Mastering Multichannel Marketing

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Robin Robinson

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KEY TO SUCCESS:Match up channel properties and consistent content with consumer preferences. The key to successful multichannel marketing is to be wherever the consumer is when he or she is ready to receive your message. Easy, right? Not a chance, especially when the consumer is a busy physician or a patient with access to all media at all times. Our experts have identified some best practices that include three easytoremember principles: know channel properties, be consistent with content, and study consumer preferences. These strategies can help guide today’s marketers to thoughtfully choose the media channels that will be the most effective means for serving up consistent, consumercentric messages. The Challenges Within the Channels The big question surrounding multichannel marketing is not which channel is best, but rather, how to use them all effectively, our experts say. The first and biggest challenge is determining the properties of each channel and understanding the relationship the target audience has with a particular channel as a way to match the channel and message to the audience, says Lisa Henderson, senior VP of client services at Epsilon. “One channel is not any more difficult to manage than any other,” she says. “Integration of multiple channels, however, is far more challenging and is absolutely required to create a dialogue that builds off of previous interactions and picks up where the last inter action left off.” Stan Woodland, CEO and president of Communications Media Inc. (CMI), agrees that no channel is more challenging to manage than any other; what is challenging is executing an integrated program featuring multiple channels simultaneously. “If multiple agencies, publishers, and vendors are MARKETING Mastering Multichannel Getting inside the heads of the target audiences, determining what distinguishes and drives their behavior, can help clarify which channels will work best. KELLY ANDREWS MicroMass Increasingly,brands must manageaudiences whoarehearing both “intended”messages from the brand teamand “unintended”messages from traditional and social media. JON KAY TNS Healthcare also folded into the mix, the complexities increase exponentially,” he says. “Integrated programs require adequate lead time and proper planning. With enough lead time and the right amount of strategic thought and planning, a fruitful multichannel program can be produced with a minimum number of pain points.” Paul LeVine, VP, analytic services, at InfoMedics, agrees that an integrated delivery of messages across multiple channels is the central challenge. “In our history of designing, implementing, and measuring patient feedback programs, the most successful outcomes have stemmed from a clear, carefully considered strategy at the onset and an intelligent, integrated message delivered across a multitude of channels — online, phone/IVR, direct mail, inoffice business reply cards, and so on,” he says. Most of InfoMedic’s surveys are conducted using IVR (interactive voice response), which presents its own set of challenges, Mr. LeVine says. Since engagement time management is critical to obtaining quality results, the patient experience must be designed to make it a fulfilling experience. Of all the channels, the Internet is the most challenging, most of our experts agree. “I believe that the Internet is the most difficult to manage,” says Ken Ribotsky, founding president of CoreCreate. “It is such a dynamic, fluid vehicle.” Mr. Ribotsky says many marketers are underleveraging the Internet and not realizing its fullest potential. “Marketers may be hesitant because of the many aspects of communications and marketing connected with the Internet; it takes real knowhow and experience to optimize opportunities,” he adds. Dave Ormesher, CEO of Closerlook, drills down even further by saying social media is the most challenging channel to manage simply because it runs at crosscurrents to conventional agency wisdom and practice. `The lack of metrics available to evaluate social media relationships creates a conundrum for agencies and the industry,” he says. “Fundamentally, social media is about listening and being vulnerable. It’s about creating relation ships, and every good relationship must be fed and nurtured.” For those companies that include aspects of social networking as part of their marketing mix, the management of this channel can be extremely challenging because of the loss of content control, says Nick Colucci, president and CEO, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group. “Blogs, Twitter, and other social marketing channels leave the pharma industry open to false and/or misleading information that can generate wrong perceptions, misunderstandings, and possible misuse of products,” he says. “Managing this channel in a regulated marketplace is posing a significant hurdle for many companies.” Another obstacle is getting both the agency and the full client team, including general counsel, to agree to engage the audience on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, or a blog, Mr. Ormesher says. “Building a social media team that under stands the communications platforms, one that has the voice and the permission to engage in an authentic way, and one that has a succession plan in place for when the team members move on, is even more challenging,” he adds. Kelly Andrews, director of strategic planning at MicroMass Communications, agrees that the consumer control of online content, as well as rapidly evolving technology, does make it one of the more challenging channels to use effectively. “Marketers have to be finely tuned and responsive to consumer behavior at all times and truly engage in twoway communications, essentially cocreating content,” she says. “Online is also challenging because technology is constantly advancing and giving us new tools that require a high degree of expertise to master at a rapid pace.” Another challenge, she says, is that much of Internetbased media are still considered to be a new frontier and lack the clear regulations established for traditional channels. “The more we strive to be open and innovative, the more we risk venturing into unregulated, gray territory,” Ms. Andrews says. While others focus on the newer challenges of reaching consumers online, Brian Daleiden, director of marketing at SupplyScape, addresses the issues related to the triedandtrue print media, particularly in this fastpaced world of instantaneous information that is available at the consumer’s fingertips. “The global pharmaceutical market is so dynamic, from a solution provider perspective, that it makes it hard to integrate print into the MULTICHANNEL marketing The biggest challenge with multichannel marketing is determining the properties of each channel andunderstanding the relationship the target audience has with that channel. LISA HENDERSON Epsilon Consistency in content,along with innovation and comprehensive planning,are keys to brand recognition. PAUL LEVINE InfoMedics Creating bidirectional communications can be abig challenge that pays big dividends. BRIAN DALEIDEN SupplyScape mix,” he says. “While there are general themes that companies would like to implement over the next several quarters, there are usually hot button issues that ebb and flow on a shorter timeframe. Given the typical lead times required for print, it can be hard to know where to place the bet when it comes to messaging in a contributed article or another vehicle. A hard hitting and topical article is often the one most focused on a specific burning issue. Yet, this very focus can be a problem if by the time the piece is public, the print article is out of sync with the current issues at hand.” Allocating Investment Throughout the Channels There are several ways to determine how to best allocate budgets and resources among the many channels, our experts say. Understanding the different media and consumer behavior while participating in those channels are crucial to making good decisions. Decisions about which channels to use MULTICHANNEL marketing should be driven by return on investment, Ms. Henderson says. “To make the process easier, Epsilon uses an investment framework that begins with the establishment of marketing goals,” she says. “Once the marketing goal has been established, we determine how each segment with in the target audience will contribute to achieving the goal. For example, if the goal is 10,000 new patient starts, then we need to determine which segments might generate these new starts. Understanding the relationship each segment has with a channel makes it possible to determine how many new starts will be generated by channel and segment. The final step in the process is to project the ROI for each channel by projecting the value of each new start and the cost to acquire it.” Taking into consideration the fragmentation of media and the adhoc role various tactics actually play, the best strategy for allocating resources is to analyze the various communication channels from the perspective of what job each performs in the life of the customer and in the product decisionmaking process, Mr. Ormesher says. He says designating a “channel preference” is too simplistic, however, and preference may actually change depending on the role or job the consumer needs the media to play at any given time. By understanding exactly how a customer uses the various channels, the planner can think about sequencing and channel handoffs. “For example, instead of thinking simply in terms of a TV buy with a call to action to a call center or Website, think in terms of an `awareness creation package’ that uses the channels that a target segment uses when in a scanning mode,” Mr. Ormesher says. The properties of each channel must be understood and leveraged to create the desired consumer/healthcare professional behavior, Ms. Henderson says. “For example, TV can be used to deliver one key message while making an emotional connection with the audience,” she says. “The online channel is perfectly suited to providing detailed information, ongoing education, and a personalized experience and dialogue. Finally, a call center staffed with nurses provides an empathetic channel that can be used to provide diseasemanagement support.” In other words, not all communication Marketing directed to both physicians and patients must capitalize on the hallmarks of CRM. NICK COLUCCI Publicis Healthcare Communications With enough lead time,and the right amount of strategic thought and planning,a fruitful multichannel program can be produced with a minimum number of pain points. STAN WOODLAND CMI Many marketers are under leveraging the Internet and not realizing its full potential. KEN RIBOTSKY CoreCreate channels are effective at reaching, engaging, or delivering brand messages to specific constituents, Mr. LeVine says. “For example, if a brand is primarily aimed at a younger segment of the population, it would make most sense to focus communica tions investments on mobile channels,” he adds. “IVR or direct mail will not achieve the same results, and they would not be a wise choice for reaching a younger audience.” Patients who are engaged and motivated correctly will carry the brand message to their physicians directly, which creates another outlet, and one that requires special attention: the patient physician channel. Physicians may want the information from patient surveys to help guide them in patient care, but these data need to be presented in a way that addresses their needs. According to Mr. LeVine, realworld treatment feedback gathered from patients and delivered to their physicians has proven to be the most effective communications channel to reach physicians. “Demonstrable increases in new prescriptions and all prescriptions are a direct conse quence of both patients and physicians seeing value in the process,” Mr. LeVine says. “But to maximize the marketing investment, it’s important to take into consideration the targeted patient population, their health status, and the therapeutic area, as well as the physician segments and the product’s lifecycle stage.” Situational issues always drive communications strategy, Mr. Ribotsky says. Objectives — both shortterm and longterm — should be set to address the given situation. “Determining which channels help achieve those objectives will establish the amount of energy and investment they deserve,” he says. Another way to address the challenge of identifying the right channel for the right message with the biggest ROI is to focus on the consumer, Ms. Andrews says. “Getting inside the heads of the target audiences, determining what distinguishes and drives their behavior, what messages resonate with them, where and when they are most receptive to receiving different types of information, and who has the greatest impact in conveying that information can help clarify which channels will work best,” Ms. Andrews says. “This method identifies which communi cation channels will be most effective, how resources should be allocated among the channels, and how content should be framed so the channels successfully support one integrated marketing campaign.” Behavorial science also can be applied to determine the best way of allocating budget resources against marketing channels. By developing audience segmentations that include a predictor of the current and future financial value of each segment to a particular brand or category and then combining the results with behavioral insights into what makes each segment unique, marketers can more effectively prioritize their audiences, identify which channels will be most effective at engaging each segment, and allocate their resources accordingly, Ms. Andrews says. Mr. Woodland says true understanding of a target yields an efficient and effective multi channel communications program. “Three factors should be considered before devoting energy and budget to any program,” he explains. “First, the media consumption behaviors of the target must be understood. Second, marketers need to understand and pro ject engagement metrics by channel. Finally, they need to understand what optimal syner gies will be produced by a mixed — and fully integrated — marketing program.” Because diverse channels provide different levels of engagement above and beyond the ever important and well understood metrics of reach and frequency, marketers must also understand how each channel can engage a tar get audience, Mr. Woodland says. “Engagement metrics typically measure any action that reflects an experience or interaction with a brand, product, group, or message,” he adds. “Whether that means interacting with an ad, requesting a sample, or even encouraging the audience to talk about an ad or product experience, all aspects of engagement should be measured from an integrated perspective. Some types of engagement may be more beneficial Social media is the most challenging channel,simply because it runs at crosscurrents to conventional agency practices. DAVE ORMESHER Closerlook cal companies invest in determining optimal endpoints for a clinical trial. Likewise, they must invest in measuring the impact of new media. There is a broad array of possible end points between the audience seeing or hearing the message and the physician prescribing the drug. Campaigns may even have interim measures of success; for example a patient looking online for more information or asking about a physician.” Today’s diverse audience, content, and channel options call for creative strategies, Mr. Kay contends. And the success of those strate gies hinges in part on selecting the right met rics to define the value the marketing mix is delivering. “The upside could be especially big for small to midsize companies,” he says. “Cuts in field forces are reducing the advantages large companies had. At the same time, social media offer new, affordable options for building brand awareness and equity, and innovations in Internet advertising provide cost effective alternatives to television placement.” Consistent Content Broadens Brand Recognition To maximize effective delivery and resonance with all types of patients and physicians, brand messages must be consistent across all channels, which represent a wide demographic spectrum, including patients who have been newly prescribed, are on chronic or acute treatments, or struggle with various barriers to treatment adherence. “Consistency in content, along with innovation, big thinking, comprehensive planning, and crisp execution, are the keys to brand recognition,” Mr. LeVine says. Being consistent is vitally important, but Ms. Andrews cautions that marketers shouldn’t confuse this with being the same in all channels. The goal is to use each channel as a way of telling a part of the whole story in a way that builds on and enriches the parts of the story heard through other channels, thereby creating a continuum of experience with the brand that builds a sense of relationship. “The goal should be to truly integrate the information across all channels so there’s consistent, supportive messaging throughout all communications,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean hitting the same messages at every touch point; someone seeking emotional support won’t be impressed by easeofdosing information.” # PharmaVOICE welcomes comments about this article.Email us at MULTICHANNEL marketing SEE DIGITAL EDITION FOR BONUS CONTENT WWW.PHARMAVOICE.COM than others; as a result, the mix of vehicles employed should be optimized based on the value of engagement each provides. The bene fits of synergy can be recognized when a result is greater than the sum of the parts that produced the result; this is definitely true for multichannel programs. By examining the synergies that individual program tactics create when combined, the value of their overall integrated effort can be better understood and the channels better optimized.” According to Jonathan Kay, global practice head, brand and communications, at TNS Healthcare, new channels require new and innovative metrics to determine success. “Endpoints matter,” he says. “Pharmaceuti brand, treatment,and salesperformance optimization; and professional and DTC promotional tracking. For more information, visit or email PAUL LEVINE.VP,Analytic Services, InfoMedics Inc., a pharmaceutical services provider that delivers clear, actionable patient feedback to physicians designed to improve patientphysician communications.For more information, visit or email DAVEORMESHER.CEO,Closerlook Inc., a strategic marketing healthcare company.For more information, visit KENRIBOTSKY.President and Founder, CoreCreate Inc. and Brandkarma,which offer global strategic healthcare marketing, branding,and medical education.For more information, visit or STANWOODLAND.CEO and President, Communications Media Inc. (CMI), an advertising media and promotion planning organization focused primarily on the pharmaceutical and related healthcare industries; the company develops, implements,and evaluates nonpersonal professional and directto patient media strategies. For more information, visit Experts on this topic KELLY ANDREWS.Director of Strategic Planning, MicroMass Communications Inc., a behavioral sciencebased marketing organization that provides communication strategies and solutions for the healthcare industry. For more information, visit NICK COLUCCI. President and CEO, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group,a fully integrated division of Publicis Groupe SA.For more information, visit BRIAN DALEIDEN.Director of Marketing, SupplyScape,a provider of software and consulting services for traceability and collaboration that secure the value and safety of the global lifesciences supply chain.For more information, visit LISA HENDERSON.SeniorVP of Client Services, Epsilon, a marketing services firm that provides strategic consulting, database and loyalty technology, proprietary data, predictive modeling,and a full range of creative and interactive services. For more information, visit or email jsi JONATHANKAY.Global Practice Head, Brand and Communications,TNS Healthcare, which provides globally consistent solutions and custom advisory services to support product introductions; To access a FREE Podcast featuring Paul LeVine and Michael Ball, Ph.D., from InfoMedics, go to To access a FREE Whitepaper on the topic of multichannel marketing from InfoMedics, go to

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