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10th Annual Sales Force Effectiveness & Digital Marketing in Pharma Summit

2 September 2020

Jose Luis LUNA

Global Brand Director

Questions for Jose Luis Luna

Patient-centeredness and business growth – can pharma have both? What value can patient-centric approach bring to the business?

When a person, group of individuals or a company clearly defines what business they are in, all of their activities will take them there.
I am in the business of “making health”, this means that the core of what I do is centred on those people affected by a disease (patient centricity).
Business growth is a broad term that encompasses multiple factors: financial metrics such as sales growth, share growth, profitability, net profit margin, etc., market and customer impact metrics such as preference share, share of voice, brand awareness, engagement (social media and other channels), etc.
When looking at what drives every metric and the interdependencies that exist among all of them, we can clearly see the impact of right choices made with our customers.
Being patient-centric is necessary for companies that truly believe in the concept of making health. Business growth will happen because of it.
The advances in technology and information are positively influencing the role that patients have in their journeys. Their voices are stronger, their opinions are taken more and more into account on key decisions moments by multiple organisms, not only pharma. The more we truly connect and work with and for patients the more positive impact we will see in the metrics we choose to measure growth. The voice of the patient is a game changer in pharma, from product development, regulatory approval and commercialisation.

How to find the right mix of digital and in-person contact within customer journey to fit patient’s individual needs?

Data analyst might differ from my opinion, but I do not believe there is a magic formula that indicates exactly what the proportion of digital vs. in-person engagement should take place. Customer journeys vary depending on the disease area (e.g. chronic, acute diseases) and it is affected by multiple macro and micro factors.
Having a clear understanding of the customer’s journey, its pain points, our customer expectations, barriers, etc. will allow us to define the right mix. Methodologies such as design thinking, scrum, innovation, etc. provide good basis to truly connect with people and understand the opportunities for supporting them.
One important rule in today’s world is agility. Customer needs evolve over time and it is our duty to remain relevant. The current pandemic has taught us how quickly we sometimes need to adapt, reinvent and be there with our customers.

To what extend do you think will the sales model change in the immediate future? Will the relationship between sales reps and customers be affected?

Situations like the one we are currently living in impact the model we all know as “company representative – customer”. Many could think that sales reps could become less relevant in the future, but I am more of the idea that situations like this pandemic show us an opportunity to upskill our customer-facing teams, equip them and enhance their value.
Do not forget the essence of the customer-facing teams: they are the relationship builders, product experts and the extension of the business. They are the face of the company.
Digital integration should also consider integrating that essence and value. There are new concepts such as “digital sales-rep”, “digital medical expert”, “digital CIOPs (Scientific Operations)” which keep that essence and integrate it into the digital omnichannel approach.
We can see good responses from customers including openness for this approach. Innovation and evolution will continue to take place of course.

Jose is a passionate and patient-centric executive within the pharma industry with over 15 years of local and global marketing expertise in the field of rare diseases, oncology & hematology. He co-authored two per-reviewed abstracts presented at five international medical congresses (ACR, EULAR, ATS) and published in recognised medical journals.
Conceived the award-winning disease awareness campaign “More than Scleroderma” (, a patient-centric campaign designed and developed to increase awareness of a rare disease (scleroderma). Co-created with global patient organisations around the world to produce the campaign, which received special recognition among others from the British Medical Association in 2019 and contributed to Boehringer Ingelheim receiving the EURORDIS Black Pearl Award 2020.
Connecting with people to generate change through effort, passion and ambition is his core.

27 August 2020


Vice President Global Head Oncology Marketed Products

The Power of Global/Local Co-Creation in Developing a Winning Marketing Strategy and Securing Commercial Success

Written by Yariv Hefez

In this short article we will explore how to successfully develop a global marketing strategy and marketing outputs that are both global and aligned with the local market needs. To achieve that we should realise that the role of the global strategic marketing team is to support, not dictate, the markets, and help them maximise the local value by leveraging the collective wisdom of the organisation.
In many organisations the marketing strategy, materials, tools and tactics (herein referred to as the marketing outputs) are developed centrally by a global strategic marketing team and then shared with the markets/regions for implementation and execution.
In many cases the local marketing teams who receive these global marketing outputs:

  1. View them irrelevant to their local needs
  2. Do not have the resources or capabilities to implement them
  3. Prefer to generate local materials rather than using the global output

This unfortunate misalignment results in significant effort duplication, waste of resources, frustration, lack of coherent strategy and suboptimal commercial results. To address these issues, we need to reconsider the way in which we develop the global marketing outputs and acknowledge the value of global/local co-creation.
The concept of co-creation helps to ensure that the key global outputs are developed in collaboration with the customer, in our case the major markets. The shift to co-creation of the global marketing outputs could secure three key success factors:

  1. The relevance of the global outputs to the local market need
  2. High level of engagement, increased perceived value and buy-in from the markets
  3. Accelerated speed of implementation of the output by the markets

In order to secure the shift to co-creation, we should consider three key steps:

  1. Acknowledge the issues of the past and the need for a change
  2. Establish a joint task force of global and key markets to develop the marketing outputs
  3. Run workshops to review the newly co-created outputs with a broader group of markets to secure buy in of the co-creation process and outputs by a broader number of markets.

As these three key steps are imperative to a successful shift to co-creation, let us further detail them:

  1. Acknowledge the issue: To successfully drive change, we must have a common understanding of why change is needed. Here we should address the key issues of the past regarding the global outputs, the local implementation and the challenges of competition.
  2. Joint task force: The establishment of the joint task force allows us to bring together the collective wisdom of the local and global teams and their experiences. It allows for an early validation with the key markets of the suggested global strategy, while understanding what the key issues and opportunities are at the local level.
  3. The global workshops: Provide an opportunity to socialise the strategy and marketing outputs with a broader group of markets that did not participate in the development stage and allow them to input into the final draft strategy and outputs to ensure smooth implementation and higher relevance to market needs

After successfully shifting to co-creation, the next step is to secure implementation, adequate resourcing and the ability to incorporate feedback; this is done by applying the wave cycle process. The establishment of the wave cycle process is a way to agree with the key markets on:

  1. What output global will deliver during the year and what will be developed locally
  2. When the output will be released to the markets
  3. How to provide feedback on the output based on in-market experience

The wave cycle process should be designed and agreed upon in collaboration with the key markets and the release of the global marketing output should be divided into several waves (2 to 3 waves). Each wave should be aligned to the key sales force cycle meetings of the major markets and the key global congresses in the relevant indication where the relevant clinical data is being shared.
The idea is to secure that the scheduling of the waves allows for the localisation of the global output ahead of the cycle meetings, so that the data from the key global congresses about the relevant indications could be leveraged by the commercial sales force (and medical teams*) as soon as practical.
The wave cycle process also allows for a feedback loop, where within a short span of time, following the global marketing output wave, relevant feedback and required adaptation could be incorporated in future waves based on local market input.
The introduction of KPIs to measure the impact, use and implementation of the global marketing output and marketing channels, enables us to prioritise channels that deliver high engagement, eliminate channels that are not effective and generate new channels based on local success.
The wave cycle process supports:

  1. A strong just-in-time strategy and tactics implementation mechanism.
  2. The prioritisation of outputs and channels to be maintained globally vs. developed locally.
  3. Cross-fertilisation across markets through best practice sharing of local success.

The wave cycle process together with the co-creation of the global marketing outputs can contribute significantly to the commercial success of the brand by having a clear focus on the right channels, strategy and tactics. All based on market input and a robust just in time feedback loop that allows continues improvement of the global marketing outputs, to position the brand ahead of competition and on the path to success.
For a higher impact of the co-creation concept and the wave cycle process on the global-local collaboration and business success, it is recommended to use a similar approach for the development of medical materials and secure alignment of the medical and commercial strategy. More on this and the importance of commercial medical collaboration in another article.

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