Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004 – CONTENTS

Feature Article

Conference Highlights

Case Studies Featured in This Month’s Issue

Upfront — Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

The infamous Monty Python Spam Skit probably helped sell more of the canned Spam than any advertising campaign did. Some people predict that the new CAN-SPAM law will have a similar effect on the e-mail version of spam — that is, increase the amount of spam e-mail. You can read about this law in this month’s feature article, which also offers some definitions of spam as applied to e-mail.

I probably get more spam e-mail than most of people. After all, my name and e-mail address are prominently displayed on dozens of web sites and in hundreds of e-mail messages. So it’s no wonder that this information has been harvested by spammers.

Yet, my hackles rise when it comes to some of the techniques being used to limit the amount of spam e-mail being sent through the Internet and to me in particular.

Recently, for example, my Internet Service Provider (ISP) installed a spam filter on its e-mail servers that completely blocks e-mail from “blacklisted” IP addresses, regardless of the content. They started doing this without any notice or explanation to me. This bothers me because I want to be the ultimate judge of what is and what is not spam. But more importantly, my business depends on communication by e-mail and I want to be sure every message gets through to me.

You might ask, “What’s the problem? Filtering is good.”

Yes, but only if I understand what rules are being used to filter e-mail. My ISP made the decision to use a blacklist from spamhaus, which has blacklisted an online service that I use. So now, all of a sudden and without warning, I no longer can get transactional messages from the service, messages that I need to run my business!

Maybe I shouldn’t do business with a blacklisted company. That’s precisely what the people who run blacklists want to happen. Never mind that no one elected them to fill this role!

Another ISP that routes some of my e-mail from a particular domain uses a different filter technique, which automatically appends the prefix “[SPAM]” to any e-mail message that it deems to be spam. How it determines what messages should be labeled spam, I don’t know. All I know is that some e-mail that gets that label is perfectly legitimate e-mail that I want to receive.

I think that the solutions-including the CAN-SPAM law and technical fixes-are worse than the problem they are designed to solve. The CAN-SPAM law, for example, gives ISPs the right to bring suit against “spammers.” Consequently, ISPs may define what spam is, implement blocking software based on rules they define, and now have the legal right to sue! Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?

Whatever your opinion of the CAN-SPAM law and blacklists, a bright light is now focused on the spam e-mail problem. As usual, those e-mail marketers who want to obey the law have to jump through new hoops and change their business practices. Meanwhile, the real spammers will no doubt continue to outfox the regulatory agencies, attorneys general, and the ISPs and continue to spew spam at will.

John Mack, Publisher and Editor

Article Summaries


What You Need to Know About the New “CAN-SPAM” Law
By John Mack

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) was signed into law by President Bush in December, 2003, and became effective January 1, 2004. Although this law is often portrayed as a white knight that will save us from dastardly e-mail spammers and pornographers, many of its provisions cover all commercial e-mail, even permission-based, opt-in e-mail. It is also applicable to B2B e-mail communications and one-to-one commercial e-mail messages such as e-mail from sales representatives to physicians.

Consequently, all e-mail sent by or initiated by pharmaceutical marketers as well as sales personnel — including newsletters, product announcements, compliance messages, event announcements, edetailing messages, etc. — may be subject to this law.

This review of the law and opinions from experts — including an attorney form the FTC, a privacy officer from a major pharmaceutical company, and several e-mail and direct marketers — is indispensable for any marketer using e-mail.

The article includes:

  • a summary of the major provisions of the law,
  • analysis of major issues, including how to handle opt outs,
  • implications for pharmaceutical e-mail marketers based upon interviews with several experts

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004


Finding the “Right Stuff” to Revitalize Sales Productivity
By Jim Lenskold

Declining sales force productivity is a major issue on the minds of sales managers and corporate executives of pharmaceutical companies large and small. More and more physicians are limiting face time and closing their doors to sales reps.

The nature of sales detailing has changed over the years and the time has come to reassess the process and potential of this sales channel.

The solution, as presented by Hossam Sadek, VP of Sales Force Effectiveness, IMS Health, at the eyeforpharma Pharma Sales Effectiveness USA 2003 conference held in Philadelphia, PA in October, 2003, is for pharmaceutical sales management to place greater attention on the quality of the physician-rep relationship than on traditional representative activity metrics such as number of calls per day. By focusing on relationships and the metrics that drive relationships, pharmaceutical companies enable their reps to deliver tailored messages that truly impact the prescribers in their territory.

This article:

  • presents data from IMS industry analyses to determine physician segmentation,
  • describes 8 attributes of a marketing approach and sales plan that incorporates “the right stuff”

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004


Pharma Sales Rep and Physician Relationship Management

Collaborate2GrowTM Physician Relationship Management Tools
BDStrategics, Inc.

Physicians want more from pharmaceutical sales representatives than just a quick sales pitch and drop-off of samples. They want a collaborative relationship with sales reps as trusted partners to gain access to relevant information and tools that will help their practice. As this case study shows, developing a collaborative approach can result in increased access to physicians and increased sales rep productivity.


Controlling Your Brand’s Switch Destiny
By Jack Pfister

A shifting, global regulatory environment, complex consumer behavior, and unpredictable competitive response all contribute to the complexity of the Rx to OTC switch decision.

An effective strategy for maximizing the profitability of a switch begins prior to even Rx approval. The optimal timing of the actual switch may not always coincide with the end of patent protection, bottoming Rx sales, or loss of competitive advantage. Multivariate models are now available to help pharmaceutical marketers develop more preemptive strategies for switching.

The consensus among attendees at the Institute for International Research’s recent RX to OTC Switch Marketers Forum-held November 19-21, 2003, in Philadelphia, PA-was that FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan is bringing a new emphasis on societal economics to the FDA, which has pharmaceutical marketers re-thinking their OTC switch strategies. According to Senior Associate Commissioner Jeff Weber, as reported in the February 10, 2003 edition of the Tan Sheet, McClellan has targeted the FDA’s budgeting goals to anticipate an average increase of 50% for Rx-to-OTC switches.

This article:

  • reviews the economic pressures in the US and Europe that drive earlier switching strategies,
  • suggests when the appropriate time during a product’s life cycle switching should be considered,
  • describes a Switch Evaluation Tool — a multivariate model — designed to help marketers compare the timing
  • requirements and financial merits of various switch strategies, and
  • proposes ways that companies can start shifting the paradigm from risk to opportunity.

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004


Celebrity Spokespeople for Public Awareness Campaigns

Penlac, toe nail fungus topical treatment
Premier Management Group, LLC (PMG)

The celebrity spokesperson, especially a sports celebrity, has long been a favorite marketing tool of pharmaceutical companies wishing to raise awareness and associate their brand with a well-known and respected person who represents the appropriate patient profile. This case study demonstrates how successful this tactic can be.


Strategies for Overcoming the Internal Challenges between Rx and OTC
By Jack Pfister

Why is the decision to switch from Rx to OTC usually considered a challenge? Is it because Rx and OTC marketing are seen as two separate sectors of a drug’s product life cycle, with OTC always serving as the final stage? Or is it the stigma of lower profitability, deserved or not, that OTC-only marketing carries? These perceptions – or misconceptions – may sometimes cause a company’s general management to be reluctant to concede to switching until the optimal timing for maximizing the contribution of a brand has passed.

In fact, OTC is a strategic option for extending a product’s revenue stream and is not automatically the death knell to the prescription business. If Rx and OTC marketers construct a master life cycle strategy together, they can turn the paradigm of switching from a risk to an opportunity.

That was the message delivered by Bruce Lifka, Senior Director, Hair Growth and Rx/OTC Switches for Pfizer, at The Institute for International Research’s RX to OTC Switch Marketers Forum held in Philadelphia in November, 2003.

This article:

  • discusses switching in context of targeting different patient types in which a category expansion strategy would not erode patient office visits,
  • provides several real-life cases where switching was an effective brand-building strategy, and
  • suggests a strategy for aligning corporate goals and incentives to facilitate the change from product management to molecule management.

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Issue: Vol. 3, No. 1: January 2004