Our expectations of an engaging and fulfilling digital experience continue to rise based on the totality of our experiences online. Our industry needs to keep pace if we want to continue to demonstrate returns via the digital channel. We need to focus on the customer experience and reframe our digital approaches through that lens.

To that end, here are some new digital healthcare marketing fundamentals that we need to keep in mind when optimizing an existing campaign or developing a new one. These five fundamentals focus on how best-in-class experiences can drive business results.

 1. Make It Personal

A few years ago, sites that started providing highly personalized experiences (think Expedia) may have been viewed as crossing privacy boundaries. Today, personalization has become a customer’s expectation of a quality web experience, resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates. But, you are not running an e-commerce site or a global travel hub. So, what should personalization look like in pharma? Ask yourself:

• What specific content is required to meet the needs of your different audiences?

• Are you addressing their needs based on where they are in their journey, whether that be a patient’s symptom-to-treatment pathway or an HCP’s product discovery and adoption?

• Are you considering their financial coverage and access to care (geography and plan specific)?

• If you are addressing a specific audience or multiple audiences within the same web platform, is the content organized in a way that allows people to find information that is most relevant to them and with minimal clicks?

One of your most important personalization tools is digital media. A well-planned digital media campaign enables marketers to apply laser focus to specific customer needs. Using digital channels you can quickly and efficiently discover insights into your audience that used to take weeks with expensive focus groups. Ensure that you act on this knowledge with a personalized payoff when you drive them to your site with landing pages or deep linking them to relevant content. Data capture with cookies can ensure an ongoing personalized experience with subsequent digital media ad units and repeat visits to your site that can ultimately drive business results.

2. What Is Your “Buy Now”?

If pharma was only as simple as e-commerce, digital experiences would culminate in encouraging someone to buy said pharma widget with a big “Buy Now” call to action. This is just not a reality in pharma. But perhaps it could be as simple and focused. In your efforts to drive behavior change via the digital channel, ask yourself: What is the desired outcome for someone visiting your web property? Be audience specific and business outcomes obsessed.

Prominence and placement are the keys to what might unlock the motivation for someone to click your “Buy Now.” Language is also important—so important that companies such as Amazon go through rounds of multi-variable testing to continually tweak the language around their shopping cart functionality.

Why not run your own A/B testing on the copy and visuals around your critical “Buy Now” call to actions? This requires some additional content to be approved by your MLR team, but it is clear that this data-driven approach will lead to higher conversion rates and does not have to be as burdensome if it is built into the project at the beginning.

 3. Read vs. Experience

Just as multi-channel marketing offers the opportunity to engage customers via the channels most relevant to them, multi-channel digital offers engagement via the digital medium that is most relevant.

Have you checked out CNN.com recently? It is an over the top bombardment of multi-channel digital that includes video, animations, text and infographics. While some types of information may be better suited to one medium over the other, offering flexibility in more than one medium will capture the attention of a larger percentage of your audience and still allow you to capture their interactions in the same CRM.

Think about the case of clinical data presentations for HCPs. Let’s face it—data is the main driver of HCP traffic and engagement to your branded destination. Does your digital data presentation look like small graphical excerpts from your product monograph? If yes, why not consider this alternative: Visualize your data with animations, interactions and peer-led video commentary in a way that is more engaging for your customer. Give them the opportunity to obtain the data (reprint format, downloadable slides and animation files), or share it with their colleagues.

Experience is the key here. The rise of YouTube has taught us that people want to experience more and read less. What experiences can you offer your customers?

4. Design for the Multiscreen Reality

From my teenage daughters who swiftly navigate two devices while doing their homework, to my mother who reviews TV channel selections from her iPad, we all are immersed in a multiscreen world.

From a pharma perspective, we are behind the curve. Good multiscreen experiences within pharma are the exception and not yet the norm. But many in the industry might say…why bother? Two words: Bounce rate. This refers to the percentage of traffic that departs your site after viewing one page.

At Klick Health, we see more than double the average bounce rate on non-mobile optimized sites when a visitor enters using a mobile device. That equals a large missed opportunity and a bad brand experience for many considering that the percentage of people accessing your web properties from mobile is growing monthly. We see an average of around 15% mobile now with some clients seeing up to 40% or 50% depending on the audience.

Consider multiscreen optimization opportunities beyond your web properties. From HCPs who are asking for better content to address the needs of patients at point of care via their iPad, to supporting the needs of patients on the go with mobile apps, or even creating mobile email templates that drive higher engagement—every brand should evaluate where you may get the biggest return to reward your efforts.

While responsive design can be a great solution to address the needs of multiscreen users visiting your web properties, it is not the only solution. In some situations, responsive design can short change high priority calls-to-action or functionality. Be sure to explore options and ask many questions before committing to a solution.

5. Satisfy the WIFM

As pharma is placing an increased emphasis and investment on patient and professional CRM programs, it is important to focus on the WIFM, the “What’s In It For Me?” For example, the classic “Sign Up for Updates” is not a great offer to try and acquire a new customer for future communications. With the exception of the most motivated customer, it simply doesn’t offer enough value.

Instead, take the approach that merchandising the value and benefits of registration is an absolute requirement. Pull back the curtain and show them what they can expect, including showing what they will receive, the tools they will have access to, who they may talk to, and why these experiences or information they receive will be helpful. In our experience this can dramatically increase your customer engagement, registration metrics and successfully move your audience through the conversion funnel.

While there are good examples of these fundamentals in action within our industry, they are inconsistently applied. They need to become the new normal for digital healthcare marketing in order to keep pace with customers’ expectations of an engaging digital experience.

As experienced through the eyes of our customers, the five fundamentals can be summed up in one sentence: “A personalized ‘experience’ that I can view on any device that offers tangible value and motivates me to take action.”

  • Senior vice president of strategy at Klick Health, leading a growing team of talented digital strategists that support healthcare clients coast to coast. Greg is a licensed pharmacist and has over 20 years of healthcare experience, including pharma sales and brand management to executive management within healthcare advertising agencies.


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