Meetings and More Chronicles of the Healthcare Marketing Research Community — Spring 2013
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Keynote Speakers & Global Partner Expo Highlights

The Science of Presentation Impact

As market researchers, we know that enhancing the efficiency of our research insights and taking a leadership role in organizational decision making is critical to our function’s future success. That’s why PMRG brought Andrew Abela, PhD, Dean and Associate Professor of Marketing at the Catholic University of America and presentation design consultant to leading corporations, to the stage at the 2013 ANC. In what was widely hailed as the conference’s most exciting presentation, Dr. Abela provided attendees with the highly practical information and tools they need to take their research presentations to the next level—and ensure that immediate action can be taken on their insights.

Changing mental models

Dr. Abela recognizes the challenge of delivering new insights to healthcare leaders via market research presentations. “When you’re presenting research, you’re not just delivering numbers,” he says. “You are, in a certain sense, trying to change your audience’s mental model.” According to Dr. Abela, recognizing that what you’re actually setting out to do is to change the way somebody sees the world each time you’re making a presentation is key to understanding— and overcoming—the difficult challenge before you.

Once you’ve recognized the true nature of the challenge, Dr. Abela offers a 2-step approach to ensuring your presentation is successful:

Step 1. Solve a problem for your audience: In order to draw audience members out of their existing mental models, you must give them a reason to care. To identify the problem for a particular presentation, ask yourself these questions:

What’s new in this study?

What negative thing could happen if the audience didn’t get this information?

What audience problem does this indicate?

Once you’ve zeroed in on that problem, Dr. Abela says, focus your entire presentation on it: “Instead of just reporting the knowledge and key findings, you want to begin with this problem, saying, ‘This is the challenge you have and I want to show you some insights around it.’”

Step 2. Tell a story: Identifying the problem is not enough, however, says Dr. Abela, as presenting the problem merely gets the audience’s attention: “The way to keep attention is to tell a story.” But how does one do this? According to Dr. Abela, it’s all about creating and resolving tension to engage your audience with a problem and then relieve their tension with a solution.

The S.Co.R.E. method of storytelling

To create a compelling story, follow Dr. Abela’s S.Co.R.E. method:

Situation: Begin your presentation with a brief set-up of the situation at hand. Keep it non-confrontational so as not to risk alienating your audience right off the bat.

Complication: Then, immediately catch your audience’s attention and create tension by presenting a problem.

Resolution: Take away this tension with a solution to the problem.

Example: Help your audience to visualize and understand the numbers by providing a real word example. As Dr. Abela says, “In research, we’re always summarizing and abstracting out. But as people, we don’t live in abstractions. We live in a concrete world. Give a real or hypothetical example of one patient.”

Repeat the Co.R.E.: The key to a successful presentation is anticipating audience objections and working them into the presentation one-by-one, providing a solution for each along the way. Keep asking yourself, “If I was to the stop the presentation now, what pushback would I get from the audience?” And work through each of these questions or doubts you anticipate. Dr. Abela recognizes that this may be difficult or uncomfortable because our tendency as people is to simply hope the objections we anticipate will somehow just go away. But, he says, research shows that if you bring up the ugly questions first and provide a response, it takes away the emotional energy—leaving you with fewer interruptions, greater impact and more action.

Showing your story:

Ballroom vs. conference room style

Whether you’re using Power Point or Prezi, Dr. Abela says there are two basic ways to show your story:

Ballroom style: This style involves a lot of attractive pictures with very few words per slide. “Too many words and talking is actually worse than no slides at all,” says Dr. Abela. This is because the words on the slides compete with what you’re saying as people try to read the slides. With this sparse style, you instead reinforce what you’re saying through relevant images, making it particularly ideal for large presentations where a lot of people will be sharing ideas.

Conference room style: When it comes to situations in which a small number of people will be sharing ideas and working toward getting something done, conference room style presentations are a better fit. With this style, you will give a black-andwhite printout with all relevant—but no extraneous—details to your audience at the start of your presentation.

Although many would say that a black-and-white paper handout is boring, Dr. Abela refutes this, noting that extensive research shows that no one is convinced unless they have all the relevant details in front of them, that people are more likely to be engaged and persuaded when they feel like they’re interacting (and handouts in conjunction with storytelling simulate interactivity), and that simple, black-and-white is best for lessening distractions. Research shows that when people’s mental models are being changed, it’s uncomfortable. So they will take any excuse to stop thinking about what you’re saying and focus on the colors—or worse yet clipart—in your presentation. “That’s why clip art is so evil,” says Dr. Abela. “You work hard enough to get their attention. Don’t give them excuses to give it away.”

Whatever you do, advises Dr. Abela, make sure you avoid including anything that feels like advertising in your presentation. Advertising’s goal is to capture attention and so its messaging and images play on emotion. In a presentation, you already have the audience’s attention; your job is not to lose it. Playing on emotion feels like selling.

To see Dr. Abela’s presentation for yourself—or share it with your colleagues—visit the PMRG Virtual Learning Center at

Dr. Abela suggests the following books for more on presentation style: Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
by Garr Reynolds

Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences
by Nancy Duarte

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience
by Carmine Gallo

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward R. Tufte

You can also get more tips from Dr. Abela himself with his new book, The Presentation: A Story About Successful Communication With Very Few Slides.

To get a free e-copy, go to and sign up for the e-newsletter.

“Dr. Abela was just absolutely brilliant. I really think this is the direction our industry is heading where less is more and the days of death by bar chart and power point are over. “

–Joanne French, VP, Healthcare, Consumer Experiences, GfK

“This was very timely, effective and useful and gave something you can actually take home and use, which is good. I think it was a nice contrast to Mark McClellan’s presentation, which was filled with important information we need to know, but that is more difficult to actually apply in your day-to-day life. I appreciated the balance of getting both sides…I also felt that the breakout session on storytelling with Pfizer and CMI [“Engaging Stakeholders with A Story – 3 Tips to improve Research Reporting”] lined up very nicely with Dr. Abela’s keynote. The presenters shared how they had used Prezi and their own extreme presentation training to make the patient journey come to life in a client presentation. It really reinforced Dr. Abela’s messaging and showed how it can be applied in an actual case study.”

–Bill Salokar, Director of Client Development, BuzzBack

“Dr. Abela’s presentation was spot on in showing how individually we can transform our own style to address not only some of the changes that are going on, but also some of the essentials of how we present information. And in that way, I view this as an essential understanding in how we can change our own selves and the function of market research. Our function will be obsolete if we’re not able to make that transition. There is an expectation that what you’re supposed to get when you do a research study is a sea of information, but we need to have the courage to change.”

–Mike Kelly, US CEO, Kantar Health

Keynote Speaker Mark McClellan

The Politics of Health Care

“We are at a crossroads in healthcare financing,” said Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, during his keynote speech at the 2013 PMRG ANC. And perhaps there was no one better suited to take conference attendees through the mind-boggling changes—from how we’ve gotten here to where we’re headed in the future—than Dr. McClellan, the former Commissioner of the FDA and Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and current Director of the Brookings Institution’s Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform.

Dr. McClellan grounded the audience in today’s healthcare-driven fiscal realities and shared key lessons learned from the Medicare Part D program. Walking attendees through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation timeline, he also shared his prediction of key issues to watch during its ramp-up period, including:

Gaps in availability, cost and quality of plans—particularly for small businesses and individuals with existing coverage. According to Dr. McClellan, any significant issues should be clear by May, but guaranteed issue and community rating requirements may need to be phased in and strong financial support for high-risk individuals and uncompensated care may be required.Enrollment and participation rates. Dr. McClellan notes that the status of education and enrollment activities may differ significantly between states running their own exchanges and those choosing to default to the Federal fallback. He predicts possibly limited enforcement of the non-enrollment penalty and potential creation of alternative steps to encourage enrollment.

Legislative outlook for a “Grand Bargain” on healthcare.

Dr. McClellan says not to expect any big surprises, but limited changes could be made to smooth the phase-in of the ACA.

Moving forward, Dr. McClellan says we will need more policy reforms to support delivery reforms that achieve better quality at lower costs, including more system-wide accountability and support. He predicts that key reform issues will be in areas of data, measurement and evidence, provider payment, benefit design and insurance choice.

Dr. McClellan predicts the fee-for-service model of provider reimbursement will continue, albeit with continued tightening of payments and restrictions on coverage as government and organizations work to control costs. The opportunity to shift the focus of healthcare delivery toward more personalized and better coordinated care, combined with the fiscal reality of relatively stagnant financing, will lead to reforms with shared savings and shared risk. Therefore, there will need to be further alignment between pharmaceutical payment systems and demonstrated value for patients.

Dr. McClellan notes that costs will continue to increase along with clinical progress, but there is the potential for even more valuable innovation and better mental health, especially if real reform involving mental health services can accelerate.

5 managed care megatrends for 2013: Preparing for seismic shifts

In a perfect complement to Dr. McClellan’s keynote, Jane DuBose, Principal Director, HealthLeaders-InterStudy, led this informative breakout session to provide more detail around changes to managed care and offer a perspective on how these changes will impact pharmaceutical manufacturers and the healthcare marketing researchers who work with them.

According to DuBose, “2013 will be a year of profound change for pharmaceutical manufacturers [and] to understand it, you need to understand the impact, direction and pace of that change.”

Here are the top 5 megatrends—and their implications for market research:

U.S. safety net expands, big time. By 2014, up to 23 million previously uninsured people will gain coverage through healthcare exchanges and Medicaid expansion. This will lead to razor-sharp focus on cost control and therapy value. In addition, as exchanges launch and we move toward the 2017 provision of the ACA that allows large employers to put employees into exchanges, healthcare organizations will be looking to research the progression of workplace insurance. Finally, health plans will need to research new sales and marketing models that focus on transparency as non-group purchasers begin to use online marketplaces to select their benefits.

Consumers get in the thick of health benefits. As states select their benchmark health plans, researchers will need to familiarize themselves with new plan-rating terminology. Insurers will be forced to compete with consumer preferences in mind and manufacturers will have opportunities to partner on consumer-oriented research. As increased cost-sharing becomes the new normal through a rise in high deductible plans and coinsurance, research will need to focus on consumer price tolerance and discount programs.

Patient experience starts to matter. With the rise of ACOs and like organizations pushing a shift toward total health management and performance ratings, healthcare organizations will need to increasingly invest in market research as consumer reviews begin to directly impact their revenue. In addition, manufacturers will need to shift their research to focus on their therapies’ roles in total health and total population rather than specific disease.

FFS system begins to shift. As shared savings and total cost of care contracts expand and episode-based bundled payments come into play, care delivery models will be transformed. More providers will be at financial risk for patient care, opening up opportunities for researchers to explore changes in patient care among providers bearing insurance risk. In addition, as provider/insurer mergers and acquisitions increase, more and more physicians will become employees of larger systems. So manufacturers will need to focus research on ways to effectively communicate with new stakeholders, including ACO staff, advanced practitioners in medical homes and provider/payer joint committees.

Managed care finds a home in Medicare. The prescription drug plan market is already expanding and, with 13 million baby boomers set to enter Medicare by 2020, there will likely be a change in drug utilization. Thus, research may target varying cohorts of the Medicare Part D market. Further, as the new star ratings for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans have upped the ante of care quality, manufacturers will be focused on research into ways to play a larger role in helping providers to deliver results through drug therapies and improve overall plan scores.

In conclusion, DuBose notes that we are at the cusp of change in 2013 as the ACA and the countries’ fiscal problems shift health systems in unprecedented ways. Market researchers can expect to see more of their clients merging and forming partnerships for forced efficiencies. In turn, researchers will need to adapt to the needs of their new stakeholders and be ready to provide them with clear value propositions. As the volume-oriented system possibly begins to unravel, there will be fewer procedures and drugs, thus creating new manufacturing and marketing challenges that will need to be addressed, in part, through research. And if exchanges succeed, access to drugs will increase, thus increasing entry points for marketers that will lead to new research.

To delve into the details around healthcare form—and its impact on market research—view the full presentations in the PMRG Virtual Learning Center at

“These presentations were very valuable. Dr. McClellan gave us information on healthcare reform from the perspective of an insider of the policymaking engine, while the breakout sessions lent the perspective of market researchers and manufacturers who have worked together to try to understand the reform’s impact. We thank PMRG for taking this on. We’re not sure where people like us would gain access to information like this in this format if they didn’t have it here—and anybody who works in this industry is going to have to understand this.”

–Charles and Annetta Coleman, owners of the Knowledge Acquisition Group

Keynote Speakers Uwe Reinhardt & Hank Kucheman

The Global Healthcare Environment What evolving changes mean for market researchers Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, Professor of Political Economy at Princeton University, and Hank Kucheman, Senior Advisor at Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC), collaborated to bring ANC attendees a glimpse of the changing global healthcare environment—and the role market researchers can play in its future.

Healthcare marketing—no longer paradise, but still pretty nice

According to Dr. Reinhardt, though the paradise of healthcare marketing from 1965 to 2000—where sales reps and their physician clients were relatively free in their interactions and GDP and health spending skyrocketed—is over, there’s no reason for despair. He assures those of us who work in the industry that the slowdown of the past decade is not so bad, as healthcare spending will still grow with GDP in the U.S. and Europe—and the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) will experience healthcare spending of GDP growth + >1%.

Here’s a glimpse at Dr. Reinhardt’s prediction of both the positives and the negatives we’ll see as healthcare continues to evolve around the world:

+ There will continue to be global growth of GDP per capita, with faster growth in the BRICs

+ There will be a demographic shift in every country as populations age

+ There will be incredible new healthcare products that will create more demand

– Global income inequality will continue to grow, leading to tired healthcare delivery systems in which manufacturers may have to develop differentiated product lines and marketing messages

– Prices will move into the gunsights of those who pay for health care

– Pressure on prices will be greatly abetted by ever-greater price transparency

– Cost effectiveness analysis of healthcare products and technologies will become more routine and more sophisticated

Dr. Reinhardt’s assessment of the equation remains decidedly positive. “Healthcare is still a richly rewarding field and you’re lucky to be in it,” he told conference attendees. His advice for continued success for marketers and their research counterparts is to recognize the increased difficulty of selling to a tough-minded committee of people at an ACO (Accountable Care Organization) or other cost- and quality-focused organization rather than to a curious doctor and to learn the language of quality and benefit-cost analysis.

The new environment—how market researchers can help companies compete

According to Kucheman, the situation is also positive for market researchers, who can play a significant role in helping healthcare companies compete in the changing healthcare environment. He shared with the ANC audience several examples of how BSC relied on market research based decision making to better compete in a marketplace impacted by guidelines and uncertainty around appropriate use combined with other industry pressures.

According to Kucheman, market research consultants allowed BSC to create a new commercial design to match resource models to customer segment, develop a global pricing strategy that was aligned with business strategy and understood throughout the corporation, revamp their emerging markets strategy and model future revenue scenarios for acquisitions. What Kucheman and his team valued most about their market research consultants were their tools and standardization processes as well as their “sheer analytical horsepower…and expertise that enabled us to crunch an enormous amount of a data in a relatively short period of time.”

To view the case study on how market research aided BSC, visit the PMRG Virtual Learning Center at