OmniChannel Marketing For Life Sciences Industry

<p style="text-align: justify;">Omnichannel marketing is a growing area of interest to the life sciences (pharmaceutical and medical devices) industry seeking innovative ways to engage with Healthcare professionals.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Life Science companies are increasingly defining innovative Omnichannel Marketing strategies supporting the deployment of new Go-to-Market models enabled by Digital and AI technologies.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In this article, I will be touching upon these topics and present some best practices and challenges that life science companies encounter in their omnichannel marketing programs.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Definition of Omnichannel Marketing</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Traditionally, the strategies adopted by the life sciences industry to engage with healthcare professionals were mostly relying on face-to-face interactions, whereby the sales representatives visited the doctors mainly for detailing the product characteristics of medicines or vaccines.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Sales and Medical Representatives also engaged doctors in activities such as conferences and group events, in order to somehow influence thoughts and perspective of healthcare professionals regarding therapeutical areas and solutions for patients.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">That physical promotion model has been disrupted and constrained by the COVID pandemic, which accelerated the application of digital technologies and AI models to reach out to doctors.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Many life science companies are trying to adopt a hybrid go-to-market model which complements the traditional physical visit/event with digital engagement, like Video Remote Detailing, e-mail&rsquo;s, webinars, WhatsApp, Social Media communication platforms, etc. Moreover, they disseminate relevant content through Health Care Professionals (HCP) Web Portals, leveraging AI-driven segmentation and personalization techniques to raise customer interest and drive on-line contacts.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Marketing, Sales and Medical Affairs organizations are designing customer journeys and orchestrating omnichannel marketing campaigns, adding some of these digital channels to the traditional physical channels (F2F doctor&rsquo; visit, group events/conferences).</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Main Technologies in Omnichannel Marketing</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Innovative technologies power-up Omnichannel Marketing along three key areas:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Segmentation and Persona&rsquo; profiling</li><li>Design, building and automation of marketing campaigns</li><li>Orchestration of personalized customer journeys and their activation across AI-recommended channels</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Segmentation and Personalization </strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Traditionally, HCP Segmentation and Targeting was done across the value dimension, plotting the actual HCP&rsquo; total market revenue generation versus the potential propensity to prescribe/adopt the company&rsquo; products. Nowadays, HCP segmentation takes into account also Profiling, Behavioural and Attitudinal dimensions, blending them into a Personalized Segmentation of the health care professionals.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">AI and Predictive Analytics technologies automate and enhance the complex modern segmentation and personalization processes, analyzing sets of data available from interactions with healthcare professionals and their digital engagements/behaviours.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Automation of the Marketing Campaigns </strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">The use of multiple tools helps create and execute customer journeys based upon segmentation and personalization, taking into account probabilistic models optimizing content relevance and channels preferences. That automation is generally operated by the companies themselves, and basically automate a sequence of valued touch points that companies can use to engage with a segment of healthcare professionals.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Orchestration and Activation</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Novel digital instruments increasingly pinpointed by AI and Machine Learning systems are able to optimize the orchestration and activation of the engagements, making recommendations for Next Best engagement Actions (NBA), as well as displaying actionable insights to be considered by commercial &amp; medical personnel.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Suggestions and insights are increasingly driven by AI models and Machine Learning systems that dynamically adapt those recommendations based upon the actual interactions with the HCP&rsquo;s.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Impact of AI on Omnichannel Marketing</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The role of AI is increasing in Omnichannel Marketing, particularly on the segmentation and personalization side, whereby advanced analytics and AI models are used to segment the target audiences that life science companies will engage with.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">AI models do forecast what are the preferred channels through which doctors would engage and predict the content that is most relevant for a certain persona segment of healthcare professionals. Machine Learning techniques are used to reflect feedback and real-life behaviours of the doctors to improve the accuracy of the predictions generated by the AI models.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Paolo Mensitieri</a></em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Paolo Mensitieri</span></h3><h3 style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</h3><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What are the best practices while embarking in the omnichannel market?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Omnichannel marketing is a journey in itself. Namely, there is not a silver bullet or an established set of practices that guarantee success, but it's more a case of trial and error through pilots that life science companies have deployed in the past 5-10 years. Those pilots have been also influenced by the conditions that they were raised as the Covid lockdowns took effect and so more and more the digitally transformed go-to-market model took hold.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Companies need to allow themselves the time to pilot and test some hypothesis to validate the actual value and effectiveness that Omnichannel Marketing brings in terms of HCP engagement.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">We recommend to look at a set of key performance indicators and metrics to measure the success of omnichannel marketing, such as:</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li>Measure HCP Engagement through net promotion scores across the various channels that are activated in omnichannel marketing campaigns</li><li>Measure the classic sales effectiveness KPI&rsquo;s (coverage, frequency, time to target) across all the channels</li><li>Measure the level of adoption of Omnichannel Marketing Next Best Action systems across customer facing personnel, such as sales representatives and medical scientific liaisons, as well as the digital marketing/customer experience people that define and orchestrate omnichannel marketing campaigns</li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">While those measures should signal positive impact in revenues and market share, we recommend to use caution in establishing direct links between omnichannel marketing activities and revenue increases, as multiple factors influence the attitude of the healthcare professionals. It is preferable to measure what is under measurable control, such as the effectiveness of the promotion itself, customer satisfaction, and improvements in engagements&rsquo; targeting, frequency and coverage.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What are the common challenges in omnichannel marketing?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Resistance to Change</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Often sales representatives feel that Omnichannel marketing is a threat to their jobs, as their positions can be eliminated by automation and machines. That is far from being true.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">There is mounting evidence that the best Omnichannel marketing activities are the ones where the sales representatives and the medical scientific liaisons act as active orchestrators of the entire Omnichannel marketing effort.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">If that happens and there is a clear return and value for those experts facing directly the customers, then the probability that omnichannel marketing campaigns will succeed in generating positive impact will increase significantly, so bring in your sales representatives and your medical liaisons into the story.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Challenge with Internal Organization</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Omnichannel marketing is actually a cross functional effort that includes marketing, sales, medical affairs, analytics and Digital/ IT personnel. All these functions should work together in a co-ordinated, orderly fashion, avoiding silo&rsquo;s and unnecessary hands-off&rsquo;s. To that effect, companies are either creating centers of excellence where all those functions are brought together or do set-up agile program deployment and operations teams under one single lead.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Customer Engagement Programs Compliance</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">A major challenge in omnichannel marketing programs is related to the content that is disseminated by life science companies, which is subjected to stringent medical, legal and regulatory compliance constraints set out by the local health authorities, which often differ country by country.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Life science companies cannot put out content or advertise like say fast moving consumer goods as their claims and statements must be reviewed and approved by the regulatory authorities as being balanced, scientifically sound and not leading to off-label use.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">If those regulations are not followed strictly, companies will be subjected to fines or even forced to recall products from the market. The adverse reputational impact could bring even more severe consequences.<br />Thereby, the medical, legal &amp; regulatory reviews of so-called Omnichannel marketing pieces are a very onerous and rigorous process that may hinder the agility and the speed by which that content generated and disseminated, possibly affecting its actual relevance for the healthcare professionals.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Additionally, data privacy regulations are becoming more stringent, particularly in the US, Japan and Europe, regulating for instance the doctors&rsquo; on-line access to the companies&rsquo; healthcare professional web portals. In general, life science companies must obtain a formal and explicit consent from the doctors that they agreed to be reached and engaged digitally. The collection, acquisition, administration of the consent and the withdrawal of that consent is also another complex process, that is unique to pharmaceutical companies in a way, and requires a lot of attention and resources.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Omnichannel Marketing Segmentation</strong></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Much of the Omnichannel Marketing Segmentation depends on the availability of sufficient data, to build more accurate personalized audiences. While the availability of granular data is common in the US and Japan, it is less evident to get an equivalent level of detail in the rest of the world.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In European markets, life science companies do not have easy access to prescription-based data, thereby complicating accurate segmentation and targeting. On the other hand, that is not necessarily an unremovable obstacle, because AI expert systems and analytics techniques allow to make quite sound judgments and validate assumptions leading to realistic predictions that can be used in those segmentation activities.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. What is the role of ChatGPT in Pharmaceuticals?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The pharmaceuticals and medical device companies have already adopted ChatGPT to carry out certain menial tasks such as preparation of marketing content, or the drafting of emails to be sent to doctors.<br />ChatGPT presents the same advantages as well as limitations to life sciences&rsquo; omnichannel marketing as to any other company. Namely, it's efficient to automate certain routine tasks, but the limitation is that ChatGPT lacks experience and point of view, which are necessary elements to factor in any communication and engagement activity, including omnichannel marketing.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Paolo Mensitieri

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