Top Talks on Pharma: Jeffrey D. Erb, President, Healix


What kind of partnerships are you looking for to help you leverage the new marketing tools and technology available today – who will those partners be?

In looking at the future of the healthcare industry, there are many things to consider. The industry is evolving rapidly and as a result of increased financial and regulatory pressures in addition to heightened competition, the need for much stronger targeting and deeper analytics in order to guarantee less waste and higher returns on marketing spend has become a major focus. Pharma companies need to create solid partnerships with companies that have tools and data which can unearth a deep and personal understanding of their customer, in order to connect with them not just as demographics or professions, but as real people. By layering psychological data on top of traditional marketing metrics, pharma companies can understand not just the what, where, when and how people prefer to engage, but also the “why.” This allows marketers to bring core media insights forward in the strategic and creative process in order to develop a strategy that is both dynamic and highly targeted. At Healix, we bring proprietary tools to bear that create a true partnership between media, creative and brand by layering this quantitative and qualitative data together to create insights that are both innovative and actionable.

How is your company creating a culture that encourages and embraces innovation and creativity without compromising compliance?

I have found that the key to a successful culture is transparency within the organization, and mentorship from the top down. This allows people to feel confident and invested in the organization and provides a sense of pride and ownership that is critical for open creative and innovative ideation. By sharing an understanding and knowledge of compliance issues throughout the organization, it allows individuals to think out of the box while understanding and working within the boundaries of compliance. By making compliance part of the ideation process at an early stage when a new concept is being brought to bear, it also gives them a sense of ownership and desire to see it succeed. This encourages people to look for how things “can” be accomplished, as opposed to just looking at what “can’t” be accomplished.

What excites you most about the Pharma industry and what do you think will be next?

The Pharma industry is just beginning to take advantage of technologies and innovative engagement strategies that other industries have been able to pave the way forward in. The ability to anonymize very deep analytical data so that you can have truly engaging content and targeting without violating HIPAA regulations has really made media analytics and strategy a core part of the creative ideation process. This is exciting as it allows companies to more effectively provide the right kind of content to people who are looking for answers to their conditions and treatments. We are using technologies that were originally designed to target terrorists and the people that they influence in order to understand how people influence others, and it completely changes the landscape of how you can create both highly targeted engagement strategies, but also architect them to influence the right people that will make a difference whether they are HCPs or Consumers. I feel that this will become more and more important and relevant as biologics, biosimilars and specialty drugs make an impact on the market.

How do you see media and creative integrating moving forward in pharma brand planning?

By bringing media insights to the forefront and ensuring that there is a strong working relationship between the media agency and the creative agency, we are able to identify the best kind of creative voice that will impact an audience most effectively. From a digital perspective, we can see the online habits of an anonymous individual over the course of an average day. Once we understand the media habits, we have a perspective on the engagement priorities of an individual and are able to deliver customized creative, with the same overall message, but in a different voice, through the application of dynamic creative. Utilizing a creative and programmatic ad server, advertisements can be customized to speak in the voice of a computer programmer while a customer is visiting Wired, and in the voice of a football fan when they are on ESPN. By applying these insights at the earliest moment in the process of developing the strategy, the creative team is empowered to develop messaging that speaks directly to the target audience in the way and manner that they want to be spoken to within the context of the media they are consuming.


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