The digital pharma product development process: 10 stages
It’s not possible to perform well and achieve great results if you don’t have a clear view of what you are trying to achieve, and why.
With a clear definition of success, you can understand goals, align teams, and focus effort where you can achieve measurable results and effectively report on ROI.
Our Commercial Director, Jon Hume, writes here about measuring digital product success. This article was originally published in Customer Experience Magazine.
To have a meaningful discussion about measuring success you need to understand that success often means something completely different for each digital product. Your product might be revenue generating, a tool for acquiring new customers, something to support existing customers and build loyalty, an attempt at differentiation from your competitors, or have any number of other purposes.
This differentiation isn’t a problem in itself, but it’s not possible to perform well and achieve great results if you don’t have a clear view of what you are trying to achieve, and why.
With a clear definition of success you can understand goals, align teams and focus effort in areas where you can achieve measurable results and report on return on investment (ROI) effectively.
However, in a recent survey of 450 professionals in our sector - healthcare and pharmaceuticals - only 4% said that their digital pharma product launches regularly succeed. One in five said that they didn’t know the level of success of their digital product launches as they don’t measure anything.
Measurement should be a key element of your digital or customer experience strategy. Without it, you will struggle to prove if your work made a difference for the business, and it will be challenging to understand any value created for the customer.
It can also be difficult to make a case for additional investment beyond the initial launch of a digital product, meaning you won’t be able to put together an organisational structure to support your broader objectives.
To measure success you will need key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you understand the performance of your product in relation to your objectives. In order to do this successfully you should:
Understand the overall objectives of the business
Build your product strategy around achieving one or more of these objectives
Create a measurement strategy that will indicate current and future performance against these objectives
Often teams will end up struggling to backfill KPIs for a product that has already launched, but to truly understand if your launch has been successful you need to build in measurement right from the start of your project - essentially starting “at the end”.
Develop a shared understanding of what good looks like, agree how you’ll prove this and what needs to be done to acquire this information, and what you’ll do with it once you have it. It is important to work through the following steps:
Why does your product exist and what assumptions were made?
What are the desired outcomes that you are looking for from the business and customer perspective?
Work backwards from these high level outcomes and create measurable objectives, then KPIs that you can commit to
Whichever way you end up working through to understanding your KPIs, once you have them that is only the beginning of your journey into measurement. You’ll still need to confirm which people across the business should be involved, and agree on a regular monitoring plan and stick to it. A flexible and agile approach is also critical; it’s better to know something isn’t working rather than continuing to throw effort at it and hoping for the best!
Working in CX, you are likely to need to have these types of conversations with stakeholders. Being able to understand and explain the difference between the useful KPIs and the “other stuff” that could be measured is a vital skill. But ultimately, being able to understand and explain leading and lagging indicators is crucial to getting value from your measurement strategy.
Broadly speaking, a lagging indicator is a measure of past performance, popular because they can be presented as absolute facts, but problematic because by their very nature, it’s already happened. They’re also missing a really key and useful component — the “why”.
Leading indicators are designed to look forward and predict change. They measure progress towards bigger goals and don’t consider only single points in time. In other words, the leading indicator predicts the likelihood of achieving a goal, sooner.
In CX in the context of healthcare, you might look at leading indicators such as how many customers (in this case, doctors) have to contact a pharma rep because they couldn’t get the samples platform to work or their order never arrived? Or what percentage of our patients regularly complete their re-ordering journeys with a successful outcome?
Aim to develop an insight-led and holistic approach. Analytics alone won’t provide all the information you need to make a great CX, so it’s vital to have a method for getting feedback directly from customers. NPS probably won’t be enough — you’ll need some customer research in order to understand their context, providing the ‘why’ behind the analytics and allowing you to make improvements.
Different types of research are required to understand the full picture. Simple quantitative studies will provide easy-to-communicate objective data, but a larger sample size is needed for definitive feedback, context behind the data will still be lacking.
In order to secure that context — speak to your customers! Qualitative research in the form of a field study, user interview or moderated usability testing allows for more flexibility in responses, and you could learn a lot from simply watching someone use your digital product.
Research doesn’t need to be complex and expensive, but it does take planning. You could benefit from using an online research tool to get up and running quickly.
Understand what it is you are trying to achieve, build a plan to measure performance, talk to customers to get their feedback and importantly, act on the insights you collect.
If you're looking to achieve measurable results with your digital products and services, get in touch.