Being customer-centric means meticulously being there throughout the customer journey. But this journey in B2B pharma changes per customer.
Pharma organisations talk a lot about being customer-centric but I question if some of these organisations actually start with the customer, end with the customer, and consider the customer within promotional messages, as well as throughout the entire manufacturing process.
Often, the organisation, and therefore their marketing activities, is led by the product innovation. This approach may be holding pharma organisations back. The solution here is right back at the beginning of the marketing process.
McKinsey have demonstrated the importance of the customer experience - attributed to the customer journey - on top-level organisational goals such as revenue and profits. Their most recent study in the pharma industry, states:
"Customer satisfaction truly matters in pharma, even with great drugs. A study conducted among 600 immunologists in Europe and the United States indicates that when prescribers are fully satisfied with their journey for a particular drug and with the pharma company’s contribution to it, they are more than twice as likely as dissatisfied ones to prescribe it. By paying more attention to the customer experience, companies can not only increase satisfaction but also boost sales and market share."
Therefore, to succeed in pharma and its related sectors, organisations need effective customer journey experiences as well as differentiated products (differentiated drugs in the case of the above example) which starts with the organisation's customer or target segment. This is the case within B2B pharma markets.
Identifying a typical customer journey within a typical B2B pharma organisation, due to its complex nature, however, can be difficult. Customer journey mapping for one customer might completely differ to another, and where we are always looked on to fully understand the customer journey, including all of its customer touchpoints, rarely is the task achievable or even possible with the layers associated.
This journey consists of key interactions, channels, touchpoints and sequences, as well as the messages themselves, and at times, these vary per customer or per organisation. Of course, it is entirely achievable to gather data from each and form accurate journeys for each target customer (see a previous post on Account-based Marketing for B2B Marketers). But in our experience, this rarely happens - certainly not effectively. Something usually falls by the wayside.
Perhaps a simpler approach can be used?
Think With Google have developed a micro-moments model that notes key customer moments that occurs within a typical customer journey that can help shape marketing messages during these key customer journey stages:
"Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers' expectations are higher than ever. We want things right, and we want things right away."
These moments have been organised into four categories that represent a particular need for customers, signalling an intent, and therefore, an opportunity to communicate and for the organisation to become the provider of the solution.
Source: Think With Google
The moments are as follows...
I-want-to-know moments: When someone is exploring or researching, but is not necessarily in purchase mode.
I-want-to-go moments: When someone is looking for a local business or is considering buying a product in a nearby store. (This is irrelevant for most B2B pharma organisations who operate globally, unless this takes place within a show.)
I-want-to-do moments: When someone wants help completing a task or trying something new.
I-want-to-buy moments: When someone is ready to make a purchase and may need help deciding what to buy or how to buy it.
During each moment, where customers are essentially requesting help (or help in the form of information), according to Google, organisations can be there to provide this help, bringing those customers closer to the organisation by:
Being there: Anticipating the micro-moments for your target audience and commit to being there to help when those moments occur.
Being useful: Providing a digital experience that's relevant to consumers' needs in the moment and quickly connect people to the answers they are looking for.
Being accountable: Creating a seamless customer experience across all the screens and channels. and measure the collective impact across them, too
Here, marketers can categorise the key moments that customers are likely to interact with an organisation, and craft all messages according to such needs. A marketing strategy that meets these needs can help the organisation become more customer-centric and deliver on such customer-centric goals.
Orientation Marketing's new monthly newsletter featuring science marketing and media insights to help put the science into your marketing.
McKinsey also states: "A truly customer-focused approach would start by asking individual prescribers what really matters to them. If a particular prescriber doesn’t feel confident about prescribing a new biologic drug, for example, the rep can put them in touch with key opinion leaders and provide compelling case studies to illustrate the drug’s clinical effectiveness for different patient profiles."
Of course, individual organisations are required to create personas, map out and understand customer journeys, identify gaps and opportunities and craft marketing messages (as well as products) for these potential problem/opportunity areas. Most pharma companies have multiple sources of customer experience data to be able to accurately complete these tasks. But those sources tend to be fragmented and isolated; compiling them may take months, even years.
Many marketing strategies and marketing experts in the pharma space will indicate that to begin on a customer-centric approach would be to listen to the customer. Using the micro-moments model to understand how customers think during key stages of the buyers' journey - specifically answers questions and understanding current data - achieves this and may be enough in an age where complications can halt the most effective of marketing strategies within some of the largest organisations.
- Marketing Orientation Approaches
- How to Communicate a Scientific Product Launch
- Pharma Product Differentiation: Types, Sources and Approaches