Imagine you are walking down the street and a smiling researcher with a clipboard approaches you with the following question:
"Oh, hello. Can I just take 60 minutes of your time?"
How fast would you run?
Clearly, this is not the best way to start a conversation with a stranger. And yet it is what pharmaceutical companies do every time they start a new awareness, trial, and usage (ATU) study.
The ATU is an essential tool in the pharmaceutical industry. Companies use them to understand how their brands are performing and identify opportunities for improvement.
But even today, most ATUs are conducted using “old school” research techniques that are offline, limited, and costly. To run a typical study, a company will hire dozens of researchers (usually outsourced) to interview hundreds of doctors.
And because this process is so time-consuming, they will pack the interview with dozens of questions to make the most of the opportunity.
In fact, the typical ATU asks 37 questions – which takes at least an hour to complete.
It goes without saying that this process is exhausting for interviewers and their targets. Given that the human attention span is limited, it doesn't take long for the quality of the answers to diminish.
However, even with 100 percent concentration, many of the 37 questions will yield irrelevant answers. With so much data collected, there will be a lot of 'noise' – irrelevant information that creates more work to identify and discard.
The obvious remedy is to reduce the number of questions and speed up the surveys. Regrettably, this makes little difference to conventional 'analogue' techniques. Why? Because it's the set-up that eats up the time – and that's broadly similar whether you are asking one question or 100.
However, it is possible to create quick fire surveys with digital techniques. A digital ATU uses automated online interviews, so you can launch them quickly, target them at a smaller cohort of respondents and strip them of all irrelevant questions.
When a pharmaceutical company hired Lynx Analytics to develop a digital ATU, we reduced the survey length from 37 questions to seven. That shrank the traditional 60-minute interview down to 10 minutes.
And yet the results were virtually the same as those expected from a 'human' Q&A process. When we benchmarked predicted brand attributes (such as brand awareness, patient share, market share, etc.) from the digital ATU against traditional ATUs, we got almost identical results.
There are other benefits to going digital. One of the most time-consuming facets of a traditional ATU is collating the data after the interviews have been done. Every answer has to be entered, categorised and displayed. A digital ATU automates this process is – and visualizes the results as charts on a live dashboard.
What’s more, analysts can merge the survey results with data coming from other relevant sources such as market news, social media and online forums.
You can read more about the advantages of digital ATUs and the Lynx Analytics solution in the free White Paper below.