The Pharmaceutical Industry: Adopting an integrated multi-channel strategy

By Anna Sophie Gross May 27, 2016

The world of channel partner management is evolving at a very fast rate and nowhere can this be seen more acutely than in the pharmaceutical market.

It used to be the case that sales reps would meet healthcare providers for long chats, often over lunch or a light session of golf. Health workers are incredibly busy nowadays, rushing from appointments to meetings to training sessions, and simply don’t have the time on their hands to pencil in these kinds of one to one chats.

In their place, suppliers have simply opted for bombarding healthcare workers with industry and product information (usually via e-mail and pamphlets) which is not sufficiently targeted to their needs or lifestyles. They end up overwhelmed and unengaged. It’s no wonder that pharmaceutical companies have gone for such lacklustre strategies – a lot of them are facing significant cuts to their sales and marketing budgets.

But rest assured, all is not lost – pharma companies need to revamp their strategy to adopt low-cost, targeted campaigns that generate interest, engagement and brand loyalty. I know what you’re thinking – we don’t live in Hogwarts…but it’s not magic we’re advocating, just finding a jazzy new way of reaching out to busy health practitioners using an integrated multi-channel strategy.

An integrated multi-channel strategy is all about sending out a clear, consistent message across a variety of different communication channels, enabling pharma suppliers to cut costs and increase ROI.

Multi-channel: Telling your brand story

One of the main facets of this approach is developing an effective way of telling your brand’s “story” – crafting a consistent message and regular cadence to broadcast your products and promotions. You should adopt a variety of different avenues of communication, including:

  • Web portals
  • Social media
  • Mobile applications
  • E-mail and letter correspondence
  • Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Sales representatives at face-to-face meetings

Diversifying your communication strategy in this way means your content will remain fresh and reach out to a spectrum of health professionals – from the old school pros who are better engaged via letters and conferences, to the new-fangled Generation Ys who are drawn to social media and specialized apps.

All messages across all of these channels should be clear, concise and genuinely informative. They should capture and relate data and analytics on customer behaviour and industry best practices, and should incorporate the fundamental principles of scientific communication: Simplicity, brevity, relevance, timeliness and trustworthiness.

Integration

Companies need to ensure that there is adequate interaction and synchrony between their different channels, including sales, marketing and distribution – this is key to making sure that there are no overlaps or contradictions in information supplied, and that all communication has the same look and feel.

Marketing, sales and distribution teams should share and integrate their data and messaging strategies so that they are all privy to the same important information on customer history, trends and potential so that a coherent tune is being sung to the customer.

One way of ensuring integration across the entire channel partner ecosystem is using a single, unified platform on which data can be stored and analysed. You, as suppliers, can segment your customer base and develop targeted campaigns and promotions which all of your partners can tap into and utilize at their will. That means unity of information, campaign resources and voice.

Adopting an integrated multi-channel system enables pharmaceutical reps to engage more effectively with health professional across a variety of mediums, in a unified way, ultimately leading to increased engagement from your target audience and a soaring bottom line.

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