The MSL role has become more strategic as the frontline agent for KOL engagement. KOL expectations have also increased in terms of what they are looking for from biopharma partnerships. The trend toward personalized engagement has accelerated significantly due to rapid digital transformation and hybrid engagement advancements in recent years across life science companies. Personalized KOL engagement is no longer a novel concept, it represents a new norm for medical affairs and MSLs. MSLs are uniquely positioned to deliver personalized medical and scientific information to KOLs. We will review relevant frameworks and capabilities for MSLs to effectively deliver personalization that aligns with each KOL’s unique needs.
Personalization is all around us. Many industries that touch our daily lives have long focused on advancing people, technology, and process investment to enhance engagement experiences with each of us. In Life Science, commercial teams have steadily increased their efforts in Healthcare Professionals’ (HCPs) personalization over the last decade. Medical affairs functions have also begun to consider more tailored scientific exchange with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) as an emerging trend.
Medical Affairs and Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) are primed to lead and execute on scientific exchange personalization with KOLs. They are the first line of contacts representing Life Science in this regard. They are coordinating across siloed functions while keeping KOLs’ unique scientific needs top of mind. They must juggle everything with grace, clarity, and agility, which is a major responsibility and may require a more modern support model to supercharge critical personalized interactions effectively.
To create this new foundation for MSLs to deliver personalized scientific exchange effectively, we first need to define it. What is a personalized scientific exchange? It is the tailored delivery of scientific communication and engagement to meet the unique needs of each KOL.
Sometimes that is the outreach, or the follow-up touchpoint(s) surrounding the scientific exchange. Other times it is the exchange itself, requiring MSLs to slim down and customize from large sets of data and files down to snippets compliantly. This allows MSLs to respond to unsolicited questions and keep convenience and timing factors in mind.
To understand what/how to personalize, let’s review how the MSLs can better appreciate unique KOL needs empathetically by applying the below framework.
Source: December 2021, Alucio, Inc.
- Who are they? Where are they along the scientific learning journey?
- What are they doing proactively to learn and gain new knowledge? Who are they reaching out to? Do we have this information?
- Are we there along the way as KOLs gain exposure and seek information across various channels and resources? Are these touchpoints supportive, useful, and personalized?
Once we know what it is we want to achieve with personalized KOL interactions, there are important success factors to help set up and execute these capabilities. Such factors span from individual soft skills application, customization tools, and services, to modernizing foundational support in data training and technology platforms.
Source: December 2021, Alucio, Inc.
For each of the success factors, below is what good looks like for an empowered MSL.
- I can easily access my KOL’s behavioral stage, knowledge level, channel preferences, and scientific questions longitudinally to help me plan for the engagement.
- I am equipped to apply active listening and an EQ lens to help observe and probe further based on their starting questions, allowing me to address them appropriately.
- I have readily available and approved modular content pieces for external use purposes, I can assemble, present, and share with ease in a visible, compliant, and trackable manner.1
- I can gather insights in various modes as I exchange with the KOL within the engagement platform itself without impacting my meeting rhythm. These insights are shared internally to help inform content creation strategy and market planning decisions.1
- I have access to deeper training on expanded sets of content that I need to be well-versed in (or be made aware of).
- I utilize a single, simple, easy-to-use content activation and engagement platform to facilitate scientific exchanges that are designed for me and my medical affairs team. It allows me to personalize my interactions that suit my KOL’s exact needs.1
Delivering on these new use cases requires a modern technology platform starting with predictive insights and KOL mapping, seamless feeds to and from enterprise CRM/CMS systems, that ultimately feed the “next-gen” scientific exchange platforms that effectively and efficiently enable personalized KOL engagement. 1
Source: December 2021, Alucio, Inc.
In conclusion, field medical remains a critical function with growing importance given the transformations in KOL engagement and increasing personalization expectations. It’s time to evolve and advance related capabilities for MSLs to be empowered to better tailor to and meet KOLs’ unique needs. By investing and modernizing such capabilities, medical affairs can deliver more impactful value to itself and to the broader organization.
As an example, Alucio’s flagship product, Beacon, is a multi-channel content management and HCP engagement platform built specifically for MSLs and optimized for personalized scientific exchange. It is a Medical Affairs-centric solution and has a robust analytics dashboard built-in on content use/adoption metrics by MSLs and KOLs.
Jessica Wong, MBA
Jessica Wong is a seasoned marketer with >16 years of experience in the Biopharma industry across both US and global markets. She has held successive leadership positions and advised various organizations in launch strategy, digital health & scientific communications – in the context of product development and commercialization.
Jessica has implemented numerous mission-critical and user-centric services to enable HCP disease and therapeutic education, as well as patient treatment access/adherence support. The majority of these programs are in the oncology and rare disease areas, powered by robust digital analytics and multi-channel engagement.
Before joining Alucio, Jessica worked for Roche Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, Omnicom Advertising/Digital Agency Network, closer look digital & relationship marketing agency, and Accenture. She has an MBA in Strategy/Finance from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dave Gulezian, MBA
Dave is a successful entrepreneur with 20+ years of executive management experience in innovative, technology-based companies – including the last 15 within the life science industry. His background combines deep strategy, technology, sales, marketing, product launch, and operations expertise.
Before Alucio, Dave founded and led Viscira, a provider of digital marketing solutions and software applications for the life science industry. The company became a leader in the space, working with 22 of the top 25 pharma and biotech companies in the world. In early 2016, he led the successful acquisition of Viscira by WPP – the world’s largest marketing communications company.
Dave has personally built and managed business relationships with many of the market leaders in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, both in the US and globally, including AbbVie, Amgen, BioMarin, BMS, Exelixis, Genentech, Gilead, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, Pfizer, and Roche.