A recent survey by Industry Dive and global analytics leader SAS was conducted among 100 top digital marketing executives in biopharma. Questions focused on different aspects of using data analytics to drive customer engagement. Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are critical tools used for analyzing digital data gathered from health care professionals (HCPs) and patients. When used effectively digital analytics are able to facilitate actionable insights for enhancing customer experiences and improving digital engagement.
The survey respondents provided valuable insight on three main themes, the usage, perceptions, and challenges involved with using data analytics.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic a vast majority of HCP engagement would take place face-to-face with visiting medical science liaisons and sales reps. However, the rate of pre-pandemic in-person HCP engagement has not returned and HCPs actually prefer virtual meetings, and a hybrid model of digital and in-person engagement.
- Two out of three biopharma executives say their organizations’ current approach to HCP engagement is an even mix of digital engagement and traditional in-person engagement
Constructing truly individualized customer journeys is only made possible by utilizing big data and analytics, and getting this granular is only possible with the aid of a robust analytics platform. Even the best pharmaceutical sales reps, adept at in-person engagement, would benefit from this technology to streamline HCP engagement across the board.
“Today’s HCPs want to be more engaged, they want more personalization, they want content delivered in different ways, and at different times, and they want it in different channels,” explains Mike Turner , Principal Business Consultant of the CI Global Practice at SAS
Making full use of a new technology takes time, and a certain level of trust in the process, and trust must be built step by step, especially in the risk-adverse biopharma industry.
- Not everyone trusts the technology behind data analytics
- 39% of executives report that they have complete trust in advanced analytics, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)
- 46% report they trust advanced analytics only somewhat and the rest are either neutral or distrust these technologies completely
Changing the status quo is difficult, but necessary to make progress, and the way forward should be gradual.
“You don't have to boil the ocean. Start with a pilot program using a couple of territories and compare that pilot against the status quo,” advises Naquan Ishman, Principal Strategic Advisor, Commercial Life Sciences, SAS.
The biopharma industry will engage customers in the coming years with a focus on patient centricity with the end goal of improving patient outcomes. Therapies are becoming more personalized, tailor-made, smart, and data driven to fit the specific needs of each individual and digital analytics is going to be a critical element for every biopharma company to keep up with this pace of development.
“The future state will be more along the lines of that Business-to-Business-to-Patient or B2B2P model, and life science companies will have to play a really important role in engaging more with the individual treatment pathways for individual patients,” says Mike Turner , Principal Business Consultant of the CI Global Practice at SAS.
What the future holds for customer engagement
- 95% of biopharma executives agree that the future of HCP engagements will focus on personalization
- Nine out of ten biopharma executives believe that AI-backed marketing tools to ensure relevant engagement and personalization to HCPs will be the unanimously used by the industry in 3-5 years
Although most biopharma executives recognize the utility of AI-based data analytics platforms, the full potential of such a platform is impossible to realize when certain processes are not put in place.
- 27% say that they rely heavily on pharmaceutical sales reps and in-person engagement’
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are still the go-to for many biopharma for directing HCP engagement
- 20% of digital marketing executives say they rely heavily on sales reps inputting data into their CRM manually, and digital interactions are not implemented at the individual HCP level
“The CRM is one slice of the cake, while AI-based data analytic platforms offer you the whole cake,” says Mike Turner . “By using a robust analytics platform you have a much more valuable approach. By putting the HCP at the center of it, you can not only service their needs, but you can also learn from them,” elaborates Turner.
Navigating the complex labyrinth of HCP engagement will require advanced tools such as AI- and ML-based analytics to continually improve engagement in a patient-centric manner that mutually benefits everyone involved.
To download the full survey report, with additional information and details of survey please click SAS - BioPharma Dive Report to view the survey report Improving HCP engagement with digital analytics
The survey, conducted by Industry Dive, polled 100 digital marketing executives with more than nine out of ten participants being the decision makers for platforms and strategies to be used for healthcare provider (HCP) engagement. An online survey conducted by Industry Dive from December 2022 to January, 2023. The sample was drawn from Industry Dive databases.
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