Brands are everywhere these days. With so many consumer product brands already knee-deep in the multi-channel marketing game, it was only a matter of time until pharma marketing caught up with this trend.
In fact, what differentiates pharma marketing from the rest is actually what makes it more likely to succeed in multi-channel marketing. Pharmaceuticals are not ordinary consumer goods; they are complex products that customers need more information about.
This complexity, combined with consumers’ hunger for information, makes pharmaceutical brands prime candidates for multi-channel marketing.
The Benefits of Multi-channel Marketing
The primary benefit of multi-channel marketing is the ability to reach consumers across several complementary platforms, but there are other advantages you may not be aware of:
More Effective Messaging: In today’s media-saturated world, it’s nearly impossible to convince consumers to make a purchasing decision through just one media channel. But if marketers pull a message across multiple media channels, that message can build a more complex brand story that will reach consumers multiple times, which is more likely to resonate.
An Interactive Sales Funnel: Spreading a message across multiple channels allows marketers to funnel targets through a specified developmental plan, letting marketers cater to customers’ different decision-making needs over time. This same funnel can also be used to qualify and categorize leads, helping marketers determine not only how much they should be investing on different targets, but also when and where they should invest.
Enhanced Metrics: The digital aspect of multi-channel marketing provides marketers with tons of metrics to help measure the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. These metrics can help marketers decide which strategies need to be changed on the fly, which can significantly reduce marketing costs and provide valuable consumer insights.
Reduction of Costs: Multi-channel marketing allows a brand to amortize the high cost of content creation across many channels.
The Secret Weapon to Future Pharma Marketing
Although lower costs and more effective messaging should be enough to convince pharma marketers to give multi-channel marketing a try, the real magic lies in the potential for patient advocacy.
Consider how much effort pharma has put into developing healthcare provider advocates. Now, consider whether you could turn consumers into brand advocates that other consumers trust wholeheartedly—with no added effort on the marketers’ part. That’s the secret weapon of multi-channel marketing. By using social media and other digital channels, multi-channel marketers have the ability to multiply one patient’s experience to create thousands—if not millions—of impressions over time.
The Other Side: Challenges to Multi-channel Marketing
Despite the enormous potential benefits of consumer advocates, pharma companies should be aware that engaging these consumers can be a double-edged sword. Whether marketers like it or not, patients are consumers, and consumers like to talk about their experiences—positive or negative. One vocal patient has the ability to make his/her experience with a pharmaceutical brand go viral, and once the conversation gets going, that messaging is no longer within marketers’ control.
Nevertheless, two-way communication between pharmaceutical brands and customers can serve as a remedy to any negative patient experiences. A well-informed customer is usually a happy customer, and if pharmaceutical brands can arm consumers with accurate healthcare and prescription information, this will ensure more positive customer experiences.
Multi-channel marketing gives pharma marketers the opportunity to create multiple touch points with customers—something that has become increasingly important as patients, pharmacists, healthcare providers and even caregivers now fill the pharmaceutical customer landscape. If done correctly, multi-channel marketing has the ability to change the pharmaceutical company-customer relationship forever, providing two-way communication, helpful customer insights and much more.