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Building Relationship with Doctors for Effective Marketing

The Case of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Intoduction
Very fragmented market Market worth Rs. 140,000 million Healthy 10% growth rate 16,000 players both in organized &unorganized Glaxo Wllcome No.1 player with 5.8% market share Market share of top five companies put together <20%

Branded Generics Market


Indian Pharma market recognizes process patents and not product patents As a result India is a branded generic 50 brands for every molecule Total 30,000 brands in India Even smallest player meets highest quality norms This typical scenario brings in a challenge of Brand differentiation in the crowded brand names

Doctor Population
Approx. 5 lakh doctors in India registered under Indian Medical association 60 65 % are General Practitioners (GP) with MBBS degree Specialty doctors like Physicians, Gynecologists & pediatricians constitute 35-40 % Pharma companies cannot meet more that 1,25,000 doctors out of the 5 lakhs As a result doctors are being met by atleast 60 100 companies

Promotion
In an ethical market Product promotion is directed towards qualified doctors No advertising mentioning brand names is allowed in the lay press Medical representatives play a major role in the promotion process by directly meeting the doctors and promoting their products Other medias like Direct mail, journal, advertising and conferences also play a role but a limited one

CRM Initiative
Keeping in mind the challenges of typical pharma industry IDIC model by Don Peppers & Martha Rogers is used to understand the steps to a CRM initiative Steps in IDIC Model Identification Differentiation Interaction Customization

Identification Process:
First step is to identify your target customers Each Medical Rep maintains a list of doctors which is acquired by interviews with stockists, retailers and from peers This list is called Must See List (MSL), Must Visit List (MVL), Customer list etc.. The list contains Name, address, telephone no, specialty, qualification, visit timings etc..

Other sources of data collection


Membership directories of associations like Indian Medical Association Individual specialty doctors association directories National level specialty conferences Doctor referrals These lists are finally consolidated and this data can be mined for details of specialty wise breakup, geographical coverage etc to serve as a tool for marketing decision making process .

Differentiation Process
Success of any loyalty program lies in differentiating its key customers Doctors are classified using ABC method as Core, Important and Others The classification is made based on the amount of business each classified doctor group generates to the company The whole differentiation process is performed in subjective terms of the perception of the local MR

Interaction Process
During interaction process the idea is to know the doctor intimately, his hobbies, likes, dislikes, family details etc.. Individuality of doctor is to be maintained and decision on how the data collected will be used is to be decided with utmost importance Interaction can be at two levels One, the MR can personally collect most of the information from his day to day interaction with doctors Second, at corporate level by sending structured questionnaires and seeking further details by email communication

Interaction Process
Information collected is then incorporated to basic database with the following details Personal information - Birthdays, Anniversary, Family Hobbies and interests Professional interests Speciality, Journals read Ownership details Household durables, vehicles etc.

Customization Process
Customization involves utilizing the collected data to provided personalized service to the doctors Like greeting on birthday, anniversary by simple card personally signed to a phone call to wish them Even gifts, bouquets can be delivered at doorstep Major importance lies in how to customize the interaction with the doctor based on the data collected Gifts based on interest and hobbies can be presented The success of the whole CRM programme depends on how well the companies can pass on the data of the doctor to its field force and train them on how to use this data

Loyalty Programme
An ideal loyalty programme would identify its key accounts, reward them for their custom and encourage them to increase their spend But in Pharma context the doctor is not the actual consumer. Thus ethical issues are involved in awarding reward points in return for prescriptions One approach would be to set the whole programme based on classification of doctor groups. The lowest rung doctors would be restricted to basic activities The number and level of activities would increase as the importance of doctor grows A branded programme can be started for most important doctors

Loyalty Programme
The objective of the programme has to be clearly defined in the onset and the exclusivity of the programme has to be communicated to doctors to make them understand that they are the Chosen One The success of such programme hinges on making the doctor covet membership to the programme. Thus continuous monitoring is required to measure the returns generated from the doctor If they fall below a predefined returns limit, then the doctor can be downgraded and his privileges would be reduced

Direct Marketing
A valuable tool for effective CRM Brand awareness campaigns, new launch mailers and contests all can be conducted though direct marketing initiatives An cost effective method which can reach a large audience at cheaper costs Easily measurable with reply devices which can gauge the efficacy of a campaign The primary rationale is to save the time of the field by promoting low involvement products, promote brand recall for new product etc.. Media like telemarketing and web have also been tried interms of direct marketing

Call centre
The medium lends ear to 3 types of customers Doctors who would like to know more about the drug profile, discuss a specific case and ask for references on the use in a specific condition Patients seeking counseling, the nearest physician or chemist shop. The telephone provides anonymity to the called to discuss on taboo subjects Retailers asking for pricing details, product availability Doctors would not prefer their queries being answered by a lay person and so most medical queries have to be escalated to a qualified physician Call center is an excellent medium to come closer to customers

Measurement Systems
Any programme must have an effective measurement system to gauge its effectiveness. The measurement systems would require study of Prescription profile of doctors who are in CRM vis a vis a control sample who are met by field force but not exposed to CRM Prescription give by doctors over a particular time frame Amount of prescriptions before and after exposure to CRM programme

Conclusion
Any new initiative s success depends on the success of Internal marketing The success of the whole programme hinges on the support of the top management The crucial factor is, the idea has to be sold to the lowest level of the organization especially to the field force for greater success of the initiative The MR s role assumes greater significance since most of the activities are dependant on them for implementation.