When it comes to Customer-centric marketing, many nettlesome challenges remain for our industry. Two business terms I encountered recently seem to demonstrate the complexity of the Transformation Challenge for Life Science companies.
The Challenge? Connecting, collecting and executing on that connection with all your customers. (Or is that just the functional Transformation? Perhaps there is something much more fundamental going on. More on that later.)
First, "The Genie Economy", an expression gleaned from a Webinar on Social Media Today (great content there: http://socialmediatoday.com/best-thinkers-webinar-series?ref=navbar).
Basically, the Genie Economy premise is: with the classic sales funnel broken, each sale is a new act of loyalty. But in a world of customer-centricity each sale must be earned. The funnel has now become a loop. The potential solution? Using Social Media and other channels to listen, address complaints, suggestions, servicing your customers with great speed and even use feedback for developing new services. Your company needs to think and build itself as a "Genie" in servicing your customers — nimble and using data that is honed into insight and content (whether for patient or HCP.)
Second was "BDSaaS": Big Data Software as a Service. Personally, I thought SaaS had Big Data built in, but you how jargon crazy we are as a society. Coincidentally enough, I heard the term and then saw in it in an article worth sharing, called "Analytics 3.0." http://data-informed.com/thomas-davenport-businesses-need-tackle-analytics-3-0/ The big promise is that finally, companies and staff will have the tools to gather all the data they need (and then some!) to create and manage many customer relationships – the tools for connection and execution.
And to make these data challenges visually more fun, a Big Data infographic:
These two business terms open Pandora’s Box of the Transformation going on in most of Big Pharma; challenges do not end with a good implementation of CRM/DB/MCM tools. If anything, it uncovers the biggest challenge and opportunity: your employees. Service and BDSaaS may be the infrastructure you need, but organizational change needs equal focus.
To get to any solution, we all have to ask the hard questions about company employees:
Have you changed your MLR processes? Are you handcuffing your employees with no operational change to speed up MLR?
Are you empowering your partners and agencies to create content rapidly and optimize it?
Are Life Science companies hiring and training for this future-state Transformation?
How do your employees get empowered?
How does your company allow its marketing and sales staff to work closer, in lock-step with their new tools?
Will Transformation give your employees a Maserati but tell them to drive in the sl0w lane?
As always, a Beta approach should be used. Free one Brand. Hire, staff, inspire and train one Brand team to serve as a Beta for true customer connection and the developing and nurturing of relationships. Life Science companies already have islands of innovation, pockets of staff that are hungry and ready for this Transformation. From my experience, Change (yes with a Capital C) comes when a core group of individuals are given the freedom to do what their instincts say is right.
Getting back to the end-state of what this all may mean. Pandora’s Box held many surprises. With BDSaaS and the intent to connect/service with all customers coming to fruition, maybe we need to re-frame the entire conversation. Having the BDSaaS infrastructure in place makes the “Genie” possible. But once possible, what then? Can you achieve that goal of being a “Genie” to your customers? And does it perhaps open the possibility of a new Vision of customer-centric marketing?
Going back to the broken sales funnel, more and more professionals now get that the experience people have with your Brand(s) needs to be about user-needs and satisfaction. But it seems to me although Pharma marketers are embracing UX — how fast a task can be accomplished, or how easy a Reg. page is to navigate, or completing a customizable doctor discussion guide — we are heading way past this. UX and all its iterations are Stage 1 of a more evolved marketing reality. The real end-game is Human-to-Human marketing. HumanX as I call it: wrestling with all the variables — emotions, needs, opinions, advocates, detractors, action or inaction, while riding the forces of change around us — and still doing marketing. It is letting the “Genie” out of the bottle.
HumanX is the equivalent of understanding the Human Genome of Omni-channel Communications.
What would that potential end-state look like? Your customers won't be patients or doctors, they will be people. And to your customers, your employees will not be behind a wall but have names and faces, lives and opinions, stories to share and collect.
The conclusion has to be not to focus on the shiny objects of “Genie Economy” and “BDSaaS.” Technology doesn’t create Transformation, it enables it. People create Transformation. Do you have the right people? Is the right roll-out plan supported by the C-suite?
To demonstrate the complexity of UX to HumanX, I found on Google Images 45 infographics on UX alone. The one below demonstrates the “why” and when you cross-over this with the previous Big Data infographic, a more complex and Visionary opportunity emerges (Thank you, Zendesk.)
Are you read for the challenges of HumanX? Are you preparing to let the "Genie" out with empowered employees?
Tough but incredbily exciting questions for 2014.
P.S. For all those who really enjoy UX reading at its best, Steve Krug, one of the true giants of UX, is publishing a new addition of his groundbreaking book, "Don't Make Me Think." Keep an eye out and grab it. I am sure it will be full of noteworthy thought and actionable approaches.
Here is his site: http://www.sensible.com/