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October 2013

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Report from the PMRG Institute 2012

Written by , Posted in Industry Reflections

PMRG (the Pharmaceutical Marketing Research Group) held the second annual iteration of the PMRG Institute in Philadelphia recently.  The Institute is one of two major events that PMRG hosts each year (the other being the Annual National Conference in the spring).  The PMRG Institute provides a forum for sharing best practices in healthcare market research. This year a poster session was added, expanding the opportunities for researchers to share, among other things, some new ways of tackling old problems.

Along with the poster, panel discussions, and individual presentations there were two notable keynote talks.  Dan Roam, a visualization consultant and the author of Blah Blah Blah:  What to Do when Words Don’t Work, pretty much captivated the audience with his demonstration of the way we process information through six visual pathways (the “what/who,” “how much/how many,” “where,” “when,” “how” and “why” pathways).  We are hard-wired to process information through these pathways.  Of course, most market researchers don’t design communications based on conscious awareness of these pathways–but we should.  Roam showed us that there are iconic pictures for communicating via each pathway.

The other keynote speaker was Ian Lewis from Cambiar.  Cambiar has recently released the results of two important studies–one on the future of research and one on “employer brands.”  Ian and his Cambiar partner Simon Chadwick have been making the rounds ( most recently CASRO and the Australia Market and Social Research Society) to publicize the findings of their research.  Perhaps the most important observations from the Future of Research Study are the differences in the views of clients and research agencies in key areas.   For example, clients are more likely than agencies to say that D-I-Y is replacing research that was previously conducted by outside agencies and more likely to say that mining existing knowledge is replacing some ad hoc research.  The “employer brand” survey, which was conducted among employees of research agencies, indicates that the quality of senior leadership is one of the most important factors in creating a strong employer brand.

Unlike the Annual National Convention, there is no exhibition hall at the PMRG Institute, which perhaps lends itself to less formal, more collegial conversations between healthcare clients, research agencies and data collection providers.

All in all, well-worth the time and effort to attend.  Thanks to PMRG and the program committee.

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