#ChalkChat: 5 Key Qualities of Change Leadership

In this #ChalkChat, Sacha Schroeder, VP, Account Services at Palio, discusses 5 key qualities to consider for change leadership.

#ChalkChat is a weekly video series that brings you insights on branding, marketing and multichannel integration within the pharmaceutical industry. Follow us at #ChalkChat. Follow up with Sacha at sacha.schroeder@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Psych 101 for Your Website


By Saul Morse, VP, Multichannel Integration, Palio  saul.morse@palio.com

If your website is like most, then the designers probably put a lot of thought into the look and feel of every element. The typography is easy to read and elegant, images reinforce your key brand messages and the whole thing ties together very well.

But what about the psychology of your site? How does it make users feel and how does it tap into their emotions to drive them to act?

If psychology-based design wasn’t part of the creative process, well, you’re not alone – many creative professionals don’t incorporate basic psychological principles into their work.

But does your website need a little therapy? The truth of the matter is: Probably.

Considering psychology in your design process means taking take the time to think about what your visitors want and how they want to get it.

And what do most visitors want? Well, before anything – whether it’s a call to action for some marketing information or an online purchase – visitors want to trust who they’re dealing with so they can feel confident in their choices. Trust doesn’t come easily in an age where every other piece of email is a phishing scam, but creating a website that puts visitors at ease means they’re more likely to sign up for an account, buy a product, or otherwise do business with you. This can be done through a combination of design and language.

For example, when someone lands on a page within a website, there are certain things they expect to see regardless of the kind of site they’re on. Two of the biggies: The purpose of the site and navigation.

Beyond the elements everyone expects to find on every website, there are additional things people may expect on certain kinds of sites or within certain industries. People expect blog posts on the front page of a blog. They expect products on the front page of an ecommerce site. They expect a search function on any site that’s more than a few pages deep. And, in most cases, they expect some kind of “about” information and a contact page.

But psychological design is more than just basic user-interface elements. Emotional triggers, use of color and images, an understanding of how people read the page and other factors come into play. A checklist for designers and site administrators includes:

Know your visitors - Figure out who your target user is and then figure out which emotional triggers will work for them.

Interview users - Find current or former customers and see if they’d be willing to answer a few questions about your site. Then create meaningful questions based on your own site’s specific goals. Most importantly, act on the advice they give – an interview or survey that doesn’t result in changes is time and resources wasted.

Review your sitemap - Does every page have just one focus? If you’re building a site from scratch, make a list of everything that needs to be on your site, first, and then map out which page each item should go on.

Test, test, test - Even on a limited basis, it’s important to figure out which site elements work best. Some content management systems even allow for automatic A/B testing – for example, you can try two different headlines, and after a suitable number of visits to the page, the version that pulled the most interest will become the permanent page.

Design psychology is a matter of being brilliant at the basics and something every designer should employ. Before that cart gets filled or that call to action is acted upon or even before visitors click on that first homepage link… they have to trust you.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Managed Markets Monday: Successful Payer Convention Planning

By Marcelle Rockwell, VP, Account Director, Palio Managed Markets

When planning a booth at a payer convention, the No. 1 tenet to remember is “plan your work, and work your plan.”  Define and outline what you’re trying to accomplish and give yourself enough time by planning ahead. Planning ahead allows you to save on budget and to include additional elements that become impossible to include if you wait until the last minute. A successful booth is one that accomplishes the goals you establish prior to the event and is more likely to be achieved if you:

Set your objective. Are you launching a new product? A new indication? Are there new, compelling data being published? Maybe a new competitor is entering the market and you need to re-establish your position? Whatever the reason for your presence at the convention, be sure to clearly define that reason internally and set goals for the event. Include key stakeholders in the process to gain internal alignment. Once you set your objective, you can measure the success of the event.

Identify your target audience. Whom are you trying to reach? Which conventions do they attend? And once you’re on the floor talking to attendees, ask them about their role in their organization. If you’re targeting P&T committee members, ask if they’re part of the formulary decision-making process.

Decide the scope of your presence. This will help determine your budget, or vice versa. Do you want the largest booth possible? Do you need a separate area for medical information? Are there any components (panels, structures, materials) you can repurpose from your brand counterparts? Should you allocate budget to sponsor a breakfast or cocktail hour? What about a symposium? Are there key points about your brand you can showcase during a presentation?

Choose your partners. There are teams of people who do this for a living—tap into them. There are planners, booth designers, and creative and strategic teams that can help build your customer-facing materials. Partners can also develop timelines and be liaisons with the convention organizers, alerting you about deadlines, early-bird rates, registrant lists, and other key information. They can also participate in your weekly planning meetings to help keep everything on track.

Get the word out. This is where planning ahead becomes important. Send invitations to attendees, inviting them to come by your booth, your cocktail hour, your symposium. Account managers can also make invitations more personal by hand-delivering them. Let attendees know you have information they will be interested to hear. Consider advertising in a journal relevant to your audience or in the program guide and city guide. If you’re thinking really big, you could create bus wraps, airport presence, and other outdoor advertising opportunities.

Have a plan for your booth. What experience do you want to give your customers? Consider the perimeter and the flow of the interior. Can you create interactive screens with thought-provoking questions or information? You want to draw your audience in and create opportunity for conversation. What materials should you have on hand to detail from and to give away? Will you need Internet connectivity, a demonstration area, or any other special needs?

Train your on-site team. All the preparation in the world won’t help if your on-site team is not prepared. Outline your objectives for the booth and convention, coach your team on how to identify your target attendees, and familiarize your team with the on-site materials. Assign your team’s attendance at other events on site so you know what your competitors are doing and what industry information is being showcased at the convention. Your team’s collaboration and camaraderie contribute to the vibe of the booth, so be sure everyone understands and has the same goals for the event.

Follow up with attendees. Any leads generated during the event should have an immediate follow-up the next week. If the attendee asked for more information on a topic, be sure to provide it thoroughly and in a timely manner. Share attendee information with your local territories so that they can continue the conversation.

Being organized and having a plan will go a long way toward a successful convention. Define what you want to accomplish and use your resources. Ultimately, you want to create opportunities for your target customer to hear your message, and then, you want to continue the conversation beyond the convention. Plan properly and you’ll be more likely to succeed.

Managed Markets Monday is a weekly series that provides insight into what we think it takes to meaningfully and effectively communicate in the managed markets space. Follow up with Marcelle Rockwell at marcelle.rockwell@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Managed Markets Monday: Common Misconceptions We Hear About Managed Markets Marketing

By Jennifer Reilly, Account Supervisor, Palio Managed Markets

It’s time to put the rumors to rest and help provide clarity about common misconceptions regarding marketing in the Managed Markets space. Here are a few things we hear over and over again:

  1. “Managed Markets marketing is not as essential as marketing to physicians and patients.”
  2. “I don’t understand the audience you target; who are payers?”
  3. “Managed Markets marketing is not as creative as physician marketing.”

A common misconception about Managed Markets marketing (MMM) is that it is not as essential or important as marketing to physicians (who prescribe the drug) and patients (who take the drug). In fact, marketing to the “payer” (or formulary decision maker [FDM]) is important to ensure the client’s drug is provided open or broad access, or has the desired benefit you want. It is also important to help advocate acceptable utilization management and to influence the FDMs not to disadvantage a drug with prior authorizations or step edits, which ultimately impacts the physicians, patients, and pharmacists.

Professional vs payer marketing is not all that different at the core. If you have ever compared a branded visual aid vs a Managed Markets visual aid you will see many similarities. Managed Markets branding may be distinct, but our core messages are typically universal with minimal diverse discussion points tailored specifically to the target audience. A physician- or patient-focused piece may emphasize adherence and efficacy, while a payer-focused piece will tend to highlight cost and outcomes data. The payer audience is generally data-driven and not influenced by catchy headlines but rather by how the cost of the drug will impact their plan. The professional (brand) side prefers graphics of people and patient profile examples to make an empathetic connection with their audience.

One of the reasons Managed Markets work so closely with our professional brand team counterparts is to maintain consistency in how we represent the client’s key story (brand message) across business units, while also taking into consideration the tonality, language, and additional messaging our Managed Markets clients need/want to hear. One type of marketing isn’t better or more important than another; they’re just unique in certain areas while remaining tied to the same goal of positively and effectively educating or promoting the key brand message.

Payers, or FDMs, are the customer target within the Managed Markets space, and they comprise a vast audience. There are 5 core audience types we work with, but many stakeholders. Below is a quick snapshot of our 5 main targets:

Pharmacy directors are responsible for delivering dollar value to the organization and managing formulary. Pharm Ds are one of the most common called-on payers and one target that many account managers don’t get beyond.

Medical directors are responsible for the medical product that the health insurance company is delivering to their members. They are interested in clinical differentiation and sit on the formulary committee to evaluate what type of access the drug or therapy will have.

Quality directors are responsible for NCQA (National Committee of Quality Assurance) initiatives.

Utilization managers assess the impact of a particular therapy or class. They want to know how big, how many, and how much. How big is the class, how many of my members/patients will be affected, and what is the bottom-line per-member per-month impact on the plan.

Case managers make sure therapies are going to the right patients. They also are involved with access and compliance.

Additional stakeholders include priority accounts, health plans, PBMs, specialty pharmacy providers, employers, state Medicaid programs, Medicare PDPs, Medicare MA-DPs, payer opinion leaders, and other MCO commercial audiences.

For more in-depth information on FDMs, please watch our video by John Guarino, SVP of Managed Markets. Click here to watch.

From an outsider’s perspective it’s easy to assume that the Managed Markets space does not allow for diverse creativity when it comes to marketing a client’s drug or service. After all, it’s often stressed that payers do not like glossy; they are generally data-driven and care more about numbers and dollars.

However, there are opportunities to be impactful and impress customers without all the bells and whistles in look and feel. With topics such as comparative effectiveness research (CER), FDAMA 114 messaging, and access and reimbursement, our clients are provided the value/cost information and data they need to make important decisions when it comes to putting a drug on formulary, deciding whether or not to institute prior authorizations or step edits to therapies, or continuing education on a drug or therapy class. Our goal is to focus on topics of importance and influence to our target audience and provide clinical information backed by solid evidence-based claims. It’s not all about the colors and graphics; Managed Markets pieces are clinical in nature and that is what resonates with our audience.

Hopefully this quick snapshot gives you further insight into the world of MMM and will put some common misconceptions to rest! For more information and insights on MMM, please reach out to one of our Managed Markets payer experts or come back to our blog every Monday!

Managed Markets Monday is a weekly series that provides insight into what we think it takes to meaningfully and effectively communicate in the managed markets space. Follow up with Jennifer at jennifer.ball@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

#ChalkChat: 4 Ideas for Finding Creative Inspiration

In this episode of #ChalkChat, Gina Figler, junior copywriter at Palio, shares 4 ideas for finding creative inspiration.

#ChalkChat is a weekly video series that brings you insights on branding, marketing and multichannel integration within the pharmaceutical industry. Follow us at #ChalkChat. Follow up with Gina at gina.figler@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Managed Markets Monday: Contracting

In this Managed Markets Monday, Jon Haas, VP, Managed Markets at Palio, shares insights and strategy on Managed Care contracting.

Managed Markets Monday is a weekly series that provides insight into what we think it takes to meaningfully and effectively communicate in the managed markets space. Follow up with Jon at jon.haas@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

#ChalkChat: 4 Key Insights to Conducting Social Listening Research

In this week’s #ChalkChat, Krystina Smith, research analyst at Palio, shares 4 key insights to conducting social listening research for pharmaceutical and healthcare products.

#ChalkChat is a weekly video series that brings you insights on branding, marketing and multichannel integration within the pharmaceutical industry. Follow us at #ChalkChat. Follow up with Krystina at Krystina.Smith@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Managed Markets Monday: Who Ate My Donut Hole? The Ins and Outs of Medicare Part D

By Steve Toman, Account Director, Palio Managed Markets

Medicare is a federal healthcare plan run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and it is available to Americans aged 65 and older and to those with particular disabilities. It is divided into Parts A through D, each of which helps cover specific services:

  • Part A: Hospital insurance
  • Part B: Medical insurance
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage (a plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide the benefits covered under Parts A and B; most Part C plans include Part D drug coverage)
  • Part D: Prescription drug coverage

Medicare Part D was enacted as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and went into effect on January 1, 2006. Most Part D drug plans have their own formularies that define their drug benefits. Part D plans are required to include at least 2 drugs in each category and class covered by the plan, and CMS may require plans to cover more than 2 drugs for certain categories and classes.

There are 4 stages of Medicare Part D coverage for 2012. Depending on which stage a Medicare patient is in, the amount he or she pays varies substantially. It’s important for patients to understand and to be aware of the cumulative out-of-pocket (OOP) costs that they accrue as they move through the stages, particularly those patients who are on expensive therapies.

To illustrate the ins and outs of Part D, let’s consider Maude, a fictitious Medicare patient who works her way through the system by requiring brand-name drug therapies that total $20,000 in 2012. Her Medicare Part D plan provides a “typical” set of benefits.

  • Stage 1: Deductible. Deductibles vary between Medicare Part D drug plans, with some having no deductible. In 2012, no Medicare drug plan can have a deductible greater than $320. Maude’s plan has a $320 deductible, so she is responsible for the first $320 of drug cost. Simple enough
  • Stage 2: Co-insurance. Although co-insurance levels may vary from plan to plan, Maude’s plan covers 75% of drug costs, which means she is responsible for the remaining 25%. Stage 2 ends when the cumulative drug costs reach $2930
  • Stage 3: Donut Hole. Medicare Part D does not cover prescription coverage during Stage 3. Maude is in the “donut hole” and hopefully has been able to save for this rainy day. The good news is that manufacturers do offer a 50% discount on brand-name drugs for patients in this stage, and both manufacturer and patient contributions are applied to the annual cumulative drug costs, up to $10,385
  • Stage 4: Catastrophic Coverage. Once cumulative drug costs reach $10,385, Maude enters the fourth and final stage of catastrophic coverage. In this stage, her plan pays 95% of the drug cost, and she is responsible for 5% for the remainder of the calendar year. It is important to note that once the calendar year ends, coverage starts over again at Stage 1

So if Maude had no prescription coverage, she would have had to pay the full $20,000 for her medications. What is her responsibility under Medicare Part D? About $5560. And that includes her Part D plan premium of $30/month. No wonder Maude is a big fan of Medicare Part D!

Fortunately, most common medications, especially generics, are relatively inexpensive. But what if Maude doesn’t have $5560 a year for the medications she needs? Medicare does offer low-income subsidies for patients who qualify. In addition, some Medicare patients are eligible for charitable programs offered by foundations such as the National Patient Advocate Foundation and the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Additional information is available at http://www.medicare.gov/, and at the websites of individual charitable foundations.

But for Americans who can afford the standard benefits of Medicare Part D, there are changes on the horizon. The discounts that are applied to drug costs in the “donut hole” are scheduled to rise, courtesy of the Affordable Care Act. In 2013, the discount will rise from 50% to 52.5%, and by 2020, the “donut hole” is scheduled to close completely. By then, the memorable words of Ty Webb from the movie, “Caddyshack,” are projected to come true: “A donut with no hole, is a Danish.”

Managed Markets Monday is a weekly series that provides insight into what we think it takes to meaningfully and effectively communicate in the managed markets space. Follow up with Steve Toman at stoman@palio.com.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Because We Can: The City of Cycling


By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio

One of the countless beauties of living in Saratoga Springs is the luxury of everything being in close proximity. The city is conducive to walking or cycling just about anywhere. Meeting some friends for dinner and drinks? – You can walk! Don’t feel like getting stuck in traffic on your morning commute? – Then bike on over to work! That’s what a handful of Palio employees do, seeing that we’re centrally located in the heart of Broadway.

We actually have a number of employees who are extremely passionate about cycling, whether it is for exercise, fun, competition, transportation, exploring, or even an outlet for stress relief and creative thinking. Just ask Guy Mastrion, Chief Creative Officer. What started as a competitive thing, has now taken a different route. “Now I ride as an antidote to middle age and the liberating feeling of not sitting in endless meetings all day,” said Mastrion. “In fact, time on a bike is some of my most productive thinking and ideation time and challenges the wisdom of keeping people locked up in rooms all day as a means to solve problems.”

For Mastrion, cycling is not only a form of exercise and a way to get creative juices flowing, but also a way to enjoy the great outdoors here at the foot of the Adirondacks. He typically rides three to four times per week and covers about 100 miles/week, taking in the view. “There is a killer network of trails that you can go off-roading completely,” said Mastrion. Even more so, the beauty of riding in Saratoga would be the weather. You can generally start riding in March and continue all the way through to November. Mastrion added, “When we have mild winters with little snow, you might see me take the occasional ride!”

Philip Reynolds, Vice President Creative Director, also enjoys cycling, but for his own reasons: “Cycling is excellent exercise and Saratoga is a great environment for it.” Although Reynolds typically likes to switch up his exercise routine, cycling is his one constant. It allows him to enjoy health benefits and also enables him to explore the glorious city of Saratoga. “I love learning about the area that I live in through cycling and exploring new roads,” said Reynolds. “I find myself cycling down roads that I would never need to travel on in the car.”

One benefit of cycling in Saratoga is the variety that it offers. As Reynolds describes, “Saratoga has a great terrain, offering both flat and hilly country.” You have the freedom to go any direction, and you will find great roads with sufficient shoulders.

For Joseph Acee, Associate Creative Director, cycling is a major part of his life and is something he would find difficult living without. Other than the exercise benefits , Acee and his family rely on his cycling for transportation purposes. “I don’t like to drive and personally feel that cars are overused,” said Acee. “Upon moving here, my family has been able to live normally with only one car for five years.”

If the weather is permitting, he will take advantage of being able to cycle, but if not, Acee will use public transportation. “I still get interesting reactions from some of my coworkers when I tell them I commute to work with my bike and the help of local transit authority,” said Acee. Through his use of his bike and public transportation, Acee is not only living healthier, but is also reducing his carbon footprint.

Acee has about a 6-mile ride from his home in Saratoga to Palio. He said that this would be considered a relatively easy ride, but not when you do it at the pace he likes. Acee finds that in doing his commute at a faster pace, it provides him with a solid workout prior to his workday, getting him energized and ready. “I always feel better when I ride into work,” said Acee.

For Uwe Tigör, MD, EVP Chief Medical Officer, rather than cycling being a passion, it’s been a way of life since his youth. When asked why he likes to cycle, Tigör’s response represented how significant cycling has truly been to him. “I grew up in a suburb of Berlin where cycling was part of life like a bagel and schemer is part of a New York morning,” said Tigör. “That’s how you covered the distances between the subway stations, school, and later the hospital – passion did not have a place, it was reality.”

Upon moving to New York City, things changed for Tigör. Cycling was no longer a simple way of life and transportation, but rather dangerous and even a gamble at times. “Thinking about biking was a survival necessity, seeing that the city wasn’t very accommodating and every biker had horror stories of flying over a suddenly opened car door or landing on the hood on a taxicab,” said Tigör. “You knew how important those wheels were, especially when all that was left of them was the bike lock around the traffic sign where you left your bike that morning.”

Moving to Saratoga was a breath of fresh air (for more reasons than one) for Tigör, especially with regards to his cycling. The environment was conducive to biking again, enabling him to ride to work or into town. “Saratoga let me get back to what comes naturally – biking everywhere I need to go.”

Account Director in Managed Markets, Steve Toman, is another one of our avid cyclers. “One of the best things about living in Saratoga is that it is a road cycling playground,” says Toman. “We have access to high quality asphalt roads through flats, rolling farmland, wooded hillsides, and lung-searing hills – all within a few minutes of downtown.”

Over the past few years, Toman has met a few great individuals from the community and at Palio who share his love for cycling. As Toman mentioned, “A group of us ride every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 6 AM to 8 AM, which is good for the soul as well as the legs!” Looking to start cycling or interested in a new route? – Toman offers his input: “The only thing that beats riding into the sunrise through the beautiful farm country out beyond Saratoga Lake is to tack on a loop through the Saratoga battlefield.”

A few years back, Toman started volunteering for Saratoga Healthy Transportation Network (SHTN), a local nonprofit organization that lacked strong visibility in the community. With the help of Palio, SHTN became Bikeatoga. In addition, Palio supported the nonprofit through logo and website creation, as well as through public relations work.

Bikeatoga is dedicated to creating a community that is more pedestrian and cycling friendly. Additionally, this nonprofit organization has a bike workshop where donated bikes are fixed up. The refurbished bikes are then put back on the streets through programs such as Earn-a-Bike and Kids Bike Giveaway

Here are some tips every rider should keep in mind when setting out on the open road: Always be prepared for flat tires or getting hit by a car. On long rides, drink a bottle of water every hour. Ride the lightest bike you can find. Pay attention to gear ratios, which are the optimal ratios for the way you ride. Training to ride at a high cadence (between 90 and 100 RPM) provides the best transfer of energy in a less strenuous way on your muscles.

Thinking about cycling? Stop thinking – just get up and do it!

Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Palio’s #ChalkChat: How the HITECH Act and EHR Technology Could Improve Insight

In this #ChalkChat, Jim Mittler, PhD, Medical Director at Palio, discusses how the HITECH Act and the evolution of EHR technology will bring about an important shift in evaluating behavior in patients and prescribers to provide a more analytical and objective approach to gaining insight.

#ChalkChat is a weekly video series that brings you insights on branding, marketing and multichannel integration within the pharmaceutical industry. Follow us at #ChalkChat. Follow up with Jim at jmittler@palio.com or @jim_mittler.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

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