Article authored and contributed to PharmaLeaders by: Pavel Klymenko, Head of Omnichannel Hub at Viseven
I’ve been in digital marketing for more than 15 years. From the beginning of my career, I witnessed the evolution of online communication in different markets. With the increasing number of messages sent by many companies via multiple platforms, customers got used to living along with constantly growing informational noise. The approach of omnichannel communication allowed marketers from different industries to break through it and engage with customers on a much deeper level.
When I started working on my first projects in pharma and life sciences, I verified this personally. Today, healthcare professionals and patients have the highest awareness of pharma brands than ever before. That’s why they require an exceptional personalized experience.
In 2022, 88% of customers say the experience provided by a company is as crucial as its products and services, and 90% of clinicians concur that patient satisfaction and other quality measures have driven changes in healthcare within the last decade.
Despite healthcare being in the top five industries that meet customers’ needs and expectations, only 29% of customers consider healthcare successful at using technology to create a great customer experience.
While the top brands have already adjusted to the customer-first reality and are using omnichannel marketing to build tailored customer journeys, I see that many pharma companies still have a low level of digital maturity and superficial knowledge of modern customers’ needs. Attracting a customer and, more importantly, earning their loyalty is a science that involves receiving and analyzing a lot of data about behavior, habits, and preferences across multiple digital channels and segments. It works not just in pharma but in other medical-related industries.
For instance, 77% of stakeholders of the leading medtech companies have no seamless experience across digital, remote, and in-person channels. Healthcare professionals take advantage of multiple channels and prefer digital self-service options such as e-procurement portals, mobile apps, and websites. That’s why 80% of medtech companies have already switched some of their marketing budgets (in most cases, 20%) to digital channels in 2020. Two-thirds of medtech companies anticipate digital channels to generate over 20% of their revenue by 2025.
Creating excellent personalized experiences for customers across multiple channels, segments, and markets is possible only in a single integrated system where pharma and life sciences companies can do all marketing activities that are essential for efficient omnichannel communication:
- Collecting and storing data about interactions between a company and its customers
- Planning tailored customer journeys for every audience segment
- Automating omnichannel marketing campaigns, monitoring their performance, and performing A/B tests to improve results
- Producing, deploying, and distributing unique content that gets medical legal review (MLR) approval
The good thing is that such a system allows any company to integrate everything under one roof. The bad thing is that everything is on a large scale, which may create a set of challenges.
First, sending the right message through the right channel at the right time can be successful only after creating sustainable technical infrastructure and designing a comprehensive marketing strategy. Before implementation, it entails in-depth market research, target audience segmentation, formulation of key messages for every audience, and creation of a general omnichannel communication plan.
Second, omnichannel communication depends on how the brand team consolidates the three major platforms: client relationship management (CRM) platform, marketing automation platform, and content creation platform. Which approach to choose when segmenting the database? What channels are the most effective, and for which segment? How can the team improve customer journeys? These are only a few essential questions to consider, only the tip of the iceberg.
Third, as an omnichannel marketer, I realize the immense dependency of the pharma and life sciences markets on marketing agencies. Because these agencies know how to bring positive results, it’s difficult for brands to start building their omnichannel environments. Not to mention that frequently, a pharma brand addresses several agencies at once.
Fourth, brands must understand how to spend resources wisely and find ways for optimization. For instance, content production usually takes lots of time and money because pharma companies cannot produce high-quality content without third-party assistance.
It’s truly incredible to see what high-quality content is capable of today from the omnichannel perspective. Of course, content has always been an effective pharma marketing tool. But in this next-generation game, where the number of content channels has tremendously increased, well-planned customer journeys build more human relationships at a cheaper cost. New approaches allow pharma brands to nurture consistent communication with an HCP or patient using unique messages automatically and with no spam.
For example, the modular content approach is disrupting pharma content production by allowing companies to create content for multiple channels, segments, and markets in one place. The innovation lies in combining content assets such as the core message, media, and references into a pre-built block called a module. By building landing pages, emails, eDetailers, and other types of content from different modules, a pharma marketer with no web development expertise can save lots of resources on creating personalized experiences for multiple target groups.
Despite numerous challenges and digital immaturity, there’s room for positive change. Companies in pharma and life sciences are aware of the benefits that the omnichannel approach can bring to their marketing and understand that it’s the best time to join this transformation trend. At Viseven, my team and I see that the number of end-to-end omnichannel solutions we developed has increased substantially over the last couple of years. Many companies have a pretty accurate vision of their brand in the future of the omnichannel paradigm, but they need assistance with some issues. Some companies already know which omnichannel solution they need. These are astounding cases because that’s how I received extraordinary expertise I would never receive anywhere else.
It takes us back to the fact that success in omnichannel communication, especially in pharma, is all about unique information and the ability to utilize it in very different situations. Step by step, we’re approaching the time when a marketer should be more like a psychology specialist and a business should be 100% human. I make sure of that every time I attend an event and share experiences with partners and colleagues.
For this reason, I truly believe that every pharma and life sciences company that has switched to omnichannel should spread the word about it and help move the industries forward.