Multi Channel Marketing in the Pharma Industry | If you have not started undertaking a journey of ‘digital transformation’, that is, using technology to improve your impact, or to extend your reach, and/or to deepen the quality of the engagements, then you are lagging behind. This is no longer a trend - it is a norm.
Customers Are Jumping Across Channels
Moving towards a multichannel marketing approach (or MCM) is about stepping into the customers’ world and understanding where and how they are communicating, so you can be part of their ecosystem and the conversation. This is simply good marketing practice.
The reality is, customers are jumping across channels and devices to get the information they need and the experiences they want. However, more channels you use to push communications out on will not necessarily create a better customer experience. A good customer experience is highly dependent upon understanding the customer’s ecosystem and being a ‘value’ contributor. It is very easy to become unwanted or unnoticed digital SPAM.
HCPs are getting hit with a barrage of digital media across many more channels, however as many reports will tell you, it is not all very effective. There is too much noise. So it is time to go back to basics and think ‘strategy’ – brand strategy, content strategy and channel strategy.
Let’s not get intoxicated or overwhelmed by the term, an MCM approach is just a sound marketing discipline, albeit a little more complex - deliver the right content, to the right customer, through the right channel, and at the right time, and execute it seamlessly.
From Push Marketing to Omni Channel Marketing
We know in many markets, especially the USA, access for the traditional human channel, the Pharma Sales Representative, is declining rapidly. HCPs are over worked, under funded and are therefore, restricting their time, especially as now they can get most of the information the Representative is relaying from available websites, emails and webinars. For many HCPs, there is no need to see the Representative, unless the Rep can actually offer additional value and enrich the experience to the benefit of the customer.
And there lies the secret to success. Develop a strategy around your customers and create a cohesive communication ecosystem, where each part works in unison with the other parts, you can create a greater whole, than the individual parts.
The customers are now in control of when, where, and how they get their information. To be part of the conversation, create valuable content. Content is king in our new multi-channel world. With good, relevant, accessible and timely content, you can engage, deepen the conversations, build relationships over time, demonstrate your organization’s expertise and entice new customers to come onboard and join the network. The shift is from ‘push’ to ‘pull’.
What is Required to Undertake the MCM Transformation?
The most critical success factor in any transformation project is leadership commitment. A MCM approach touches many people, processes and technologies within the organization. Most of our organisations are built vertically by function. Transformation to enable a MCM approach, requires a fundamental look at the existing business processes and where possible, to rebuild the organization, systems and processes around the customer journey. Digital and traditional ways need to be integrated. MCM needs to become part of the organisation’s DNA. And that will require the team at the top!
Develop the right culture and the right skills, and put in the appropriate level of investment. As an industry, we are still underinvesting and so non-industry players are developing channels and they are proving very popular with HCPs. At a very tactical level, develop and continue to enrich, customer journeys. Add a new dimension to your segmentation – channel preference.
New metrics will also be required. Many companies who have already embarked upon this journey are struggling to find ROI on their digital investments. Maybe the issue is the wrong metrics are being used. After all, this is not about digital marketing; it is about engaging customers at a deeper level and over time. Move away from only traditional metrics and look at exposure metrics and engagement scores.
Start with a pilot project – select a high profile project that has high level of commitment from the top, making it very visible and more than likely has the required investment. Give the organisation time to learn and adjust.
There are many pay offs to a holistic approach to MCM and creating consistent customer experiences across channels. All of these interactions offer us the opportunity to derive value.
Without a holistic organizational approach, there may be small improvements in customer engagements throughout the organization, but there will be many internal roadblocks that will ultimately affect MCM effectiveness. Get the leaders on board, pilot on a high profile project, developing and testing the new processes, systems and tools, and the transformation will be ignited and flow outwards from there.
Jennifer Grech is an experienced Customer Excellence professional, with over 10 years experience working on the transformation of pharma marketing and sales, and a member of the Actando consulting team.
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