Understand how to keep up your multichannel marketing strategy with the dynamic stakeholders.
Change your digital strategy towards customer needs
Over the past twelve months, Lundbeck have been completely deconstructing and rebuilding their digital channel approach. In place of the old is a customer-centric strategy that seeks to deliver a fluid cross-channel experience.
The term ‘customer-centric cross channel experience’ could easily be confused with the random musings of a digital jargon robot; but this would be an injustice to the extraordinary change that Lundbeck have created in such a short time. There have been strong advocates for this strategy in Julie O'Donnell, Senior Manager, Global Head of Digital Interaction Management and Tim White, Senior Director, Head of Global Customer Interaction Management; so we interviewed them ahead of their appearance at the Multichannel Marketing Summit to clarify what it all means, and find out why the customer must become the cornerstone of any successful digital approach.
Improving the Customer Experience
We want to make sure that when we prioritize digital tactics, it is not just because it is the easiest thing to do. It is because it will solve a real customer challenge that they are facing in their day".
Large change within big organizations will create all manner of impacts, intended and unintended, on multiple job functions. For this reason, it can be hard for employees to get behind a change unless they see a strong rationale well grounded in it. For Lundbeck, it became clear that those they were seeking to engage were absolutely time poor. Due to this fact, Tim states, “We owe it to our customers to provide a better experience. Once we understand this, the organization can see it makes sense to build new digital capabilities.”
Until this is realized, there is a danger that attempts at digital change will remain as projects lacking impact. Julie adds, “For a number of years, pharma have been having the wrong conversation. People get their information from multiple sources, not one. The question shouldn’t be around why, it should be around how can we do it well.”
We are confident enough in what we are putting out there to be comfortable with the customer shaping their experience. We know we’ll engage with them".
This same logic has driven their decision to avoid the temptation to rely on off-the-shelf digital solutions; instead Lundbeck have sought to commit to a customer centric approach at every stage of their thinking, from strategic planning to implementation. The commitment to improve customer experience also requires you to allow customer choice in how they are engaged. Julie elaborates, “We ask ourselves, what are the challenges and needs of all of our customers? I don’t just mean health care professionals, but also patients, carers and even payers. We want to make sure that when we prioritize digital tactics, it is not just because it is the easiest thing to do. It is because it will solve a real customer challenge that they are facing in their day. We are confident enough in what we are putting out there to be comfortable with the customer shaping their experience. We know we’ll engage with them.”
Product websites do not equal good customer experiences
So how has this change in mind-set physically manifested itself? Julie identifies one of the big shifts as the move away from pulling customers to product websites and towards a model that delivers content tailored to customer needs. Julie states, “The biggest differentiator between Lundbeck and other companies has been the move away from a platform approach. Our ambition has become to deliver the right information, at the right time, and on their terms.”
There is a perception within pharma that brand sites are simply ineffective. But the consensus at Lundbeck is that they haven’t worked because there is no compelling reason to visit them. Without relevant content, the customer has no reason to be there. Julie notes, “That is why we have prioritized content going forward, it is the only way to engage our customers. The other approach of build it and they will come has been proven not to work.”
How will customer interaction actually change?
Tim believes that a feature of a good customer experience is that it should be transparent. If they come to an understanding that a particular customer segment prefers interaction through social media channels, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, then these are the locations where Lundbeck will seek to engage. However, it is important to understand not just where the customer wants to be engaged, but also, who else is delivering information there. Julie highlights how easy it is to find examples where pharma have created educational materials no one needed. Before investing in resources to create a solution, pharma must remember to check whether there is already a reliable source filling that need.
Translating global strategy to regional assistance
Creating any personalized approach to customer interaction is inherently harder, and more time intensive, than delivering on a one-size fits all approach. Indeed, the task of translating global strategy into digital assets that meet local customer needs would seem to require mountain goat levels of agility; a level of nimbleness not yet seen in the world of clunky pharma.
Tim talked of his experience working at both regional and global levels, and notes that approaches which focus on strategy division between platform-creation and content-creation are almost always destined to fail. Creating this separation removes the creator from customer needs, and it removes the user from the overall strategy. For this reason, they have chosen to support an approach at Lundbeck that aims at building capabilities, and strengthening communication between teams. Only once these are built can each organizational level, whether local or global, select and modify the correct tools to deliver a customer-centric solution.
Standing out in a crowded consumer landscape
Part of the shift in mind-set has been the realization that they are not just competing with other pharma for the attention of their physicians. As physicians are engaging with a large mix of media and mediums it is difficult to identify any specific industrial competitors. Indeed, Julie views mainstream publications such as Wired magazine, the New Yorker and the Atlantic as capable of delivering high quality health content. In order to stand out, pharma needs to realize its core capabilities and make use of them. Julie states, “When you look at the resources of our company, we have award-winning scientists. We should be able to compete. However, when we look at our customers, whether they are a patient or a doctor, they are first of all a person. For this reason, we have to benchmark ourselves against trends across all sectors.”
Tim points out that pharma don’t just face horizontal competition from other industries for the attention of their customer; pharma’s traditional competitor profile has changed as well. Non-traditional companies are getting involved in health care, as companies spot the value in connecting information with health outcomes.
The key to achieving differentiation will lie in arriving at a deep understanding of how the customer is shaped by their interactions with the consumer world. Tim echoes Julie’s point stating, “The physician, like us, probably gets up in the morning and then hits the center button on their iPhone to check what is going on. We need to understand both peoples’ bandwidth and how they interact with content.”
For Tim this includes looking beyond the pill and also at services around the product. This is all part and parcel of pharma realizing where they can differentiate from consumer competitors, and where they can define unmet needs to target.
Listen to your customer!
The common thread through our discussion with Tim & Julie has been that strategies must start by listening to customer needs. Although it is early days with their new content focused approach, the progress that has been made in the last twelve months is already tangible. Julie encapsulates the thinking that has driven this and sums up nicely, “The customer-centric approach really is at the center of what we are doing, this is the mantra that we live by. If we are not being true to our customers, then we won't succeed.”
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