Digital Power - Harnessing Multichannel Marketing Opportunities
In a rapidly changing digital world there is much potential for pharma to up its game to digitally market products. Lucy Brake talks with Andrew Moore, Sanofi’s Sydney-based Multi-Channel Marketing Manager, about how he sees pharma can best take advantage of all that is on offer.
In today’s brave new world of marketing the focus is now on starting a conversation with an audience rather than simply delivering a message about a product to a customer. Sounds simple enough but with such varied modes of communication being available it can be tricky to create this conversation across many channels and to target the right audience. A few industries seem to be successfully tackling this challenge but the pharma industry appears to be lacking behind. With so many opportunities available to pull a customer to a product rather than pushing that product, multichannel marketing offers an increasingly valuable tool for reaching customers.
Moore says that it is all about taking an integrated approach. The different channels that are currently available include tools such as email, social medial, texting, digital publications, normal print, websites, direct marketing and digital advertising. The success lies in getting the conversation going across many channels but ensuring it is effectively targeting what your customer wants to hear and then talk about.
“Multichannel marketing also provides an integrated view of a brand and the company”
From Moore’s perspective the key benefits from multichannel marketing come from being able to quickly move resources to target audiences, and that is reliant upon ensuring the analytics are properly set up and delivering the information you need. “From the customer’s point of view multichannel marketing also provides an integrated view of a brand and the company”, he explains. “It enables us to serve the right content, at the right time, in the right way to the right customer”.
With people having access to information at so many different stages during their day, such as at home on the iPad, at the office on a desktop and during their commute on a smartphone, companies need to be able to deliver their message in a wide range of different ways.
A report recently published by Capgemini Consulting and the MIT Center for Digital Business looked at how effective different industries were at taking advantage of digital marketing. They pointed out that the pharma industry is one of the beginners in capturing the digital advantage and is now only just building capability in analytics. The report concludes that pharmaceutical industry see threat in digital transformation but less opportunity than other industries do, perhaps because of regulation: “Many are building capabilities in analytics and worker enablement, but most firms are just beginning their digital journeys leaving many opportunities untapped”.
Moore supports this conclusion and believes that the pharma industry has a significant way to go to before it is really taking advantage of the digital technologies like social media, mobile, analytics and embedded devices to change their engagement with customers and business systems that is already business-as-usual for some of the other industries digital leaders.
A bright future
The integration of devices is set to change how the industry markets pharmaceutical products and this is one arena that pharma can gain some serious mileage. Moore points out that devices, such as smartphones and tablets, and their apps make a significant difference from sales force perspective. Certain apps can access data about the use, compliance and adherence of a product and allow data to be returned from the real world use.
Examples of such products are the innovative Sanofi BGStar® and iBGStar® blood glucose meters. These digital devices were designed as a direct result of the needs and desires of diabetics. Moore says that it is highly likely at some point this will become a mobile device using a digital tattoo that can read blood glucose from sweat and wirelessly transmit information.
“Healthcare is moving from simply treating sick patients to developing programmes and apps to assist with wellness and improving peoples’ quality of life”
One of the challenges for the industry in getting the devices to market is that there can be a delay while products are tested and approved by regulatory bodies. This is where some of the emerging markets may get a lead on the more traditional markets, where their R&D and innovation is high and the regulatory system less onerous. In this regard the European and American pharma industry is closely collaborating with regulatory agencies to enable the digital technology process to become more efficient and to look at innovative ways to smooth the pathway to approval. “Start-ups and sponsored agencies are looking to test apps on behalf of the industry to facilitate more streamlined approval”, observes Moore.
An area of technology development that is particularly appealing to Moore is the innovative devices that are supported by start-ups with cloud funding and he believes that we will see a whole lot more disruption in this space. Take the Scanadu Scout for example, which is the first medical tricorder with sensors that can readvital signs and send them wirelessly to a smartphone in a few seconds. This device was funded through the industry-leading platform Indiegogo which uses powerful social media tools to launch funding campaign for innovations. To date this medical device has supported its own development by raising nearly USD $855,000 from over 4000 funders.
“We just need to grab the digital opportunities and see how we can make a difference to people’s lives”
The other area he sees potential is in the shifting emphasis to wellness. “Healthcare is moving from simply treating sick patients to developing programmes and apps to assist with wellness and improving peoples’ quality of life”. This offers immense opportunities for the pharma industry to innovate and to use all of the different channels available to market back to the world and their customers.
Multichannel marketing is definitely here to stay and whilst the pharma and biotech sector has a fantastic legacy of R&D its rather cumbersome model may hold it back in allowing connection with end users. The great thing, according to Moore, is because pharma has lagged behind for some time it does provide opportunities for companies to get systems in place. “We are an industry with traditionally high margins, long lead times and well known patent expiration but now everything is changing so fast – with data and analytics widely available we just need to grab the digital opportunities and see how we can make a difference to people’s lives.”
Andrew Moore will be presenting a case study and sharing his own personal experiences from working on the incredibly successful iBGStar campaign at this year's Sales and Marketing Australia summit in Sydney. For more information on his presentation or to find out why you should be attending visit the official website.
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