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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry
7850 North Belt Line Road
Irving, TX 75063
|Active business clients||4|
|Brands by 2013 sales|
|Brand-product accounts held||8|
|$25 million or less||2|
|$50 million – $100 million||1|
|$100 million – $500 million||2|
|$500 million to $1 billion||2|
|$1 billion or more||1|
|Relationship marketing (integrated across
The inexorable shift in healthcare marketing from traditional, mass advertising towards more targeted, digitally based relationship marketing continues unabated, according to Targetbase executives. “Due to the science and the economics of the evolving pharmaceutical and biotech marketplace, the discipline of relationship marketing, once considered bleeding edge or inefficient, has become mainstream,” these executives say. “Targetbase leverages its heritage in advanced analytics to help brands identify customer needs, dig into rich veins of business intelligence, and deliver relevant, timely communications through varied direct channels.”
In the past year, Targetbase has added six new assignments that encompass non-traditional healthcare clients – such as a major hospital network and one of the country’s leading managed care organizations.
According to Targetbase executives, the ability to harness all types of customer data and to follow all the clues that enable brands to predict and then meet customer needs is unique to only a few agencies in North America. “Synthesizing analytics, technology, strategy, and creative within a single agency is less about checking those respective boxes and more about the value proposition that healthcare brands are seeking out – engaging targeted populations with specific needs,” executives say.
“Scale was always elusive for relationship marketing, which made it a challenge to move the needle for billion dollar brands compared to the reach of DTC,” says Brian Kaiser, VP of healthcare strategy.
Kaiser points out that the agency has focused on brands that have either fragmented consumer audiences across several indications or have specific patient populations that cannot be engaged with a one-size-fits-all message.
“We are working with several brand portfolios where each brand has a specific patient in mind, yet within the same disease state,” Kaiser says. “Or conversely, they have multiple brands all trying to reach and engage the same patient yet need to do so intelligently.”
Recognizing that brand managers face a more complex communications environment, Targetbase provides brands with the ability to find and reach these patient audiences, yet also has developed proprietary tools and approaches over the past year to make business intelligence more actionable and accessible for brands struggling to make strategic marketing decisions, executives note.
“In 2013 we launched our new business intelligence platform called BI Pulse,” says Jimmy Rhodes, senior VP of business analytics. “This allows brands to see what has happened, what it means and what they can do about it in a simplified, visual manner. It enables the rapid decision making required to operate in a more fast-paced, chaotic marketplace.”
Targetbase brought Peter Kulupka on board in 2013 to further extend and enhance its technology platform so that the intelligence could be utilized more seamlessly. “Data is no longer the domain of the IT department or any single functional area within our clients’ organizations,” Kulupka remarks. “Our job is to free the data so that it all works together, not simply that it is all stored in the same place.”
As automated marketing tools emerge, especially in helping brands place digital media, Targetbase continues to push customer intelligence into the mix. “Customers are not always coming to you and announcing their readiness for your message or your product,” Kulupka says. “It is more subtle than that. You must be attuned to the signals so that your brand can respond at the speed of the conversation.”
Finding the right channels to reach and engage the audience is also not a one-size-fits-all answer, executives say. In 2013, Targetbase developed an advanced research methodology to help brands develop customized tactical plans for different types of patients based on their information-seeking behavior.
“All patients do not behave the same just because they have the same condition,” Kaiser comments. “Allocating limited budgets efficiently is a priority for many of these brands which do not have the resources of their blockbuster brethren. We are helping them make strategic choices and scale their investments not by chasing shiny objects but by reaching patients on their own terms.”
Trae Clevenger, chief innovation officer for Targetbase, concurs. “So much data lives outside the organization and yet brands continue to make strategic decisions solely off the small sliver of knowledge they hold,” Clevenger says. “That is what they understand and feel they can trust. Our job is to help make all the data actionable.”
Targetbase has helped GlaxoSmithKline, a client since the mid-1990s, continue to evolve and adapt to the shifting dynamics of relationship marketing. During 2013, Targetbase assumed a leading consumer marketing role in support of a new GSK treatment for lupus.
“We are excited that our efforts not only raise the bar on relationship marketing, but on meeting the needs of an underserved patient population,” says Melissa Andrews, VP of client services. “People living with lupus are finally seeing innovation in their treatment and we hope in the support we can provide to them.”
Expanding beyond traditional relationship marketing yet keeping true to its data-driven roots, Targetbase does not garner the headlines of the larger New York agencies, executives say. However, the days when relationship marketing toiled in the shadows of multi-million dollar DTC ad campaigns are now past, because brands are looking to agencies with the expertise to deal with the diversity of today’s marketing mix.
“Brands must be prepared to adapt, and let the intelligence guide them in their decisions,” Kaiser says. “The marketplace continues shifting to where we’ve always been.”
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