PharmExec Blog

The Truth About Closed-Loop Marketing

Pharma sales forces were out, well, in force for a two-day leadership summit put on by the Center for Business Intelligence this week in Philadelphia. As a newbie on the pharma reporting scene, I eagerly await these conference opportunities…especially the ones that deal with important sales management topics. This conference, in particular, presented sessions on just about every topic under the sales force sun—from cool new ways to reach physicians to interactive detailing and closed-loop promotion. In particular, I appreciated Matt Pammer’s presentation on examining the benefits and challenges of a rep-facilitated e-detailing program, and how it can complement a sales force strategy.

Pammer, executive director, IS client engagement for AstraZeneca, led a one-hour session that not only defined closed-loop marketing for me (finally!), but also provided a rundown of six keys for successful promotion:

1. Focus on digital content development. In other words, work closely with advertising agencies to identify what capabilities are appropriate for your brand. You don’t want anything in your ad taking away relative information from the consumer; there’s “no value to the discussion” if that occurs.
2. Speed the content-approval process. Ongoing education of key stakeholders is crucial. Pammer confidently admitted that AstraZeneca should have taken a more modular approach at the beginning.
3. Create and sustain marketing ownership. If you find problems flaring up in your marketing programs, take a step back and identify accountabilities.
4. Encourage sales engagement. To put it the Pammer way: “Tame the big brother fear.” It’s understandable that you can’t tell reps a specific way to sell. Instead, focus on usage and don’t short-circuit the training either. Training technology is reinforcement.
5. Integrate and focus on technologies. There is no such thing as an “insignificant” change with technology.
6. Practice organization-wide investment support. It’s not cheap but it’s measurable and will pave the way for future sales force technologies to follow. With the right hardware, CLP can do its job!

The future of closed-loop marketing is here. AstraZeneca has employed it for five years, and has reaped the benefits. By exploring trends with these capabilities in the marketplace, sales reps can produce similar results.

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