Reaching your target audience with relevant messaging at key points in their decision-making process remains an important part of our sales and marketing efforts. But it’s also important to think about frequency. Whether it’s to drive message recall or otherwise positively influence prescribing behaviours, how should you decide the right level of frequency when planning marketing campaigns? And with so many digital channels to choose from, how to ensure this optimal frequency is aligned to the HCP’s preferred consumption method?
What is optimal frequency?
Simply put, optimal frequency is the number of contacts on target customers which helps you to achieve your objectives.
Optimal frequency starts with your brand strategy and objectives
If the objective is to maximize sales, which is almost always the case during the launch period for example, then the optimal frequency is at the beginning of the linear part of the curve, just where the curve starts to flatten.
If the objective is to maximize profitability, which more often occurs during the mature phase of the product lifecycle, then in addition to the impact on sales, we must look at the cost per contact. The cost per contact normally follows a linear progression, with one face to face visit to a customer costing the same as the next. Your optimal frequency is found first of all in the area where return is higher than the investment, just before the return per contact starts to decrease.
Do keep in mind the Promotion Response Curve according the to the mix of channels you are considering. When you increase the frequency beyond the optimal, still you get a positive R.O.I, but every additional visit brings you a lower return per contact. A higher frequency may still bring you more revenue, but possibly with a lower profitability.
Optimal frequency Calculation
There are several methods used in combination to calculate optimal frequency, including experienced estimation and brick methodology calculated from historical sales and contact activity data. When high quality data is available, you can cross the actual level of investment with sales results according to the number of contacts during the previous period and find the frequency with the best commercial return, as well as the frequency with the maximum impact. It might be best to work with your consultant and associated tools for its calculation.
What can be surprising about optimal frequency?
- Doing less than optimal may be wasted resources, as it may bring no or little return.
- Doing more than optimal may also be wasting resources. Going beyond optimal may bring no additional return, or less profit based on the additional costs involved.
What should I do with this information?
The calculation is one step, but managers must also align the result with brand and company objectives and resources in order to arrive at a company-agreed target frequency per contact. The optimal contact frequency needs to be adapted to country specifics, customers’ preferred channel and any existing access opportunities and barriers to be meaningful.
Of course, not all physicians respond the same way, so learning more about how different segments of a population engage in these different types of formats is key to rolling out an efficient allocation of marketing resources, and a more effective use of physicians’ time.
An optimal contact frequency is a critical component of Sales Force Sizing and Multichannel Optimization, designed to guide the allocation of available resources in order to achieve the desired commercial results.
How does this fit into multi-channel planning?
There are a number of channels to include in the calculation of optimal frequency of contacts including Face to face calls, Round tables, Webinars, Medical education, Mailings and emails, Advertising, Remote, Social media, and Websites. The impact per contact by channel can be calculated based on visit equivalence principle, when every channel’s impact is measured against the face-to-face visit. You will also want the reps to record HCPs preferences, at least until you have enough data collected from your digital activities.
The composed ROI of different channels can be calculated and optimized based on the similar principles we were discussing today. The sales and marketing teams’ alignment is a critical factor in successful optimal frequency implementation and follow-up.
If you are interested in our mobile learning solutions on digital channels, contact Actando.
The Actando Consulting Team