Conversations with corporate researchers

Julie Loving

Insights Director, TherapeuticsMD 

You’ve worked in a variety of industries – CPG, entertainment, pharma. How does this diverse background influence your role at TherapeuticsMD?  

The culture here is very entrepreneurial. You will never hear, “We don’t do it that way,” or “It wasn’t successful in the past.” This receptiveness to new ideas and methods allows the insights team to bring in techniques that truly help make better business decisions and help us more deeply understand our consumers/customers. The only technique you can’t do in pharma is a concept product home use test – that is the clinical trial. 

We’ve used almost all techniques here that had beginnings in consumer package goods. This includes co-creation – a fancy word for brainstorming. We had one that included men and women in a session all around menopause! We’ve also done very robust segmentation of all of our customer groups, and have initiated marketing investment modeling

Of all the market segments you’ve researched, is there one that seems more open to participating in the research process than others?  

Honestly, women’s health. Women feel isolated and confused as they enter menopause and really don’t feel that they have anyone to talk to. In every consumer workshop I’ve done, the women exchange e-mail or phone numbers after – we’ve created a safe support group for them! Our online communities around women’s health reportedly are the most active and interactive – including our community of health care professionals!

Do you have any tips for researchers looking to launch their first online community?  

Set expectations in your organization about what the community can and cannot do. Our online communities have essentially replaced all qualitative. We use them for optimizing creative, copy and messages, as well as doing deep dives to learn about our women and health care professionals. How do they feel about their lives? What are the challenges? What are the rewards? The communities are not for quantitative evaluative decision-making unless it is so crystal clear how participants feel about the topic.  

What new methodologies or tools do you hope to use in the coming year? 

Biometrics. Given the categories we work in, we really need to appeal and break through on an emotional level.