This is one of several “real life” examples of how consumer insights accelerate sales by getting insights that you cannot get with analytics. The depth of discussion and the ability to ask follow-up questions would not have been possible if this had simply been an online survey.

Typically when I mention consumer insights, people think of end-user consumers. However, early in my career I was working on an OTC antacid when H2 receptors, cimetidine and ranitidine, were being introduced by major pharmaceutical companies.

My client wanted to understand how gastroenterologists were viewing the new H2 receptors relative to OTC medications and the awareness of the active ingredients in the different products.

To find the answers to these questions, we conducted two focus groups with gastroenterologists.

During the focus groups we learned gastroenterologists had no idea what was in the different OTC antacid brands.

We also learned the gastroenterologists were prescribing H2 receptors at the slightest indication of heartburn so their patients would not return with the same complaint.

They were aware h2 receptors would stop acid production which led to heartburn — they were trying to satisfy their customers like any good service provider.

The key learning for my client, and me, was that we would have to rely on marketing our OTC product directly to consumers and forget about the doctor suggesting the patient try a relatively inexpensive OTC antacid prior to filling, what at the time was, a very expensive script.

The groups also spoke to the effectiveness of drug reps in getting the message to their target and were an early affirmation of the effectiveness of pharmaceutical companies’ direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising.

With the advent of social media, there has been some speculation that drug reps will no longer have a place in presenting products to physicians. However, I still believe the power of direct human interaction will be more effective in sales just as I believe it will be more effective in obtaining insights and finding the emotional link between the consumer and the brand.

How have insights from your sales channel helped accelerate sales, or save you money?




Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional