Scope of Real World Evidence

This morning, I had an opportunity to spend time with some senior pharma executives,  one particularly who had a profound impact on me during my early days in marketing. We had a very interesting chat on big data – especially real world evidence – its scope and possibilities in the way pharma marketing can evolve over the next few months and years.

Real World Evidence (RWE) has the potential to become the core of pharma’s content strategy. Content is the most important part of digital engagement and most of pharma gets it wrong. Engaging customers with a one-off great content piece doesn’t get them toward a great experience on digital assets. If customers must be loyal, they must enjoy the experience that your website, app, video channel, podcast etc provides.

For that you need to have “hero” content. RWE differentiates by constantly creating hero content which, for novelty, one mixes thoughtfully with hub and hygiene content to maintain the novelty of the experience. This is the crux of a good content strategy.

Applications of such engagement are multi-fold and can solve for some of pharma’s most persistent problems:

Case 1: Augment the effort of FF – better targeting; higher SoV

In India today, companies with the largest FF can cover 25-40% of the ~10,00,000-doctor universe. Digital can be used not just to bridge the gap, but also to increase SoV efforts in the covered set. Brands can nano-target through mapping digital footprints & detailing out customer personas and journeys. Targeting content to n=1 level can add phenomenal value to the pharma-doctor engagement process.

Case 2: Reduce product launch timelines

Average timelines to achieve product launch KPIs (>80% HCP awareness, spontaneous brand name/benefits recall etc.) can take anywhere between 4-6 months through the traditional route. A digital outreach can help companies achieve that in 25-50% of that time frame thus saving costs and speeding up revenue growth. This can help brands to set up the call for the sales rep by moving the HCP from awareness to interest almost entirely online before the rep call.

Case 3: Reinvigorate tail brands

Despite excellent brand equity, tail brands (zero FTE allocation) tend to catch up with their lifecycles as the ‘carry over’ sales effect wanes in a few years. Digital marketing (non-rep model) can help to build cost-effective SoV which is exactly what tail brands need to start growing again.

Case 4: ‘Warm up’ the prospect (partially covered in Case 2)

With decreasing in-clinic time being a major challenge for pharma, there is an alternative to create a data-based content strategy that engages the prospect and moves her along the ‘reach’, ‘awareness’ and ‘convert’ stage. It is only when a strong pull for the brand is created, that the sales rep steps in to convert and engage via consultative selling.

Case 5: Hyper-localised strategy

Marketing demands standardized execution of strategy while sales insists that market conditions are hyper-localised. Big data can help you carve out tactical plans that are most relevant to a territory. Through real-time evidence you can adjust resource allocation, call-time, brand exposure, and other sales KPIs based on macro parameters such as disease trends specific to the territory, customer behaviour vs detail product matrix and track customer belief shifts in almost real-time. RWE (particularly the way THB collects it) helps to understand a) Disease prevalence in a territory b) Treatment protocols/patterns of doctors c) Consequent outcomes on health in that territory. This information can be invaluable to pharma companies who can allocate resources in a much more efficient manner. It also empowers the front-line manager or a seasoned medical rep to better plan his work based on data in every brick of his covered territory.

These are but a few opportunities that we discussed in the limited time that we had. Stimulating as it was, today’s discussion was limited to the customer-facing side of the business. I am sure there are many more opportunities that exist in the entire value chain and I would be very interested to hear of them. If you can think of any, please, do tell.


3 thoughts on “Scope of Real World Evidence

  1. Great write up! I am very convinced about the potential of RWE in HPC engagement and pharma marketing future. There is no other way to bring value. Few industry leaders have the vision ! Congratulations!


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