How creating personas improves the pharma customer journey
An effective pharma customer journey depends on developing sound customer personas to target directly.
In marketing of any kind, it is essential to know who your target customers are before any message is delivered. This may sound obvious, but putting this knowledge into practice is difficult in the pharma industry. Besides stringent rules about what can be said, to whom, and at what time, there is also the factor that brand managers must understand the needs of their customers, the lives they lead, and the problems they face. On top of this, the customer base is hugely more diverse and all-encompassing than those of other industries. Creating a ‘persona’ of the average customer is impossible, because we are dealing with people from all walks of life.
Market segmentation needs a range of personas
For the above reason, pharma brands must create a variety of personas which cater for the various segments of their customer base. Even within these segments, multiple personas exist, members would have different needs, aspirations, communication modes and so-on. For one HCP, for example, the pharma customer journey will begin at an entirely different place than that of another HCP. The task for marketers is to recognise the different journey origins, and then influence the direction that journey will take. This does not come from focusing on the destination (i.e. the product) and thrusting the product into the customer’s area of focus as some kind of prize, but rather in having empathy with the unique situation each customer finds themselves in. In other words, to be a guide on the pharma customer journey – rather than someone waiting at the finish line. And how do you become that guide? By creating personas for your own reference, and then tailoring your messages to suit those personas. The persona is, in effect, your muse; a ‘real person’, rather than a set of statistics.
Creating the personas
In creating personas, research, research and more research is key – to begin with. When the persona is created, more research must be done to find out what this human being really needs, what problems they have, and what is missing from their professional lives. Before products, HCPs need knowledge and guidance on how to succeed professionally, and pharma brands can supply these solutions.