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Think back 15 years and consider how much simpler the role of marketing a brand was. There were a few solid, inescapable channels to choose from to reach an audience. Printed materials, such as direct mail and collateral, were a mainstay of many marketing efforts; television or radio provided a more immediate, widereaching outlet; and traditional advertising in periodi cals always loomed large in any marketing mix. For the pharmaceutical brand manager, recent technological and industry events have conspired to make the job of marketing brands much more difficult. The rise of the Internet coincided with the explosion in direct to consumer advertising. Instead of sending a generic postcard or printing an ad, a pharmaceutical company now can create an email campaign or develop a targeted Website for a brand — with the option of targeting the consumer directly. “Now, there is added pressure on the mar keting function to manage a new, complex multichannel marketing environment that encompasses both online — Web and email — and offline — print and call center,” Mr. Bigelow says. “If they are not careful, mar keters could find themselves drowning in the varied channels of communication. They need to look at the current marketing landscape — and ways to optimize programs in a multi channel environment.” DeconstructingThe Silo Approach According to a July 2001 survey of infor mation technology and marketing executives conducted by Forrester Research, the three most important marketing channels are tradi tional printbased mail (with 68% of the vote), email (50%), and phone (46%). “Given these beliefs, companies often use a hodgepodge of communications vehicles — a Website with introductory data and possibly some direct support, printed material for in depth information, a call center for more intensive support, and so forth,” Mr. Bigelow says. “Currently, most brands approach these different communication methods as separate efforts, each with a dedicated focus, budget, and goal. A direct agency is responsible for the design and execution of direct mail while the consumer agency of record may handle print advertising. An interactive or marketing
Swimming the Channels
Recent technological and industry events have conspired to make the job of the pharmaceutical brand manager more difficult. IN AN EXCLUSIVE TO PHARMAVOICE, JAY BIGELOW,CHIEF ARCHITECT OF MICROMASS COMMUNICATIONS INC., DISCUSSES KEYS TO CREATING INTEGRATED MULTICHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS PROGRAMS. you can find yourself drowning in the varied channels of communication. can create a fractured corporate message or image. “The last thing a brand marketer wants to hear from a customer is that the messaging or lookandfeel presented in an email is dif ferent from the promotion running in a print ed directmail campaign,” Mr. Bigelow says. The third inefficiency is the duplication of efforts. Maintaining agreements with separate organizations creates the opportunity for over VIEW on multichannel communications cialty shop writes and designs email cam paigns. Another agency designs and hosts the Website.” Although companies may realize some gains in terms of timetomarket and “creative excel lence” by relying on disparate agencies, accord ing to Mr. Bigelow, over time the gulf between agencies can create a disjointed, ineffective mar keting effort — losing a valuable opportunity to layer messages and add consistency to the core brand equity. When evaluating a traditional approach to multichannel communication, Mr. Bigelow identifies three main inefficiencies. The first is the development of ineffective messages. “What works in one medium may not translate to another channel,” he says. “For instance, a successful print campaign isn’t always right for email. Printed material pro vides a more tactile experience, while an e mail provides a measure of immediacy.” The second drawback is conflicting mes sages; agencies working in a relative vacuum lap. This can result in considerable resources expended on duplicated functions each month and increased costs over time. Integrating Multiple Channels Because customers often expect a consis tent mix of both online and offline communi cations, brand managers must find a way to meet this demand. Mr. Bigelow says the solu tion is to find a method to build and deliver messages from a single pool of content across multiple channels. With this program struc ture, the message stays consistent, regardless of the delivery method. This is the rationale behind the integrated multichannel commu nications system. “With integrated multichannel communi cations, the corporate marketing department remains in firm control of the marketing mes sages,” he says. “Instead of divesting aspects of the marketing function to agencies, the brand’s marketing team — with input from creative agencies — develops a core set of con tent that will be used in synchronous email, Web, and print communications. In addition, call centers can access this content and drive onetoone live conversations while ensuring that each member of this team maintains con sistent corporate messaging.” Whereas the current multichannel message concentrates on accomplishing the tactics of a multichannel system, the integrated multi channel communications approach places a premium on message creation and uniformity. With this method in place, customers have the ability to receive information across any online or offline channel. “Today’s more sophisticated personaliza tion engines can even apply rules to the mes sages to modify them to utilize the strengths of each channel, while still retaining the basic integrity and consistency of the core message,” Mr. Bigelow says. “As an example, `click here’ in the email delivery and `turn to page 3′ in the printbased communications.” 45 PharmaVOICE J u l y / Au g u s t 2 0 02 INTEGRATEDMULTICHANNELCOMMUNICATIONS To construct a marketing system that can simultaneously communicate a parallel mes sage across all channels,Mr.Bigelow identifies three primary components that mustbe inte grated: . Content database — contains the content elements (text, graphics,charts, tools, layouts, etc.) that will constitute the messages created by the system. . Profile database — provides the recipient profile information used to shape or personal ize the communication. . Composition engine — assigns content based on rules and sends it to the appropriate channel or channels. With these components in place,a brand managercan effectively manage anentire mul tichannel campaign from a single solution. By centralizing the content, this approach allows for enhanced personalization of content by using individual profiles in the customer rela tionship management (CRM) system,helping companies fully utilize the wealth of customer data already available. Creating an Integrated Program ACCORDING TO JAY BIGELOW, MICROMASS COMMUNICATIONS INC., CARY, N.C. CONTENT DATABASE PROFILE DATABASE COMPOSITION DATABASE CHANNELS RECIPIENT Brand managers must find a method to build and deliver messages from a single pool of content across multiple channels. VIEW on multichannel communications CreatingValueThrough Integrated Communications “Just as the silo approach was built on the relative ease of establishing a number of dis tinct, independent channels, the integrated multichannel communications approach rec ognizes and embraces the integral `value of the message’ — the need for a consistent, reliable voice for the brand,” he says. The effect of the integrated method is apparent after implementation when there is a single source of content driving marketing efforts. Once established, the integrated mul tichannel architecture offers a number of ben efits tied to the unique ability to create and replicate multichannel campaigns. According to Mr. Bigelow, the most obvi ous benefit to approaching marketing com munications through an integrated program is the ability to deliver messages consistently across a variety of channels. Suppose a cus tomer wishes to receive nothing but online communications. He or she could receive e mails with links to the corporate Website. The same applies for those who prefer printbased methods. A customer requesting only mailed material will receive the same information in hardcopy format. “However, customer preference is only one part of this equation,” he says. “Customers now expect the information on the Website to match the information they see in an adver tisement or a printed piece of collateral. This leads to the second benefit of the integrated method: the ability to leverage a single pool of consistent content.” Maintaining Control OfThe Message The ability to draw information from a sin gle source puts the brand manager in a new position. Now, instead of content being creat ed across a network of disparate agencies, the integrated method places more control with the brandmarketing team. “With this system in place, the brand team and the various external agencies collaborate to create the various text pieces, design ele ments and layouts for the integrated plat form,” Mr. Bigelow says. “This information becomes the foundation for all direct commu nications with customers. With the integrated multichannel communications method, branding initiatives are much easier to imple ment across channels. By creating a standard set of graphics, layouts, and text elements in the content database, it becomes much easier to establish, modify, and reuse a company’s identity.” The Potential for Highly Tailored Content Because the integrated method relies on a composition engine to prepare messages, com munications, and content, there is a unique opportunity to create more personalized mes sages for the recipient. By applying a rules based solution in conjunction with the com position engine, this facet of the system can tailor individual pieces of content down to the sentence or word level. “Tailored communications means deliver ing the right message to the right person at the right time,” he says. “Unlike traditional methods of personalization or targeted mar keting that deliver the same static message to each customer in a segment or group, tailored materials are uniquely written for one specific person in real time, based on characteristics that are unique to that person.” Navigating RoughWaters For brand managers looking to build stronger directtoconsumer programs with their customer base, the thought of running a multichannel program may seem a logistical nightmare. With multiple advertising agen cies running multiple campaigns, each with different goals — the task can seem daunting at best. “Take heart,” Mr. Bigelow says. “Solutions now exist that allow for the simultaneous cre ation of a consistent, reliable message to both online and offline recipients. With an inte grated multichannel communications pro gram in place, brand managers can finally start winning the race — and stop treading water.” F PharmaVoice welcomes comments about this article. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 46 J u l y / A u g u s t 2 0 0 2 PharmaVOICE One of the earliest promises of the Internet agewas the “paperless”aspect of daily life.The “paperless office,” the “paperless home,” and indeed a “paperless world.” The Internet has been part of many people’s lives for close to a decade.Has paper lost its foothold on dayto day life? Hardly.While data suggest a cutback in paper usage, its appeal is strong — and will remain that way. According to a recent survey by the Rochester Institute ofTechnology,analysis on the mix of communication channels showed that in 1995,70%of informationwas in print,while 30% was electronic. By 2010,the percentages are projected to be almost even. In 2020,35% of all information still will be available in print. The lesson that all marketers should learn is clear: . Although online or electronic communication is faster and usually cheaper during the production and delivery phases, the hightech approach has been slow to supplant tra ditional channels. . Since printed materials will still comprise more than onethird of all information by 2020, any strategy that ignores the importance of printed material risks losing a significant por tion of recipients. To Print or Not to Print: The Reality of Multiple Channels ACCORDING TO JAY BIGELOW, MICROMASS COMMUNICATIONS INC., CARY, N.C. Solutions now exist that allow for the simultaneous creation of a consistent, reliable message to both online and offline recipients.