Marketing to Professionals: E-Detailing as CRM

Integrated e-detailing provides a new platform for marketers.
Nov 01, 2004

Dave Ormesher
Physicians now spend more time online researching medical topics than they do with sales reps, according to Harris Interactive/Boston Consulting Group. To meet this demand, pharma marketers have increased their online marketing spend to an average 9 percent of their total professional marketing budget (Jupiter Research, 2004). Yet many who use e-detailing as a standalone, broadcast-style marketing tactic report mixed results. What is the disconnect?

Mark Gleason
Closerlook's in-market studies reveal that a brand's strategic marketing plan yields maximum results when it integrates e-detailing with other sales and marketing activities. The integration creates links among the brand, the sales force, and physicians that, combined with current internet technology, give e-detailing the potential to become a platform for creating and managing physician relationships.

A technologically sophisticated e-detailing program gives marketers the ability to track the success of various nonpersonal marketing channels and to collect information that would help marketers get to know their different customer segments. And integrated marketing is all about delivering personalized messaging based on customer segmentation, thereby increasing the productivity and performance of the entire marketing budget.

This article illustrates how companies can use integrated e-detailing as an ongoing physician relationship-management tool.

Exponential ROI
Building Blocks At the foundation of any successful integrated e-detailing program is a clean, up-to-date database of target physicians. It's worth the investment in "scrubbing," enhancing, and maintaining a proprietary database that will allow marketers to create targeted messages (segmented according to channel preference, specialty, and promotional response) and to deliver them at optimal frequency. A proprietary database also can be leveraged across other key initiatives, including recruitment to e-CME and peer-to-peer events, local symposia, and medical education programs.

The program and database development costs can be amortized over the life of a fixed-fee integrated e-detailing program. The fixed-cost nature of the contract means that with every completed e-detail, the effective cost per detail decreases, leading to incremental profits and superior return on investment (ROI). (See "Exponential ROI,")

Did You Know
But it takes more than database strategy to make a successful integrated e-detailing program. It is important to strive for a creative, easy-to-use, and interactive online experience to engage the target physicians. Make the interaction interesting and fun to ensure a positive brand impression and increase the likelihood that the physician will remember the messages when it's time to write a script.

E-Detailing as CRM Integrated e-detailing can be an effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool as well. Physicians provide unique insights into their preferences—including their prescribing practices, concerns about efficacy or side effects, and attitudes about the therapeutic category—every time they complete an e-detail. Such intelligence can be used to develop subsequent e-details and other targeted communications.

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