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Is Your Segmentation Approach Actually Costing You Sales?

Posted by Dr. Andrée Bates | Nov 7, 2017 5:29:35 AM

How to get better results by knowing your physicians’ “Jobs to Be Done”

Recently a lot of our Artificial Intelligence (AI) work in both launch planning and dynamic segmentation is centered around the ‘Jobs to Be Done’ approach. This idea takes the Harvard Business School Jobs to be done approach and applies it to drugs. So we are looking at the physicians ‘Job to Be Done’ for different patients.

What exactly is the Job to Be Done approach?

Since many of our clients using it now were initially unfamiliar with the framework, I will provide a little primer on the topic. Then I will explain how you can apply it to your drug marketing to gain deeper insight and drive more sales.

The name describes the approach literally. Your ‘to do’ list will be full of jobs to be done. The approach focuses on these objectives rather than demographic or product related information. This is effective because, when you choose a product, you choose it because of the job you have to do. For example, if you go to the hardware store to buy a 5 mm drill bit, the job to be done isn’t buying the drill bit. The job to be done is drilling a 5 mm hole in the wall. The drill bit is the tool.

The same thing applies to drugs. When a physician chooses a drug for a patient, it is based on the job to be done for that patient. Let’s take a simple example – Schizophrenia. If a psychiatrist has a schizophrenic patient who is currently having an acute episode with vivid psychotic symptoms, the immediate job to be done is to get the patient’s psychotic episode under control and end the crisis now. However, the psychiatrist may have another schizophrenia patient who is well controlled on his treatment. In that case, keeping the patient well controlled is the job to be done.

Another example would be a patient who has severe side effects from a drug. For that patient, the job to be done may be minimizing her side effects, so the physician needs to switch to a different drug.

On some level every physician has a specific job to be done for the patient in front of him or her and chooses a drug based on that job to be done. The marketer’s job is to understand all the physician’s jobs to be done for the drug’s therapy area and help the doctor understand how that drug helps get those job done.

To many of our clients coming to us for a dynamic segmentation, this is a new approach. In the past they used analytics to segment their physicians (and patients), by various methodologies that group their customers into segments they believe will offer value. These could be based on prescribing levels, behavioral measures including personality type, and various other approaches that are analyzed using conjoint analysis and others. These approaches are focused on attributes about the physicians.

One of the many challenges with these approaches is that they fail to distinguish between customers and their different unmet needs. Physicians in very different segments often have an identical job to be done with some patients, and find existing treatments leave some of the job to be done unmet. By applying the Jobs to be Done theory, you can transform your understanding of your customer’s unmet needs and apply it to your drug’s marketing.

Perspective, context, and causality is everything. An example would be how I approach getting from A to B. If there is no public transport, my choices would be driving or mobility as a service (taxi, Uber, etc.). So, if you were a car manufacturer looking at segmenting who would use Uber versus who would buy a car by finding similarities between groups, you would be missing rich insight and create erroneous marketing. 

In an either/or analysis, you may find interesting things that fit me in with the mobility as a service segment and not market to me for buying a car. However, when I am in near my home, I drive. When I am travelling, or I am going somewhere that parking would be difficult, I use Uber. In other words, I am in both segments depending on my ‘job to be done.’

What this means for pharmaceutical marketers is you need to ask the right questions to define your physicians’ jobs to be done with their patients, identify unmet needs, and examine your competition and your own brand(s) in this light.

Physicians choosing a drug are essentially doing the same thing. It is not necessarily an either/or for their drug choice, no matter how hard you try to make yours the drug of choice. They choose drugs based on their job to be done with a specific patient. Now if you have a portfolio of drugs, you could position them to solve each job to be done, but however many drugs you have in an indication (one or multiple), the first step is a thorough understanding of your target physicians’ jobs to be done.

Of course there are many dimensions to getting a job done. Some are functional, some are social and some are emotional. When considering jobs to be done, you should consider them through all of these lenses. Then you need to consider where the unmet needs are within your customers’ jobs to be done. What we want to do is find where the most unmet needs within the jobs to be done reside, and where our competitors’ weaknesses are.

What does this mean for marketing drugs?

If marketers consider their physicians, and patients, through this situational understanding of the physician job to be done with the patient in that moment, they will understand why they may be having challenges growing their brand more — and find where they could change their approach for stronger results. Rather than segmenting their customers by customer attributes, perhaps they should be segmenting their customers’ jobs to be done that are relevant to the drug.

There are many ways to implement this kind of analysis. For example, Eularis uses Artificial Intelligence techniques for all our work, so naturally our JTBD work is based on AI techniques on data. We identify how the jobs to be done approach fits for our clients’ drug spaces. You could use more traditional approaches if you wanted. The point is you should consider this approach for your segmentation work, as it gives you a new and insightful perspective.

For more information on how Eularis do this, please contact Eularis

Topics: Marketing Insights, Marketing Effectiveness, Advanced Analytics, Pre-Launch Planning, Launch Success

Written by Dr. Andrée Bates