Closed-Loop Marketing: Is Pharma Really Closing the Loop?

By Jeff Gaus

Closed-Loop Marketing is one of the largest opportunities for pharma marketers. I use the word “opportunity” intentionally because I don’t feel that pharma is taking full advantage. (Full disclosure, Prolifiq does not make CLM/e-detailing software). E-detailing originated as the digital evolution of detailing conversations and it bridged the gap in the digital transition. Here we are, years later, and e-detailing is still about “show and tell”. Closed-Loop Marketing software (CLM) is designed to do just that: close the loop, but is it really doing that? Are marketers realizing ROI from e-detailing conversations?

Big Data and Closed-Loop Marketing

While I can’t answer definitively, my guess is no. I believe the reason is e-detailing conversations aren’t always a two-way street. “Show and tell” is great for the reps, but what are physicians getting out of it besides a product pitch? Do reps capture data during conversations? How is the data being used? In this article, the top 5 pharma marketing trends, K-Message is spot-on in their first prediction: leveraging the advantages of closed loop marketing and Big Data by more mature organizations. They predict data collected from all aspects of multichannel marketing campaigns will help big pharma marketers identify behavior patterns, segment physicians and optimize their content.

Turn Insights into Actions

In the research report; Closed-Loop Marketing in Pharma Has Yet to Close the Loop, Gartner identifies pharma marketing’s inability to close the loop and propose improvements to existing processes. According to Gartner, “begin exploring predictive modeling as a way to turn insights into actions. Recognize that data integration is key to marrying up causal activities (what is shown and discussed) with results (what the doctor or group of doctors prescribe as a result).”* Click here to read the full report.

I’d take K-Message’s 2014 prediction one step further: predict what physicians want next and provide it. That’s the biggest challenge for pharma marketers: knowing what to do with the data and making it actionable now.

  1. Ensure you are collecting enough data so that you can close the loop.
  2. Determine what you want/need to do with the data in order to close the loop.
  3. Look at how “the last mile” or the final leg of the buying cycle to make the data actionable. Would certain physician interactions close the loop?

As this article eloquently states, data is worthless if it’s not actionable. Big data or small data, it’s not about the size, it’s how you leverage it to make better business decisions. Pharma marketers should stop talking about closing the loop and shake up their process so that they are truly closing the loop.

* Gartner Report: “Closed-Loop Marketing in Pharma Has Yet to Close the Loop” by Dale Hagemeyer, September 14, 2013

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