The dictionary definition of the term is simple: it’s the power or capacity to produce a desired effect. In the case of drugs, historically that’s meant "Does it work? How well?" For decades, efficacy has been a matter of chemistry and medicine. But now we all need to consider the
next level of efficacy: servicing the patient.

Most pharma and
biotech marketing folks grew up professionally inside the industry. This gives
them a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the
medications they market and the complexity of the multiple channels
they need to serve, from managed care to professional to patient.

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But
what many miss is that patients — as consumers — are used to and expecting more and more: "If I buy your product, you will service
me like a customer." They get this everywhere they go — from the phone company to airlines to Enterprise Rent-a-car. In all kinds of industries, the service bar has been raised. A lot.

It’s time for us to do the same. We need
to stop thinking by channel but instead by need.

People need
support in nearly all decisions they make — and none more so than those related
to health. And a brochure, a Web site and a direct mail piece that
comes six weeks after you ask for information, just is not looking at
what patients need — what HUMANS need — in the right way.

GSK
has done a good job of understanding that you need to make yourself
accessible to answer patients’ questions and provide that service — you
see a face and a phone number on all their Web sites.The point is made again and again that GSK is a company of people.

What
happens when your drug is fifth to market, or a blockbuster threatened
by generic switching — what can you do? Service the patient, make it
easy for them to build some trust and do not be afraid to answer their
questions. After all, with an average of 4-8 minutes a visit, the
doctor no longer provides the answers people need.

So, can an industry that acts like scientists and manufacturers become experts at service? The short answer is "maybe". The longer answer is "they have to."