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From Identity to Margin: Securing Audience Measurement in Pharma Marketing

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive: June 2024
Volume 44
Issue 6

The industry must find a way to balance consumer privacy and a return on investment in pharma marketing.

Ray Kingman

Ray Kingman
CEO and founder

Promoting advances in pharmaceuticals is full of challenges. From recruiting clinical trial participants, to engaging patients with their permission at the point of care, to creating brand lift and awareness, the marketing landscape for pharma presents both logistical and regulatory obstacles when it comes to constructing and executing a successful marketing program.

Identity, and how it is managed, presents special challenges for audience targeting and especially measurement of campaign performance in an evolving identity resolution environment. Across our multi-channel, multi-platform and multi-media landscape the signals that avail us for targeting and measurement are often impeded by the requirement to block or exercise restraint when it comes to sensitive data and patient privacy rights. Building privacy-compliant audiences for pharma campaigns takes special care, but identifying audience engagement that measures campaign outcomes is a responding challenge.

However, consumer privacy and verified return on investment in pharma can, and must, find a way to coexist.

With all the challenges to identity, there are three benchmarks to consider for the effective management of margins in our evolving ID space. It starts with identity and signal transparency.

A basic objective of any campaign should be to know upfront what the unique user reach of a target audience is. This is especially crucial when it comes to pharmaceutical advertising if one of the goals is to manage margin. It is worth taking a second look at your audience and identity process and adopting a holistic view. As the marketplace moves toward universal IDs and cookie-free matching it is common to utilize emails or mobile devices as the basis of the audience match process. There are limits in coverage for both. Additional identifiers derived from postal, IP delivery points, and geographic trade areas can provide an important connection between the anonymized ID and the household for non-medical consumer outreach, or between HCP and trade areas coverage targeting. Creating a deterministic focal point for unique user reach improves the measurement and attribution process, benefiting optimization and margins.

Be careful, reach is not as simple as a DSP ID count or the platform’s estimate. Especially in regional or local campaigns, 25% of the audience coverage can accrue 75% of the identifiers. Unique user reach is best determined at the onboarding stage where the transparency to matched audience membership is clear and definitive. In a pharma campaign, this can involve transparency to a profile of the population in the treatment trade area of a physician, or it could include permissioned first-party audiences at a household level. Knowing the makeup and the counts of your target profile and being able to download any submitted and unmatched members of your first-party audiences at a record level brings transparency to match rates and curbs wasted impressions that dilute KPIs.

Knowing who among your matched audience members has been served and who hasn’t as the campaign progresses may be the most valued control for managing margin. When you can have an immediate feedback loop to exactly who has been served, linked to the original target audience, there are immediate benefits, such as avoiding the pitfalls of overserving an individual who just happens to have many IDs. Another benefit is cross-platform transparency with optimization. With near real-time, in-campaign matching of served audience members being reported and compared to the original audience, campaign managers can structure campaigns around the sales funnel–employing multiple tactics and follow-up strategies such as display, mobile device targeting, native, and even linear or connected television–progressing the engaged user through a messaging sequence that leads to a close.

For pharma marketers, carefully evaluating identity services in a controlled environment for matching and sharing data is table stakes, but taking advantage of identity to manage margins makes sense. When marketers have transparency in their identity space, they can look at identity through the full life cycle of a campaign, starting with audience building, employing holistic onboarding, and taking advantage of transparent audience measurement. At a minimum in a digital ecosystem that requires full security of the data and compliance with privacy standards that meet HIPAA guidelines such as SOC2 Type II plus HITRUST, marketers with first-party data and a permissible purpose should have transparency to the audience membership they are charged with securing.

Ray Kingman leads Semcasting in the development and commercialization of its automated targeting and data offerings.

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