Keeping Pharma’s Multichannel Marketing Universe in Balance
by Matt Seltzer, Strategic Account Manager, IMS Health
Pharmaceutical marketers operate in a complex and ever-changing universe. From pre-launch team formation to the patent cliff, there is a lot of ‘space junk’ traveling through the marketer’s universe with the capacity to tip the scales too far in one direction or another:
- Financial targets
- Competitive intelligence reports
- Personal aspirations
- Umpteen internal and external partners with ideas that run the gamut
- A list of deliverables that seemingly grows even as tasks get completed!
Marketers attempt to navigate this crowded space at warp speed with Outlook calendars that look like losing games of Tetris. Moving from meeting to meeting – “sorry I’m late, my last meeting ran over” – there can be a laser focus on the short-term, tangible objective of ‘getting things done.’ There’s significant attention paid to words and imagery, but not necessarily how brand assets fit together. Should these paragraphs be switched? Is the look and feel consistent with the understanding of the patient or doctor? Wait…is that a claim? Is there too much ‘hope’ here? Can this piece go through MLR in one review!?
On the other hand, having a multichannel marketing (MCM) orientation can keep the universe in order. MCM is a mindset that values data-driven decision-making, keeps assessments in context, and recognizes that short-term goals should support the overarching end goal. This mentality helps marketers sift through ‘space junk’ to identify what should remain for the long term. In business terms, thinking MCM helps marketers anticipate the impact of each decision on their ability to make subsequent decisions.
So, what is this MCM mindset and how can it manifest itself?
Creating the MCM Mindset
At a fundamental level, there are three key activities ‘orbiting’ marketers. Each activity carries weight – and gravitational pull – in the decision-making process and plays a role in maintaining balance:
1. Strategy/Creative Development
2. Campaign Execution/Enablement
Knowing the target, channel preference, and how the target will be engaged are all important to creating and executing. In the traditional mindset, though, there is a focus on what is known – from market research, intuition, and previous experiences – and not on what can be learned and analyzed once a campaign is launched. Choices are made without consideration for ‘what happens next…after this’ and that puts today’s complex campaigns at risk of failure.
Taking the MCM mindset, marketers have questions at the ready prior to development and execution. That keeps the ‘create-execute-analyze’ loop in equilibrium. Here are the kinds of questions that are prudent to ask ahead of time:
- What are the benchmarks for success? (Impressions? Open rate? Downloads? Persistency?) Why have they been chosen?
- Can the appropriate content be developed and delivered to the right target, at the right time, in the right channels to substantiate the time and financial investment?
- Is the data and technology infrastructure in place to measure these KPIs? Is our system adaptable to changing market forces?
- Have internal and external campaign stakeholders been engaged (brand team leaders, AORs, analytics vendors, marketing operations and a host of groups beyond that core) so they understand the impact (positive or negative) on their work?
- How will the answers to these questions be operationalized, create a smarter marketing organization?
Asking these questions before launch sets up a marketer for success by supporting the decision-making process throughout the creation and execution phases of a campaign. Yes, creating and executing are exciting and tangible, and there is huge pressure to do both since the end result will be so visible internally and in the marketplace. However, the ability to analyze, keep tactics in context, and make more nimble decisions is what distinguishes MCM organizations from their peers.
It’s also the reason some pharma brands achieve their marketing missions while others lose altitude, sputter, and crash to earth.
This article originally appeared on the website www.thenewsolutionsfactory.com.