Pharmaceutical marketing at a glance seems unrecognizable compared to a few short years ago: technological advancements, big data, changing sales models, channel fragmentation, mobile marketing, social media…the list goes on. This constant sea of change is enough to overwhelm even the smartest marketers and strategists. Some marketers have followed the whims of change, prioritizing the latest marketing fads over a sound strategy. However, this reprioritization of communication efforts can lead to risky results. Pharmaceutical marketers will be best served by keeping their focus on the following fundamental marketing objective: getting the right message to the right audience at the right time.
Without a doubt, incorporating modern tactics and media channels can strengthen a campaign’s effectiveness, but the core communication objective should be tied to strategic objectives. In other words, the tail should not wag the proverbial dog. These core objectives should drive the decisions behind the channels, the content, the cadence, and the outcomes toward which a campaign is optimized.
The focus on fundamentals is essential across both patient and healthcare professional marketing campaigns. For example, with traditional patient support programs—which educate patients on their disease state, provide them with lifestyle tips, and empower them with condition management tools—the ultimate objective is to increase persistency and adherence. Rather than haphazardly building a program that randomly combines the latest marketing “it” channels, it is imperative to strategically consider the combination of tactics, channels, and content, at the right cadence to achieve the campaign’s goal: increasing adherence and persistency. While a campaign can and should incorporate channels both old and new, it should be the strategy that drives these decisions.
How to Focus on Fundamentals When Determining a Marketing Strategy
So, how can marketers effectively deliver communications in the ever-changing marketing reality? In the era of data integration and two-way marketing, we recommend using these three best practices to guide the process:
1) Don’t be afraid to ask—so you can know what they are thinking: A behavioral survey can identify how targets would prefer to receive communications, such as by telephone, email or direct mail. Using this information, design a communication strategy that provides relevant information in the way(s) they want to receive it. By simply asking how an individual wants to be communicated with and by fulfilling that basic need, marketers can more successfully deliver the brand’s message and increase conversion.
2) Observe, adjust, and make them feel special: With the phenomenal growth and availability of campaign response data, marketers have the opportunity to design and cater communications at the individual level. Creating customized communications and educational tools based on a target’s experience can ultimately lead to greater engagement and positive, impactful outcomes.
3) Think like them—to understand what they need: As marketers, we measure success by driving impact and ultimately changing behavior. With the data at hand, we can now design and adjust strategies, all the while focusing on the brand’s fundamental goals. These metrics and objectives allow us, as marketers, to start thinking like our targets and asking questions that drive stronger campaigns:
A) What do our targets want and need?
B) How can we strategically design a program to meet these wants and needs?
C) How will we know if we met our targets’ wants and needs?
By remembering to follow these three steps when developing a CRM strategy, we can impact behavior by creating custom relationships based on trust, respect, and value…all by delivering the right message in the right way to the right person.
So while the marketing context, customers and channels have changed and will continue to change rapidly for the foreseeable future, we as marketers must keep our focus on our core, timeless tenets of good marketing: sending the right message at the right time and the right place. By applying some of these best practices, you should be well on your way to maintaining a sound strategy amongst the ever-changing marketing landscape.
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