The Need for Multi-Channel Marketing
Before we begin talking about pharmaceutical marketing, let’s think about how we make buying decisions today. Let’s assume you’ve decided to buy a new car - pick anyone that comes to mind and assume that’s one of the options you’re eyeing. You probably first saw it in an online ad, or in a newspaper, or on TV when it was launched. The first thing you’d probably do is look it up on Google and, based on the results that show up, go through the brand’s website, automobile forums, videos by independent reviewers and publications. Perhaps you’ll even find the brand’s Facebook and Instagram page. You may also lookout for a car comparison review on TV - especially if you have a smart TV that allows you to pick and choose episodes - and see how it fares against competitors, then go back online and review those competitors, their websites and reviews, etc.
While the buying cycle for a car is relatively long compared to, say, OTC products, it definitely isn’t unique.
You probably now get where we’re going with this.
Multi-channel marketing is intrinsic to any marketing strategy today, because consumers are the ones that drive interactions, and they will never make decisions based only upon one ad or one website. It’s never a linear journey, and rarely a short one.
What does multichannel marketing for pharma entail?
It basically involves reaching out to doctors and healthcare practitioners in a number of ways, across different platforms and mediums. These could include your e-detailing platform, website, video channel, social media and even your customer emails. It’s the same if you’re marketing to end consumers, however, for both audiences, this will not work simply by being present everywhere. It requires a conscious effort to have cohesiveness in messaging, visuals and brand experiences across every touchpoint.
To help you understand why you really can’t do without it today, here are 5 benefits of multichannel marketing for pharmaceutical companies:
- Gets doctors and consumers to take notice:
Neither doctors nor consumers have time to spare - neither of them wants to listen to promotional content or pitches about your products. What they will do, however, is look up information when they need it, and stop and spare time for information that looks interesting to them at that moment. Multichannel marketing puts your brand in front of them in ways and at moments where they will be ready to listen. Think video on social websites, whitepapers on e-detailing platforms, and brand information on your landing page - each platform/medium has a purpose in its role.
- Increases brand recall:
The whole idea behind multichannel marketing is to create multiple touchpoints with your audience - a combination of small and large brand activations that subtly yet persistently position your brand in front of doctors and consumers. Using the right mix of paid media, owned media and earned media, the sheer reach and frequency of reach increase your brand recall exponentially among your target audience.
- Increases brand engagement and conversions:
Using digital mediums allows you to pinpoint your exact audience, identify the different segments of that audience, and target them separately. For example, rather than having one audience of cardiologists, digital allows you to target cardiologists in a particular city or neighborhood. With consumers, you don’t need to simply target by age or gender - you can again target by location, or family status, or income. Once you’ve identified these segments you want to target, it’s important to create different messaging for each segment (right from your digital ads to your brand experience), so you can establish a deeper bond with that audience on every channel you use. This will increase the multichannel engagement for your pharma brand and you’ll thus see significant improvement in engagement and conversion metrics both online and offline.
- Greater returns on marketing investment:
With the kind of detailed segmentation and targeting mentioned in the earlier point, comes a great amount of data. You’ll know exactly who is engaging with your brand where and at what time, and who is converting more easily. This allows you to shift your focus to the right audiences at the right time, saving you significant time and money.
- Invaluable customer / consumer data:
One of the biggest benefits of multichannel pharma marketing is the invaluable data you collect on your audiences, whether doctors or consumers. With the right segmentation and analytics, you now know where your customers and/or consumers are interested in interacting with your brand, what their buying cycle or buying triggers are, or even what their pain points are, and can use it to guide the strategy for your next campaigns and even your product development.
What You Need to Know Before You
Prepare Your Multichannel Strategy
What are your audience segments?
Which platforms do they frequent?
What are your content generation capabilities? (Consistency is key!)
What will your budget be?
Do you have the analytical tools & capabilities to measure progress?
What to watch out for when implementing
multichannel marketing for pharma:
Cohesiveness across platforms and mediums:
Staying true to your brand!
Don’t get comfortable:
The way people interact with you online will constantly change, and you can’t predict behaviour without constantly analysing interactions.
Balance is key to effective content:
Strike a balance between informational content and interesting content to keep engagement up.
Experiment, then scale: Have your media plan in place, but don’t get started on it with your entire budget - begin with a small portion to run experiments and see what’s working, then scale what’s working.
Work hard to keep creating content that your audience is currently interested in - the strategy will only work while you put something fresh in front of users
Don’t forget to plan your strategy well and execute it thoroughly - setting a frequency, identifying target parameters, consistent analysis for each platform and each target segment is essential to success. You don’t want to look at short-term success metrics, but long-term growth!
If you have any questions about multichannel marketing for pharma or would like to implement it for your brand, feel free to reach out to us below!