Adaptive Social Media in Life Sciences


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Life sciences companies can harness the benefits of social media by applying the same model of adaptive design that they use in clinical trials.

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Adaptive Social Media in Life Sciences

  1. 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsAdaptive Social Media in Life Sciences Executive Summary the healthcare system have forced life sciences companies to be more nimble and innovative. An In 2011, 74% of pharmaceutical companies had example is the adaptive clinical trial process that adopted social media technologies — a higher rate has been rapidly adopted and approved by the than financial services and retail.1 While many FDA. In 2006, the Pharmaceutical Research and pundits argued that the lack of Federal Drug Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) put forth the Administration (FDA) guidance would restrict the following definition: “Adaptive design is referred use of social media channels, pharmaceutical and to as a clinical trial design that uses accumulating other life sciences companies are holding their data to decide on how to modify aspects of the own by adapting to the regulatory ambiguity to study as it continues, without undermining the meet the needs of their diverse customers and a validity and integrity of the trial.”2 mandate for rapid change. Applying the adaptive design to social media Adding to the regulatory risks of violating means that life sciences companies accumulate existing or impending FDA regulations is a rapidly data to decide on how to modify aspects of changing landscape of social media monitoring customer engagement as it continues, without and analytics solutions. There are hundreds of undermining the trust and equity in the brand or free, paid, integrated, standalone or platform organization. solutions vying for attention. The complexity of using advanced technology to collect social media What is common to the adaptive design in clinical data for insight into customer preferences and trial and in social media strategies is: behaviors seems well-suited to the data-driven approach that life sciences companies adapt to • Big data: Accumulation of large amounts of many aspects of their business models to remain data. agile and customer-centric. • Descriptive and predictive analytics to This white paper lays out how life sciences reduce options to the best set. companies can apply their expertise in data • Continuous learning, creating multiple collection and analysis to harness the potential sequential learning opportunities. upsides of social media, while mitigating the downsides. • Well-defined endpoints. In both cases, the adaptive process also leverages Adaptive Design data and analytics to reduce cycle times and Over the past decade, increased shareholder improve success rates in a complex operating pressure, global competition and complexity of environment. cognizant 20-20 insights | january 2012
  2. 2. Social Media Usage Maturity Curve Converse Engage Listen Social CRM (franchise Planning and execution complexity or enterprise) Social marketing (brand) Social marketing (corporate) Social monitoring (launch or mature product) Social listening (pipeline product) Regulatory complexity Source: Google Insights for Search, Figure 1 Constraints and Opportunities Corporate Culture Life sciences companies are prioritizing social Scientific and technological innovation, custom- media initiatives based on five key aspects of er-centricity, operational excellence and risk their business. management affect an organization’s choice of social media activities. Customer-focused orga- Product Lifecycle nizations may deploy listening devices through While large life sciences companies are managing social media channels at the corporate level to mature brands with impending patent expiry, the open a dialogue with customers (e.g., extending industry also has more than 3,000 potential new their customer service departments). Commercial treatments in development.3 operations experts can add social media to The quality of the Mature products require more existing promotional channels to improveinformation and the careful use of social media due engagement (e.g., support existing offline and digital promotions).amount of customer to adverse event and off-label reporting requirements. Social interaction is a media monitoring and analysis Regulatory Environment driver of when and can be performed against Regulatory compliance teams are challenged to interpret the limited set of rules that apply to social how life sciences a larger set of information media to ensure compliance. The complexity of and analytical objectives for companies engage. product positioning, physician digital marketing, and the increasing regulatory attitudes or general market affairs workload, typically determine which social research, since there is less risk of capturing media initiatives are prioritized. product complaints or adverse events that the Stakeholder Needs analyst would need to report. As patients, caregivers, healthcare companies Therapeutic Category and physicians increase their use of social media, Data velocity and social media user engagement life sciences companies are looking for ways to can vary by disease state. For example, breast participate. The quality of the information and cancer patients are 12 times more engaged than the amount of customer interaction is a driver of diabetes patients.4 The likelihood to engage and when and how life sciences companies engage. the amount of data available for collection and analysis has implications for how social media Execution can be used (too much will be difficult to process, As social media usage matures (see Figure 1), its too little will be inconclusive). functions are becoming more clearly defined. For instance, companies now have a better under- cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  3. 3. standing of the planning and resources required the “behavioral exhaust” to creating “stimuli”to execute the following functions. for increased social interactions. Iterations on this type of analysis are limited only by customer• Listening/monitoring. engagement and the “virality” of the content.• Publish/share/discuss/review. Social customer service is emerging as a new standard, as customers expect faster response• Gaming. times and organizations strive to reduce theirOpportunities exist to iterate within each function costs.while improving the organization’s ability to The next step after “social customer service” isexecute other social media functions. social CRM, where interactions are in the serviceApplied Examples of Adaptive of identified healthcare providers and patients. With Life sciencesSocial Media social CRM, social media companies’ coreListening to social media in the pipeline drugs activities are integratedarena offers many opportunities to collect infor- in customer management competencies inmation on patient needs, physician treatment systems and supported by data collection,habits, product positioning and competitive intelli- dedicated resources, providing applied analytics andgence without having to implement full regulatory a truly complete view of therigor. This approach casts a wide net for analysis customer. Solutions providers insight generationand then focuses on one specific clinical, attitudi- are only now curating lists of are well suited tonal, geographic or set of financial topics based on physicians, affiliations and social media.information processed. online relationships to inform their analysis.On the other hand, social listening for maturebrands requires more planning and resources to Social CRM allows customers to interact withensure that adverse events and off-label infor- brands in the moment of engagement withoutmation is appropriately handled. These projects the burden of e-mail or customer service calls.typically have narrower datasets and analytical In turn, organizations can better understandobjectives. This approach provides baseline senti- customer preferences and who influences thosement and analysis for brands that are already on preferences online.the market. ConclusionAfter having executed social media listeningand monitoring projects, many companies have Life sciences companies’ core competencies inregulatory precedents to contend with. They also data collection, applied analytics and insighthave attained some level of customer intelligence, generation are well suited to social media.which allows them to create bi-directional links Furthermore, new, flexible processes such aswith customer segments (corporate or brand- adaptive design provide frameworks that can belevel). Physician and patient communities, applied to other business areas, as well as enablecorporate information centers and patient help more dynamic, cost-efficient and decision-orient-lines are typical social media implementations. ed ways of operating. Understanding the resource requirements and planning for the business con-At this stage, projects are more focused on straints for the right social media functions cancontent creation to engage customers. Social help create an accelerated path to social mediamedia activities can then move from analyzing maturity. cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  4. 4. Footnotes1 Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, Angela Hung Byers, “How Social Technologies are Extending the Organization,” McKinsey Quarterly, November 2011 Journal of Biopharmaceutical Statistics, Vol. 16, No. 3 (2006), 275-2833 Jenni Brewer, “2011’s New Medicines Fought a Wide Range of Diseases, Conditions,” PhRMA, Dec. 21, 2011 Melissa Davies,“Understanding the Impact of Social Media,” Return on Focus, June 2010 the AuthorAlex Gochtovtt is a Principal with Cognizant’s Enterprise Analytics Practice, working within its DigitalAnalytics Center of Excellence. He can be reached at CognizantCognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out-sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered inTeaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industryand business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50delivery centers worldwide and approximately 130,000 employees as of September 30, 2011, Cognizant is a member ofthe NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performingand fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: Email: Email:© Copyright 2012, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by anymeans, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein issubject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.