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  • Measuring multichannel marketing: Pharma plays catch-up
    • 04/18/17
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Measuring multichannel marketing: Pharma plays catch-up

    Is your organization ahead of or behind the multichannel marketing curve? Now is an ideal time to play catch-up.

    • 03/31/17
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Dispatches from eyeforpharma: Digitizing patient and professional engagement

    One week prior to eyeforpharma, the city saw one of the most stunning modern football* feats when Barcelona defeated Paris St.-Germain 6-1. eyeforpharma was a sideshow in Barcelona, but the center stage for an industry reinventing its sales and marketing model.

    I had the pleasure of chairing two tracks: Digital Transformation and Customer Engagement. Speakers shared “how-to” guides for effecting change with an emphasis on practical advice with case studies.

    Where is pharma when you need them?

    Google’s director of healthcare, Ryan Olahan, challenged the industry to move faster, think bigger, win the micro moments, help first (sell drugs later) and embrace an openness to rapid testing/learning. He emphasized that pharma companies are not necessarily present where and when consumers need support. Mobile searches for health information spike after doctor’s visits, and YouTube hosts volumes of user-generated video content that meets patients’ needs. Yet pharma is often invisible at these micro moments.

    High-level learnings from top pharma thought leaders

    Speakers from UCB, S3 ConnectedHealth, Janssen, Novartis and QuintilesIMS addressed digital transformation in pharma, with some high-level learnings:


    • Digital strategies need to be optimized for a mobile environment. The industry can’t (and perhaps doesn’t) understand customers and patients enough. Customer journeys are cornerstones, but beware of treating customers or patients as an average. Respect individual and sub-segment differences.
    • How are the industry’s digital efforts directly impacting patients? There should be a pay-off for patients if digital transformation is to be deemed successful.
    • Manage micro and macro patient experiences so that the industry’s touchpoints with external stakeholders are connected.
    • Barriers to digital transformation are organizational and human, rarely technical.

    The speakers presented case studies showcasing specifics for implementing digital customer engagement strategies. But fresh frameworks for measuring these new customer engagement paradigms were not in evidence. For example, behavior is the best indicator of healthcare professionals (HCP) channel preference, yet we are still relying on outmoded satisfaction metrics to measure channel impact. Speakers referenced customer journeys but there was little mention of digital monitoring that can decode the digital blind spot in so many journeys.

    Lessons in boosting customer engagement

    Yet, the customer engagement track with Teva, Amgen, Ashfield, Ipsos and GSK set out some strong examples of powering up customer engagement with digital and non-digital components:


    • Apps are not an excuse for a digital strategy – they are tools, not an end in and of themselves. And they will not magically address issues of non-adherence.
    • Patient support programs offer a golden opportunity to enrich the patient experience. Co-creation with patients works well in the development of PSPs, but only if it starts early in the formative process.
    • Design with patients in mind – think user experience, not just company goals.
    • Arm HCPs with the right techniques/tools to effect behavioral change in patients, such as motivational interviewing by nurses.
    • Consider systems 1 versus 2 thinking when designing programs that aim to shift behaviors.
    • People and partners will either hinder or help your customer engagement strategies. The wrong choices can cost an organization significant delays in implementing new digital and customer engagement systems.
    • Content has to be relevant and informed by context and channel; pharma companies can no longer push content irrespective of these considerations.

    Speakers cited inspiration from outside the Rx industry, such as Lego (for co-creation), and P&G’s Dover campaign.

    Overall, eyeforpharma was a balance of inspiration and how-to examples for getting it done. We witnessed so many organizations moving beyond the drawing board to tangible actions.

    Justin Edge is GfK’s Global Head of Health. You can connect with Justin on LinkedIn or send him a note at

  • UK Consumer Confidence stays at -6 in March
    • 03/31/17
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Health
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence stays at -6 in March

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remains stable at -6 in March.  Three of the five measures stayed at the same level and two measures saw increases.

    • 03/29/17
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Health technology pricing: Reaching a delicate balance

    There is a Russian proverb that tells of two fools in every market, one whose price is too low and one whose price is too high. Regrettably, there is no mention of a third player whose price is just right, perhaps for good reason. But if we think about the challenges of establishing an optimal pricing strategy for an innovative medicine or health technology, it is hard to see how we could get to the “right price”.

    To do so, we need to aim for one price that meets the expectations of all relevant stakeholders – national governments, insurance companies, providers, physicians, patients, industry, investors et al.

    Pricing that’s all things to all people – is it attainable?

    In many markets, national, regional and/or local payer organizations dominate the market access process, while the influence of prescribers on both access and uptake has been significantly eroded. Industry has learned to engage with payers to understand not simply what they are willing to pay for a new technology but how they will come to that decision – against what comparator, and in which patient population, as well as how any incremental benefits are likely to be valued.

    A pricing and market access strategy based solely on the prescriber and payer perspectives risks significantly undervaluing the pharmaceutical or health technologies in question. We believe that an optimal pricing and market access strategy has to build on a solid understanding of all relevant stakeholder groups.

    Clearly, the starting point with any pricing research is to gain an understanding of the views of these stakeholders on:

    • current standard of care and level of unmet need
    • likely clinical, HTA and pricing comparators
    • potential or actual incremental clinical (and non-clinical) value that the new medicine or technology can deliver
    • patient and funding flow
    • key budget holders and decision makers
    • willingness to pay and/or co-pay

    Never have so many strategies been used to explore so many drivers for just one definitive pricing solution

    As we progress to more formal pricing research, especially with third–party payers, it is important to use a range of strategies to explore value drivers, price and potential patient access scenarios.

    We favor a multilayered approach to qualitative payer research that explores:

    Having established a number of likely patient access scenarios, we then need to model the potential impact of access management strategies, patient willingness to pay/co-pay and the impact of physician behavior and, where relevant, potential pharmacist input, including substitution.

    Although physicians’ ability to directly influence initial pricing or access decisions may be limited, their role in determining uptake of “listed” products remains and is a key factor in demand assessment and forecasting.

    With experience gained in both the prescription and consumer health markets to develop evidence-based pricing, demand assessment and forecasting tools, we have been able to guide our clients to make informed decisions on pricing and market access strategies against so many odds.

    Tim Fitzgerald is the Managing Director of Market Access at GfK. Please email or leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

    • 03/24/17
    • Health
    • Global
    • English

    Understanding pricing of health technologies in out-of-pocket markets

    In many emerging markets, healthcare funding remains very much an out-of-pocket expense. For some, it is the second most important household expenditure after food.

    It is critical, therefore, when establishing pricing strategies in such markets that we consider both willingness and ability to pay. We also must consider how these factors may be shaped by a range of external influences, including:


    • patient-relevant product attributes/outcomes
    • patient-access pathway
    • physician endorsement
    • pharmacist recommendation/substitution
    • multichannel information sources
    • friends, family or caregiver attitudes
    • financial support and drug donation programs
    • brand awareness/loyalty

    Patients’ priorities vs. physicians’ views

    Patient-relevant product attributes and outcomes that would not normally be seen as valuable to government or insurance-based payers or indeed the treating physician may resonate far more with the patient who is also the “payer”. For example, they may be far more willing to pay for convenience. Outcomes demonstrating earlier return to school or work may carry far greater value than would normally be the case in formal health technology assessment, which is too often limited to a view which takes only direct health system costs into account.

    Where the physician continues to act as a key gatekeeper, it is critical to understand that their views of what is important to the patient may not be aligned with the patients themselves. Take, for example, breast cancer. While over 70% of physicians believe that patients with breast cancer consider keeping their breast as a top priority, the figure from direct patient research is less than 10%.

    Comparison of patient and physician drivers in asthma (GfK Asthma Research, China)

    Consequently, physicians may also make treatment decisions/recommendations based on false assumptions regarding the patient’s willingness to pay.

    Physicians: Are they reliable surrogates of patients’ willingness to pay (WTP) or not?

    Our research across a range of markets and therapy areas has highlighted how physicians often provide a very unreliable surrogate of patient WTP. It has also revealed significant variation between the impact of different WTP drivers on patients in different markets, socioeconomic groups and disease areas.

    Examining evidence-based pricing

    We apply our best-in-class approaches to support evidence-based pricing in these self-pay markets, building on many decades of experience in both the prescription and consumer medicines space. By combining our global expertise and local market knowledge, we are able to help clients optimize patient access and uptake in a way which is aligned to our client’s global and regional commercial strategy.

    These same approaches are equally valuable in more traditional markets where there has been a shift in financial burden towards the patients through co-payment mechanisms. The US is an obvious example of where co-payments are the norm, and understanding the trade-offs between pricing, tier placement and co-payment are crucial elements of pricing and contracting strategy development.

    Tim Fitzgerald is the Managing Director at GfK Market Access. Please email or leave a comment below to share your thoughts.





















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    • 03/01/17
    • Health
    • Technology
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Mobile health: What you need to know to keep up with evolving consumer needs

    Google launched its much anticipated Android Wearable 2.0 watch platform earlier this month, with improved fitness tracking a focal point.  The move follows a similar push from Apple last fall when the smartwatch leader made health and fitness front and center for its latest wrist wearables.

    This focus on health makes a great deal of sense for smartwatch marketers, as mobile health is an area of burgeoning consumer interest and immense market opportunities. According to data from GfK Consumer Life,  about three in ten Americans (29%) today monitor their health and fitness using an online or mobile app or through a fitness band, clip or smartwatch. And nearly half (46%) of those who don’t are interested in future adoption. Health tracking and monitoring is by far the top activity, not only for fitness trackers but for smartwatches in general, and it’s the only feature that truly sets smartwatches apart from smartphones in the consumer’s mind – at least for now.

    While the demand for mobile health solutions is gathering steam, consumer needs are also evolving. Our research reveals opportunity areas that point to the future direction of mobile health.

    Gamify to motivate

    While consumers recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, many struggle to follow through with action. The persistent, wide gap between health attitudes and behaviors signals the need for products that help consumers stay motivated and make behavioral change more attainable.

    For many, digital health is seen as the clear solution for motivation. Indeed, motivating oneself to exercise and eat healthy is a top reason why Americans use digital health solutions today. It’s an even more compelling driver for future adoption.

    While tracking progress itself can help motivate behaviors, opportunities go well beyond basic quantification. The sensational success of Pokémon Go as an accidental fitness facilitator last summer is a testament to the power of gamification. The likes of Apple and Fitbit are also betting on gamification in the form of competition with friends, families and other users to encourage engagement.

    Move beyond quantification to personalized coaching

    Data without insights has limited benefits. People who used to track their health and fitness but no longer do so tend to cite ‘not knowing what to do with the information collected’ as a reason for diminished interest. Ultimately, quantification should be the means, not the end result of health solutions.

    As mobile health matures, we can expect consumer demand to move beyond self-quantifying for actionable insights and real-time, personalized coaching to accomplish real results. Already, over a quarter of Leading Edge Consumers[1] (vs. 16% of all adults) have received customized, data-based advice about their physical or mental health online, via an app or wearable devices in the past month.

    Data accuracy and privacy present challenges and opportunities

    The accuracy of Fitbit was questioned last spring in a public way when the company faced a class-action lawsuit. The accusation perhaps didn’t come across as a shocker to many consumers. Almost four in ten Americans admit they are skeptical about the data accuracy of health trackers and other wearables, according to a recent GfK Consumer Life survey.

    Data privacy is another area of heightened consumer concerns and a major barrier to the adoption of digital tracking solutions. The expectations for data accuracy and security will only rise as mobile health becomes more integrated with healthcare. While these concerns may present challenges to device makers and service providers, those well-positioned on these fronts can also score a true advantage.

    The future of integrated health management

    Consumers’ health needs are complex and multi-faceted. The demand for weight management continues to soar as obesity rates reach new highs. The importance of mental health is ever more top of mind in a high-stress world. An aging population is driving the rise of chronic conditions that require constant management.

    Current digital health solutions tend to be lifestyle focused and track fitness, diet, sleep and stress separately. The progression of the industry, technology and consumer demand should propel the emergence of integrated solutions that synthesize various types of data (both medical and lifestyle) from multiple sources for holistic health management. For instance, if your fitness band knows that you had a poor night’s sleep, it may suggest that a heavy dinner the night before was to blame and recommend lighter meals or taking a walk after dinner to remedy the situation.

    In summary, mobile health is a space of exciting opportunities, but also one evolving with growing competition and raised expectations. To fully capitalize on this market, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and on top of emerging needs. In particular, personalization, security and integration will become more of an industry mandate than they have in the past.

    Veronica Chen is a Vice President at GfK Consumer Life. To share your thoughts, please email or leave a comment below.

    [1] GfK’s proprietary Leading Edge Consumers (LEC) segmentation identifies consumers most likely to be early adopters and influencers in a given category.

  • GfK at eyeforpharma: exploring customer engagement
    • 02/24/17
    • Health
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    03/14/17 - 03/16/17
    GfK at eyeforpharma: exploring customer engagement

    Meet with GfK at eyeforpharma Barcelona 2017, the largest commercial pharma meeting of 1000+ industry leaders.

    • 02/24/17
    • Health
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Don’t call it a comeback: What health means to consumers today

    As we get busier and more distracted every day, key priorities like health often fall to the wayside.  But interestingly, health and fitness (defined as “making an effort to be in good physical and mental shape”) is a rising value globally; currently, it’s #12 on a list of 50 personal values tracked by GfK Consumer Life, up four ranks since 2011.  And nearly half (48%) of Americans believe that their eating habits, diet and overall health are better than their parents were at their age, a 6-point jump from 2012.

    After years of being back-burnered by the Great Recession, people finally feel ready to take a more active role in their own wellness.  But the return of health brings new questions: what does health mean to today’s consumer?

    Mind + body matters

    Most (69%) Americans agree that a key aspect of good health is “having a positive, optimistic state of mind and outlook on life” – #4 on a list of 12 possible health descriptors.  As new outlooks on health emerge, this is a critical one.  No longer are people consumed just with the number on their scale or the size of their jeans – they need to feel good, not just look good.  This outlook is more pronounced among those who are 60+, perhaps due to enhanced expectations for a longer, happier life.

    New nuances to fitness

    Almost six in ten (58%) Americans believe that “being physically fit” is included in their definition of “good health” – but it’s a bit more complex than that.  Other dimensions of physical fitness are actually ranked higher on this list, including the ability to do daily activities without obstacles (78%) and avoiding obesity (62%).  This heightened awareness of the impacts of fitness are evident in the top physical concerns Americans share about aging – gaining weight (34%) and loss of mobility (34%) are among the top five items on this list.

    With that in mind, it may come as no surprise that nearly two in three (65%) Americans exercise to keep fit weekly or more often; this habit is up six points since 2012.  And one in three (32%) admit that physical movement helps them treat health conditions they have.

    “Whole person” customization

    The marketplace for health and wellness solutions has expanded in recent years to include many more players.  Tech companies are competing with pharmaceutical leaders, and startups are often able to deliver solutions faster and more efficiently than more established brands.

    This is good news for the consumer.  Not only are there more products and services to choose from, the ability to personalize one’s wellness regimen has accelerated tremendously.  There’s a combination of solutions for everyone, whether it’s aging consumers who are focused on declining mobility and memory, younger individuals who care strongly about fitness, or the affluent audience drawn to more preventative health solutions.

    With wellness finally back on the front burner for consumers around the world and new spaces for a variety of companies to play a role, discussion of what “health” is will continue to grow – opening doors to new ideas on how to live healthfully.

    Rachel Bonsignore is a Senior Consultant for GfK Consumer Life.  She can be reached at

    • 02/21/17
    • Health
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Why biopharma needs to improve customer engagement

    Biopharma has no lack of touchpoints to optimize engagement with its most important stakeholders. Yet the industry is lagging behind in leveraging those crucial points of the customer journey to meet stakeholders where they are. Below are some suggestions for how biopharma can improve the customer experience and innovate successfully.

    1. Rethink engagement, experiences and relationships

    It’s time to question the effectiveness of pharmaceutical engagement with its stakeholders. The 15th Annual eyeforpharma Summit (March 14-16 in Barcelona) poses the questions*: “What’s stopping us from being patient-centric? Is it laziness? Or…is it simply too difficult to give up control?”

    The same organization recently partnered with The Health Perspectives Group** to review the state of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising in North America. They concluded that pharma companies are still overly reliant on TV advertising blitzes and have under invested in authentic patient-centered stories delivered via digital channels. This addiction to old-school push marketing has inflated DTC spending, yet has led to a decline in DTC ad awareness and patient pull-through. How can an industry with such strong scientific roots and talent get it so wrong?

    1. Take advantage of the new digital realities

    Unclear guidance from regulatory agencies has led to genuine industry-wide caution when activating digital channels. However, this doesn’t explain a drop in digital pharma advertising spending (excluding search) in the US from 2015 to 2016. Digital shyness can’t be the result of resource constraints because TV, radio, magazine and radio ad spending all increased during this same period.

    What’s more, new drug applications (NDAs) are back to record highs, so the industry has a great innovation story to tell. And the mobile app surge continues even though most branded and unbranded health apps have few users. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to reorient and redeploy sales forces to take advantage of the new digital realities. We are in a post-iPad world, where the rep and account manager can be curators of targeted and relevant digital content. Yet biopharma still uses outmoded recall and share-of-voice metrics when gauging detail effectiveness.

    1. Innovate from a new playbook

    To paraphrase the futurist William Gibson: The future is already here, it’s just not widely distributed. Plenty of pioneering examples within and outside the biopharma industry heed some basic principles:

    • Build experience around the patient and customer, not around the product – beyond the pill can be more than a cliché.
    • Don’t rely on digital as a medium for pushing branded messages; rather, use it as an opportunity to connect in a two-way conversation.
    • Don’t try to exert too much control as a marketer because you are no longer in control – instead engage, reward, nurture and adapt.
    • Look outside our industry for great examples of enduring customer engagement and consumer-centricity – especially when developing unbranded ways of engaging.
    • Upgrade your multichannel marketing content – multichannel marketing requires multichannel content and multichannel measurements. For example, upgrade sales force effectiveness programs with multichannel modules.
    1. Draw from examples from pharma pioneers

    There are plenty of success stories such as AbbVie’s patient access programs, Novartis’ real-world psoriasis patient stories (fueled by the largest-ever global survey of PsO patients in over 30 countries) and Otsuka’s fusion of traditional and digital therapies. These are just a few of the pioneers that will gather at eyeforpharma in Barcelona in March to share the best and brightest ideas for engagement with patients and customers.

    1. Join us at eyeforpharma Barcelona in March

    Join the dialogue as we exchange ideas for advancing the art and science of customer engagement. I will be hosting the Digital Transformation and Customer Engagement tracks on Day 2 of the conference, Wednesday, March 15.

    If biopharma makes these five smart moves, they will have the tools to innovate through richer relationships with a breadth of stakeholders, by embracing the new digital reality and by continuing the transformative dialogue on customer engagement.

    The conversation continues outside of the conference. We invite you to join us for a meeting onsite anytime during the eyeforpharma program, or be our guest for a special dinner where you can meet other industry peers.
















    Join us Wednesday, March 15 at OneOcean Club, overlooking the beautiful Barcelona marina




    Schedule a meeting and join us for dinner at OneOcean
















    Not going to Barcelona? Just click here to pre-register for GfK’s post-conference briefing sharing the best and brightest ideas from Barcelona.

    *Chairman comments in program for 15th Annual eyeforpharma Barcelona Summit

    **The Great DTC Shake-up: Patient perspectives on direct-to-consumer advertising

  • How can you get closer to consumers during the innovation process?
    • 01/23/17
    • Health
    • Consumer Goods
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Connected Consumer
    • MarketBuilder
    • Market Builder Voice
    • Global
    • English

    How can you get closer to consumers during the innovation process?

    Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to be closer to your customers in the innovation process thanks to voice.

  • How can you deliver innovations in a shorter timeframe by reducing the risk of failed products?
    • 01/23/17
    • Health
    • Consumer Goods
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Connected Consumer
    • MarketBuilder
    • Market Builder Voice
    • Global
    • English

    How can you deliver innovations in a shorter timeframe by reducing the risk of failed products?

    Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to improve your innovation process and minimize the risk of product failure.

  • How can you deliver innovations that excite, engage, and energize consumers?
    • 01/23/17
    • Health
    • Consumer Goods
    • Market Opportunities and Innovation
    • Connected Consumer
    • MarketBuilder
    • Market Builder Voice
    • Global
    • English

    How can you deliver innovations that excite, engage, and energize consumers?

    Find out more in our 10 min webisode how to connect emotionally with your customer when you develop new product concept.