Commercial innovation: reshaping the life sciences commercial model


Gabrielle Pastore

Cadient Group

In this article, Gabrielle Pastore discusses the importance of commercial innovation in large, and small, life sciences companies. This innovation can be through digital technology or communication channels, such as Facebook, as long as it is in line with your brand strategy.

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.


"Commercial innovation is necessary in large and small life sciences companies..."


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?


"All tactics and any innovative ideas must work to further the primary focus of the brand, delivering on the strategy."


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.

Previous articles from the Cadient Group:

Creating digital marketing success now

How to ‘digitally and socially’ win over your legal / regulatory team




About the author:

Gabrielle Pastore is Vice President of Commercial Strategy and Innovation at Cadient Group. Cadient Group is a leading digital healthcare marketing agency serving a diverse range of industry markets and stakeholders, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, hospital / healthcare systems, institutions and associations.

In her position, Gabrielle and her team of experienced strategists partner with life science companies to identify growth opportunities and to apply commercial innovation strategies that work. She has extensive experience providing strategic direction to pharmaceutical brands in global and national markets.

Prior to joining Cadient Group, Gabrielle was with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals working internationally in both the UK and Asia-Pacific as Global Commercial Innovation Director. She was the lead Japan consultant to AstraZeneca Global teams and led the introduction of multiple global initiatives, including new sales channels and mobile and digital marketing in the Asia-Pacific market.

Her broad ranging experience in the pharmaceutical industry includes product management, sales, and brand strategy and marketing. She is a graduate of North Carolina State University where she has the distinction of having been awarded two separate Bachelor of Science degrees, one in Agricultural Business Management, the other in Animal Science.

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How can pharma build on commercial innovation?


27 September, 2012