EyeForPharma, Philadelphia – David Lennon, VP & Franchise Head for US Oncology at Novartis, showed the #efpphilly crowd where we’re at as an industry with technology and data and where our opportunities lie for greater collaboration.

He started with a photo of a little boy. The amount of information that will be recorded about him in his lifetime will be is astronomical. Every exam, procedure, claim and interaction will fill the foundation of a fully digitized health record.

That information will change what we know and how we work.

The increasingly digital patient journey gives us the opportunity to see what’s really happening vs. what we’re being told. We can understand decision patterns and ultimately predict what interventions are needed to change an outcome.

Lennon observed that while our world is moving so quickly to digital immersion, the way we connect is not. In fact, today, we still rely on personal promotion at ~10x the rate we invest in digital:

  • $24 billion is invested in personal promotion
  • $5.6 billion is invested in direct-to-consumer
  • $2 billion is invested in digital advertising

Four reasons for the disconnect:

  1. Limits of regulation
  2. Belief in ROI
  3. Speed
  4. Scale

Of the four, Lennon says the last two are the true barriers. He asked, “If you had $25 million, would you add 100 full-time sales reps or invest in digital marketing?”

Most brands would choose the sales reps because they know how to do it. They probably don’t know where to spend that $25 million in digital to have real impact.

That’s because we have operational maturity in sales operations. There’s a rigorous process and centralized, professional resources. Digital doesn’t have that. There’s no clear path. There are steps that require de-centralized management, inconsistent measurement, and more experience than most of us have.

Professionalizing those operations is the key to how we get to speed and scale.

Lennon laid out components of becoming a digitally-centric, measurement-centric organization:

  1. Ingest: What data sources will be utilized and how will that data be managed?
  2. Process: How will data be processed for insights?
  3. One of the companies they’ve been partnering with is IBM Watson to integrate data into detailed patient journeys that show the unique pathways key segments take in treatment choice. They can use that to trigger field reps to be in the office at the moment that switch is happening. They allso use COTA nodal addressees to compare outcomes.
  4. Deploy: How will operational platforms let us integrate at scale? What is the process design that will enable you to do this? To answer this comprehensively, Lennon recommends starting with clarity of purpose, then thinking about scalability, flexibility and raising the competency of marketers
  5. Impact: How will the technology ensure rigor and discipline in measurement?

The goal is to get to a culture of measurement in which marketers are competing for time on the analytics agenda instead of competing for resources based on intuition.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for shaping the company’s perspective on the next era of healthcare marketing. Through thought leadership, strategic innovation workshops and new products and capabilities, Leigh focuses on identifying marketing approaches that will fuel that new era and generate significant growth for clients. Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for over 17 years. She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she had several leadership roles at one of our agencies, GSW. There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business. Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes. A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice, Leigh also was recognized as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.