How to achieve consumer-centricity in healthcare marketing

No matter how powerful the software, the key to delivering long-term and personalized consumer engagement is to align people, processes and data.

Nowhere was that on display more than in a presentation at Adobe Summit by Adam Houston of Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Ravit Ansal of our Digital Experience team. In dialog with over 200 attendees from various industries and disciplines, the pair talked avidly about the challenges of marketing in a regulated and rapidly changing industry and how Takeda is evolving toward being a consumer-centric organization.

Watch the presentation: How to deliver 360 marketing in healthcare

The challenges of marketing in healthcare

Consumers have changed the game in healthcare, and the privacy issues complicate the use of data. The challenge for Takeda was to make sure their information is wherever the consumer or Health Care Provider (HCP) is looking.

Since 65% of consumers search for information—about efficacy, side effects, coverage and alternatives—before ever seeing a doctor, according to Takeda, creating a consistent experience is a much broader problem.  On the helpful side, the same Takeda research found that more than 50% of consumers are willing to share information to get a more personalized experience. 

“Pharma isn’t the leader in the digital industry but consumers don’t give companies a pass.  It’s our job to make that personalization happen—to be where the consumer is searching and interacting," says Adam Houston, Vice President of Multichannel Management at Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Moving to a consumer-centric organization

Adam and the Takeda team realized they had to turn the organization around—from being brand-centric to being more consumer-centric.  Only then could they address problems like coordinating sales and marketing communications to doctors or eliminating huge inefficiencies and manual effort between its creative agencies and marketing.

By creating focused Centers of Excellence within marketing, they could focus on brand strategies and audience segmentation, while marketing and centers of excellence focused on the customer journey, multi-channel engagement and ensuring that their technology partners could support the efforts long-term.

“You can’t expect a partner to take responsibility for every aspect of building experiences or even bringing the systems together. We need to take responsibility for knowing our customers, driving insights, pulling the organization together around the customer, then we can bring a partner in to help (1) flesh out those aspects and (2) build the technology plans to support the effort over time,” says Adam Houston of Takeda.

Tips for where to start

1. Start with the data issue

As mentioned above, data is the core to personalization. For many brands, data is all over, including with partners and in multiple data warehouses. Even the idea of starting small with CRM is often unworkable because of trying to bring the relevant data together.

This was especially true for Takeda: the initial foundational effort brought 100’s of feeds together from 40+ vendors, created a set of data marts for specific purposes like campaigns, analytics and planning. They are now in the process of deploying a DMP to start improving advertising spend.

2. Look to personalization at scale

Takeda needed to be far more efficient and let tools take over at least some of the execution and alignment between both internal and external teams. First was new workflows that allowed teams to focus on strategy rather than tactical execution, monthly dashboards rather than semi-annual reviews and personalization done automatically rather than coded by hand.

We also developed a functional integration between the Adobe platform and Veeva Vault, a key supporting solution in pharma. The software tracks everywhere the content is being used and easily manages updates. Through this integration, Takeda teams can better align content creation, usage and feedback. 

3. Address marketing and legal review (MLR)

MLR is a huge requirement and challenge within healthcare and it constrains how much content could be delivered to the market at any point. To break through this, the teams worked in two clever directions:

  • The Takeda team created an MLR review committee that worked with the project teams. Having them involved in decision making and getting them bought into the vision was key. This is far more oversight than non-pharma marketing teams are used to, but it ensures that the entire organization can operate with far more agility.
  • The teams used our unique methodology to adopt more modular content. MLR teams can now approve reusable modules and the marketing team can piece them together flexibly to create the personalized experiences

Final thoughts

There’s so much great software sitting on the shelf and many companies—across all industries—struggle to understand what they’re getting for that spend. Our approach, to bring people, processes and data together with just enough software, is paying out dividends to people like Adam.

If you have any questions about how Takeda made the transition to customer-centricity and personalization in the highly-regulated healthcare industry, send us a note.