Monday, December 3, 2012

Message to Pharma CEOs: Forget prices increases, retain customers first!

This may be an older article from May 2011 by FiercePharma but it caught our eye and is still very relevant a year and a half later.  What is the moment when reality and perception converge for the Pharma industry?  What will happen when the CEOs of all the top life science companies need to tell their boards there is no more room for growth?  We hope someone in these organizations is spending some time on this subject, because the time is now.

We have always suggested there is a new era of engaging with customers.   The media for connecting with your customers is constantly evolving, and today, these methods of customer interaction are changing faster than ever.  But the majority of industries are slow to catch up, especially life science companies.  Yet, regardless of the marketplace conditions, the pace of change or current technologies, we believe in maintaining focus on the golden rule.  Treat customers as you would like to be treated as a person!  Through the years, the industry has continued to see things differently.  And then, when faced with events such as the patent and fiscal cliff, the drug industry seems to be out of answers.

This leads us to our current advice.  Do more with the business you currently earn! Our advice is to start managing the expectations of your boards that lower earnings and revenues are going to be a way of life if you do not take this focus.  Of course, this is unless you plan to revamp your research and development efforts to be wildly successful, but that discussion will require its own post. 

Firstly, look to BRIC nations for your future growth and develop harvest strategies for Europe and the US.   Secondly (and possibly more importantly), focus on making sure refills, re-orders, and customer complaints are managed more effectively rather than the constant focus on creating demand for your products/services.  It is evident that you have a large number to fill every year.  Globally, pharmaceutical companies lose an estimated $564 billion annually in revenues due to failed medication adherence (see study by Capgemini Consulting).  And with stats like the finding that 75% of first time statin users discontinue use within the first year of therapy, the focus needs to be retaining customers. It seems that much time (and money) is spent working on the same insufficient “brand-building” strategies.  Medication adherence programs work!  Why not mandate that all your products and brands make them an integral part of their marketing plan?  Let’s change the focus going forward and recoup some of that $564 billion.

No comments:

Post a Comment