​Pharma still underperforming in multi-channel marketing

In an ideal world, marketers would be able to craft compelling advertisements that follow their target audience around all day. Consumers would see a promotional message in their Inbox, on websites they visit, in postcards they receive and more. With access to the right data, marketers are able to achieve this multi-channel approach. However, the life sciences industry has been hesitant to adopt this strategy and even slower to implement it to the point of success, reported PM360.

Customer data can be kept in many different places.Customer data can be kept in many different places.

Industry challenges
One of the main reasons why the pharmaceuticals space is so slow to adopt a multi-channel approach is the disconnect between all of the different data centers, noted the source. Customer information on a medical purchase might be kept in a company's customer relationship management system, while their other details from an email marketing campaign are housed in a different database. This is a common obstacle that marketers from various industries face when attempting to compile necessary information to craft targeted, multi-channel campaigns. It's even more of an issue for pharmaceutical marketers, who are constantly pulling customer information from in-person meetings with sales reps, as well as digital and other campaigns that are spear-headed by a third party.

Responsive design is another challenge for pharmaceutical marketers. The ability for an email template or website to properly render on any device is increasingly important as more and more emphasis is placed on mobile channels. However, it takes a certain skill set to master digital marketing - and as an industry that may receive criticism for putting more money into promotional strategies than product research, pharmaceutical marketing is in a tough spot. Without the help of a healthcare marketing agency that knows all of the best practices, effective multi-channel marketing may be difficult for companies to achieve on their own.

"Customers trust a brand that they see repeatedly."

Importance of the multi-channel approach
When you consider all of the mediums through which you receive ads on a daily basis, it's understandable why it's so difficult for marketers to streamline messages. However, it's also easy to see how beneficial it can be for a company that is able to master the multi-channel approach. When a consumer repeatedly sees the same brand, it becomes more familiar to him or her. As a result, credibility is built, and the brand earns trust, whether the consumer is aware of it or not. Analytics software company SAS reported that customers who receive multi-channel marketing end up spending an estimated three to four times more than those who just receive one type. 

SAS recommended developing a strategy that first gives a single view of the customer. Invest time and money into compiling all of your customer information in one central spot - preferably on the cloud for easy access to reports that can be pulled in real time. From there, identify all of the channels that you'd like to cover in your strategy. Be sure to include in-person consultations, email, phone, social, website, brochures and other channels in your plan.

The source also suggested seeing all channels as one. Create an effective user experience throughout all channels so your customer has an overall positive view of your brand. Sales reps should be friendly and persistent and follow up with each in-person visit. Marketers who manage the email inbox should respond to inquiries and customer feedback in a timely, positive manner, and social media marketing should also have a personalized touch. Customers appreciate when brands make it a point to leave no question or comment unanswered.