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Pharma marketing

A beginners guide to pharma omnichannel marketing


The American Pharmaceutical industry is moving towards a definite digital shift. Thus, forcing marketers to adapt and innovate. It is here that omnichannel marketing in pharma comes to play. 

Omnichannel marketing is a growing trend in a field that now puts the customer at the center of all action. Therefore, responding to the existing needs in the healthcare industry, where a shift towards a more customer-centric approach is happening. 

Adaptation is key in an era of constant digital transformation. As a result, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to omnichannel marketing for you.

Omnichannel Marketing in Pharma

What is Omnichannel Marketing?

Omnichannel marketing is the integration of different channels and processes through an interconnected communication flow that places the customer at the center of the action. It is, then, imperative you make your message, a unified narrative. 

This marketing approach defends the seamless integration of: 

  • Branding;
  • Messaging; and
  • Online and traditional marketing strategies. 

To better link these together, omnichannel marketing considers the channels used by consumers. From online search engines to websites, the aim is to provide customers with an experience that is both valuable and memorable. 

Omnichannel marketing is a growing trend in the communications field. And it has disseminated to different fields of work. Including:

  • Retail;
  • Finances; and 
  • Automotive. 

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries aren’t an exception to this growing trend. Especially, as the field moves towards a more customer-centric, personalized approach. 

Why change to omnichannel in pharma?

The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have been slower to adapt to the digital shift than other fields. For decades these valued in-person interactions with their customers and stakeholders. Neglecting, then, the new possibilities that arose with the dissemination of the Internet. 

Nonetheless, change was inevitable and alternatives were sought. 

By the mid-2000s, Pharma marketers started to adopt a multichannel marketing (MCM) strategy. This is a process that explores the possibilities of new channels through which to communicate with the customer. These can be:

  • Print advertising;
  • In-store;
  • Website; and
  • Online search engines.

MCM mainly focuses on complementing in-person interactions with digital engagement. Yet, these are made separately. In that way, posing a great obstacle to brand recognition and connection, but mainly to information integration. 

In a 2017 survey made to US oncologists, was shown that 68% of the time, physicians were shown information that they had already consumed. This repetition is problematic. HCPs and patients alike need to be engaged continuously with information that adds value to their experience. And so, omnichannel marketing is presented as a timely alternative. 

Despite the similarities, omnichannel marketing stands out from its efforts of overlapping communication. This approach merges information and processes in one unified flow. And, for that, omnichannel is the way to go. Now. 

US customers and HCPs alike are, in their majority, digital natives. By 2021, already 70% of HCPs were found to have been brought up in an era of digital communication. Adding to this, 39% of U.S. citizens in 2019 were shown to be using the internet to access health records and more. 

Did you know that… Gen Zers make up 25.9% of American society and 40% of US consumers? Read more about the potential of Gen Z in pharma, here

More and more, consumers turn to the Internet as a first resource to learn more about health. So, Pharma marketers must develop an overlapping communication strategy. Thus, bringing brand recognition to the target audience while establishing a presence of credibility and resourcefulness. 

Omnichannel marketing enables the unique opportunity to tackle the gap between brands and customers. By taking the consumer as the strategy’s foundation, it offers a memorable experience. Continuing and innovative engagement, then, adds value, instead of repeating it.

How to put omnichannel into practice?

From overlapping processes to data analysis, omnichannel marketing can be daunting. So, here are a few things that might help you kick start. 

First, define your target audience. You may already know who your customers are. However, it is essential to analyze the data collected over the years. Assess the differences and the similarities. What has changed? What has remained the same?

From there, you can:

  • Understand what your audience’s interests are;
  • What products do customers value the most;
  • What channels do they prefer for information-gathering;
  • What information do they search for the most?; and
  • What are the existent gaps between what their pain points and your offer?

Upon this thorough data analysis, you can better adapt your marketing strategy to your audience. At the same time, you can start to lay out a comprehensive omnichannel marketing plan where you overlap the most valued channels with a unified message.

But before, choose the channels to use and the brand message to convey. This is an important stage in the process, as you want to ensure you are at the right place at the right time. And so, you have to split your field force with digital communication efforts. Therefore, you might want to consider:

  • Webinars;
  • Conferences – both virtual and physical;
  • Email;
  • In-person appointments with HCPs; and
  • Website…

To Keep in mind

You “should…limit…focus to the top two or three cross-channel customer interactions.” – McKinsey July 2020

From this, you move on from selection to defining a brand message. You want to make sure it is present across the different channels. And personalized to the customer’s interests and needs. To do so, you must consider innovative ways in which to present your message. 

Video is a resourceful digital tool. Due to its entertaining and informative value, marketers have started to include it in their digital strategies. Why? A video can be as worthy as 1000 words. Through a welcoming introduction, the audience is compelled to what will be a memorable experience. 

So, think of how you can make your product an augmented offer. It offers functionality but also an emotional connection that will make you stand out from the competition. Thus, ensuring your message and values are imprinted in your audience’s minds.

You have your audience. You have your message. Then, you need to think of how you will present your product and information. And you can do it in various ways:

  • Presentations;
  • Informative brochures; 
  • Video;
  • Text – blogs, articles, …

Want to know how to use video in your omnichannel marketing strategy? Book today your Free Expert Session to learn more about our PubVisuals videos that turn your complex medical data into an easy-to-understand, memorable experience.

The key elements of the omnichannel approach

Omnichannel is about comprehensive integration. Which involves the inclusion of different channels and cross-over information. Such makes the process complex. 

And so, there are a few key fundamentals to keep in mind when putting it into practice:

  • Adopt marketing automation strategies – It is important to attract the right customers at the right time. And so, marketing automation tools such as Hubspot will help you to do so. By optimizing your content for your audience, you increase lead generation. 
  • Choose the right sales, advertising, and marketing channels – These need to work together to provide the customer with a seamless experience. Paid advertising vs organic traffic. Leverage your data and find the right balance that will help you reach fulfillment. 
  • Conversion Optimization – Make sure to find ways in which to turn your leads into customers. That passes not only by the way you present your information and product. Choose the right tools to move your prospects further down the marketing funnel. 
  • Leverage data with Content – Certify that you create your content based on past interactions while being informed on the current stage of the buying journey. 
More on pharma marketing…

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