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Luckie: When the Science of Data Meets the Art of Marketing

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John Gardner, President, LuckieJohn Gardner, President
For nearly 60 years, Luckie excelled as a traditional ad agency that narrated compelling stories for brands across industries. Then, 2011 happened. At a crossroads, Luckie acknowledged that being a great storyteller was no longer enough to navigate the rapidly changing marketing landscape. To bolster its marketing technology capabilities, Luckie acquired Integrative Logic, a data-driven digital marketing firm with a strong suit in pharma marketing and pharma technology. Within a few years of the acquisition, John Gardner, co-founder of Integrative Logic, took charge as president of Luckie, and the agency gradually brought in professionals from the pharma industry to fuse with its team of longstanding advertising and marketing gurus. (In fact, Luckie’s healthcare business leader was inducted into MM&M’s Hall of Femme this year in recognition of the work she’s done to elevate the practice of healthcare marketing).“By pairing the client engagement expertise of pharma professionals with Luckie’s marketing solutions strength, we set about shifting the dynamics of pharma marketing,” says Gardner, who has also contributed to a book dedicated to pharma marketing.

Gardner’s contention that the Four Ps of Marketing have evolved from the old paradigm (price, product, promotion, and place) to predictive modeling, personalization, participation, and peer-to-peer, has drastically shaped Luckie’s analytical approach to pharma marketing. “While conducting research for the book, I noticed that social media platforms were becoming as informative and relied upon as doctors’ advice. Pharma marketers were losing control of their message. Since then, we have been preparing pharma marketers for the consumerization of healthcare,” adds Gardner.

Under Gardner’s leadership, Luckie has established a full-fledged pharma marketing wing that harnesses data science, behavioral science, and applied marketing science to design “creatively relevant” campaigns for various stakeholders in the pharma and healthcare sectors. One of Luckie’s strengths is that its conventional marketing capabilities have received a shot in the arm from the company’s investment in high-end data analytics and technology. Luckie can not only deliver digital assets, websites, email and digital marketing campaigns, but also has the proficiency to build and warehouse high volumes of sensitive and legally-controlled data (as it strictly adheres to industry standards on data security). Gardner states, “We have a technology team capable of developing tools on Adobe Creative Cloud, Salesforce Cloud, and business intelligence platforms. What makes us unique is we are a marketing company that knows how to use technology extremely well.”

The Data Hunters

Though Luckie harnesses cognitive technologies to enrich its solutions, the agency still relies on a time-honored process to accumulate and leverage data. Its four-layered approach follows the sequence of Science (collect and analyze data), Intellect (inform strategic insights), Heart (turn emotional reaction into action), and Art (craft creative, engaging solutions). From a pharma perspective, Luckie collects data from every possible source—from a client’s own prescription and salesforce data to their third-party media and promotional data. As an example, Luckie performed in-depth doctor segmentation to support a top 10 pharma client that was hoping to optimize its in-person sales calls and non-personal sales messaging approach. Luckie built a segmentation model that included the client’s product data, data from similar products in the market, and descriptive data as it pertains to the doctors (where they practice, their mindset toward certain medical practices). The model also looked at areas the doctors specialized in, the demographics of patients they were treating, and even the payer network, among many other metrics. After generating actionable insights, Luckie designed two new sales approaches for the client to utilize. Besides a personalized selling system, Luckie developed an eCRM that included web assets to deliver non-personalized messages to customers.

Luckie also gathers patient-centric data that relies on three variables: classification (demographics, geography), description (psychographics, opinions about treatment), and transactional data (pharma rebates, website clicks, email, and social media engagement).
Kamala Prince, VP, Strategic Engagement
“We bring the three variables together either through primary data, research or models, or third-party data. This precise data leads to accurate insights, targeting, and creativity. It’s what sets us apart from our competitors,” says Gardner.

We have always been driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore new audiences and approaches to grow our clients’ businesses

To illustrate the extent of Luckie’s data analytics precision, Gardner tells the story of a global pharma company that was preparing to launch a portfolio of new chronic disease drugs. Luckie initiated a sophisticated planning process to launch the drugs, with up to 90 percent of doctor engagement (with sales reps) happening on digital platforms. The campaign was built on a highly customizable platform to ensure effective localization, personalization, and optimization. Then Luckie filmed every sales rep in front of the hospital that each doctor practiced in (using a green screen). “So, the message would begin with ‘Hi Dr. Smith of Grady Hospital, here is our latest offering…,’” recalls Gardner.

This personalized approach to the doctor–sales rep engagement was a monumental success — 85 percent of Luckie’s targeted audience opened the video messages. Within 90 minutes of the client receiving FDA approval for its new drug “We were able to talk to 5,000 of our targeted doctors with a personalized message. This campaign opened the doors for both personal and non-personal engagement,” says Gardner.

Marketing Solutions that Transcend Businesses

As evidenced by the examples above, Luckie has a proven track record of fusing data science, strategic insight, and artful communication into smart marketing solutions that drive business results. Pharma companies that approach Luckie value and are willing to invest in measuring and optimizing their marketing return on investment. Gardner says, “There is a lot of disruption in the way a pharma company’s stakeholders consume data. By tying the marketing message and content distribution to the client data, we model appropriateness, so marketers understand the ‘best time’ to deliver their message.” As revealed by Gardner, there are also clients who seek Luckie’s solutions to build connections between doctors, patients, payers, and the salesforce. “Interconnectivity of the marketing message continuum is what clients come to us for. And we solve that by integrating creative innovation, technology, and sophisticated data and insights,” he adds. Luckie’s marketing solutions include search (SEO and SEM), online advertising, website design, experiential marketing, and digital and programmatic media.

If Luckie’s storied history dating back to 1953 is any indicator, the agency’s evolution to pharma marketing experts shouldn’t come as a surprise. The agency has always been driven by an “insatiable curiosity” to explore new market segments and methodologies in order to narrate stories on behalf of brands. Since 2011, Luckie’s Atlanta office has grown by a whopping 400 percent, and the company has set up satellite offices in Dallas and Raleigh along with its Birmingham, AL headquarters.

For the coming years, Luckie has its sights set on strategic acquisitions in critical markets. “We plan to invest significantly in more data and analytics tools as well as in technologists who understand the full technology stack, specifically around cloud-based marketing solutions,” said Gardner. Luckie is also dabbling in prototypes involving AI, especially as it relates to IBM Watson.

Most of all, Luckie plans to remain “fiercely independent” as it has for 66 years. “One of our strategic advantages is we are not beholden to any holding company. Our independence lets us make strategic decisions based solely on what’s best for our clients,” concludes Gardner.
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Top 10 Pharma Marketing Service Companies - 2019


Birmingham & Atlanta

John Gardner, President and Kamala Prince, VP, Strategic Engagement

Luckie fuses data, strategic insight, and artful communication to drive high-impact business results. One of the top pharma marketing solutions providers, Luckie harnesses data science, behavioral science, and applied marketing science to design “creatively relevant” campaigns for various stakeholders in the pharma and healthcare sectors. Besides building connections between doctors, patients, payers, and the salesforce, Luckie’s marketing solutions also include search (SEO and SEM), online advertising, website design, experiential marketing, and digital and programmatic media. Since acquiring Integrative Logic in 2011, the agency has witnessed a 400 percent business growth at its Atlanta headquarters operations