Annual Cegedim survey finds emphasis on changing commercial models

December 18, 2013

Multichannel marketing is high in attention, but low on execution

Focused primarily on marketing, sales and executive management among biopharma manufacturers, Cegedim Relationship Management’s 2013 Global Life Sciences Insights Report finds that the combination of market access strategies and changing commercial models are what are keeping these executives up at night. That’s not a revolutionary finding—it is widely recognized that as patent expiries wind down and commercial and government buying constraints crank up, the industry needs fundamental change in its commercial practices. What those commercial models are changing into is less clear, says the Bedminster, NJ, company.

The survey (of over 200 executives in the US and abroad) shows heightened attention to realigning sales forces; increased focus on key opinion leaders; and a shift to a more patient-centric approach. While sales realignment is the goal of 46% of respondents, however, only 27% are contemplating an increased use of e-detailing (one commonly cited option). “A portion of those surveyed are embracing the change that has befallen the global industry, while others are showing signs of indecision, even resistance, to new trends shaping the landscape,” says the report.

A good example of this diversity of view is the value placed on multichannel marketing. While a majority of respondents (58%) assessed implementation of this as “extremely critical, very critical or critical,” 26% called it “somewhat” or “not at all” critical. Also, while 35% of respondents say their companies have begun or have fully completed implementation of a multichannel strategy, 47% either aren’t making adoption plans, or have only reached a strategic planning stage. “The development of the multichannel initiative may still be in a nascent stage for life sciences, but it’s known throughout the industry to offer valuable opportunities,” is how Cegedim interprets these results.

Google+ on the rise

Cegedim also polled executives on both their individual professional use of social media, and their companies’ business use. LinkedIn and Google+ showed up most consistently in frequency of use (Facebook and Twitter were significantly lower). The main business use of social media are marketing and public relations; however, 51% respondents said that the portion of sales/marketing budgets devoted to this is less than 5% (and 22% had no idea what the budgeting was). A small faction—11%--budgeted 11% or more to it.

These social media trends, according to Cegedim execs, are part of the rationale for the company’s newest business venture: an online community for healthcare providers called Docnet. The company has been testing this out in small European markets for a couple years, and will now promote it worldwide in 2014. Its OneKey HCP database (a global resource) will be a key asset in this rollout, says the company, as well as its ability to identify affiliations between physicians and accountable care organizations (ACOs) and integrated health systems.

Cegedim is gearing Docnet to be a peer-to-peer HCP community, but one with explicit involvement from life sciences companies. The company, while noting that 89% of physicians are part of an online community, says that surveys, medical info, e-sampling and clinical info are the main attractions for physicians to online communities. “We will provide a platform for physicians to engage with industry in a compliant, meaningful and value-based manner,” says Angela Miccoli, Cegedim NA president. That compliance will be enhanced by partnering with the SAFE-Biopharma organization (Fort Lee, NJ), which has developed a high-level digital-signature and identity-security systems for online interactions, and has multiple pharma companies as sponsors.