The Thought Leader Interview - Raakhi K Sippy

The Global Head of Marketing Operations & 3rd Party Partnerships - GlaxoSmithKline emphasizes on capability reorganization at pace and data-driven marketing to drive change across the organization. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Indegene PharmaFuture: How do you think organizations should approach the content supply chain? What opportunities do you see here to create value?

Raakhi: I think we need to aim towards evolving to a dynamic content factory rather than the typical, traditional, twice-a-year content creation cycles that we run across pharma companies, like those must-have e-detail aids that we deliver to our sales representatives. Because, ideally, content needs to be dynamic. Especially, when we're trying to engage with the customer digitally, it needs content that can be refreshed quite regularly. We need to start creating fragmented, modular, bite-sized content that can be easily localized and consumed through various media and channels to deliver better customer experience. In terms of campaign goals, I think pharma has a one-size-fits-all approach at the moment where we're just driving large pieces of content and campaign assets, and not really focusing on optimizing the customer experience.

Indegene PharmaFuture: There is a certain amount of risk built into deploying new technologies and undertaking the digital journey. How do you ensure that these investments are fully leveraged and don’t end up as technology solutions that don’t impact the business?

Raakhi: I think this is where a partnership is really important and this is something we're actually doing quite well at GSK, which is a really strong commercial pharma tech partnership. We have a steering committee that makes decisions on “Does tech meet a business objective?” before we start to deploy large technology solutions. So, it's a very business-first mindset, which I think helps to make sure that the business has skin in the game to drive the right accountability.

Let’s consider some of the key challenges. For example, when you set up your data lake, you are heavily reliant on technology. As you may know about pharma industry, it is quite general across companies to have a large amount of data. However, it's so important in terms of how they structure the data for the data to flow appropriately to address key business questions. So, I think it's also really important here to drive solutions that are business focused, at pace. Another challenge in this aspect is the time taken for deployment of technology. 

Indegene PharmaFuture: We’re now moving towards an era of patient-centric, evidence-driven, and outcome-focused healthcare, what are the key 1-2 trends that you see playing out in 2019 and beyond?

Raakhi: I think the biggest trend that you're going to see here is for us to be a truly patient-centric, evidence-driven, and outcome-focused healthcare organization. I think it goes back to your first question that talks about the content supply chain. 

One of the principles that all of us are applying is how can we make sure that we leave behind our traditional ways of working in terms of marketing. It is imperative that we need to change the way we market our products. It is very similar to an FMCG organization that's customer-centric. So that's for me a first, and I go down to see how we engage with our patients, healthcare providers, and physicians. I think we'll start to see an absolute shift in terms of how we get there and I think marketing operations plays a huge role here. 

The other thing you'll start to see is a more central perspective on your brand identities and the likes of it, which has been really well done by the Unilevers and the L'Oreals of the world. There are also certain pharma organizations that do it really well. However, I can tell you that GSK has been quite decentralized. So, I think you'll see a lot of centralization in terms of brand strategies and the execution as well, because again that gives you that one voice as you engage with customers.

Indegene PharmaFuture: Over the past decade, the excitement about the new innovations in technology (including artificial intelligence [AI] and machine learning [ML]) hasn’t been matched by the rate of adoption on the ground. How do you see that playing out moving forward?

Raakhi: I think we started to harness AI really well on the regulatory and evidence generation side, but where we have not leveraged AI, which is a trend that is picking up pace, is in marketing. Now you've got AI technology which we are starting to leverage for translation services and support copy approval. These are simple trends that I think we need to absolutely adopt to drive efficiencies around marketing operations and automation to help with speed to market of our content.

So, we'are already starting to scratch the surface with small pilots. But I see this picking up pace quite quickly. As far as the timeline is concerned, I'm already challenging the team in terms of how do we leverage the learning we've got from clinical evidence, regulatory, etc. and how do we apply that to marketing operations.

Indegene PharmaFuture: What metrics would you use to measure the customer experience?

Raakhi: The net promoter score is a lag metric. It’s the final lag metric that we look at. We use lead metrics such as Voice of Customer and STEM method to drive good sell outcomes to name a few. But from a lag perspective, it's net promoter score.

Indegene PharmaFuture: As you move along your digital journey in 2019, what will be the one most important factor in your mind while driving this change across the organization?

Raakhi: There are two things that are keeping me up at night around our digital journey. The first one is – as we are moving at pace in terms of technology enhancements; at the same time, how are we driving pace in terms of upskilling our marketers to be able to consume all of that? Because, marketers are trained quite traditionally in pharma organizations. So, are we driving their skills and capabilities to get the true harness of technology we're delivering and how they can leverage the data and insights?

The second factor for me is everything around the data-driven marketing. We need to move away from gut feel, large qualitative studies, etc. to A/B testing, agile ways of working, and truly applying real data and analytics to drive customer and market behaviour. So, I think these are the two factors to drive change across the organization.


#RaakhiKheraSippy #GlaxoSmithKline #pharmafuture #digitalcouncil #thoughtleader #interviews #indegene

Note: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the thought leader, and not necessarily to his employer, organization, committee, or other group or individual.

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