eyeforpharma Barcelona day three live blog

As day three of the eyeforpharma Barcelona event takes place, Paul Tunnah provides regular updates, sponsored by IMS Health, on the sessions and issues discussed.


 View the summary from day three here

Day three – 20th March 2014


13:05 CET

And with that, day three comes to a close. Expect to see a summary from me soon, as per days one and two, but THANK YOU too all those who have followed the live blog, shared via social channels or engaged directly. I hope it’s been useful and would love to hear your feedback via whatever route works best for you, or the site contact form.

Finally, just to acknowledge again the support from IMS Health, without whom this live blogging would not have happened, so do check out the link above if you have a minute.

See you all again soon!


12:55 CET

Meyna is another speaker to bring up change management. It seems pharma has realised that, even with the right push (environmental change) and pull (technology, big data), new sales and marketing approaches do not happen by themselves. There are dangers in siloing expertise around, e.g. digital or mobile technology, when everyone needs to understand it. Now – an iPad demonstration.

12:46 CET

Interesting historic defintion of multichannel marketing (integrated activities across many channels) and closed-loop marketing (reacting to customer feedback in future marketing) from Meyna, but she agrees with Claus-Kistner that effective marketing needs to now do both together. Capturing customer data is absolutely key to this, in her view, at the level of the individual customer and we are now able to do this with the right technology (sophisticated CRM/CLM). But pharma needs to be tracking both quantitative data and qualitative data. She makes an astute observation that the big wall separating the sales excellence and multichannel marketing conference tracks here in Barcelona mimics the challenge pharma faces!

12:41 CET

Summary from Cardenes: ask the right questions about big data, be creative with the data you already have and then use it to optimize across channels, but be aware of some of the myths around it. And on to the final speaker – Hannah Meyna from Grunenthal, who leads eMarketing, with a case study on interactive detailing.


@KayWesley tweets: #e4pbarca the need to really build trust is more important than ever. Our ‘ strong silent corporate’ image has to go.


12:31 CET

Jesus Cardenes, from Shire Spain, steps up to talk about big data. More stats on the volume of information exchange on the internet to show the scale of data now available, with wearable techology driving more real-time data collection on people / patients. In the future, there will be massive amounts of real-time data being generated on each and every person, which will allow amazing tailored health solutions. But privacy concerns abound about this and pharma has a role to play in helping communicate these issues to people and the associated benefits from big data. Negative / unfounded health journalism that scaremongers is very dangerous for patients.

12:16 CET

A refreshingly honest and to the point presentation from Claus-Kistner, I have to say. But he does see a future or sales – they need to the orchestrators of the customer interaction, not sole agents working outside of multichannel.

12:10 CET

Very interesting advice from Claus-Kistner on how sales should be integrated as one channel of the multichannel marketing mix, but a very sensitive idea to implement within pharma given the historic power of sales over marketing. Some hard messages coming out on how pharma needs to be tougher with sales on accurately capturing customer information to enable true customer-centric engagement. If channels are not working – get rid of them, stop trying to support reps in areas where they are not working. It illustrates the point that the right things to do are not always (in fact rarely are) the easy things to do. Claus-Kistner feels that we have been here before – multichannel marketing used to be called integrated marketing before digital came along. Very clear advice, but I suspect he is not on the head of sales’ Christmas card list!

12:00 CET

Claus-Kistner highlights some of the differences between the pharma sales approach and other industries – it is more information driven. Marketing is inherently information driven, so why do we segregate them so much? He sees a lot of talk about empowering sales and marketing, but giving sales reps iPads does not make them empowered, if it is still for push selling! For him, closed-loop marketing is the key to linking sales and marketing with one cohesive strategy. Maybe it should be rebranded closed-loop sales and marketing (CLSM) to get everyone onboard (my suggestion, not his!).

11:51 CET

Now up – Andreas Claus-Kistner from Roche, who is apparently also a professional chocolatier, but I’m sure there will be no sugar coating of how to implement your sales force into the marketing mix. He starts by promising no more statistics and judging by the applause, I’d say 76% of the audience agree with that.

11:45 CET 

Bock is outlining a toolkit approach to multichannel which involves, you guessed it, change management as a core module. Reinforcement that great solutions and technology also require buy-in and internal skills orientation. The summary: understand external and internal environment, synchronise development of strategy, technology and organisation and monitor on a regular basis.


@garethdabbs tweets: Doctors take an average of 49 seconds to explain a medication to patients. #e4pbarca

(from another track in case you’re wondering what this relates to, but fascinating stat nonetheless)


11:35 CET

In simple terms, Quirk says we need the right strategy, capabilities / governance and technology / data integration for successful multichannel. So why is it so hard? He feels that focussing on what the customer needs is a great start, but can lead pharma away from making the internal changes needed to actually implement multichannel – try to understand your own organisation as well as your customers. Hey presto – here’s a maturity index to check how prepared pharma companies are for multichannel!

11:28 CET

OK – we’re in the countdown to the end of the conference, but first some more advice and insight about multichannel, with Arno Bock and Thomas Quirk from InVentiv leading the charge towards lunch. Their opening message is that the race to become customer-centric is on and customers are pulling away from pharma right now. Listening to what your customers want and how they want to engage is the critical first step – something we have heard a lot people say this week.

10:51 CET

Gonzalez and Cano (Novartis) go on to talk about rewarding positive change. Personal recognition (visibility within the company) can be as important as financial rewards. As a closing comment, Gonzalez stresses how personal commitment and endurance is important – change does not happen overnight and it requires constant effort, some failure along the way (learning) and real persistence to make it work.

Now onto the coffee break for a refuel / recharge!

10:42 CET

The final pre-coffee session is now starting with Ruben Gonzalez and Clara Cano from Novartis, on equipping pharma organisations for change. Novartis’ SMS for Life, designed to tackle malaria, is highlighted as a good application of technology that can make a difference. They go on to explain how change starts by creating a sense of urgency, but you also need high level endorsement from senior management (the sponsor). Then you need internal influencers and the agent(s) of change (internal champions). Once you have that then communicate, communicate, communicate… 

10:33 CET

Interesting Q&A with the doctor. He sees good content as a really important differentiator between good multichannel tools and bad ones – if it is just promotional he has no time for it. Also, he thinks pharma should be asking him upfront what it can do to help him be better educated and network with his peers between meetings. Important takeaway here: get customer (doctor) input early when planning activities!


@CaplinChaos tweets: #e4pbarca self management pt plans can be dangerous pts seek med help too late. The role of the physician and patient interaction is vital.


10:23 CET

Doctor Miravitlles elaborates on what he really wants. Effective, easy to understand guidelines are at the top of the list and he feels technology can help here. The survey again: compliance, time / resources are the biggest challenges in doing multichannel. Tortell explains how we all live multichannel lives, so we know what good multichannel looks like and physicians are giving clear feedback on this too, but we need to collaborate (agency, industry, doctors) to make it happen. Doctor Miravitlles sees multichannel as good for peer-to-peer networking (beyond the big meetings) and education / guidelines, but he is not convinced about it for improving patient outcomes. He has seen tools around patient management deliver worse results for patients because it takes personal resposibility away and is assumptive. My take: build multichannel / tech around the real world and not an idealised HQ view of it.  

10:17 CET

Doctor Miravitlles: we have more patients, less time and less resources – this is what we need help with, but physicians are also very conservative and using new technology takes time to learn. Back to the survey for a moment and the responsibility for insight research around multichannel seems quite disparate within pharma organisations. Great question to the doctor – how often are you asked for your insight around what pharma could / should do? How often does pharma react to this? The doctor responds – firstly, quite often but usually after it has been done rather than in the planning stage. Secondly (and linked to the last point) he does’t feel his views are often taken account of.

10:10 CET

Stephanie Tortell outlines some figures from a research piece on multichannel, spanning the industry and agency side. One emergent point – the industry feels it is committed to and acting on multichannel, but the agencies don’t feel they are following through. There are multiple challenges hindering the implementation of multichannel, particularly the fact that it requires much more micro-enablement. Now, let’s hear what the doctor has to say…

10:06 CET

Funky video intro from Moore on the challenges facing pharma multichannel before we bring the doctor in. One point that stands out from it for me – technology and data companies understand the future of healthcare and are on the move – is pharma reacting quick enough? A new perspective on a previously mentioned stat – 89% of doctors have a smartphone – but many doctors are not allowed to use them while on duty or do not have access to wifi on the ward. Also, don’t forget the 11% who don’t have a smartphone.

09:58 CET

Now stepping up – David Moore and Stephanie Tortell from KnowledgePoint360….with a real, live doctor – Marc Miravitlles (chest physician). Put those detail aids way though, he’s here to talk about what he really needs to improve patient outcomes.

09:53 CET

Anti thinks the overall decline in promotional spending is driven by sales force restructuring and a shift towards potentially more cost-effective multichannel techniques, before moving on to talk about KPIs. Some very traditional metrics being shown such as call frequency, message recall and share of voice, but he highlights a shift towards greater focus on quality of contact when measuring success of congresses, which I suspect will become more the norm for multichannel too as pharma focusses more on quality over quantity. A case study from the diabetes market reinforces this point with more targeted, lower volume activity delivering better results at lower cost versus another brand (I know it sounds a bit abstract without the slides, but it does support the case for quality over quantity).

09:42 CET

Now up – Andrea Anti from Recordati on the changing promotional mix in EU pharma. Some stats to wake people up – in 2012 total promotional spending by pharma actually dropped from the year before and the investment is slowly shifting towards specialist medicines, away from primary care. Here we go – a slide on FTE sales reps in Europe and change over 2011-2013. I’ll be honest, it’s not good news for reps, unless you work in Russia.


@smtortell tweets: @Haider_Alleg #e4pbarca Good point relating to integrating of digital campaigns into the multichannel world. Don’t build in isolation


09:34 CET

OK – we can all hear the pushback – what about adverse events? Alleg outlines processes that can efficiently deal with this so it is not a problem and the benefits outweigh this burden. My view – the volume of reportable online adverse events is much lower than companies think (see the white paper published this week from IMS Health) and it’s much better to know about them than not as regulators are listening too.

Alleg’s conclusions: it’s worth doing, keep it simple, nothing is preventing you from accessing this useful information, but know it’s limitations – it is directive but not the same as traditional market research. Also – stop testing digital activities in an isolated ‘micro’ way as it won’t show what it can really do. He says if you are going to do it give it a proper chance to work.

09:28 CET

Alleg: the biggest challenge with listening / monitoring tools is usability, make it simple. He goes on to highlight how you need to think about what you are going to do with the insight before you start, e.g. what do you want to monitor, who will analyse, how do you disseminate across geographies. After 18 months of launching their social media monitoring at Gideon Richter lots of departments got interested in it and business goals / objectives were set based around it. Once again, the message about ensuring technology is an enabler, not something in its own right, comes to the fore. 

09:23 CET

Alleg talks about how Gideon Richter has built an online listening / data mining strategy, which starts with a snapshot looking at who is talking, who are the influencers, what are they talking about etc. Maps can be constructed which show the connectivity between all those taking part in the online conversation – a snazzy picture is shown which looks a bit like an electron density map used in protein structure determination (any crystallographers reading?), but every dot is a person / channel. He finds it interesting to understand what conversation is taking place outside the clinic – people discussing disease before / outside going to their doctor.

09:17 CET

Sjoquist: We all talk about big data, but do we really understand what it is and how to use it? This links neatly to the first speaker this morning – Haider Alleg from Gideon Richter to talk about online insights mining… 

09:14 CET 

We’re back in the multichannel track for day three at eyeforpharma Barcelona, with the chairman Hans Sjoquist (GCMS) asking if people enjoyed the wonderful nightlife of Barcelona. Judging by the coffee being consumed I’d say the answer is a big yes!

To set the scene he picks up the theme of change and asks why it is so hard. But crisis (patent cliff, cost containment etc.) is forcing pharma to adapt perhaps quicker than might feel comfortable. An interesting slide presented on where the focus should be between sales reps and multichannel, but I wonder if we will start talking about these as an integrated commercial approach soon? 

For links to other outputs from eyeforpharma Barcelona, including live blogs, please visit: