Advancing Omnichannel: Pharma Marketing Workshop Takeaways

Advancing Omnichannel: Pharma USA Marketing Workshop Takeaways

Avatar for Karin Hayes
SVP, Analytics and Insights Product OptimizeRx Corporation

Advancing Omnichannel Pharma Marketing: Reduce Complexity, Leverage AI, and Drive Results 

At last week’s Pharma USA conference, we had the chance to lead an interactive workshop with over 30 of our pharma colleagues. With a range of titles, functions, and companies in the room, we got to hear a variety of perspectives around three key topics that play a central role in omnichannel pharma marketing. Below are the key insights from the discussion, as well as our take on each conversation.

How Do You Measure Omnichannel Pharma Marketing Success?   

Several participants pointed out that this topic was incredibly open-ended, as the ideal measurements and KPIs are likely to vary based on program structure and audience targeted. However, a constant throughout the discussion was the importance of looking at more holistic measurements, which give a greater picture than only looking at more traditional tactical metrics. A few other points also emerged:

  • Pharma marketing success has often been defined by how efficiently patients are progressing through the treatment journey; however, we mostly measure tactical metrics – which may not give us all the data we need to optimize performance. 
  • Using a control group to compare with the target customers exposed to the campaign is important to objectively measuring program impact.   
  • Customer satisfaction is also emerging as a key measurement of program performance – in some cases replacing more traditional measurements around prescription volumes and script lift. The goal here is to create a “loyalty engine” by analyzing both channel metrics and holistic data like the growth in customer lifetime value (LTV). 

Our take: This question really breaks down into two parts: 1) How are you defining success based on program goals, and 2) what measurements give you the holistic picture necessary to track progress towards those goals? Measuring impressions and reach can serve as preliminary indicators of campaign performance, but truly understanding campaign impact comes from assessing awareness, HCP visits, conversion and customer satisfaction. 

How Nimble and Efficient Is Your Pharma Marketing Budget? 

The discussion here was more limited, perhaps because nimble, responsive programs can be difficult to implement under our current approaches – add compliance / legal restrictions. However, even within that framework, there are steps brands can take to increase their ability to respond, adjust, and optimize program spending.

  • Some suggestions focused on increasing the nimbleness of the content and messaging – for example, creating multiple messages and running them simultaneously to compare relative performance, and then redirecting budgets and placements towards the higher performing options. 
  • Others focused on establishing models with built-in optimization. One participant gave the example of a barrier-driven model: first identifying the barriers HCPs were likely to encounter, determining which HCPs were most likely to encounter those barriers, and then focusing resources on helping each group of HCPs address and overcome each set of obstacles in their path.  

Our take: Participants seemed to suggest two different approaches to adaptability and optimization – content and structure. But the best solution may be to build a program structure that dynamically adjusts content and channel deliver based on audience engagement and performance.  

How Do You Personalize Your Omnichannel Pharma Marketing Campaigns? 

No surprise, this topic prompted the most discussion – building on many of the topics and themes raised elsewhere during the conference. It’s clear that pharma is not yet at the level of personalization seen in other, less-regulated industries like retail. So how can we accelerate our progress, and what barriers do we need to overcome?

In the conversation, two key topics emerged: the criticality of (good, clean) data to program personalization, and the role of technology / artificial intelligence / machine learning. A few notable points mentioned: 

  • Data trust and verification is a current concern – especially for smaller companies with more limited resources. With a multitude of vendors and data brokers all making similar claims about their offerings, it can be hard to know what you are buying. Asking about update frequency and data type can be good first steps to determining the right fit. 
  • AI and ML models are everywhere, but we don’t yet have a solid baseline understanding of how they operate. As technology grows more sophisticated, marketers need to make sure they’re staying current in order to assess both modeling approaches and outcomes with a knowledgeable, critical eye. 
  • Part of that process is also making sure pharma is clearly defining the business rules being used to build AI / ML models. Without this ownership and accountability, it will be a struggle to measure and maintain model performance and precision. 

Despite the market’s substantial journey ahead, we heard progress being made. A few participants shared their successes so far: 

  • One spoke about requiring receiving weekly data updates from all their vendors, and how that data is being used to fuel a constant program optimization feedback loop. 
  • Another spoke about personalization of DTC campaigns based on audience type – for example, targeting younger audiences on social media, using point-of-care channels to reach older audiences who visit their doctor more frequently, or explore “mom” groups for women’s health products. These more segmented channel approaches are especially beneficial given the shift away from cookie-based targeting. 
  • A third participant mentioned prior discussions she had around linking patient communications to EHR-based data triggers – using opt-in text messaging programs to deliver relevant content immediately after patient’s leave their doctor’s office. 

Our take: It’s clear from the conversation that there’s not only the appetite for better personalization (as well as the data, adaptability, metrics and cost-efficiency that drive it), but also an increasing number of novel ways pharma companies are approaching these challenges. Perhaps the greatest challenge facing us is to find a way to tie these various threads into a cohesive, repeatable, and compliant model. 

Let’s Continue the Omnichannel Conversation! 

Thank you to our colleagues who joined the workshop and participated in the discussion. If you didn’t have the chance to join us at Pharma USA, we’d love to hear more about how you measure success, stay nimble, and personalize your marketing – as well as explore how we can help you on your brand journey. Let’s connect! 

SVP, Analytics and Insights Product
OptimizeRx Corporation