The Importance of Deep Customer Knowledge in Pharma

The Importance of Deep Customer Knowledge in Pharma

by Jeffrey Freedman & Erin Reilly

Pharmaceutical companies produce and sell medicines and healthcare products to improve people’s health. Therefore, the need to thoroughly understand their customers—including patients, healthcare providers, payers, and distributors—is critical for their developing effective products, building customer loyalty, and improving healthcare outcomes.

A missed or compromised customer need in healthcare can have life-or-death consequences. For this reason, a comprehensive understanding of customers and their needs must be considered paramount in every aspect of product development, even as these pharma companies navigate through the obstacles unique to this industry.

  1. A complex regulatory environment: The regulatory environment for pharmaceutical companies is complex and requires strict adherence to rules and guidelines. Exceptional companies successfully navigate this complexity while understanding customer needs and regulatory requirements, resulting in safe and effective products.
  2. Numerous specialized target markets: The healthcare industry is highly specialized, with various areas of expertise and an extensive range of products and services. Pharmaceutical companies must comprehend the distinct needs of their customers, which may include healthcare providers, distributors, insurance companies, pharmacists, patients, and caregivers. These customers all have unique requirements and expectations, and it is crucial that pharmaceutical companies customize their products and services to fulfill those needs.
  3. High customer emotions: Unlike other industries, healthcare is an emotional and sensitive field. Patients and their families are dealing with serious and life-threatening conditions, and the decisions they make about their health will have a significant impact on their lives. Pharmaceutical companies must work with and through these customer emotions, armed with fact-driven insights derived from accredited sources, to ensure the match customer gets the right product at the right time in the right way. Compelling customer insight can be derived using algorithms applied to data collected from product testing, market research, and other continuous customer feedback loops. When customer insight is combined with extensive product knowledge, the pharmaceutical company can effectively articulate fact versus emotion and transfer this knowledge to its own customers via training, documentation, marketing, and advertising strategy. Maintaining a strong feedback process for customer data collection and analysis creates an environment of innovation, efficacy, and continuous improvement.
  4. Trust is paramount in the healthcare industry: Patients and healthcare providers must trust that pharmaceutical companies are developing safe, effective, and reliable products. Understanding the needs and concerns of customers is critical to building trust and establishing long-term relationships with patients and healthcare providers. A breach here can ruin corporate reputations quickly, so maintaining the platforms described above can make or break a company.

By developing and maintaining a strong process for collecting, analyzing, and deriving the deepest understanding of their customers—this is how good pharmaceutical companies become great. They consistently prioritize customer understanding and reevaluate to uncover new or changing unmet needs. This creates better products and services and, ultimately, improves healthcare outcomes.


Share this article with a friend or colleague:


Vice President, Digital Strategy and Customer Engagement

Scott is fortunate to bring 25 years of digital expertise to the blulava team. Scott has broad global executive leadership experience ranging from serving as the Executive Creative Director for the world’s largest digital agency to Managing Director of a Microsoft and Accenture joint venture focused on advanced analytics and artificial intelligence solutions for global clients. He has also worked with experimental media artists and creative technologists to bring to life immersive entertainment experiences. Scott has been awarded numerous patents for his analytical technology inventions. He has also been recognized widely for his creative work including Webbys, Cannes Lion, Clio, MM&M, DTC Awards and many others.

When not working to build creative technology solutions for clients, Scott is typically found in the company of musicians, artists and athletes. A highly avid skier, Scott is former PSIA ski coach in Winter Park Colorado. He is a former completive distance runner and triathlete. Any given night you may find Scott in various rock venues or music festivals.

Carl Napolitano

Vice President, Creative Director

Carl is an award-winning creative director with a distinguished career in healthcare communications, design, and marketing. Over the past 20 years, Carl has cultivated a seasoned intuition for compelling creative by showcasing the nuances of a brand’s value proposition. His artistic energy supports both the brands he develops as well as the team he leads.

From innovative digital tactics to integrated media campaigns to corporate identity branding, Carl’s creative work and dynamic leadership have been recognized with industry awards from the RX Club and the OMNI Awards.

When not at work, you can find Carl on the golf course with his son or at the beach with his family.


Group Account Director, Digital Solutions

Beth is a successful marketing veteran with 20 years driving groundbreaking omnichannel programs for Fortune 500 companies. She loves to uncover the deeply felt customer insights that bring your brand from ideas to actions. Beth has won multiple industry awards, from Best Website at DTC Pharma Awards to Most Innovative Programs at the Webby Awards.

In her free time, Beth loves to spend time with her niece and nephews, and tries to stay balanced between the gym, the beach and the runway.


Vice President, Technology and Software Development

Jon is responsible for all aspects of product delivery and technology development at blulava. Over the past 25 years, he has built best-in-class, innovative technology solutions for global brands within in the medical communications industry. Jon’s visionary leadership is driven by his passion for helping clients understand their particular business needs.

In his free time, Jon loves exploring different cuisines, listening to music, and traveling. He also enjoys gardening and working on home improvement projects.


Vice President, Digital Strategy and Customer Engagement

Scott brings 25 years of digital expertise to the blulava team. His executive leadership experience ranges from serving as the Executive Creative Director for one of the world’s largest digital agencies to Managing Director of a Microsoft/Accenture advanced analytics venture, focusing on AI solutions for global clients. Scott’s work has spanned industries from entertainment, retail, financial services with a heavy dose of pharmaceutical experience.

Scott has been granted numerous patents for his analytical technology inventions. He has been recognized widely for his creative work, winning awards at the Webbys, Cannes Lion, CLIO, and the MM&M Awards, to name a few.

When not working, Scott can usually be found in the company of musicians, artists, and athletes.


Chief Operating Officer,
Chief Medical Officer

Leo is an award-winning industry leader, twice recognized as one of PharmaVOICE’s 100 most inspiring people in the life-sciences industry. His driving focus is to frame science in a context that creates meaning and relevance for healthcare professionals and their patients across all aspects of therapeutic commercialization.

Leo is a skilled communicator and visionary, operationally robust in translating scientific ideas into organizational value. He is a consummate team worker, customer-focused, organizationally agile, and committed to improving patient care.


Executive Vice President

Jeff is an insights−driven marketing and communications strategist dedicated to helping companies grow, build brands, and deliver differentiated, multichannel customer experiences. He has served 15+ years on agency leadership teams, where he has headed up communications, strategy, technology, creative, and analytics groups. As a digital marketing veteran, he has helped brands navigate the fascinating and rapid convergence of omnichannel communications and technology.

To unplug, Jeff loves to cook and entertain for family and friends, as well as listen to and live music and travel to concerts.

Lorem Ipsum Dolor Sit Amet, Consectetur

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vittristique posuereae risus