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Shift to consumer-first mindset is highest priority for digital pharma products going into 2023

  • Two in five (42%) pharma leaders say that moving to a consumer-first mindset is a priority for the next two years
  • Only 27 per cent are always conducting user research, obstructing user centricity
  • Current mindset and lack of user research result in digital products falling short of expectations for 18 per cent of pharma companies

[London, 7 January 2023] As digital products grow ever more important to delivering good patient outcomes, two in five (42%) pharma leaders say that moving from a product-first to a consumer-first mindset will be critical to their impact and success over the next two years.

This is according to digital customer experience agency Graphite Digital, which is publishing a special edition of its Contradiction Conundrum report released in mid-2022 in partnership with Reuters Events: Overcoming Contradictions.

It reveals that this change in mindset is also needed amongst reps, with one in five (18%) agreeing that it is important to shift from ‘sales’ to ‘customer success’, showing pharma companies’ commitment to putting healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients first.
Despite the appetite for change, three in five (62%) of pharma leaders say it is unrealistic to compare the digital experience of pharma customers with those of companies like Netflix, Spotify or Amazon. While this may be the case, companies should consider what they can learn from the tech giants.

Graphite Digital’s Founder and CEO Rob Verheul said: “Although the comparison isn’t direct - the pharma and healthcare sectors operate with limitations in place, such as regulatory constraints and a higher level of risk - there’s still a lot that pharma can learn from other sectors, such as big tech and consumer healthcare, when it comes to evolving mindset and ways of working.

“Peoples’ expectations of digital services and products are increasing, driven by those big tech firms, so following their lead towards a customer-focused mindset and building products that meet their needs will be critical to the sectors’ success.”

To deliver customer-first products, pharma companies must introduce a new cultural mindset, but also ensure they understand the customers for whom they are delivering. Currently, only a quarter (27%) say they always conduct user research, which leaves them ‘designing in the dark’, resulting in less effective products.

As a result, nearly one in five (18%) pharma leaders admit that their digital product launches often do not deliver the expected results. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter (23%) admit they do not know how successful their digital products launches are because they do not measure them.

Rob Verheul continued: “Data collection and analysis is essential for the success of a digital product – from understanding the customer or end-user to identifying areas for improvement or measuring success. Getting it right when it comes to data is critical for generating that all-important customer-first mindset and delivering effective digital products that meet the needs of users.”

Divya Yerraguntia, Senior Vice President – Demand Generation and Sales Enablement at Syneos Health, added: “Companies need to ask the question, what are we measuring? What is your definition of success? What you are measuring has a direct impact on behaviour, because that’s how people are being incentivised, and that behaviour drives how you will have an impact.”

The Contradiction Conundrum: Overcoming Contradictions includes new insights and data from Graphite Digital’s team of experts and contributors from Astellas, Syneos Health, Amryt Pharma, The Clinical UX Association and Haleon. The original report – The Contradiction Conundrum – is available online at