How to Arm Yourself for the Upcoming Battle: The New Frontier of Pharma and Medical Device Marketing




Medsider Radio: Learn from Medical Device and Medtech Thought Leaders show

Summary: It's somewhat hard to believe. But in 2010, the pharmaceutical industry eliminated 43,334 jobs. Stop and think about that. Over 40,000 people received the infamous pink slip! Okay, so you might be thinking, “But that's pharma. I'm in medical devices. I'm safe.” Think again, my friend. Regulatory timelines are long. PMAs and 510ks are incredibly expensive. Venture capitalists are white-knuckling their cash. Oh yeah, don't forget about the 2.3% medical device tax and the Sunshine Act. With that in mind, it's paramount that medical device marketers and sales people begin to stretch. As in…stretch your mindset. Think outside the box. Employ aggressive, non-traditional avenues. Are you with me? Okay then… Enter Bob Harrell, VP of Marketing for Appature, a technology company that provides a “surprisingly simple” cloud-based relationship marketing software platform for pharma and medical device companies. Before joining Appature, Bob served as Director of Integrated Marketing at Shire. Bob's 20 years in the pharma industry began in hospital sales for Merck, followed by field sales for Astra Merck. He then assumed a variety of positions with increasing responsibility at Astra Merck and AstraZeneca headquarters, including Product Communications Manager, Director of Field Communications, and Director of Strategic Communications. Enjoy our conversation. Better yet, don’t just sit in the audience of life. Employ just one of the principles we discuss and you’ll have a fighter’s chance against the headwinds that face the healthcare industry. This Is What You Can Do Next 1) You can listen to the interview with Bob Harrell right now: Download audio file (BobHarrell_MedsiderInterviews_2012.mp3) 2) You can also download the mp3 file of the interview by clicking here. Don't forget – you can listen to this interview and all of the other Medsider interviews via iTunes.  And if you get a chance, leave us an honest rating and review. 3) Read the following transcripts from my interview with Bob Harrell.  Also, feel free to download the transcripts by clicking here. Interview with Bob Harrell of Appature Scott Nelson with Medsider.com: You were recently quoted as stating, “The industry can no longer rely on the blunt instrument of mass campaigns to reach customers…” Where are medical device companies missing the boat when it comes to marketing strategies? Bob Harrell with Appature: Since the 1940s, there has been mass marketing via TV, as well as print and radio, for cigarettes, soap etc., and that was state of the art at the time. Markets were greenfield, consumers were easily influenceable, and mass marketing had a big return. This was also the case in pharma during the age of the 'detail men'. That is, men who exclusively educated doctors on the 'details' of the product. This was at a time when access to the doctor was easy and sales reps were viewed as the primary and trusted source of information about products. Then came the 90s where we had the sales force arms race. By the 2000s, there was nearly a rep for every valuable doctor in the US. That of course was unsustainable, which is why you've seen sales forces decline in the intervening years. At the same time, doctors got busier, managed care took more control, and technology began to enable self-service for key information about products. So life sciences companies found themselves with a broken model. Sales reps are EXTREMELY expensive when you consider fully loaded costs. And when the number of calls per rep decreases, you end up with a crazy cost per call. Currently, a large portion of docs enforce “no see” policies with sales reps, and most others are very hard to reach. Well over 75% of calls end at the sample closet (no interaction) and only a small fraction result in more than 2 minutes of dialogue. So let's say the fully loaded cost of a rep is ...