For example, let's think about typical direct-to-consumer (DTC) marketing in the digital space. By and large, the focus had been on huge efforts against Share of Voice to drive awareness -- similar to offline objectives -- and traffic to a product site with the hopes of motivating the visitors to ask their physician for a prescription. If the brand was really on its game, it offered some sort of RM program to help patients stay adherent. In short, we believed the ability to drive brand preference was firmly within our domain, and within the walls of our brand site.
If we step back and think about that model relative to people's behavior on the web, the cracks begin to quickly show. Clearly, decisions around treatment options are happening in myriad places and, oftentimes, the brand site isn't even remotely part of the consideration set. These differences get really thrown into relief when you begin mapping patient behaviors, needs and wants across their treatment continuum and overlay it with the marketing touchpoints brands are using. In short, most DTC is far from customer-centric in the sense of delivering what patients need, when they need it, to help them make the most informed decision possible.
My colleagues and I have been talking to clients about changing this dynamic and moving away from being so focused on Share of Voice to something more akin to Share of Influence. The notion is that to be customer-centric in a world of empowered customers, the goal is to actually make them more powerful.
That means deeply understanding the inflection points that lead to different decisions about how they're managing their health (or the health of others) and being with them in a variety of environments in a manner that contributes to their empowerment rather than simply telling them brand messages.
It also means looking critically at the amount of energy and effort brands apply to the four primary stages of the treatment lifecycle (symptom, diagnosis, treatment, adherence) and ensuring that the effort aligns with both the lifecycle of the brand and where patients are in their continuum.
What are the business implications if brands focus on Share of Influence? There are several. For one, brands need to think less about developing a singular marketing message and blanketing the world with it and more about deconstructing their story into tailored messages that resonant based on the question someone is answering at a specific point in time along the continuum.
It also means being much more interested in distributing stories, content and tools across a large digital ecosystem than building the perfect brand site. Both of those efforts have significant implications for how brands approach and plan for legal and regulatory review. Effectively leveraging Share of Influence also means being much less about advertising and much more about offering solutions that provide better outcomes, which can come in the guise of many different things -- content, tools, offers, etc.
Finally, it requires actively measuring all of this and weighing the impact it is having on driving patient outcomes and business growth. We think a truly customer-centric approach requires all of the above, and offers a bounty of opportunity for the brand that does it.
Let's see if Share of Influence can be the first real step towards remaking pharma into world class companies organized around the needs of their customers. That, I think we can all agree, would be one big, sweet step forward.