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    Invisible Co-Primary Endpoint for All Drug Trials – PQOL (Physician Quality of Life)

    Invisible Co-Primary Endpoint for All Drug Trials – PQOL (Physician Quality of Life)

    May 19, 2014

    I’m here to tell you that you might think your pivotal trials have only one primary endpoint, but there is a co-primary endpoint that you’re not even aware of. You won’t find it on the FDA’s website, but if you’ve done any research with physicians recently it’s starting to surface, despite the fact that few physicians verbalize it to sales representatives. What is this invisible endpoint?

    Invisible EndpointIt’s PQOL.

    Your co-primary endpoint is Physician Quality of Life and it’s not synonymous with convenience. The components are much broader than that but can generally be lumped into two broad categories:

    1. Clinical Barriers:
      • What % of patients respond to therapy?
      • How long do they respond to therapy?
      • (more…)

    Is ‘Consensus’ Marketing Good Enough Today in Biopharma?

    January 6, 2014

    consensus marketing?I’ll admit that sometimes being the sole voice of Evidence-Based Marketing in the room can leave me feeling a bit like a permanent naysayer. Introspection is good, right? But every once in a while, I have an experience that reinvigorates my passion for our unique approach to marketing. Recently, I had one of these experiences.

    I was sitting in on some market research where a specialist started to educate the moderator on the difference between making a clinical decision based upon consensus-based versus evidence-based guidelines. The specialist believed that it was a dated notion to derive a clinical ‘position’ through a simple consensus of smart individuals. She enumerated a number of reasons for her belief, which included:

    • Information Access –democratization of data puts information at the fingertips of anyone who has access to the Internet, not just the consensus builders
    • Quality & Quantity of Data – while not specifically referencing the concept of ‘Big Data.’ the volume of observations has dramatically increased to improve the confidence level in decision making beyond just the erudite group
    • Accelerated Pace of Change – markets are being dramatically and rapidly transformed (think melanoma or CLL) making the traditional issuance of guidance every two to three years inadequate

    Market forces are pushing, but also allowing physicians to rely more on evidence-based guidelines to improve decision-making. This got me thinking. The factors outlined above by the specialist in the market research are equally applicable to pharmaceutical marketing.

    Our ‘consensus’ based guidelines in pharmaceutical marketing come through elaborate brand planning processes and launch readiness reviews. One of the problems with this approach is that input in solicited by multiple sources and weighed evenly regardless of experience. The level of evidence supporting the decision-making in these marketing meetings is based more upon consensus than on a critical examination of the evidence supporting the chosen strategy.

    As an industry, perhaps we too should take advantage of the recent wealth and democratization of marketing data to hold our marketing decisions to a higher standard. Or are you just really comfortable with consensus ruling your brand decision-making?

    2014 – The Year of Finding Focus

    December 8, 2013

    Year of FocusMost of us have a year-end ritual of cleaning up our literal and virtual files. As part of this process, we often end up taking stock in the outcomes of the multiple projects that were undertaken over the course of 2013. Every marketer is required to do more with less within the biopharmaceutical industry. But that ‘more’ isn’t always yielding better results. Ironically, the quantity may actually obscure the quality behind your brand efforts.

    Every marketer will tell you that the prefer to be doing less tactics that yield more results, and this is why I’m proclaiming that 2014 become the year of finding focus.

    So, what does finding focus mean for your brand?

    • Focus on the right customers – work to delight the optimal someones for your brand versus trying to please everyone, and prioritize keeping your existing customers happy and adherent before you obsess about finding new ones
    • Focus on the right brand story – seek out the communication platform that may seem limiting, until you validate that it resonates so completely with your target customers that it acts as a beachhead to achieving a larger source of business
    • Focus on the right strategy – satiate the needs of those physicians and patients who are actively seeking information about your product – demand conversion strategy – before attempting the more expensive proposition of generating demand
    • Focus on the right investments – strive to develop less initiatives, while fully funding the ones that actually deliver results and are scalable to allow you to optimize funding over the course of 2014

    Finding focus will not only help you close out the year with fewer project files to organize, but it will also help you to ensure greater success for your brand in 2014. Those marketers that can clearly demonstrate the ability to achieve strategic, communication, and investment focus within turbulent markets will remain in high demand. Those that don’t . . .

    I Want To Be Innovative, Now Show Me the Case Study

    October 28, 2013

    InnovationNothing quite encapsulates the current mindset of the biopharma industry than the identical quotes that I heard from two separate companies on opposite coasts regarding the desire to be innovative.

    “I want to be more innovative. . . . Can you send me a case study?”

    Both times the quote was uttered were in reference to reviewing some out of the box thinking brought forth to address a challenging industry issue. Think co-pay assistance for Medicare Part D patients. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a Top 20 biopharma company that doesn’t either have innovation within their tagline or as part of their corporate vision.

    Now, I don’t disagree with the need for innovation within our industry, but the hurdle placed on the ‘innovative’ ideas was just unreasonable. For an idea to truly be innovative, you likely will not find another brand that has already done it, and you certainly won’t be able to measure the effectiveness of the idea before investing.

    Keep in mind that the road less traveled isn’t on Google Maps!

    Understanding that the guideposts for innovation can’t be case studies, what evidence can we use to evaluate this new thinking?

    Innovative ideas should be rooted in:

    • Customer Insights
    • Brand Strategy
    • Channel Assessment
    • Metrics and Measurement

    The above certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but it moves us away from the innovation oxymoron currently within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

    Continue to strive for innovation within your marketing efforts, but don’t create unreasonable barriers to achieving your goals.

    Avoid The $15,000 Meeting

    July 14, 2013

    Money, money, moneyI was attending a Client strategy meeting last week when my Client leaned over to me as said, “Welcome to the $15,000 meeting!” I was taken aback for a moment until she told me that she added up the hourly rates of all the participants and determined that the bill for the meeting, that hadn’t even started yet, would be about $15,000 – and that was just for the external partners. After that comment, I certainly felt the pressure to make the meeting a success.

    Despite the fact that ROF does project work for a fixed fee, we are very discriminant about the number of attendees that we bring to meetings. This philosophy goes back to my first boss who told me that I would get a mulligan for the first meeting, but after that if I didn’t say anything of value at the meeting (i.e., contribute to the meeting) . . . I wasn’t coming back! While it may sound a little ruthless, it underscores the point that meeting attendance, especially at strategy meetings, should be driven by value provided. It doesn’t necessarily have to come from the verbal sparing at the meeting like my first boss envisioned. Valuable meeting participation can be demonstrated in any of three distinct, yet overlapping ways:

    • Preparation – development of the meeting materials puts a potential attendee in a prime position to ensure an efficient and productive meeting, given the pre-meeting familiarity with the key strategic questions and the subject matter to be discussed
    • Participation – thoughtful contribution during the meeting is the quickest way to demonstrate value and to show the Client, not only why you were invited, but also why your future attendance should be mandatory
    • Elevation – capturing the discussion within a succinct output document or, better yet, elevating the discussion and decisions to clear marketing application demonstrates the utility of the attendee’s role after the fact

    Although my Client didn’t openly express her sentiment to the group about the high cost of the meeting . . . maybe she should have. I’m guessing the output would have been more successful if she had communicated her expectations for participation based on the pure cost of the meeting.

    And maybe, in the end, the active participation of the attendees would have made $15,000 seem like a reasonable cost when compared to the value she received.

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