passing the baton

Pietro Crovetto, VP Global Inhalation Strategy at Lupin Pharmaceuticals with vast experience from the international pharmaceutical industry at various prominent positions within commerce, marketing, strategy, and business development, for a variety of companies including Novartis, Chiesi, ALK Abelló and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Pietro has been a client to Opticom for over 10 years, both at previous positions and now, working for Lupin. He gives the background to his experiences with Opticom International Research, focusing on the latest Lupin project Opticom conducted, that he was personally involved in.

PietroLupin
Pietro Crovetto VP, Global Inhalation Strategy, Lupin Pharmaceuticals

The main objective was to map the unmet needs of healthcare professionals and patients within asthma and COPD in terms of currently available innovative products’ attributes, in order to develop Lupin’s product so that it would satisfy those unmet needs better than competitor products.

Another aim was to enable Lupin to differentiate its product, including the services and monitoring systems offered, from existing alternatives and competitor products.

In the end, the main goal was to create a product that improves patient quality of life through ease-of-use, thus leading to improved compliance and lower treatment cost, something which would also lead to obvious advantages for healthcare professionals as well as payers.

The targeted markets in this project were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The information was gathered in two modules, starting with desk research identifying relevant respondents with whom in-depth telephone interviews were then conducted.

Describing this project, Pietro explains that his idea was to monitor the emerging changes in therapeutic approaches and especially the interest in new combination products within the treatments of asthma and COPD. Basically to get a European overview of the present situation and to identify whether their designed new combination product was going to be successful or not and whether there were any differences across the European markets in this respect.

Pietro continues: I wanted to benchmark, to interview “real” clinicians, not opinion leaders, because there is a critical difference here. Opinion leaders are up to speed with the latest research and treatment options, as they often have done this research themselves, while clinicians might very well have heard about new stuff, after all they are specialists, but they are not necessarily as enthusiastic to adopt something new as the opinion leaders.

Choosing Opticom to supply Lupin with the market research was based on a combination of different factors; first of all good experiences in the past, resulting in a strong sense of reliability. According to Pietro, a key asset of Opticom is the fact that they offer both a very knowledgeable staff who understand the complex medical issues as well as their multilingual skills: “It helps a lot when we do not have to explain so much to a supplier and more time can be spent on the actual research, on the specifics of the projects!”

Sometimes the challenge with international market research, Pietro explains, is that you end up with the “Chinese whisper”, meaning I brief you, you brief somebody else and then that person briefs somebody else in turn, and then at the end of the day, you are not sure what went missing and where. So based on that, the two main points on why to choose Opticom are definitely their knowledge of the field and its multilingual staff based in one office. A third reason, according to Pietro, actually equally important: every time he has worked with Opticom, the adopted strategy has been to do 20-30% of the interviews, then pause for evaluation of the questionnaire, the response and answers so far: simply put: is it working? The Project Managers at Opticom are very flexible here and that is greatly appreciated, to optimize the quality of the output.

Concerning what the market insights provided by Opticom have meant to Lupin and what has been most valuable, Pietro points to the decision to invest in particular combinations of treatments, emphasizing that this is the most critical stage in their R&D and business development without going into specifics.

The results have also influenced their business decision-making, being added into their forecasting, because even if the research was qualitative, it was still very helpful to better understand what direction the market was taking. All in all, the insights have been used on several levels and according to Pietro, further investment decisions within asthma and COPD are definitely going to be based on the results from this research as well.

Asked about the return of investment, Pietro confesses: “To be honest, we didn’t count on ROI, but it was not at all expensive considering the huge amounts that have been spent on this treatment area, so the money we spent with Opticom was definitely worth it, more than worth it!”

According to Pietro, the main benefits of this specific project were that his team at Lupin got an additional level of insights on a practical level: there is a crucial difference between the people who work on the front line with patients and the opinion leaders, the high science: “We need to have a balance of both because we cannot ignore high science but at the end of the day we need to understand nurses on the floor, having issues reconstituting the product, for example. That is really a very valuable difference to us and something that Opticom understands. So I am very satisfied, more than satisfied and very happy with the co-operation with Opticom!”

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Niko Kujala has been working within the product segment of breakers and switches at ABB Protection and Connection in Vaasa, Finland since 2011 and he has held different international positions within both sales and production. He gives the background to his first experience with Opticom International Research: We knew that we wanted to conduct customer satisfaction research on a global level in order to better understand our customers’ needs, basically asking them: What were the needs in different fields and what do we as a supplier need to do better?

Niko ABB
Niko Kujala, Global Sales support Specialist, ABB Protection and Connection

In the process of selecting a market research agency, the ABB team had five competing potential suppliers providing quotes to look into. Niko continues: After evaluating the different options, we found that Opticom’s offer was by far the clearest, it was obvious that Opticom had made an effort to get to know our business and therefore understood our needs. In addition to that, the price level was also good.

Niko says that the quick initial response to any question that ABB had concerning the designed project as well as the smooth communication with the Opticom project team overall were further factors that tilted ABB to choose Opticom in the end.

The customer satisfaction survey covered more than 20 countries worldwide, with strong involvement from the local offices to make sure the most important customers per market were interviewed.

We got very valuable insights concerning client needs in in an ever more competitive market: what our clients appreciate about our products and services, how we can help them improve their own business, and also indications on where there is still need for improvement.

Niko explains that a lot of actions have been taken by them at ABB after the results in the final report were presented and statistical files and individual interview transcripts were delivered. Most decisions concern increasing and improving their direct communication with clients. He reveals that their business has grown since the research was completed and that the insights definitely have further supported this growth.

When asked what he would regard as the main benefits with this specific project, Niko points out that it was easy doing business with Opticom, that the communication was always smooth, the offer was prepared really well and that Opticom understood our needs in this kind of research right away. Therefore, wrapping up, he would definitely recommend that ABB would go with Opticom again, whenever the need for market insights arises.

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Health Logos June 2017

We at Opticom are happy and grateful for the valuable partnerships and inspiring journey we have been part of the last 30 years!

We thank all our clients for trusting Opticom with important projects, and we also thank all of our co-workers and business partners for their hard work and commitment to Opticom.

Our roots stem from research and analysis, which has provided our clients with true customer understanding. This understanding has served as the foundation for decisions that aim at creating substantial value for our customers in Health, Forest Products and Industrial Goods. Numerous client testimonials show that research pays off.

Over the years, we have added Consulting to our offering, helping our clients to use real-world insights to improve business decision making. Research and Consulting are the two disciplines that we have built our success upon: it has been our privilege to serve an incredible list of globally leading companies.

In 2014, we added Communication as the third leg of our business, and thus today we at Opticom Group feel honoured to offer global research, consulting and communication.

Today we are very much looking forward to the next 30 years and beyond. We can assure you that we will continue to be passionate about understanding your key challenges and in finding solutions that deliver true value.

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Eye for pharma pic

Opticom took the opportunity to hear and discuss What’s cooking in Pharma, at the annual Eye for Pharma’s Barcelona Conference 2017.

Buzz words such as patient empowerment, digital services, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and customer engagement confirm that the industry is clearly widening its “customer focus” to include a stronger patient centricity and closer stakeholder collaboration as well as a broader definition of offering value through innovative services.

Opticom will continue to help health companies succeed in their healthcare ecosystem. Do contact us if you would like to talk, brainstorm, and plan your next steps towards improved value propositions!

Some interesting quotes caught at Eye for Pharma Barcelona 2017:

“Technology forces us forward: pharma on its own will cause an evolution, by partnering with external partners, we will create a revolution.” (Panel discussion)

On Patient value: “We need to get patients to be proud of us – Pharma – proud of what we have achieved. We should do a better job to convince them.” (Panel discussion)

Bottom line: regardless of the value offered: “Never surprise us (patients) with any side effect!” (Ian Talmage, Senior Advisor, Bayer)

“Pharma’s role: Helping people to get better at getting better.” (Panel discussion)

“What is the most advanced pharma company when it comes to digitalization? Not just one company, but we can see indications that they are often the smaller, midsize companies, from the Nordics or Belgium.” (Dr. Frank Kumli, Executive Director, Life Sciences, EY)

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Every year Opticom conducts over 60 000 telephone interviews with respondents all over the world. In addition to this Opticom staff travels across the world interviewing our clients’ customers, printers, converters, merchants, advertising agencies, paper mills, doctors, patients, purchasers, retailers, and end-users on behalf of our clients.

Opticom’s competitive edge lies in conducting all fieldwork with our in-house native speaking work force. In 2013 over 60 researchers with about 30 different nationalities were engaged in these projects. All researchers are recruited in Sweden and are stationed at our company headquarters in central Stockholm. As a matter of fact, with such an international workforce, operating from one location, Opticom is one of the most international companies in Sweden. Around 75% of salaries paid by Opticom are to employees who are a foreign national – a truly multi-cultural global village.

In order to facilitate such an ongoing international operation Opticom invests considerable resources into recruiting and training well-educated and professional researchers. Safeguarding quality in the interview process is for obvious reasons one of our main concerns at Opticom. The old wisdom that an analysis is never better than the information it is based on, makes recruiting talents extremely important.

Anette Eng, HR Manager and Head of Research Department, is in charge of this momentous task at Opticom. Anette Eng, born in Sweden but raised in Sweden as well as Greece has a multi-cultural heritage herself. Besides growing up in a bicultural family, she spent extensive periods abroad studying in Italy, Spain and France. Her studies in marketing, human resource management as well as languages provide her with the perfect background for managing Opticom’s international staff. In her daily work, Anette Eng makes it her business to create the perfect team of researchers for every project, regardless of project size, type, industryAnette Engsegment and geographical region.

Working with so many nationalities at one single location sounds very interesting but how does your staff feel about that? It is true that it is very interesting and I feel very privileged to be able to meet with, recruit and work with such talented and well-educated people from all over the world. I think that most of those choosing to work at Opticom feel the same way and often choose to continue to work here because they enjoy being in our international environment.

How do the respondents react when someone, speaking their language perfectly, calls them from Sweden?
Respondents often compliment our interviewers on their excellent language skills. When they realise that the interviewer is actually from their own country, a conversation about this naturally evolves. This works as an ice-breaker and often forms a good starting point for the rest of the conversation.

What kind of personalities are you looking for when hiring researchers?
First and foremost it is important that they have a positive attitude and good communication skills. We are very well aware of the importance of our interviewers sounding professional, but they also need to sound glad, since a smile can even be heard over the telephone. Besides these essential skills in communication, we require our interviewers to be very efficient and accurate. Finally, experience and a background in marketing or sales or within one of our specific fields is of course a merit.

Is it not better to subcontract fieldwork to local research companies throughout the world?
In some cases this might be a good alternative, but we find that managing and conducting all parts of the research from one single location is more cost-effective and provides better quality. With one project team for all local markets, Opticom makes sure that no tasks (e.g. project management) are duplicated. This also minimises the risk of performing the tasks in different ways that would negatively affect the consistency and reliability of the study’s results.

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