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Growing pains of overwhelming, uncoordinated channel use and promotional waste are forcing marketers to explore omnichannel marketing to enable simultaneous orchestration across channels and multiple stakeholders.
In today’s rapidly evolving industry environment, pharmaceutical marketers are challenged more than ever to reach and engage their customers. With the growing number of uncoordinated communication channels, the constantly changing behavioral influences on consumers, healthcare professionals, and payers, and spiraling promotional costs, marketers are asking themselves how to best achieve commercial success.
In response to these challenges, there is a lot of buzz around omnichannel marketing as a potentially more powerful approach to orchestrating and optimizing all the marketing efforts across all channels and multiple stakeholders. Omnichannel marketing is emerging as the way forward by enhancing engagement across personal, non-personal, and media challenges to meet the integrated needs of providers, patients, and payers.
However, adopting an omnichannel approach is not a quick fix. It requires a fundamental shift in how marketers simultaneously orchestrate and execute their promotional strategies and address the integrated needs of multiple stakeholders. Omnichannel marketing requires a breakdown of internal organizational siloes.
Pharma marketers are experiencing several pain points when planning and executing their marketing efforts:
In response to many of these challenges, multichannel marketing has been evolving as a solution, but with limited success. Multichannel marketing is the ability to use multiple channels for engagement in parallel, yet still isolated from each other.
The pharmaceutical industry was first built on personal interactions between the field force and the healthcare professional. Over the past 20 years, despite the evolution and availability of new communication channels (email, digital, social, etc.), many companies have been slow to change their approach to customer engagement strategy, and instead focused mainly on their field force as the priority. In many cases, this disconnect has resulted in the development of commercial strategies in which personal and non-personal engagement, or multichannel marketing, are viewed as distinct focus areas. Adding to the complexity is the implementation of strategies focused on other customer stakeholders, such as patients and payers, without incorporating or providing input that connects with traditional healthcare provider strategies.
Ultimately, during the past two decades, multichannel marketing has been based on siloed activations in separate channels with limited, if any, coordination or intersection across stakeholders.
An integrated strategy based on omnichannel marketing is now increasingly replacing multichannel marketing. Instead of the fragmented and siloed multichannel approach, omnichannel marketing employs the simultaneous orchestration of channels across personal, non-personal, and media, and addresses the integrated needs of multiple stakeholders–consumers/patients, healthcare professionals, and payers.
Bringing the channels and stakeholders together in a truly integrated manner is the pivotal shift required to break through today’s noisy and crowded pharmaceutical marketplace.
There are several elements required to develop and execute omnichannel marketing that enable agility and speed of execution, and elevate the ability to connect and optimize communication across channels and audiences:
Omnichannel marketing has the potential to improve the pharmaceutical customer experience by increasingly influencing the number and adherence of patients on therapy through integrated promotional efforts that engage them in their own healthcare journey. This promotional approach also will enhance the pharma organization’s experience by enabling it to optimize spend as it efficiently navigates all relevant channels and stakeholders.
This will generate tremendous benefits for companies and their customers. However, the move forward is unlikely to be without hurdles.
Historically, the pharmaceutical industry has been slow to adopt omnichannel marketing, and implementing a fully integrated promotional strategy across channels and stakeholder audiences may challenge siloed, organizational structures and meet resistance. To be ready, a culture of optimization needs to be established and gradually phased in (crawl, walk, run), to enable the organization to advance beyond the pilot and recognize the greatest results.
Pete Stark, Vice President & General Manager, Omnichannel Marketing, IQVIA