We live in a world where customers have the ability to engage with our brand, anytime and anywhere. In the world of pharma, where our audiences include patients, caregivers and doctors seeking information on potential lifesaving treatments — or making a decision on a treatment that will last a lifetime — it has never been so critical to move from a multichannel to an omnichannel marketing strategy.
While omnichannel marketing is not a new concept, pharma marketers still have work to do, said AbbVie’s Dan Gandor, speaking at the recent Digital Pharma East (DPE) 2019 conference.
If you haven’t thought about the difference between multichannel marketing and omnichannel marketing lately, here’s a short refresher:
Multichannel marketing is just what it sounds like, marketing in multiple channels, very often in silos. Multichannel strategies focus on mimicking you audience’s behavior to serve up messaging at the right place at the right time across a linear engagement journey.
Omnichannel marketing, while utilizing the same variety of channels as multichannel, puts your audience at the center of your brand’s ecosystem and supports them at every touchpoint and interaction, leveraging a journey based on micro-moments. An omnichannel strategy ensures that no matter which channel the consumer chooses, the message will be seamless and the interactions effortless; in our high-demand, low-attention-span world, this is key.
So how can you get started?
Step 1: Get Aligned
The first step in moving from a multichannel to an omnichannel strategy is aligning your communication goals and objectives across all your channels and defining how each channel should support the needs of your target audience. It is important at this stage to not only understand the role of each channel but understand how these channels best support your audience at each interaction or stage of their journey.
Step 2: Create Micro-Moments
Once you have aligned your communication goals and objectives, and know your audience by leveraging data science and how they engage with your brand, it’s time to dig deeper into understanding them — to go beyond traditional customer journeys, personas, and audience research by creating micro-moment journeys. Micro-moments are the critical touchpoints that drive online behavior: “I want to know,” “I want to go,” “I want to do,” and “I want to buy.” In a world where 81% of Americans adults own smart phones, you need to be there when they are looking for information to ensure you’re meeting them and messaging to them at each digital touchpoint in their journey. In pharma, these micro-moments might look more like: “What condition do I have?” “Where can I find a doctor?” “What should I ask my doctor?” and “How do I take/save on my meds?”
Step 3: Get Strategic
Now that you have set up your goals and have a much deeper understanding of your audience’s needs, it’s time to create a plan. A well-formed strategic plan must include a full list of your channels and what improvements might be needed to support your audience at every step in their journey. It’s very likely you will discover gaps in your content, usability issues, misaligned messaging, and disjointed creative. Your plan will need to include how you will approach optimizing each channel to support your omni-channel strategy and the need to add or remove channels now that you have a more informed view of your audience’s needs.
Step 4: Create a Cohesive Measurement Plan
No omnichannel strategy would be complete without a measurement plan. One of the biggest disadvantages of multichannel marketing is that each channel generates its own analytics, which means you don’t automatically get a holistic view of your channels’ integrated performance. A cohesive measurement plan will allow you to best measure and understand your ROI for your brand by assigning both primary and secondary KPIs to each of your micro-moments along with each stage of your audience’s journey.
While moving to omnichannel might seem like a tremendous undertaking, your return on investment and the benefits your audience will gain will give you an edge over your competition and allow you to be the kind of brand your audience enjoys engaging with. If you’d like to learn more about making an omnichannel approach work for you, reach out to your account team.
Liz Corbin is an associate director of strategic planning at Intouch Solutions.