Pharmaceutical Executive Global Digest - February 2013 - (Page 13)
What is CLM Anyway?
There’s a fair amount of confusion about what closed loop marketing (CLM) is and what it isn’t.
Agnitio’s Morton Hjelmsoe explains the basic ideas, why it’s suddenly become possible, and how it
can benefit pharma marketers.
Push and Pull
I prefer to use the term ‘pull
communication’ to closed loop marketing.
It’s a little clearer as it demonstrates the
difference with more traditional forms of
customer communication. Put bluntly:
• a push communication is what I want you
• a pull communication is understanding
what you need to know and then providing
Push communication is what I’m doing
to you right now — talking at you. I don’t
know precisely what you’re interested in
hearing so I’m guessing. It would be much
better if I knew what you wanted to hear
and then provided that. And if I could do
that, it would be pull communication and
you’d have a much better experience.
But I can’t do more for you because I don’t
know enough about you. And that is exactly
the problem that the pharma industry has
had for many years.
It may sound counterintuitive but
‘going digital’ really is more about
strategy than technology...
Technology Enables Pull
Pull communication wasn’t possible in a
paper world. We simply couldn’t keep track
of what each physician needed to know.
Thousands of doctors, each needing slightly
different pieces of information? Forget it!
There would be one printed detail aid and
that would have to work for everyone. And
that’s the way it’s been until information
technology advanced enough. Now
It’s now possible to relate to our customers
in ways that simply were unimaginable
before. We already have the technology
that allows doctors to choose which
information they are interested in. During
a discussion with a company representative
for example, medical professionals can
actively pull the information they want,
which ensures they don’t talk past each
Technology also allows us to record each
medical professional’s particular interests
as they interact with the systems. So, with
pull communication, we can return later
to provide more relevant information on a
topic that they’ve already expressed interest
in. And it continues this way — continually
developing a better understanding that
powers the provision of high value and very
The application of technology is a big
deal. It means that we can stop alienating
healthcare professionals with irrelevant
information. We can use technology to
work on an individual level, responding to
people’s particular needs.
Unfortunately, simply adding technology
doesn’t automatically bring this about. If
all we do is change the technology, we can
only do what we were doing before in a
more efficient way. So it follows that, to
realize the full potential of technology, we
need to change our behavior and, I would
argue, raise our expectations.
It may sound counterintuitive but ‘going
digital’ really is more about strategy
than technology. We have to think
differently; designing individual, relevant
communications and seeing beyond
quarterly campaigns. It’s easy once the
right methodology is in place but without
it we’re really not doing much more than
transferring paper-based communications to
If we get it right, I believe that pull
communication can help rebuild trust
between industry and the medical
professionals. By matching the right
strategy with the right technology, we’ll
demonstrate an understanding of the
healthcare professionals’ situation and
continually provide relevant and high-value
information. And that, I believe, is how
we’ll re-establish the industry’s traditional
position as a true treatment partner.
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