Multi-channel marketing effectiveness for pharma


Mar 25 2019

Customer Engagement: Five trends to improve your campaign marketing

In collaboration with pharmaphorum

Most industries are adopting multichannel marketing (MCM), but the pharma sector lags behind compared to other industries. It is often said that the pharmaceutical industry can’t match the kind of advanced multichannel marketing seen in sectors such as the retail and travel industries because of the high level of regulation and how it can limit communication.

While there is some truth in this reality, other highly regulated sectors such as telecoms, insurance, and the consumer drinks industry have still shown that it is possible to use creative approaches in MCM to produce engaging and customer-centric communications.

One other industry with multiple stakeholders is that of financial services, where marketers have applied some simple principles to build engagement – and from which pharma can definitely learn.

#1 Learn from other sectors

The financial services sector which includes retail banking and insurance, holds a lot of information on their customers which range from direct consumers to commercial businesses, but there is still a need to create a framework for ensuring it communicates at the right time on the right subjects with different stakeholders.

The solution is in understanding the customer journeys through demographic, professional or business milestone events, whether it is for consumers buying a new car, moving to a new house or retirement, or for businesses at changing stages of growth e.g. a new start-up, an expanding portfolio or entering new markets.

The same applies for pharma marketing in terms of engaging with professionals and experts supporting customers and patients for over-the-counter medicines, or for targeting healthcare professionals based on their area of specialism or experience for new prescription drug launches.

Once this narrative is understood, creating a detailed messaging map becomes much easier and a tailored relevant approach can be devised and executed.

Check out this leading European retail bank that centralized its technology and teams for press, poster and direct mail across 52 business units and brands

#2 Diversify channels

MCM isn’t just digital channels – the right mix of digital and traditional channels is needed and depends on your different audiences’ needs. Audience needs are constantly changing, and pharma must stay in touch with which channels are in favor and adapt its communications strategy accordingly.

Know what your customers want from you

A survey by Across Health in 2016 showed that three of the top ten channels in terms of impact with healthcare professionals were being used on average just 14% of the time by pharmaceutical companies (Patient adherence tools, e-MSL’s and Virtual eDetailing).

Check out this multinational financial institution that centralized production and reduced individual job costs by 40%.

#3 Targeting your social media campaigns

Social media is of course now a well-established channel for companies to communicate directly with different customer groups. Once again, the pharma industry has a number of restrictions on what it can communicate and to whom (especially outside the US), but this isn’t holding back some companies from maximising its potential.

For consumer marketing:

For healthcare professional marketing:

HCPs are using digital platforms to engage with the content they want with the rise in platforms such as, Epocrates and Sermo. HCPs are using these mediums as a new way of digesting medical information, interactively via tutorials and webinars. Mainstream social channels such as Twitter’s Periscope or Skype are also being used in day-to-day working, for conducting meetings with colleagues or even for providing patient advice.

As the traditional access to HCPs continues to increase in difficulty, perhaps a mix of online and face-to-face conversations will enable pharma reps to be more efficient. Multiple different stakeholders are available through each channel – and understanding which can be reached and targeting the messaging accordingly is essential. Pharma is now slowly progressing beyond simply broadcasting to actually engaging with their customers via social media.

#4 Data driven MCM strategies

The next step is ensuring that your MCM strategy is data driven – without this you will be shooting in the dark. When you follow the above steps of making MCM more personal and specific, be sure to carefully select a few key metrics which will allow you to monitor your success in real time. This allows you to tweak and optimize your marketing in response to signals from your customers.

Remember to be truly ‘channel agnostic’ and finally measure the impact of your campaigns via these analytics, allowing you to move on to the next phase with a solid evidence base.

#5 Measure effectiveness

How effectively are healthcare companies using MCM approaches? The answer is that measuring HCP engagement is still problematic. Research by Across Health shows that European pharma marketers still have a long way to go in measuring the impact of their multi-channel communications.

So the message is clear: the high level of regulation in pharma shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to better, more customer-focused campaign marketing.

Build your understanding of customer journeys to provide a foundation for targeted, data-driven communications. Once you have these in place, your messages will resonate with your target audience, and help you build meaningful relationships.

Read more about how Tag works with global brands on their marketing and communications execution.

Sources: McKinsey & Company, North Highland, Across Health, Cutting Edge Information, IQVIA,, Deliotte.

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