It may seem strange to write about something other than digital in an E-Source column, but hear us out. Digital is converging with other media at an unprecedented pace.
As people—whether doctors, patients, or caregivers—we’re online in the car, on the train, at the doctor’s office, watching the evening news, and interacting across multiple communications channels. Simply put, we’re more than “digital.” That’s where multichannel marketing (MCM) comes into play.
MCM is maligned in our industry because it’s misunderstood. Multichannel marketing is not, as often thought, the mere cobbling together of disparate communication channels. True MCM is based on a much more integrated and strategic foundation, however, to hold onto antiquated ideas of MCM is to miss out on the action—especially considering the momentum gathering around social media.
Insights gained through social listen- ing must be integrated into any successful marketing strategy. The influence of social media (good or bad), can often produce land mines in the field of the brand story and should not be overlooked. Other indus- tries aren’t shackled with as many restrictions and land mines as we have in pharma. Therefore, an integrated pharma MCM strategy needs to be even more thoughtful. It must address the needs of HCPs, patients, caregivers and payers as well as customer support initiatives, communication programs, acquisition/branding and unbranded MCM—just to name a few. So, why should we spend our precious time dwelling on the perfect blend of MCM?
7 Key Benefits of Pro[er Multichannel Marketing
1. Customer information and insights derived from such an effort help maximize brand strategy and segmentation while allowing for reinforcement of brand messages.
2. A well-devised MCM strategy can help you recognize key appropriate customers across multiple channels, allowing for future channel development.
3. Channel integration and touch-point strategy can deliver a differentiated customer experience. Cadence and frequency are important to story flow.
4. Channel innovation—using best practices and the best technologies provides a seamless delivery of the desired customer experience across all channels.
5. Digital can be woven throughout MCM so it does not act in a silo but forms the connective tissue of the campaign that’s always on and available 24/7.
6. Coordinated channel execution sup- ports the design, delivery, monitoring, and measurement of solutions for customers— ensuring better ROI.
7. Keeping the best customers engaged exclusively with your brand will support a measurable ROI.
Integrating Digital into MCM
Great MCM strategies extend the sales representative conversation and brand engagement both online and off. MCM amplifies the conversation between HCPs and patients, and the brand or franchise— but only when it appears seamless and supportive. Integration of digital as a best practice of MCM can sometimes be as easy as focusing on a specific goal/result exercise that each brand should conduct (and if you haven’t already…you should). Here’s one example:
Goal:Integrate social into marketing and direct channels with a consistent marketing story/CRM “Experience”
• Take advantage of the social space as the “game changer”
• Add appropriate social network pages and applications
• Integrate digital assets and messages
• Gain social data and insights for research and ultimately, enhanced customer relationships
• Score advocates and ask them to share with friends
• Redesign your communications—based on your customers’ feedback
Result: Influence consumers’ view of the brand in a consistent and positive manner
• Influences content they generate about the brand
• Generates social and viral marketing about things they care about (e.g., co-pay cards, support programs, etc.)
• Drives acquisition, retention and loyalty
But even as we stress the importance of digital as an integrated versus incremental channel in the mix, we also need to point out that it’s about relationships, not technology. This is the reality that marketers have the most trouble accepting. Relationships are the focus and plat- forms are the means to create a story that customers can identify with when and where they want to integrate into that journey. Remember, in today’s market, we may launch our brands, but our customers really shape and own them.
THE LAST WORD
A well-integrated MCM program with segmented and differentiated offerings across multiple channels can provide a lift in new prescriptions and has proven to do so for many brands. True MCM weaves digital throughout. In your next brand planning/strategy session ask yourself, “Am I doing true MCM with integrated goals and results, or am I traveling down an antiquated path?”
Your brand’s future depends on your answer.