April 27, 2021

Now Is the Time to Build a Modern HLS Marketing Strategy That Works

Man with laptops on table

For over 20 years, Intouch B2D has been helping clients develop omnichannel strategies that work within pharma to navigate the complexities of marketing automation, elevate the competencies of marketing teams, and support digital campaign execution.

However, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw an unprecedented drive to accelerate the transformation already in progress for healthcare and life sciences (HLS) organizations. Gartner called for CIOs to adopt a “digital first” mindset in their January 2020 HLS innovation primer, predicting a customer-driven disruption that would require timely investments in technology and digital strategy. For example, limited face-to-face access has redefined the pharma-HCP relationship, with companies rapidly digitizing their sales and marketing activities.

Organizations today face unprecedented demands to deliver and scale omnichannel marketing capabilities at the enterprise level, as customers expect increasingly relevant and valuable experiences at every touchpoint. We have been on the precipice of a transformation regarding how HLS marketers approach personalized customer engagement. The pandemic simply made us face reality a little sooner: the time is now to build a marketing strategy that works.

At Intouch B2D, we have been at the forefront of helping clients transform, and our unique experience has led us to conclude the following.

Personalization at scale is a must

Today’s HLS customers, like all of us, are being trained by leading tech platforms to expect highly relevant and frictionless experiences, ranging from Netflix serving up recommendations for their next favorite show to Airbnb algorithmically curating vacation home search results based on past booking behaviors.

Man and woman talk across a table with laptops

Those same expectations now apply for interactions with every brand, including those in HLS. As Salesforce reported in 2020, 85% of business buyers believe the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and 74% now anticipate all company representatives will have the same information about them. Modern consumers expect to be recognized across channels and devices, receive personalized recommendations, and have their preferences remembered.

To stay competitive, your marketing strategy must include personalization at scale. Your marketing platform must be able to leverage rich first- and third-party data, allowing you to gain insights into individual behavior and deliver experiences that will satisfy modern customer expectations.

Modernize your systems to work smarter

Achieving personalization at scale doesn’t necessarily require starting from scratch with a shiny new tech stack. Your existing customer data is an enormous asset, and the technology you’ve invested in should be put to work to its fullest potential.

Smiling woman on chair looks at laptop

In our work with HLS clients, we often find that optimizing existing technology and data pipelines can unlock enormous potential to deliver personalized experiences at scale. For example, while completing an in-depth audit at Teva, our technologists were able to recommend updates to their existing Salesforce Marketing Cloud instance, Google Analytics, data schema, and data integrations. These best practices facilitated a 360-degree view of the customer and the kind of cross-channel journey management their multichannel marketing group needed to execute on their ambitious strategy.

Personalization is ultimately about leveraging the right data in the right places, versus one specific technology solution. Before you invest in new technology, make sure you’ve optimized your current platforms.

Beware of one-size-fits-all “solutions”

This is not the time for an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all system that neither fits nor understands your organization’s needs. Many platforms make lofty promises about personalization and customer experiences, but for HLS marketers, what’s actually needed is a specialized approach to effectively activate marketing reach at scale.

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A well-designed marketing ecosystem will leverage disparate data sources from across a complex organization while ensuring privacy and compliance at every step. This takes specific expertise and often customized experiences across platforms.

Out-of-the-box solutions that were not designed specifically for HLS or pharmaceutical organizations will not enable you to execute on a modern marketing strategy. Rather, look for specialists experienced in designing solutions that take your current systems, business requirements, and performance goals into account.

Harness the art and science of engagement

Personalized HLS marketing at scale is no easy feat, but it is attainable — and quickly becoming table stakes. The right approach will connect you to new customers with personalized content and experiences while nurturing and strengthening your existing relationships. To build and execute on a marketing strategy that works, we believe in balancing industry expertise with advanced technology; what we at Intouch B2D call the art and science of engagement.

For us, the art of expertise means obsessively learning to understand the diverse population across patients, caregivers, HCPs, payers and IT managers, and how they connect with HLS and pharma marketers. The science isn’t simply throwing technology at a problem — it’s designing advanced solutions that actually support efficient workflows while reducing operational barriers to program delivery.

This balance is accomplished through collaboration with our clients, guiding and supporting their business strategy with an adaptive execution approach. Developing and implementing marketing strategies is our focus, and helping clients solve problems for today and beyond is what excites us.

If you’re ready to level up your marketing capabilities and achieve personalization at scale, we’d love to help. Get in touch to learn more about harnessing the art and science of engagement for your brand.

Mike Strassberg is senior vice president of sales and marketing at Intouch B2D.