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From b2b to a2a

It is Friday.

Like all Fridays, it is a moment in the week to reflect on some learnings, experiences and discussions.

At the latest eyeforpharma conference in Barcelona, I had exciting exchanges concerning the evolution of our customer experiences and interactions, especially the role of digital technologies that are changing those.

b2b > business to business

You’ll probably think first about the rep or a KAM (key account manager) in the pharmaceutical industry. We have a lot to prepare to help our agents spouse the new expectations of our HCPs, and find new ways to provide value. This evolution led our industry to shift mainly to customer-centricity, changing our messages from product facts and sheets and identifying our “why”.

b2b4c > business to business for consumers

Naturally, the patient pops up fast in these discussions, and we bring him into the centre, which is a good thing. We talk more about prevention, our role in adherence and even our role in lifestyle and environmental issues that could induce the conditions we are trying to treat.

This trend is also the root cause of why we want (try) to shift to a service model as an industry. Some create the capability in-house but most of the house partners. As a result, we have seen the rise of many players, associations and groups “representing” the patient needs and the patient voice and selling us a b2b2c model: in other words, pay me and will take care of the burden of talking to consumers for you.

p2p > platform(s) to platform(s)

The last decade is bringing us API and an open data model where company X sells a seat for you to publish your content or services, and company Y sells a seat to a doctor or a patient for a perceived value.

This model is a natural evolution from partnerships to an automated way to do business now that anyone has a connection and a phone. Is it bad? It is worth mentioning that it is not working every time and everywhere.

We usually underestimate the time required to make the most of an automated ecosystem, especially when discussing patient support platforms or websites driving content and curating data for HCPs.

a2a > applications to application / artificial intelligence to artificial intelligence

The rise of bots powered by machine learning or home/pro assistants getting smarter creates new opportunities and questions. Imagine tomorrow, patients’ behaviour shifts due to assistants who themselves need to be convinced by the AI of a doctor. It sounds far from where we are, but if you push that not for our generation but the one coming, I could easily see it soon.

Then it means that not only will our value be transformed into a transaction, but this last one is backup by measurable proof—a new game in perspective.

What to do from here?

You might ask yourself what this is about and why I am interested. I see more and more platforms and partners selling part or a whole ecosystem to our industry. While it is excellent because you can’t be a data or tech expert in weeks organically, you could leapfrog through a solid partnership and provide a new set of value to your customers and patients.

That said, what would be the end of the funnel? If this is an a2a model, then losing the customer interface and looking at the data lake is not our forte, but one of the data-centric companies that would do that better than us. Worse, we will depend on someone else to understand our market dynamics and audiences (I’ll say we are already in that with online ad platforms).

This new approach also provokes new definitions: what does it mean to disrupt healthcare? Are we talking about simply shaping new habits, and will healthcare be much broader than we have now? Will we see the emergence of new players owning new kinds of relationships that these new business models create?

I would love to hear your views in the comments below.

Have a lovely weekend, folks.

Haider

Haider Alleg
Haider Alleg
https://haideralleg.com/
Entrepreneur Haider developed a toolbox for bringing brand performances to life, helping organisations of various shapes and sizes navigate the unknown and generate growth. This led him to build Kainjoo in 2012, a fast-growing consulting firm supporting ambitious leaders from top 500 Fortune companies. With Allegory Capital, he supports regulated industries to innovate through portfolios of emerging tech and channels.

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