I’m often asked to define customer-centric marketing (CCM) in pharma. The best way to answer that question begins by saying what CCM is not—it’s not customer focus, because we already have plenty of that in the industry, and, more important, it’s not just multichannel marketing, which has become more about adding channels to your mix. And it’s not just about inventing wonderful new products and value-add services, though that always helps. We still have to interact and communicate with the customer about our portfolio.
Through multichannel marketing, the industry now can reach customers through dozens of channels, but CCM means adopting a customer-centric mindset, and allowing this change to dictate what we create and how we communicate with customers.
Above all, CCM means putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and looking at your relationship from their perspective. You need to ask “Would I, the customer, find any added value in this offer and interaction? Is the relationship aligned with what I want to achieve?” This applies to all customers—not just patients and prescribers, but payers and providers, as well.
In “Getting from multichannel marketing to customer-centric marketing,” a new article in Pharmaceutical Commerce, I talk about CCM and how pharma companies can start to adopt it. The article shows four keys in becoming customer centric that may surprise you:
1. Design for the play—not the player: the system of interactions between HCPs, payers, and institutions will provide opportunities, not individual interactions.
2. Stop looking for the silver bullet: Instead, consider multiple channel choices as a buffet to which each player comes with their own tastes.
3. Keep score by yardage, not touchdowns: Focus on intermediate tactics and measures to reach your goals, not simply prescriptions or sales. Remember, the customer does not care about your metrics.
4. Move from a “rep versus the alternatives” to the rep as an orchestrator of the alternatives: Some customer segments may not need or want a rep, but many others need a mix of traditional and new channels.
What are some of other surprising truths about MCM? After reading the article, please feel free to answer in the comments section.