Aventria Perspectives

Four Critical Success Factors for Pharma Strategy

This is a summary of a recent podcast in which Stacey Richter and Dave Dierk, co-presidents of Aventria, discuss critical success factors for pharma marketing strategy. You can find the podcast here: Healthcare, The Third Wave: What’s Critical For Pharma Strategy.

Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, recently observed that we are entering what he calls “The Third Wave” of the digital revolution: the time period when we move from thinking of the Internet as a curiosity/novelty with limited availability (Wave 1) or a place where we can discover new tools and expand our networks (Wave 2) to integrating the Internet into all aspects of our lives (Wave 3). Of particular importance is the rapidly evolving integration of the Internet into the health care industry.

Wave 3, according to Case, creates seemingly constant changes that come at an accelerated pace. In the middle of this vortex are pharma marketers, who are tasked with adapting and planning for an increasingly volatile future. Pharma marketers can proactively position themselves for Wave 3 success by addressing the following critical factors.

 

1. Policy

The importance of understanding the drivers of policy and anticipating change

  • The evolution of payment models is one of the most critical drivers of policy trends
  • The intersection of policy and technology forces pharma to evolve in order to stay relevant and competitive. For instance:
    • Digital health care applications continue to grow
    • Value-based purchasing will become more important and more complex (coordinated care, community-based care, outcomes-driven care)
    • The ACA will continue to drive evolution and shift focus

Action steps to take now:

  • Ask where your market is going and who or what is driving the change
  • Understand and plan for the potential impact of unintended policy consequences
  • Pay close attention to CMS and develop strategies that allow you to stay ahead of the curve

Successful pharma marketers will anticipate and adapt to change in order to maintain their market leadership. This requires vision, commitment and adaptability—all of which create opportunity.

 

2. Partnership

The power of utilizing long-term, sustained partnerships to achieve shared objectives

  • Collaborative partnerships are a primary strategy for:
    • Meeting new primary care directives
    • Exceeding quality standards
  • Partnerships promote aligned objectives and further Triple Aim objectives:
    • Cost reduction
    • Improving population health
    • Improving the patient experience
  • Partnerships are vital in the current environment because:
    • No single organization can do everything well
    • Organizations that don’t consider the objectives and challenges faced by their customers will fall behind

Action steps to take now:

  • Consider how to break down barriers and work together with other stakeholders to help achieve comprehensive outcomes
  • Work toward minimizing technology interoperability challenges

Pharma marketers and organizations who engage in strategic partnerships are more likely to spawn a successful organization over the long term.

 

3. Perseverance

An organizational emphasis on perseverance through short- and long-term planning

  • There’s often an inherent conflict between short-term financial objectives and the long-term reality of industry evolution
  • The predicament is how to think beyond the immediate quarter and prevent unintended consequences:
    • Program leaders may leave
    • Funds may dry up
    • Policy changes may affect perseverance

Action steps to take now:

  • Position the organization for collaborative, positive reaction to change by involving senior leadership in the planning process
  • Consider forward-thinking strategies that go beyond the next quarter or 2 so that maximizing today’s performance does not come at the expense of tomorrow’s performance

By balancing long- and short-term objectives, successful pharma marketers create an organization that will thrive now and over time.

 

4. Commitment to change

Strategy and versatility are core elements in the rapidly evolving marketplace

  • With the health care industry in a near-constant state of flux, an organizational commitment to change is the tie that binds the “Three Ps” (policy, partnerships, perseverance) together
  • A commitment to change is needed in order to:
    • Stay ahead of policy changes
    • Develop long-term, successful partnerships
    • Blend long and short-term strategic planning

Action steps to take now:

  • Be prepared to seek and embrace findings and implement recommended plans to adapt
  • Be willing to evolve as partnerships thrive
  • Understand and embrace the inevitability of change

“A forward-looking strategy exhibits perseverance, vision, and determination without fear of change.”

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