Pharma Market Research
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publication, from the publisher of:
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Research Department Report
Welcome to our 9th Annual Predictions Issue
PMR2 Editor and Publisher
This year-ending PMR2 has the great contributors we expect and a wider array of pharmaceutical, biotech and healthcare MR predictions and comments than ever before.
Thank you, all!
There’s no question that this segment of the MR
industry clearly sees many potential tasks before
them. Based on what appears in these eight pages,
there is no doubt that MR departments inside
biopharma and healthcare operations will have all
the tools and techniques needed to succeed.
Brian Attig, Ph.D.,
Is there something to be learned from the
rocky rollout of the Healthcare.gov website
and continuing issues with the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) that could be instructive
for us in healthcare MR?
And beyond the IT implementation issues, does the
policy behind the ACA point to any new opportunities for healthcare marketing research practitioners?
I think so.
While the Healthcare.gov case is an extreme (albeit
high-profile) example, this story offers an instructive
reminder for our industry about what can go wrong
with formalized procurement. It shows problems if
processes are too rigidly adhered to, if there is insufficient continuing oversight of vendors, not to mention examples of vendor management by individuals
who lack the full experience to adequately assess
vendor offerings. Competition run by vendor procurement can be a good thing when well applied.
One upshot of the ACA has been the creation of
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – networks
of healthcare providers and hospitals organized
toward a goal of better coordinated patient care. In
theory, the new ACOs should result in better aggregate
patient outcomes as well as reduced overall costs.
It will become increasingly incumbent on manufacturers to catalyze cross-functional teams (composed of R&D, Commercial, Payer Access/Pricing,
Regulatory, Medical Affairs, HEOC and Risk
Assessment) to push critical consideration of a
pipeline product’s “value proposition” earlier in the
developmental process – back to Phase II when
strategic actions can still be planned (like designing
outcomes trials), rather than the traditional handoff from R&D to Commercial at Phase III. There are
a number of consultative approaches to help manufacturers facilitate these kinds of internal discussions (Translational Medicine is one).
Important for us MR types to understand is that our
work can play a contributory role to these strategy
discussions as they require a blend of primary and
secondary research among other inputs. The challenge
to us in the MR industry is to find ways to step to
the fore to help affect these discussions because it
will help promote the long-term relevance of the
marketing research business function.
Chief Operating Officer
Cutting Edge Information, Inc.
Cross-Functional Integration: Market
research and related functions have faced
as much change as any other corporate
group in the last 10 years. That rapid
evolution will continue as the industry continues to
adjust to rapidly changing marketplace conditions.
In 2014, we expect to see almost every department
seek greater decision-making support. Some will
do so formally with budgetary support. Others
will ask to be “part of the conversation” in a less
formal way. Regardless, these internal stakehold-
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PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
ers can help market research teams communicate
their value to the organization.
Big Data in Support of Commercial Teams: The
buzzword of the year is starting to pay off. Big
Data has become a powerful tool for payer liaison
teams to communicate clinical effectiveness and
health outcomes. In 2014, new tools and applications
designed to meet core marketing goals will provide
deeper insights into patient adherence, physician
preferences, competitive positioning and campaign
effectiveness. Expect Big Data to provide a more
proactive view of potential opportunities and
threats in addition to analyzing the challenges you
already know about.
Comprehensive Product Lifecycle Support: Product and
portfolio strategies have become more complex,
often reflecting the new “niche blockbuster” paradigm.
Look for market research’s decision support
insights to be more formally incorporated across
product development, commercialization and lifecycle management. These additions will include a
wider set of activities, from analysis of unmet
medical needs to key opinion leader identification
to regional marketing differentiation to revenue
defense to the chessboard of portfolio planning,
and many steps in between.
Senior Vice President, Global Healthcare
I foresee a shift where healthcare firms leverage assets to build wider and deeper relationships with patients and HC professionals. I also
think mobile technology will play an increasing role in
how constituencies are engaged in 2014 and beyond.
Healthcare companies want to use their existing
customer databases along with panels, social media and
other behavioral data to gain a better understanding
of the voice of the customer and the voice of the
market. Mobile and behavioral capabilities will take
insights to a new level.
Furthermore, I see new methodologies (i.e., mobile
research) taking the lead in patient journeys, ethnographies and diaries. The convenience of the mobile device
makes it so much easier to engage with consumers.
Mobile is one of the key drivers in the future of
market research; these devices are unique to an individual, provide additional data without user involvement and are with us 24/7.
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
Longer term engagement will be possible – and the
healthcare market researcher will get more consistent
data and develop a closer tie between the patient and
drug, device, or other medical-related service.
Justin Edge, Managing Director,
North American Health
Each year we pump out prognostications,
but this year feels different.
Change has arrived and it has settled in
for a nice long stay. Industry veterans
reminisce wistfully about the good old times, yet we
ind ourselves in the middle of an analytics and
This should be a golden age for MR, as long as
we can re-invent ourselves.
• It’s not (just) about statistical techniques, it’s about
storytelling and guiding smart management decisions.
• We need to get out and learn from other industries.
Believe me, financial services, CPG and high tech
can teach health marketers a thing or two about
stakeholder engagement, white space innovation
and changing distribution models.
• We all know how technology has changed what
we do and how we do it. But there’s more to be
done. Mobile measurement, passive metering and
digital ethnographies are powerful in themselves,
but even more so when twinned with traditional
approaches. Imagine amping up patient journeys
with passive observation of online behavior.
• Let’s look into integrating data streams instead
of an all-out embrace of surveys. Embrace “Biggish
Data”, even if you’re a little perplexed by Big Data.
Exploit behavioral, HEOR, media consumption
and survey data for consumers and professionals.
Stack it up, link it together and spot the patterns.
• Solve tomorrow’s problems, not those of yesteryear.
MDD manufacturers and bio-pharmacos are increasingly focused on market access, CRM, user experience
and spurring growth in a digital “wild west.”
• Solve problems in tomorrow’s hot markets. It’s
time to get beyond our traditional US+Big 5 EU
mentality. BRICS and MISTs are post-emerging
markets; in fact, some are rapidly maturing.
• Excellence still matters, but it’s defined differently.
Delivering great insights in a compelling way is still
pretty important, but excellence also manifests in
how we manage preferred supplier relationships,
how we comply with AE monitoring, how we train
our people and how we treat each other.
Lisa Fox, Vice President
The U.S. healthcare system, as we have
traditionally known it, no longer exists.
From healthcare delivery to pharmaceuticals to reimbursement, the environment
continues to change – rapidly – with a
future that remains largely in flux.
Clearly, much of the change we are witnessing is
exceptionally positive. No one can debate the value
of having new and effective therapies to treat once
intractable conditions. And the recognition that
coordinated, quality focused care is not an option but
a necessity, is long overdue. A key obstacle to this
evolution, however, is that the change is outpacing
the industry’s ability to harness it.
Even for the insured, the expense associated with
many lifesaving therapies remains too much to bear.
And a new coverage gap is emerging as millions of
America’s poorest citizens, intended recipients via a
planned Medicaid expansion, are neither eligible for
coverage nor premium subsidies because their states
rejected the tenets of expansion under PPACA.
As pharmaceutical manufacturers reside at the center
of this semi-controlled chaos, it would seem that
they are tasked with the impossible in order to thrive
in this new environment, not only riding the wave but
somehow, shaping it. Pharma will be well served to
embrace these evolving stakeholders, targeting not
just the individual physician prescriber but the
health system of which he or she is a part.
Incorporate Payor Perspectives Earlier
More evolved pharmacos will incorporate payor
perspectives far earlier in the development process to
ensure that what is considered clinically meaningful
is aligned with payor perspectives of value. They will
also recognize that emerging payors participating in the
healthcare exchanges will further serve to fragment
an already heterogeneous system.
Pharmaceutical-sponsored value-adds may see an
evolution from patient assistance programs (which
payors and health professionals often deem either
unnecessary or ineffective) to those that focus on
innovative ways to bring the newly insured into the
healthcare continuum. The new rules of engagement
for pharma, quite simply, may be to discard many of
the old rules and forge onward.
Pharmaceutical market researchers are charged with
the daunting task of foreseeing and understanding
these changes, as well as shifting many of the paradigms
under which we have operated for so many years.
Physician sample composition will change, with the
increasing influence of health systems on an individual
practitioner’s decision making. Institutional segments,
such as hospitals and clinics, will warrant re-definition
based on the new parameters.
The inclusion of stakeholders, such as payors, will
shift from a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity throughout the
market research continuum. Classic methodologies,
such as chart pulls, will eventually become obsolete
once the true data power of EMR is realized.
President - North America
The Planning Shop International
As predicted last year, with the continued downsizing and re-organization by
pharmaceutical companies, there is an
ever-growing need for partnership
among market research agencies so that they can
Those agencies who can identify and implement
true synergies for a more robust client offering
will see their businesses grow in the future. And
this does not always mean reduced costs; clients
are also looking for more strategic insights or
ways to combine objectives so that a larger more
expensive piece of research occurs, versus a series
of small projects that will ultimately cost more.
The trend towards mobile technology means that
researchers must keep abreast not only of new
developments in phone apps, iPad and website
usability testing and digital technology in general,
but also of the specific applications for eacheverything from on-site conference research to
utilization of eye-tracking and biometrics for website testing.
Finally, corporate market researchers will need to
find ways to make themselves more valuable, not
only through pursuing partnership strategies with
agencies, but also keeping up with new technologies.
More specifically, researchers on the client side
should be looking to their agency partners for
important sales and customer service skills that will
help client researchers to more proactively and
effectively service their internal customers
(notably brand teams).
We believe the key will be expanding their ability
to provide true strategic insights and consultancy
in order to develop successful brands.
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
Kendall Gay, Vice President of
Healthcare, Qualitative Team Leader
A key component of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act
(PPACA) is electronic medical records
(Electronic Health Records, or EHR).
Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that EHRs are
paying off or will do so for some time.
This important issue alone can and will revolutionize
and improve healthcare overall. However, since EHR
is more transactional and more tactical, it has been less
noticed than the philosophical, political and economic
debates surrounding "affordable care."
There were and are significant economic incentives
for medical practices to adopt EHR – some would
say greenmail - however, they require business
process knowledge and computer systems savvy
that many practices simply don’t have. According
to “The Physician's Foundation 2012 Survey of
America's Physicians: Practice Patterns and
Perspectives,” just over 50% of physicians run practices with 1 to 5 people. These small businesses
often lack a dedicated business manager and formal
management structure necessary to handle the task
of establishing EHR within the practice.
The survey shows over 60% of the 13,575 respondents (overall margin of error of 0.998%, standard
deviation of 0.04%, confidence interval of 99%) say
they would retire now if they had the means. That is a
hugely telling prognostication about the American
healthcare system, and when we think about these
two factors we can see it hobbles the promise of EHR.
So, the incentives and ultimately the benefits of EHR
are not being fully realized by the healthcare system
because the means by which “big” healthcare data
would be created is struggling to get off the ground.
Further compounding the logistical challenges is
reluctance to participate in EHR. According to the
Physician's Foundation survey, over 47% of doctors
have significant concerns that EHR poses a risk to
patient privacy. This indicates a fundamental inertia
towards EHR, an organic challenge that further
lessens the promise of Big Data.
The next challenge with the “Big Data” inherent
in EHR is access. In talking with a colleague, Tim
O'Rourke of Healogix, the challenge we face in primary
market research is that “to do Big Data, you need
Big Data. The analytics are the easy part.” Tim
points out an issue we all need to be thinking
about, from industry to government. My final
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
point regarding access is a question: What entity
will decide and will regulate who gets access and
who does not?
Another barrier is that the right mix of incentives
and benefits have not been offered to small medical
practices to induce them to comply with EHR. While
the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs offer
eligible individual practitioners, eligible hospitals and
critical access hospitals (CAHs) $44,000 (Medicare)
and $63,750 (Medicaid), these payments are meted
out over 5 years and 6 years, respectively. That does
not come close to covering the entirety of costs
required to migrate paper records to EHR.
Beyond EHR software, there are numerous ancillary
costs (e.g., staff time, consultant time, integration into
existing internal and external information systems,
network build-out and equipment, additional computer equipment requirements, data storage and
security requirements, initial and ongoing training, service contracts and more).
Again, these monies are available to individual
practitioners and just over 50% of practices are 1-5
people. Who in these small practices will account
for, manage and administrate the monies for all
participating providers? What happens to the EHR
data from HCPs within the practices who don’t
accept Medicare or Medicaid patients?
Now, compound this economic issue with the
increasing migration of healthcare providers
(HCPs) away from providing services to Medicare
and Medicaid patients. We can see another "Big
Data" gap emerging. How do we capture EHR data
from those HCPs who decline to participate in
Medicare and/or Medicaid? Beyond simple demographics, how do we compare and contrast these
data sets to drive business?
One thing I am less worried about is data security.
There are sufficient security and encryption protocols
to protect the data, though certainly new threats
are always emerging. And, while there is some
potential value to stealing such data, there is not
nearly the economic incentive that there is in stealing
bank and credit card data.
All of this may sound as if I'm pessimistic about
EHR, but you would be wrong. EHR is long overdue.
The issue is that EHR as a sociopolitical initiative
has been foisted upon an industry without good
consideration of all practical, logical and economic
Epidemiologically, EHR offers great value-add in
more accurate, timely, efficient and consistent
delivery of healthcare in more effective ways. We
should aspire to that as a society.
Precise Media U.S
If I have to pick one key prediction for
the next year it would be that more people
will look online for health information
and seek to connect with others like them.
The quality of content, growth in popularity of
online patient communities and improved access
through the use of mobile will enable patients and
caregivers to access the information they need,
when they want and where they want.
The success or failure of the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) will be the 2014 wild card.
The ACA promises greater patient access
and better care for patients; while
“increased access” will be easy to measure, “better
care” may be too abstract a metric to easily quantify.
Increasing EMR data availability provided under the
ACA will help provide a more holistic view of patient
care. However, since many of the inputs into individual electronic records are used to help determine eligibility and access, using these same data alone to measure improvements in patient outcomes may be more
limiting. This complexity, combined with the growing
need to monitor preventive care and patient choices
unavailable in the EMR, will create an information gap
that can only be filled with primary research.
Well-designed primary research will provide manufacturers with a way to measure outcomes and to
better understand how dramatic the changes of the
ACA are on the healthcare landscape. Regardless of
how well the ACA meets its objectives of greater
patient access and improved care, we can expect
new information and measurements required to
assess its success or failure to significantly advance
our understanding of our own healthcare system.
The Research Partnership
The patient’s role in healthcare will continue to
grow in importance in 2014. Pharma is now taking
into much greater consideration the fact
that, while physicians still write the
script, the patient is now much more
knowledgeable and educated about their
disease and wants to take greater control
of their treatment decisions.
This is not a bad thing and that means
that the pharma industry is now taking a
much greater interest in learning about and hearing
the voice of the ultimate customer.
The economic downturn in the global economy
and the aging population has put pressure on the
healthcare industry to demonstrate greater value
for money. Pharmaceutical companies are
responding by seeking to add value with the creation
of outcomes-based models such as Pfizer’s “Pill
Technology has helped pharma to engage with
and support patients over time, with the clear
benefit of being able to influence behavior more
directly. Many brands for treating chronic conditions
now offer patient support tools such as educational
and support websites, apps and other devices to
help patients with taking their medication and
improving their overall lifestyle.
Our syndicated research findings reveal that
patients who come to a joint decision about their
treatment are more likely to be compliant and to
successfully manage their condition. Pharma companies have an opportunity to affect outcomes for
patients by understanding and intervening at critical points in the patient journey.
In order to meet patients’ needs effectively, pharma
companies need to have as much understanding of
them as they do the physician prescribing the
Technology has helped us as market researchers
to deliver greater patient insights. First it was
online research. Now, mobile technology can
immerse us in the patient’s world. Using intercept
methods, we can find out exactly how patients
are really acting and feeling, in the moment of
the experience. We can be distant and yet there,
which means market research can conduct a
more “observational” style of research.
We can also gather rich data, from pictures to
audio diaries and videos through which patients
are able to share the experience of living with
their disease. The resulting output to our pharma
industry is enhanced and enriched insights that
incorporate the voice of the customer.
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
Regional Vice President, Healthcare
2014 will be the beginning of a profound
long-term change in the American healthcare
system. Change will be slow and ongoing
for many years. Some things are certain:
More people will have health insurance, including
prescription drug coverage. The nature of that
coverage will vary, but on the whole, it will be
deeper than it was before. As a result, the focus of
decision-making will move from a small number
of key players to a wider group.
There are, as a result, new needs for survey research
as we’ll need more insight on how decisions are
being made about choice of health plans, choice of
drugs, procedures, and devices, as well as the influence of out of pocket costs . Expect institutions and
individuals to change directions over time.
Researchers who can put these pieces together in
an algorithm (that gives an accurate reading of the
market at any point in time) and nimble in forecasting and adjusting that algorithm to ongoing
changes in the market will be able to command a
premium. Similarly, data collection companies that
can access all of the relative groups that need to be
surveyed, will be increasingly important.
There is much to be learned from markets outside the United States. While health systems in
many of these countries have been relatively stable,
they will be subject to the same demographic pressures
from an aging population and, therefore, will have
to deal with cost pressures similar to those in the
In sum, healthcare will be a highly dynamic marketplace for the next decade and beyond, and it will
test the best capabilities of us all.
SVP, Strategic Development
Over several years, the industry has focused
on identifying ideas that will provide ‘disruptive change.' When it comes to healthcare
market research, that concept has typically
led to tweaking or retooling research methodologies.
Changing the partnership dynamic between endclients, insight firms and recruiting companies is
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
driving significant benefits to research stakeholders.
Specifically, rethinking the procurement process to
bring recruiting partners to the table earlier in the
process is leading to what stakeholders feel is an
improved research model. It is the efficiencies that
this model can achieve that bring us nearer to the
‘Holy Grail’ of paradigms; faster moving projects,
reduced costs, and increased quality of projects.
We have seen a significant increase for end client satisfaction scores. These scores stay high and overall
value metrics achieve levels that otherwise wouldn’t be
possible. A single source data collection partner makes
data integration a possibility. Following patients longitudinally across a treatment pathway or having access
to mine all data across studies has been a key driver on
the ability for the partnership to drive value.
Manufacturers and Insight partners are also
beginning to recognize that they need to address
the real threat: the decline in the willingness of
their customers to participate in research and
therefore finding targets becoming increasingly
challenging and costly.
There is no questioning that rare and orphan diseases
are a focus area for HC research and lower incidence
populations relating to them can present additional
recruiting challenges. When you overlay the current
procurement structure that typically doesn’t
involve direct or long-term interaction between
research teams and recruiting partners, it becomes
self-evident that model is unsustainable.
Allowing recruitment companies to take a more
strategic and collaborative approach to fulfilling the
long-term recruitment needs is already countering
these threats and challenges to ensure that clients
and can continue have powerful conversations
with their audiences.
Breaking apart insight generation from recruiting will
ultimately lead to strengthened partnerships between
end clients, insight providers and recruiting partners.
I believe that the opportunity for more minds contributing to core competences, from different perspectives and early in research planning is critical to
better research performance in our rapidly-evolving
In 2012 we started the Research (R)evolutions* initiative, whose core element has evolved into an annual
Consortium where we conduct 30 minute,
in-depth interviews with market research
executives focused on three key topics:
•Vision for the Future
Our learnings, based on interactive dialogue with these market research professionals, lead us to make the following predictions
for what we believe will be evolutionary (vs. revolutionary) change in the Pharma Market Research
Industry in the coming year:
• Innovation within the pharma market research
profession will be represented by extending our
reach. We won’t be just collecting insights using
innovative methodology; we’ll be taking a more
active role in facilitating implementation of innovative
actions in response to those insights. Pharma
market researchers will migrate from being problem
identifiers and information gatherers to strategic
interpreters and action identifiers, relying on their
broader understanding of the customer groups
(physicians, patients, payors, etc.)
• More resources within pharma market
research, both human and financial, will be dedicated
to synthesizing multiple sources of both insights
and data into actionable business plans for which
ownership will be shared across a multidisciplinary team. We believe the role of the researcher
on these teams will grow in significance as MR
becomes more action-oriented in support of
Through these evolutionary changes, we predict
that pharmaceutical market researchers will gain
increased respect within their companies as marketing
strategists, informing and influencing actions that
are taken throughout the organization in
response to information and insights gathered
and interpreted through increasingly complex and
multi-faceted market research.
Jean Patrick Tsang, Ph.D., MBA,
President Bayser Consulting
Specialty Pharma (SP) will exceed the $100
billion mark this year! It will be a well-needed oasis in our $320 billion prescription
market relentlessly pummeled by generics.
How long will the bonanza last? The question is a good one as SP flips the revenue model on its
head: it's big money from a small number of people as
opposed to small money from a big number of people.
In one scenario, it's business as usual: Payors simply
pay up huge tabs for a relatively small number of
patients, which, by the way, keeps on growing as SP
caters to a growing number of orphan, ultra-orphan
and hitherto unheard-of diseases.
In another more disturbing scenario, commercial
members refuse to pay up as they recognize their
premiums are unfairly high (the fact that they'll
have to pay a fine for purchasing a “Cadillac” plan
may just be the straw that breaks the camel's back).
They cannot relate on a personal level to diseases
as they know no one in their immediate circle of
friends, colleagues, neighbors and acquaintances
that are afflicted with such diseases. They may be
emboldened when the result of their genetic profile
confirms they will never get such a disease (such a
test is available for $100 from 23andme). In that
case, they may refuse to pay up and find the fine
for violating the individual mandate a more
In that case, payors will have to raise the premium
for the remaining members to make up for the missed
revenue, thereby initiating a vicious downward spiral.
Some people argue we should not be concerned that
new people that gain access to healthcare coverage
under PPACA (some initially estimated 32 million
people) will bring in huge premiums which would be
more than enough to pay for those claims.
Government PPACA subsidies will exceed one trillion dollars over the next 10 years.
The disturbing fact is those same patients will be
filing a lot of claims as they haven’t had healthcare
coverage for a very long time (pent-up demand).
It is analogous to a restaurant opening its doors to
a group of very hungry people who have not eaten
for days and suddenly have access to food. The
restaurant collects a lot of money; it also has to
keep on refilling the food trays.
Here's the rub: In Scenario One, one can be selfish
and still play along as there is a very good chance of
filing a claim. In Scenario Two, one needs to be like
Mother Teresa and accept to pay a hefty premium,
while fully recognizing one will virtually never file
an SP claim. The reason we conferred a Nobel Prize
on Mother Teresa was precisely because she was so
uncharacteristically unlike the rest of us, selfish profit
maximizers always on the lookout for a great deal!
It is safe to say it's Scenario One today and may
be Scenario Two tomorrow. Of course, we do not
want Scenario Two to ever rear its ugly head.
PHARMA MARKET RESEARCH REPORT
Co-Founder & President
Cloud computing is widely recognized as the
life sciences industry standard for commercial
operations. In its latest life sciences CRM
vendor report, IDC Health Insights noted that
cloud-based systems are now mainstream.
In recent years, the industry landscape has evolved
rapidly, and I’ve witnessed progressive companies
adopt these solutions for the flexibility, easy collaboration and agility they provide. Moreover, moving
into the cloud presents the opportunity for unique
data and a deeper understanding of customer behavior, revolutionizing your work as a market researcher
and dramatically increasing your effectiveness.
For example, the ability to compile all call activity
and multichannel interaction data across the
industry, can provide enormous insight into the
channel preferences of physicians. With the cloud,
data can be updated, verified and made available in
real-time so you can track trends as they happen.
Market shifts will be detected faster than ever,
leading to more precisely targeted and impactful
We’re at the start of a profound change, with data
analysts at its center. As a critical mass of companies
utilize the cloud, their aggregated activity creates a
powerful customer data resource. Until now,
crowdsourcing Big Data across customers to create
industry benchmarks was impossible, but as this
cloud-enabled data permeates the marketplace, it
will soon be a competitive necessity.
RFL Editor & Publisher Bob
Lederer was honored with the
2013 Next Generation Market
Researcher (NGMR) Award for
Individual Achievement in MR
“disruptive innovation” at The
Market Research Event in
Nashville on October 21.
Honored was our Research
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