eyeforpharma Barcelona day two live blog

As day two 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 two here

Day two – 19th March 2014



Di Mondo implores the audience to not be afraid to test new channels to see if they work – the old learning concept of #failbetter as those on Twitter call it. He goes on to discuss KPIs, which have been undermentioned today I feel, as it is important to know as early as possible if you are winning or losing. He breaks them down into financial, operational and business. Getting KPIs right is always hard – too many makes it unworkable, but too few, or the wrong ones, make them irrelevant. The further away the activity is from the sales decision then the more upfront analysis and careful consideration of KPIs is needed.

Right – that’s it for day two here in Barcelona. More coming tomorrow morning on the final day. Thanks again for following the action and for all the tweets!

17:33 CET

More reinforcement from di Mondo of understand, then engage, then adapt. Interesting to hear someone from the generics side also talking about the customer journey, but logical as in many ways branding / customer experience on this side of the patent cliff is more important than in innovative pharma. He does accept that the stakeholder landscape is slightly simpler for him thought as the focus is firmly on the pharmacists.

17:28 CET

Right, quick charge and back in for the final session with Yannick di Mondo, who is talking about how to practically synchronise your channels. Formerly of Bristol-Myers Squibb, he is now with Mylan so has gone from branded pharma to generics. This should make for an interesting presentation as I know others who have done so and found the commercial environment quite different.

17:19 CET 

One more session to come today and just had to step out briefly to put some juice in the laptop. Great venue here in Barcelona but not abundant with plug sockets in the meeting rooms! Back in shortly to cover the final presentation (with apologies to Nobre).

17:06 CET

Nobre continues to explore how the remote detail works, with text messaging being an important component of this – open rates are typically 99%, which beats email by a little bit! 

16:58 CET

Frederico Nobre gets the audience’s attention at the start of his talk by warning against ‘pimping our companies’ on the outside but not changing on the inside. Again, it’s not about the shiny tech alone but cultural change to deliver new ways of multichannel engagement.

16:45 CET

Laurent Flouret, from Sanofi, is describing its approach to helping surgeons become more confident using its product, by using virtual simulation techniques to enhance learning, via the Microsoft Kinect technology. Sounds funky but interested to see where the multichannel element comes in, or perhaps this is more an example of immersive learning. Seems to be more the latter, but still commendable.

16:25 CET

More multichannel track coverage and Peter de Jong from Elsevier presenting on the evolution of CME. Some interesting survey stats, including only 3% of doctors extremely satisfied with pharma CME and videos again coming out as very popular media. That said, only 23% of doctors said they would not welcome pharma as a CME provider, so a clear message that the industry needs to keep doing it, but better. 


@KayWesley tweets: e4pbarca MCM – from Reach the Customer to Know the Customer. Agree.


15:44 CET

The final post-lunch session wraps up, with the conclusion of the MSD Italy case study. Key takeaways are to really know your customers (and do advanced segmentation), align outreach around their preferences and educate / train internal resources around this new way of working – clear and shared understanding internally is critical. 

Now…more coffee!

15:37 CET

The story gets picked up with an example of what MSD is doing in Italy, where 30% of the budget is spent on multichannel. A key aspect of what they have done is to rebuild the customer engagement structure around multichannel and the customer journey. Again a recurring message around how technology must be an enabler and this also requires the right people side – structure, skills, leadership.


@PhilippeKirby tweets: Customer journey usually triggered/started by Pharma, the trick is to have the customer start it… Real pull mktg. #e4pbarca


15:28 CET

Interesting visualisation of multichannel from Bergmann being presented as a customer journey over time, encompassing multiple personal and non-personal interactions, rather than a concurrent multi-pronged attack. The endpoint is a buying decision / buying change at the end of the pathway and mirrors how we make our own buying decisions every day, but needs efficient technology to scale for multiple customers. Some wide-eyed observers in here!

15:22 CET

Shahani says competitive advantage comes from being able to take action quickly, so gathering data and insights must be extremely efficient as a process. Now over to Martina Bergmann to discuss practical application of the theory in Boehringer Ingelheim. Interesting elaboration on the non-personal (email, mail, fax etc.) versus personal (face-to-face) division of multichannel, which flies against traditional digital versus non-digital separation and probably a more sensible way to look at things from customer perspective.

15:16 CET

Shahani: the marketing maturity curve goes from push marketing, to data integration (360 degree view), then channel and customer integration and finally informed marketing, where ROI is optimised across personal and non-personal interactions. Pharma companies are at different stages of evolution along that curve. The process for improvement is about listening / collecting data to get the right customer understanding, identifying customer preferences, following through continuously, ensuring continuity across channels and being able to analyse in time to adapt quickly. He asks pharma to be honest about how integrated its customer data really is.

15:11 CET 

Kabir Shahani from IMS Health starts the final pre-break session on multichannel marketing. He sees a tipping point taking place, with the majority of HCPs (51%) being digitally native in Europe for the first time in 2014. Five billion healthcare searches are conducted every year in the UK alone. But Shahani outlines how a full 360 degree approach has to embrace both non-personal and personal interactions – this is not about digital versus non-digital, but multichannel is about enhancing personal promotions via various channels.

15:00 CET

Vidal reminds the audience that it takes a lot of effort to get doctors to open one single email, but it is very easy to send one bad one and go right back to square one. This is about design as well as content – responsive design is an essential part so they can view easily on smartphones. Think larger buttons, larger links, larger text, more white space and, of course, engaging content. Good content needs to be honest, factual, not just about your products, non-aggressive and show clearly how doctors can use the information to help their patients.

14:54 CET

Vidal: In Belgium, Lilly has developed tailored email marketing campaigns to doctors so they can fill in the gaps from rep discussions. Reps open the door by asking if doctors want to engage via certain media (e.g. webcast, presentation) and in response the open rates for the permission-based outreach email are >90%. Customer satisfaction surveys show a positive response from doctors too, so I can see this being rolled out in other geographies. This email thing could catch on… 🙂 

14:45 CET

Monica Vidal (Eli Lilly) starts her presentation with stats about the overwhelming volume of email – biggest use of smartphones for doctors is checking email (82% of them checking promotional emails according to Manhattan). She questions whether we are really thinking mobile when developing multichannel campaigns – the open rate for emails on smartphones has gone from 10% to 43% between 2011 and 2013. It might seem dull but is email still the most important component of multichannel?


@teobocconi tweets: Great from Ragnar Gaseby from @Merck for #multichannel #mktg “the key is Change Mngt”. Totally agree #e4pbarca


14:38 CET

Short and to the point from Gaseby – give doctors what they want not just what you want to tell them, which many others are also saying. Very simple, but a lot of pharma commercial activity flies against this and focusses on push marketing / selling, so some blockers must remain. Ah-hah – Gaseby responds to a question around the biggest obstacle he has faced with ‘change management’, another recurring theme from the event around the difficulties of changing old behaviours despite knowing what needs to be done.

14:34 CET

Gaseby highlights how the proportion of doctors accessible / worth accessing via sales force is decreasing for effective ROI. How to access them? Again, tailored, dynamic, engaging content comes out as a key factor. He believes the customer journey has to involve more than just branded content, or it will be isolated and brand-by-brand. Can I throw my theory out there at this point about the blending of corporate, disease area and brand comms?

Next slide: Univadis! Merck has a somewhat unique asset here allowing for non-branded engagement and building trust, but could any other pharma afford to duplicate that model now? Merck’s approach now blends unbranded content and branded, utilising Univadis, which delivers much better engagement / open rates on branded messages where they are using the platform. 

14:25 CET

Back from lunch and Ragnar Gaseby (Head of MultiChannel, Merck) gets the multichannel track started again. His lead message is how austerity is changing the industry and fuelling the rise of HTAs, with 2012 being the first year of overall decline for pharma.

12:08 CET

The conclusion from Andrew Schorr – support patients but don’t try to control them as you need to be a prominent, trusted stakeholder in their disease area, plus don’t assume that speaking to advocacy groups connects you to all patients. Hannah’s view from within pharma is that this sort of engagement is happening but always more that can be done, takes time and must be for the long-term. 

Great audience question – should doctors push patients to get involved with advocacy groups? Response from Schorr / Simons – no, they don’t do this and don’t have time so not realistic, plus some challenges around them feeling they lose control. This is changing on the latter point, in my opinion, but doctors will always be time pressed and empowered patients take more time!

Now the event heads into workshops and a networking lunch, so back at 14:20 CET with more on multichannel marketing.

11:55 CET

Schorr: the myth that older patients are not using the internet is ‘baloney’. Patient Opinions Leaders are cropping up everywhere and pharma must adapt processes to engage with them – they are in turn impacting how doctors respond to pharma engagement. Some recent research he has conducted (1,300 respondents – mainly cancer patients – in two weeks!) reveals that 72% are not confident in what they know about their disease,  67% are looking for expert advice and they love video. Critically, 85% are likely to discuss what they find with their doctor and, on the back of this, it leads to a discussion about new treatment options 22% of the time. Worth reading those stats again if you work in pharma – some lightbulbs pinging into brightness I think!

11:47 CET

Now talking – Andrew Schorr from the Patient Empowerment Network and two time cancer survivor. An interesting stat to start – 63% of women and 73% of men don’t go for more than an hour during the day without checking their phone – mobile health is here! He quotes Professor Elliott Joslin in saying “the patient who knows the most lives longest…patient education is not one of the treatments, it is the treatment”. We are now seeing a new era of ‘Patient Opinion Leaders’.

11:41 CET

Simons sees a dearth of good information for patients online and easy-to-consume media such as short video proving very engaging. Joint ventures are needed to develop and bring such media to patients, plus ensure their ideas can be listened to and used to adapt healthcare engagement for pharma and all stakeholders. 


@cellohealth tweets: Patient engagement: Real #insight into what your #patient wants extends to more than just their #treatment needs #e4pbarca


11:30 CET

Virgil Simons: as patient advocates we are really business consultants. He presents some stats showing 72% of internet users look for health information online, but only 11% believe pharma information is trustworthy, highlighting how trust is one key barrier to patient engagement (which mirrors Jane Griffiths’s thoughts from day one). But he also sees pharma having to adapt to a more partnership model around involving patients, which starts with listening and identifying mutually beneficial collaboration. Simons has helped created The Prostate Net, which brings patients together globally and helps drive change – pharma needs to take part. Sanofi, for example, via its Partners in Patient Health site is already doing so and more pharma adopting this approach.

11:25 CET

Gagen says pharma must be brave when engaging patients, but not reckless. Have a legal team that don’t say ‘no’ as default and will try to support engagement but also know when you could risk crossing the lines. Pharma must understand what patients really want for technology, apps, beyond the pill etc. to be applied properly.

11:19 CET

Back from coffee and taking a break from sales and marketing to sit in on the patient panel, as patient empowerment is changing the dialogue between pharma and prescribers. Hannah Gagen, from Boehringer Ingelheim, kicks things off with the concept of the ‘missing mile’ – the gap between good new medicines and them being effectively used in the real world. She feels we get too hung up on terms like patient, epatient etc. And pharma needs to see them as real people plus should be trying to engage with them more directly, within the compliance regulations.

10:37 CET

Tim Ringrose: we asked doctors what they really want from pharma. Lower drug costs, more honest advice, put patients first, be more human etc.

Time for a short coffee break…

10:31 CET

Deni Baschiera is now wrapping up the M3 Europe presentation. The usual stats showing how much doctors love online are shown – 89% of docs using physician portals and growing. First mention from a speaker (I think) of ‘fish where the fish are’ as he shows how Europe has an abundancy of physician communities (and in fairness not just showing M3 ones!), which are easier to get internal buy-in to engage with than open social media. To come back to the fish for a moment, while this is often quoted it is less often practised in my opinion – pharma should question ‘build’ versus ‘engage’ approaches. His conclusion – while content is king, content curation is queen.

10:24 CET

Cowderoy says the right process is simple. Meet HCPs in their own environment, listen to what they want, build stuff they want, make sure it’s win-win and keep doing this. She would organise pharma digital marketing around two simple functions – listening and doing.


@felixjackson tweets: 30% of P&G ad spend is on digital but only 6% of #pharma’s. #e4pbarca


10:22 CET

Jenny Cowderoy (M3 Europe) picks up the story and asks whether pharma is really doing multichannel or pushing via lots of channels? A clear message is that doctors love technology – they spend 20 hours a week online and consider digital channels more influential than reps, according to their research. She sees a massive gap between the power of digital and what pharma is currently doing. Here, we see a figure of 6% of pharma budget going on digital, versus P&G (30%) and 44% of total UK ad spend on digital.

10:15 CET

Tim Ringrose (M3 Europe) now presenting with a colleague and client from Bristol-Myers Squibb. He kicks off by talking about paradoxes in medicines and pharma marketing. A picture of people clambering over the Berlin wall is used to illustrate how patients are clamouring for life saving medicines but are often blocked by regulatory and payer process. The second paradox he sees is pharma push promoting to doctors, which doctors don’t like, but they do want information from pharma. A word cloud is presented showing what doctors feel about pharma – money and profit stand out.

10:08 CET

An important point from Gouviea is that traditional CRM (in many industries) is about scheduling interaction with customers, but it needs to go further and ensure the content of the interaction is relevant otherwise it is just spamming people via multiple channels. Her close on multichannel engagement – make it simple, relevant and personal. Question from the audience – what is the difference between CRM and CLM? It’s what you do with it!

10:00 CET

Gouveia outlines how the thinking of everyone in pharma needs to change around digital / social media – less than 5% of current promotional spend is on digital, so pharma is lagging behind other industries. The way forward – she thinks pharma needs a roadmap (CRM) and a flashlight (analytics) to drive activity in the right way. Janssen is focussing on ensuring CRM is directed externally towards better interaction, rather than internal command and control, but CRM is only good if people use it – this is their major challenge.

09:54 CET

Patricia Gouveia (Janssen) now up and neatly grabs people’s attention by bringing Buddhist principles into pharma multichannel, with respect to the stress caused by feeling that you are losing control due to social media. Half the audience are now meditating. 


@gozdedinc tweets: Number of followers in social media is a foolish way of measuring success. @JohnPugh #e4pbarca


09:49 CET

Pugh concludes with a mention of the new version of Syrum (of course!). A key theme from his presentation is around aligning social media with other events, building specific hubs for particular individuals, countries and diseases and using promoted social media to attract people, which is OK provided they then engage and are relevant.

09:46 CET

John Pugh is explaining about an upcoming report called ‘The future of health’ coming out soon and supported by Boehringer Ingelheim, which talks about how technology is changing healthcare through wearable self-monitoring devices and other cool advances. Also, in addition to the company Facebook page, they have developed bespoke pages such as the hypertension hub page and used promoted social media to acquire the right people – average cost per physician attracted of just over £8, which is pretty cheap compared to a rep call!

09:40 CET

John Pugh showing how Boehringer Ingelheim has been a leader in conducting tweetchats aligned around disease issues (something I have been fortunate enough to be involved in supporting them with). The level of reach and engagement attained by tweetchats is massive – six figure audience reach and a great way to discuss key issues. Their tweetchats have often been aligned to events / awareness periods, e.g. ASCO, ESC etc. Promoted tweets have been used to draw the right people into the tweetchat and those attained by this route have been very engaged. 

09:35 CET

Pugh: you don’t measure success in social media by number of followers, but by engagement. Interesting stats being presented on ‘reach’ versus followers – Boehringer Ingelheim has the same reach as Novartis with less than half the followers. His golden rules for twitter – tweet often, engage, retweet. He did an experiment where he got a freelance person to work on getting him 10,000 extra Twitter followers in 7 weeks and this is pretty easy to do, but meaningless!

09:31 CET

Now talking: John Pugh from Boehringer – the man behind Syrum and a key figure driving social within pharma. He points out that if social media is defined as openly discussing medicines then pharma can never do it. But at the disease level this is entirely possible and Boehringer is doing lots of work across different social media channels aligned to different disease areas and countries. This illustrates one of the key principles of social engagement, which is engaging where your audience is.


@garethdabbs tweets: sex and multichannel in the morning of day 2 – people are now awake if they weren’t already.


09:22 CET

Schaffer concludes with a recurrent message about multichannel emerging from the event – it’s not about bombarding people via more channels, but using multiple channels to listen to what they want and then adapting the approach and channels back. First question from the audience – how do you define success? Does that count as the first mention of ROI today? Schaffer responds that it was about increasing the talk about contraception and social media listening showed this was the case.

09:15 CET

Schaffer describes the multimedia and interactive approach to promoting contraception, e.g. using videos to explain about issues but also inviting contributions and advocating the notion that there are different types of contraception for different people. Visitors are asked to fill in all kinds of questions about their personal life, which can then be compared to others but driving at making them feel they are individuals and their contraception is individual. Interestingly, MSD has aligned the activities with external events, such as the Roskilde Festival (music) and inviting users to post photos via Instagram, which drove interaction and traffic.

09:10 CET

Back for day two of eyeforpharma Barcelona and after a brief intro from Prolifiq’s Jeff Gaus, Susanne Schaffer from MSD Denmark is now talking about a multichannel campaign for contraception.

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