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Commercial Innovation: Reshaping the Life Sciences Commercial Model

As the pace and scope of our industry continues to change at lightning speed, one thing remains clear – innovation is matching that pace when it comes to reshaping the life sciences commercial model. The mission hasn’t changed though. We’re still looking for the most efficient and accurate ways for healthcare providers and organizations to care for and treat patients.

Commercial innovation is necessary in large and small life sciences companies (biotech, big pharma, medical devices, payer organizations and more). Recent and coming changes in the healthcare environment will affect all of our organizations, which is why we work with life science companies to leverage digital communications in as part of their messaging focus; focusing down to the single-user level. Digital technology is a large part of this innovation and efficiency, not only communicating a message or value proposition, but in transactions and quality of care.

As marketers, we have more tools and capabilities at our disposal than ever before. Commercial innovation is not about using more of these tools; it’s about using the right toolset to reach the right customer with the right message at the right frequency. Now we must also do this in the right channel, on the right device and at the right time.

In an increasingly fragmented and crowded marketplace, the customer will determine these things. They’ll also know if you’re using technology for technology’s sake. Innovation is an efficient use of communications channels to reach the customer on their terms. We’ve recently seen Facebook used for purposes such as reaching audiences with rare or under-diagnosed diseases. A community of nearly a billion people includes many groups based on conditions, treatments, caregiver challenges, and in some cases, even the healthcare professional. We’ve also seen optimization in the use of closed professional communities to drive professional communication, collaboration with the sales force and better customer service. What these examples have in common is that they were developed with an end goal in mind. That goal was based on research and understanding of unique and unaddressed needs in those segments of the market.

Your approach to commercial innovation should be well aligned with your overall brand and corporate strategies. All tactics and any innovative ideas must work to further the primary focus of the brand, delivering on the strategy. Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach or recipe for success, addressing some basic questions up front will dramatically increase your ability to concentrate on the measures that contribute most to yours:

  • What is the brand strategy?
  • What are the key gaps in communicating that strategy?
  • How are the key customers communicating outside of healthcare?
  • Why are they conducting those conversations?
  • What do I want them to do as a result of deploying this innovative solution?

Notice that these questions are the same ones we ask when planning any initiative. It’s important to remember that only the means have changed, not the end. Remember these five simple things as you go about innovating your approach:

  • Take an active part in socializing your organization’s learnings and experiences.
  • Learning about new tools and technologies is part of your job.
  • Make your regulatory team a partner in innovation.
  • Integrate your business intelligence and mash it up to create new insights.
  • Think, constantly, about how digital communication can enhance your customer service and interaction.

This article originally appeared on Pharmaphorum

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Gabrielle Pastore

Gabrielle Pastore

Vice President, Global Strategic Commercial Innovation at Cadient Group
As VP of Commercial Innovation, Gabrielle leads Cadient's efforts to help life science companies optimize the performance of their brands and marketing operations. Leveraging digital technology and other tools for fostering innovation, she and her team will create business strategies that deliver results-oriented planning, best-in-class customer insights, and productive new approaches to global marketing and brand commercialization. Gabrielle joined Cadient from AstraZeneca, where she built a 18-year management career spanning a broad range of responsibilities. Most recently, she served as global director of commercial innovation, leading enterprise-wide digital marketing initiatives in Japan. Prior to that, she was brand director for managed markets in the U.S., guiding major brands through key life cycle events and creating a large cross-functional team to address issues such as access and reimbursement. From 2005 to 2010, Gabrielle acquired substantial global innovation experience, working as global brand manager for AstraZeneca UK, then as marketing director for AstraZeneca Japan. She began her pharmaceutical career in product management, working also as a district sales manager before moving into brand management. Gabrielle holds both a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business Management and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from North Carolina State University.

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