How Voice of the Customer Software Can Improve Marketing Agility

A friend of ours in the strategic market research group of a large pharmaceutical company told us recently that the new strategic priority in his market research group is developing “marketing agility.” This means shifting away from complicated, time consuming research projects and toward simpler surveys that can be fielded more quickly and efficiently. In an industry known for its impressive market research budgets, this shift is noteworthy.

We’re seeing five factors driving this transition:

  1. The need for speed: marketing leaders need to make decisions more quickly these days than ever before. This demands a survey process that can move equally fast.
  2. The need for simplicity: respondents are generally too busy to fill out long surveys even though they are being compensated. This forces researchers to create surveys that make it simple for respondents to offer feedback on their terms.
  3. The need for accuracy: The fact that Pharma companies compensate respondents may be driving inaccurate data. Professional respondents are not necessarily representative of the target market and insights gleaned from them are questionable.
  4. The need for efficiency: researchers need a process for collecting feedback that is repeatable and scalable. The more you do it the easier it is.
  5. The need for actionable insights: we all know there is no shortage of data, what market researchers need are timely insights that provide clear direction on the best possible actions.

This “marketing agility” trend within the marketing department of at least one, and presumably several large Pharma companies, is bringing them one step closer to a Voice of the Customer (VoC) program. VoC programs collect feedback after a customer’s, or in this case a physician’s, most recent interaction with a company. This interaction could be with a Pharma sales rep, website, or a call center. The feedback given then drives real-time action to address customer needs quickly and efficiently. Over time VoC feedback delivers valuable strategic insights that help companies identify new and better ways of improving the customer experiences. One critical aspect of VoC is that feedback comes from individual physicians. Most Pharma market research teams conducting blinded studies must settle for generating national or possibly regional level insights.

While Pharma has traditionally been skeptical of such personalized feedback mechanisms, it’s easy to see how this approach matches the need for speed, simplicity, accuracy, efficiency, and actionable insights. Another friend working for a large Pharma company envisions a future where fewer resources are devoted to brand tracking studies comprised of a battery of questions around product attributes and likelihood to prescribe. She believes paying physicians a $100 stipend to spend 30 minutes providing feedback is not always reliable, but knows it’s tough to change old habits. However, she trusts that robust VoC programs with real-time customer feedback and insights will eventually replace many of overly complex and time-consuming market research studies.

It is hard to say whether this will happen entirely or how quickly the shift will occur. What we do know is that several Pharma companies have started relying on PeopleMetrics VoC program alongside more traditional research methods. It will likely take some time before market research departments fully trust the newer, more streamlined feedback approach. Whatever the future holds, it is interesting to be part of the convergence of product-centered market research and the newer customer-centered world of VoC.

How Voice of the Customer Software Can Improve Marketing Agility image bd18fcd3 d81c 43db b0e5 5c33c512fd521How Voice of the Customer Software Can Improve Marketing Agility

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