Rivermark: Optimal Leader Network Planning

John Eichert, Principal
Rivermark entered the market as a strategic marketing consulting practice for organisations in the pharmaceutical and life sciences space to drive their brand forward. After a few short years, they focused further on identifying opinion leaders and physician learning networks, resulting in an innovative combination of social network science and information diffusion to accelerate the launch and commercialization of products.

According to Rivermark’s Principal, John Eichert, most organisations were coordinating events and basing marketing decisions on data from field sales calls. “Rivermarks’ current offerings allow organisations to optimize their commercial efforts and become much more effective, get to the right people sooner and faster and create diffusion of information and the adoption of new products,” he explains.

Rivermark’s software system allows organisations to obtain information about key opinion leaders and their network connections. Organisations can then customize modules that fine-tune the software to their needs, such as an ‘engagement planning’ module to organize talks, advisory boards, or direct mail campaigns. Alternatively, they can choose a performance tracking module to look at prescription data and evaluate which physicians are responsive to marketing efforts.

Their system not only helps organisations plan for effective dissemination of information across influential social and learning networks in the medical community, but also helps them to keep track of important restrictions and regulations regarding data collection and use. It answers the question of, “What data sources can we use to identify individuals in the market that are most influential and important to the community of providers who are treating patients, and how do we get that information in the hands of the right people in the company so they can maximize the information they provide to those individuals?” says Eichert.

For example, the Rivermark team worked with a multinational pharmaceutical company that struggled to identify the most important opinion leaders and key clinical experts for promoting a novel treatment for chronic heart failure.

Rivermarks’ current offerings allow organisations to optimize their commercial efforts and create diffusion of information and the adoption of new products

Rivermark addressed the issue in three stages: first, by “using social network analysis of peer reviewed publications and primary peer nomination data as well as clinical trial data,” recounts Eichert. Next, they optimized the activities planned by the company to target the most important people and to optimize sharing across their natural networks. Finally, they delivered a system that enabled strategic activity planning across the organization and helped them designate who was responsible for which opinion leaders.

“Overall, the program helped to systematically plan engagements across roughly 1500 key opinion leaders and 30,000 other key clinical experts across the community,” he says. “It brought together marketing, sales management, field sales, and external vendor partners including medical education agencies and advertising agencies for a coordinated launch.”

In all their services, Eichert says they strive to provide a solution to each client that is “unique, novel, and valuable.” Their small company size is intentional: top executives spend considerable time with each client; working on the front lines is one of Eichert’s favorite roles. He prefers company scaling in the form of extensible technology and software solutions while keeping manpower agile and lean.

Rivermark’s future may include expansion into the European market, improved mobile access to the platform, and better integration of patient advocacy groups in their research. As they look to wrangle bigger and bigger data sets, Eichert emphasizes the need to siphon through big data and ensure that “We deliver highly relevant and insightful information when people need it, so we don’t overwhelm them with vast amounts of possibilities.”


Doylestown, PA

John Eichert, Principal

Accelerates the successful launch, adoption and commercialization of products for organizations in the life sciences space