Robert Stillman has orchestrated a wide array of incentive programs. But perhaps the most unique program he executes is one that helps prevent a pharmaceutical client from losing hundreds of millions of dollars. “It’s an outside-the-box initiative that has been a win-win for us and our client,” says Stillman, CEO of Far From Boring, a Boca Raton, FL-based distributorship.
The program’s purpose is to ensure that people who participate in drug trials remain committed for the duration of the study periods. Pharmaceutical companies often invest hundreds of millions of dollars in trials to help get their new drugs approved for sale by the Food & Drug Administration. However, it’s common for study participants to drop out of the test before it’s completed, as the trials can sometimes take several years, says Stillman. If not enough people complete the testing, then the whole trial can be scrapped, resulting in a loss for the pharmaceutical company.
To prevent such a disaster scenario for his pharmaceutical client, Stillman started an incentive program in which drug trial participants receive branded gifts every three months during the test period. So far, he has implemented the program during two test trials – both to resoundingly successful results.
“The individuals running the studies have been absolutely thrilled with the amount of participants who have stayed enrolled in the FDA trials,” says Stillman, noting both trials are in the final stages, having run for 20 months and 28 months as of spring 2016. “The participants were shown appreciation, and they returned it in kind with commitment.”
An essential ingredient in the program’s success is that Stillman and his team have propelled it with branded products that would appeal to the needs and tastes of study participants, which included middle-aged women with particular health histories. “For the program to succeed,” says Stillman, “it has to be based on who the test subjects are and what they would like to receive.”
Products have included everything from a plush throw for sitting rooms to iPad/tablet holders that make it easy to use such devices when sitting or lying down. “In terms of sales,” says Stillman, “we’ve done in the mid-six figures so far.”
And that just might be the tip of the iceberg.
Impressed with the results, the client is staying loyal to Stillman. Word-of-mouth praise for Far From Boring’s campaigns has now spread to other pharmaceutical companies. “Friends tell friends and we get referrals,” says Stillman. “We’ve gotten calls from larger and smaller pharmaceutical companies that want us to put a program together for them.”
Discover The Need
Robert Stillman and his team at Far From Boring conceived the successful drug trial incentive program because they took the time to identify the pharmaceutical client’s most pressing needs.
Stillman’s relationship with the company began when it was strictly in the nutraceutical field. Far From Boring evolved with the organization as it moved into pharmaceuticals. Through the relationship, the distributor engaged in discussions with the client that led to an understanding of where Far From Boring could best help through its creativity and services. The data-mining empowered Stillman and his team to create the incentive program for drug trial participants. “You can find unexpected opportunity for incentive programs – and more – when you ask the right questions,” says Stillman.
$548.4 billion – Projected value of the U.S. pharmaceutical market in 2020. (GlobalData)
41 – Number of novel drugs approved by the FDA in 2014. (GlobalData)