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One-on-One with InStep Health’s Nate Lucht

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Earlier this year, Rx EDGE Media Network / LeveragePoint Media acquired Brandperx. The company has now transitioned into a brand-new company, InStep Health. In an interview with DTC Perspectives’ Chairman, Bob Ehrlich, InStep Health’s president and CEO, Nathan Lucht, discussed ways their programs educate patients and consumers, providing brands with new opportunities to reach audiences in meaningful ways.

Bob Ehrlich: The company has undergone some very big changes in a short period of time. In less than a year, you have acquired another company, Brandperx, and undergone a full rebranding. What inspired these changes?

Nathan Lucht: Reflection, evaluation, and ultimately change are all important components of a healthy company—and imperative to performing at your peak. Before we began the acquisition of Brandperx, we had already started reflecting and evaluating, and adding new offerings to our platform. We were improving our targeting capabilities, adding digital programs, and making our data insights even stronger. When we became familiar with Brandperx and their HCP network and relationships, we thought it was a natural fit for us. It provided the perfect opportunity for us to bring even more marketing solutions to pharma marketers that want to educate patients and their providers. As for the rebranding, a new name and aesthetic is the quintessential way to break away from past narratives. We are proud of our past accomplishments from over the last 19 years, but we wanted a new name and look that would convey the excitement we felt about the new offerings.

Bob: What is behind the name ‘InStep Health’?

Nathan: During our background work, we reflected on the strong culture our company (both legacy companies) have and the relationships we have with our clients. There were a few themes that consistently resurfaced, and connection was one of them. The connections between clients’ messages, providers, patients, and consumers. We wanted to produce marketing that matters to care providers and consumers and remain in stride, in sync, and inspired by what’s next. Doctors want to be in step with the patients, and patients want information that’s in step with what they’re going through! That’s what we deliver.

Bob: How big is your network ‒ in physician offices and in pharmacies covered?

Nathan: It’s very large, which is why our programs work so well—because we can reach consumers and patients at healthcare destinations all over the country. Currently our network consists of 250,000+ healthcare providers and more than 30,000 retail locations.

Bob: What is InStep Health able to do better by bringing together services offerings at the pharmacy, HCP, and point of care?

Nathan: Great question. We are delivering brand messages to specific audiences in the physical locations when health is top of mind, and we are making an impact as they use their digital devices whenever and wherever they are. Our platform keeps clients’ products at the forefront throughout their target audience’s entire healthcare continuum.

Bob: What specific products are you offering patients at each step?  What does this network actually look like to a consumer?

Nathan: At the pharmacy, millions of consumers see our media displays in the aisles that offer prescription savings and high-impact educational materials that drive the consumer to the pharmacist or physician to find out more. In the providers’ offices in our network, they’ll see physician-endorsed activation bags and education kits filled with relevant samples, incentives, and other resources. And our addressable digital programs allow microtargeted campaigns to reach the right patients as they move throughout their daily lives.

But what our new platform has really focused on is keeping our clients in step with the consumer’s individual experience ‒ it’s what we call the iX design. We connect the consumer to our client’s brand messages throughout their unique care path with all of the tools we mentioned above, and by inspiring meaningful conversations between patients and healthcare providers for healthier outcomes.

Bob: How have you increased your technical abilities to support these networks?

Nathan: This is an especially exciting area for us! We’ve made a lot of investments in this area and we break that effort into two parts: one, using data from the pharmacy and HCP office networks to create more effective programs. And two, using digital activation programs to provide clients seamless patient reach. From the data perspective, we’ve always been focused on using prescription fulfillment data to place our clients’ programs in exactly the right pharmacies. We’ve now amped that up so that we can do that type of planning in any of our physician offices. And on the digital activation front, we now have technology that we call “Arrivals” that allows us to serve mobile takeover messages as the consumers step into our waiting rooms and our pharmacies. This technology then combines with some leading-edge capabilities in HIPAA-compliant audience targeting when patients aren’t in our point of care settings. All these pieces fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and it’s really great stuff!

Bob: What kind of returns are clients seeing within your network and how are you measuring those?

Nathan: Clients know us for the results we deliver since we have been quantitatively measuring our legacy pharmacy programs literally since day one! So, creating smarter, data-driven programs and measuring their success remains at the core of our new platform. InStep Health has built a flexible measurement approach utilizing best in class data and third-party partners to deliver metrics and insights for every initiative we execute. We can successfully measure prescription lift and ROI in stores. On average our clients see a script lift of 12% and an $8 ROI through the pharmacy alone. We also measure changes in prescribing at the physician level, OTC/CPG sales lift and ROI, increases in physician recommendation and awareness, response to digitally served ads, and digital audience composition. 

Bob: Bringing it back to all of the renovating the company has recently done, what has been the best part of this process?

Nathan: Yes, we have a great new look, and an inspired new name. But personally, to me the best part has been unifying two great companies with their individual strengths and bringing together two incredible teams of people to form one powerhouse. We know we can do really extraordinary things together, and we have just gotten started bringing them into the current landscape of healthcare marketing.

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