A Meaningful Customer-Centric Digital Strategy


Without a clear, customer-centric digital experience at the core of every brand, it is impossible to deliver on the brand promise at scale, write Dr. Pamela Walker and Tom Murdoch.

Data is fast becoming the most valuable commodity known to man. As an infinite resource with evolving applications, the pace at which organizations can acquire, manage the flow of, and leverage data is becoming a crucial factor in the future success of businesses, write Pamela Walker and Tom Murdoch.

Today we see businesses are creating a digital strategy alongside their brand strategy. In essence, these are two tightly interlinked partners, dancing to the same tune, whereby the digital strategy serves as a transition to becoming a core component of corporate strategy in any digital-enabled business. 

With increasing computational power and 83% increase of users connecting1 to the internet in just five years (2.4 billion users in 2014 to 4.4 billion users in 2019), disruption is well underway, harnessing the opportunity for business impact. Pharma is a big sphere seeing that disruption, with a large focus on personalized health ‘care’ that is front and centre. Computational power here is optimizing the way patients adhere to their drug regimens, the diagnostic process, and educational support for those across the patient ecosystem. 

This means, that without a clear, customer-centric digital experience at the core of every brand, it is impossible to deliver on the brand promise at scale; impossible to deliver the customer experience that drives loyalty, uptake, and growth.

The belief has been held in recent years that pharma is behind other sectors on the tech adoption curve. And yet, we are seeing an increase in adoption. Successful pharma organizations are investing heavily in digital, finding that they can both adapt and thrive. 

Digital vision

Success starts with a clear vision, activated through a clear strategy. This vision must be easily brought to life, capture the essence of the brand and be executed through a strategy that makes the most of this critical channel. Alignment of stakeholders around this is key. Such an approach is the foundation of any digital-enabled business that will put them out of reach for those using traditional models. 

As we transition to a seamless model whereby digital is understood as core to brand success, leaders must think differently about how digital can enable teams and empower their brands. To achieve the successful integration of brand and digital they need to recognize two key components:

1. Continuous investments will result in a multiplier ROI (not project-based investment).

2. Near real-time reporting of company-wide metrics that provide a transparent and cohesive understanding of how the investment successfully benefits all levels, motivates teams to progress.

Once teams are aligned, it is important to reinforce that a digital strategy threads through the business, driving an integrated technology landscape. With this in place, you can begin to breathe life into the organization-wide data spine that will, in turn, offer an increasingly clever reservoir of data. Only with this can you then derive useful insights that drive an optimized customer experience.

A strong digital ecosystem should be able to grow, adapt, and always provide the ability to control at any scale in existing and new markets. As new technologies are considered they will be selected for their interoperability and only as a modular component in the wider digital ecosystem. This will future-proof your business and organically bring together all your data sources.


To drive a meaningful digital strategy and offer more valuable customer experiences, a deep understanding of your target audiences and their ecosystem is a must. This can be compared with your operational model and internal capabilities. It must also be seamlessly linked to the role of your brands in encapsulating the DNA of your organization, its point of view, purpose, promise and values. Data from within your business will give you 50% of the story and drive focus and rigor. The other 50% still requires a human touch: qualitative data from surveys, interviews, user testing and observations are just as critical. 

Keeping human insight at the core, helps you to keep the brand promise. How your business responds and performs at every interaction with your customer, offline and online, must also reflect this insight. Indeed, collating such meaningful insight is a continuous process. The strongest strategies take an interactive approach, adapting to customer feedback, particularly in relation to technological needs and communication gaps. From here, you can develop an engagement platform based on audiences and insights that you know will resonate with each of your target audiences.


Beyond forming the core of your brand and associated strategy, this insight can then be translated into effective activation - personalizing your customer’s journey. This could be in the form of medical education needs, support needs, and channel preferences. A constant feedback loop nurtures and then optimises how and what you are communicating to the customer.

In pharma, it is often not possible to own a direct relationship with your end consumer. That said, you can significantly contribute to the success of treatment with proprietary information. Tailored and supportive communications can more effectively work to connect HCPs with your brand (both product and corporate).  Building this positive connection is vital to meet and exceed growing consumer expectations. 

To activate your digital approach externally, internal alignment is needed to ensure everyone in your organization is pushing in the direction of your overarching strategy. It requires a carefully considered internal comms strategy including training and feedback. An internal plan must align around the following model:

While every environment presents its unique challenges, there are three key principles to consider:

●      People learning over process reporting

●      Engaging experience systems over extensive documentation

●      Insight-driven initiatives over large change programs.

A clearly defined central purpose and vision ensures every member of your organization can engage. A strong vision anchors your message at each customer touchpoint with your brand. Ultimately, you want customers to see your brand and believe that you are keeping the promise you are making. And to control and deploy your brands at scale and across borders - digital is the key.


Dr. Pamela Walker is Global Head of Health at Kin + Carta Advisory. Tom Murdoch is Head of Strategy at Kin + Carta AmazeRealise.


1. www.microfocus.com/en-us/home

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