Relationship Marketing


Mastering Relationship Marketing

Written by Al Kenney on Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:07.

Relationship Marketing may seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be as difficult as some might make it out to be. The one thing you can’t forget is that RM requires your full commitment. If you don’t go “full in” you will not be successful.

The key is to build out a complete program based on your key goals and then scale the program down in the number of members to a reduced number that you can afford to bring into and through your complete program. Set your KPI’s for the program to measure the program’s effectiveness. Once set up the program to ensure a positive return you can secure the additional funding you will need and scale up! As long as you have set up to achieve a positive ROI you will want add more members to your program because your fixed costs are paid for and your ROI will continue to increase as you add new members.

There are 7 key areas where things might go wrong but if you keep them under control you can keep everything on track:

  1. Partial programs missing key elements
  2. Programs not run for long enough duration (to remove the barriers you are trying to have them overcome
  3. Reaching your core audience effectively (thinking through the Opt-in process)
  4. Delivering enough value to your member that they want to remain part of your program
  5. Building in a constant feedback loop (for ongoing program adjustment)
  6. Proper measurement (for communication to key stakeholders)
  7. Building in scalability upfront


Written by Al Kenney on Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:07.

The first step of a successful relationship marketing program is evaluation.

Step #1: Evaluation of your current program (if any)

  1. Evaluation of current programs in market
    • Multi country?
    • Differences in implementation in each market?
      • Target segmentation
      • Opt-in
      • HCP/Pharmacy support
      • Information delivery vehicles
      • Information delivered
      • Frequency of information delivered
  2. Evaluation of current infrastructure supporting that program:
    • How scalable is it?
    • What can be reused?
    • How can each component be reused?
    • Costs and scalability of reuse?
  3. Current Vendors:
    • Capabilities (How big is their RM footprint?)
    • Do they understanding of the entire framework?
    • Scalable solution?
    • Overall value delivered?

Here are the next two steps of developing an effective relationship marketing process:

Step #2: Setting Your Objectives

  1. Program objectives?
    • Gathering names isn't nearly enough!
    • Deliver information to ensure patient becomes more compliant on their medication?
    • Deliver educational information to HCPs so they understand your drug better adn in turn feel better about prescribing it to their patients/
    • Do you expect action or attitudes to change?
  2. Scale
    • Single or multi-country?
    • How many patients would you like in the program?
    • How many can you afford?
  3. Timing
    • Best time to launch?

Step #3: Getting Key Stakeholder Buy-In

Stakeholder buy-in is essential because they control both the funding and arms and legs to get the program implemented. All parties should have an understanding of the program objectives and potential return is over a short and long term timeframe.

  • Senior Management
  • Country affiliates (for multinational programs) - Local execution and customization is a key success driver


Written by Al Kenney on Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:07.

The next step after setting your goals is to take a deeper dive.

Step #4: Investigation

      1. Duration of program
        • 6 months or 2 years?
      2. What will be the "hook" to get someone to join?
      3. What is the value you will deliver to have patients want to stay in your program?
      4. How will your program be measured?
        • Measurement metrics are the key to any patient program
        • Do they understanding of the entire framework?
        • RM programs take some time to move the financial needle so it can be seen and measured. This is because it takes a while to get the “member” through the program and for those actions to result in a change of behavior
        • The key is to begin by measuring the “non-monetary” impact your program is having on its participants (such as attitudinal changes measured by surveys taken throughout your program). These can be used to predict the eventual monetary increase that should be coming in the future
      5. What will the monetary return be over periods of time?
      6. Focus on a complete program as any missing components can ruin the best of your efforts
      7. What information do you want to gather about your target? And how will you use it?
      8. What behavior do you wish to change in your target audience?
      9. Data - What data do you have or can you gather on your target audience which will help you develop your program strategy?

Always keep in mind that 75% of patients drop out of patient adherence programs because they were not interactive or exciting. Keep in mind that the word “interactive” means they expect that this will be a two way street and will be required to do something. A common mistake is just pushing information to them and not asking for participation thinking it might be “too much trouble”. Program excitement is generated from interactivity!

Program design elements should be driven by understanding the barriers that you target audience has in adhering to your desired state for them.

For example:

  • Patient barriers to therapy = side effects, medication, therapy type, other fears.
  • Physician’s barrier to prescribing = lack of knowledge of your drug and its efficacy…

Supporting information in this area would be:

  • Adherence rates (drop-off curves)
  • Attitudinal studies

For example “non adherence” is a behavior... to change it you need to understand the drivers of this behavior. Patient beliefs (good or bad) also drive behavior – i.e: "I don't need to take my statin I just need to eat better". Beliefs about treatment can have a big impact. People will start to form opinions about their therapy in the first 7 days so you need to get the right message to them at the right time and the message needs to be given through the appropriate channel.

To overcome beliefs you need to communicate with patients the way they want to receive the information. The channel, timing, and message content are all critical to a successful program.

Keep in mind that programs focused on Age, Ethnicity, Gender, Educational, and Socioeconomic normally will not improve adherence.

The fact is you can impact most patients but not all…the big question is the return on what it takes to move the needle in a positive direction. Today the people that have the most impact on adherence are: support groups, advocacy groups, social workers, family, HCP’s/clinical staff. Notice that drug companies didn’t make that list…a well designed program can help change that.



Pulling it All Together

Written by Al Kenney on Thursday, 01 November 2012 16:07.

After setting your goals and completing your invetigation, it's time to put it all together.

Step #5: Vendor Selection

  1. Proper vendors / partners in place for:
    • Strategy / Design
    • Database
    • Agency / PR


Step #6: Channel Selection

  1. Proper partners in place for:
    • Advocacy group(s)
    • HCP
    • Pharmacy
    • Patient support groups


Step #7: Program Design

  1. Develop your patient profile:
    • Who are your targets?
    • How will you calculate the annual patient value of the average patient? (monthly sales X margin X 12)
    • How will you calculate the lifetime patient value of the average patient? (annual value X lifetime calculation as supported by data or 3 years)
    • Once patients are segmented, then repeat value calculations for each of the segments
    • What does your market research say about your patients key barriers to therapy and when do they occur?
    • Where will you store your patient names? HIPPA compliant?
    • What reports will you need and how frequently will you need them?
  2. Budget or "allowable" member calculation:
    • If you already have a defined budget for the program you will need to calculate the number of “members” the client can afford to enter into their program.
    • To ensure a positive ROI you can’t exceed the value of the profitability of 1 script (1 script X product margin)
    • Since most well put together programs produce at least one incremental script if you keep the cost under the value of one script’s profitability we insure at least a breakeven result.
    • For example if the budget is $500,000, a script’s retail is $100 with a 50% profit margin = $50 we can’t afford to 10,000 people in the program