Can there be any more to say about omnichannel?
How do you talk about the concept of an audience-centric strategy without being pulled into a buzzword bingo? Ah! Too late!
So much has already been written about omnichannel. For the most part, pharmaceutical teams have accepted this as the norm when it comes to brand planning, and everyone is getting much better at it. However, the goal posts keep moving, which brings about uncertainty and a noticeable reticence for adopting anything new for fear of making a wrong move. We now have the metaverse, blockchain, hybrid engagement, and Google making up the rules when it comes to, well, anything.
When we speak to customers about omnichannel, we talk about the need for accurate customer personas and the deep understanding of multiple customer journeys. But since the pandemic, those customer journeys are constantly changing and evolving. The pharma industry rose to the challenge and upped their digital game during the pandemic, but what we need now is to keep that momentum going and avoid reverting back to historical game plans that are no longer fit for purpose. Healthcare professionals are more digitally aware and expect so much more from pharma than ever before. So, what can we do to keep up?
Data is the key! Pharma teams are used to having everything in their CRM when they had a rep-first, sales-based model. Now they need to actively gather new data sets and understand how to use those data to inform decision making, shifting to a permission-based marketing strategy. For a compliance driven industry that brings many legal teams out in a cold sweat, but it’s important to know that it’s possible to do this in a data-conscious, compliant way. The secret sauce? Value! You need to be able to offer your customers value through your content, through your services, and throughout the entire customer journey.
There is a definite shift to data-conscious buying. As consumers, we are protective of our data, and we want control. We are only going to part with our data when we really value what we get in return. We will happily subscribe when content adds value, whether that’s through engaging education, innovative online experiences, industry insights, peer to peer debate...
Google’s highly debated announcement to abolish third party cookies is a perfect example of the evolution of how we perceive and use data. For those of you who have been lucky enough to avoid the cookie debate (absolutely no one in a marketing team!), third-party cookie data allow you to learn about your website visitors' overall online behaviours, such as websites they frequently visit, purchases, and interests that they've shown on various websites, allowing you to retarget content accordingly (1). This is different to first-party cookies that track basic data about your own website's visitors, which is still permissible and encouraged.
Publishers will applaud the move as it means third-party data will once again take pride of place in the marketing mix. But over and above, this means pharma teams need to have robust data strategies. They will need to extend their digital footprint and be open to adopt new technologies, so we can create better digital experiences for healthcare professionals and patients. For example, the use of Augmented Reality (AR) can bring data to life, chatbots are your virtual assistants that provide customers with the information they need, when they need it, and virtual educational experiences can build affinity and trust. We can no longer hope that a self-led detail aid will be enough.
My advice? Embrace what is coming and be open to experiment. Build value-driven digital products that provide long-term customer engagement.
Want to know more about how you can develop a data strategy aligned to your omnichannel plan or how to embrace innovation? Get in touch today.