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Time to Reboot!

Guest Blogger

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On April 12th, I had the pleasure of attending our first Intouch-hosted conference — primarily for existing clients — at the beautiful Alexandria Center for Life Sciences overlooking the East River in New York City. The Reboot conference brought together industry experts to shed light on technology trends that are transforming the pharma marketing landscape. The conference not only got us energized about digital marketing, but it was also a catalyst to start thinking differently. Keynote speaker Katherine Patterson, the global marketing communications manager of GE Healthcare, talked about the importance of listening to that little voice inside of us when it says something is wrong, something is missing, or what we really should do is _______. While speaking up can be scary (no one likes to feel stupid), we can start by just stating the obvious because it is likely others in the room are thinking the same. For example, a company shouldn’t create a video using a studio and actors if they can use real people, real equipment and real-life context instead.

While I enjoyed all of the presentations at the Reboot event, one in particular resonated with those at my table. Dr. Peter Shaw, president of MD Mindset, explained firsthand what it is like to be a doctor in his presentation titled "Beyond Greasy Fingerprints: The iPad Detail From a Physician’s Point of View." Dr. Shaw’s focus was simple but powerful because he paid attention to physician behavior data and insights. He explained that physicians are problem solvers and problem solvers need solutions. They are not our "customer" but, instead, are sales people who have to sell a diagnosis, treatment strategy and, often, financial burden to patients. The pharmaceutical industry can support physicians by helping them both solve problems and become better sales people.

Dr. Peter Shaw

Physicians like technology because it helps them in their day-to-day practice. For example, the iPhone has eliminated the need for a physician to carry pocket references in their coats because they have all the information they need on their device. Similarly, physicians like the iPad because it allows for immediate support of clinical data. Sales representatives who use their iPad to provide case studies and visuals will increase call duration and physician satisfaction because that is how doctors digest information and learn.

According to Michael Bokor, senior product manager at Astellas Oncology, "Peter Shaw drove home the importance of being customer—focused, along with how research supports the use of a tablet in delivering high-impact messages. Now we need to think digitally as we design the next generation of digital-selling assets. Let the customer interact with the technology!"

Dr. Shaw explained that sales representatives today still cover what they want to and not what the doctor needs to know for their patients. Sales representatives need to do the following to ensure a successful sales call leveraging the iPad:

  • Engage in pre-call planning
  • Be prepared to use the iPad in every call
  • Be comfortable with the device
  • Have complete knowledge of the information
  • Demonstrate an ability to navigate
  • Don’t try to show too much
  • Recognize it’s not about what you show; it is how relevant that information is to the doctor

"Dr. Shaw got to the topic that most of us overlook — it’s not enough to roll out new technology to the field and train them on how it works," said Susan Kavett, senior manager of digital marketing, multichannel marketing, and commercial strategy and planning at Sanofi US. "It’s about training them on how to translate what they need to do in that 90 seconds, using the iPad to enhance the conversation. It’s about understanding how doctors make decisions and what resonates with them so representatives can address needs effectively and add value to their practice ."

Suzanne Deaver (Intouch), Susan Kavett (Sanofi US),Michael Bokor (Astellas Oncology), Kim Bishop (Intouch)

For more coverage of the Reboot conference, check out Ben Comer’s article in PharmaExec . Also, if you are interested in attending future Intouch conferences, please let us know at


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