Pharma Customer Engagement Europe 2024

Nov 4, 2024 - Nov 5, 2024,

Prioritise personalized customer journeys

Reinventing your omnichannel strategy to optimize patient experiences

An effective omnichannel strategy should focus on giving customers what they want, specifically when they want it



Generating a constant seamless positive customer experience across all channels while simultaneously increasing sales across multiple platforms is the goal of a successful omnichannel strategy. 

Digitization, artificial intelligence, apps, and social media are among the ways an omnichannel strategy can improve a company’s reach into the marketplace. An effective omnichannel strategy should focus on giving customers what they want, specifically when they want it. Yet in reality, this is a complicated task. 

Developing a successful omnichannel strategy isn’t simple. Implementing an effective strategy requires hiring the right people with the appropriate skills who can gain a deep understanding of customer journeys. And it’s important to keep track of customer journeys to become aware of critical touch points that can be tweaked to improve a pharmaceutical company’s marketing reach. This might involve identifying the right mix of channels to target customers, whether it would be digitally or through the use of more traditional venues, such as TV or newspaper ads.

“Broadly speaking, omnichannel is about education,” says Rohit Dayama, Global Client Partner at Cognizant. “It's about, making sure that people and healthcare professionals are informed about what is coming next in terms of products and launches, and effectively getting new drugs to patients. But it's also about influencing decisions. 

“Pharma from our perspective has really come on leaps and bounds in terms of customer centricity, defining patient journeys or HCP (healthcare provider) journeys, and actually using data science to discover insights and personalize that engagement. But in terms of what HCPs and physicians specifically want to consume, they want to consume medical information. They want to understand opinions from their peers. They want to hear a perspective from a key opinion leader. They want to understand treatment guidelines and dosage guidelines. 

“How they want it is on their terms, and on their terms means information when they are ready to consume it. It has to be in bite-sized pieces, concise, and to the point rather than a lot of unsolicited emails or (sales) rep visits. Our view is that there is still a bit of a disconnect between what pharma is trying to actually push out and achieve, and how it is being consumed or received,” he adds. 

Pharma’s omnichannel efforts aimed at meeting the needs of physicians and patients face several challenges. These include: improving collaboration between teams, such as between the medical affairs and commercial teams, and making sure that communication is synchronized; addressing channel integration issues; and personalization, according to Dayama. Unfortunately, budget constraints may be the biggest deterrent to developing a successful omnichannel strategy, he cautions. 

Needing a vision 
It’s important to have a “vision” when trying to overcome these challenges and develop a successful omnichannel strategy, Dayama indicates. It’s important to have an idea of “what the digital strategy should be in terms of content, channel, and data, and what are the key outcomes that strategy should look like,” he adds. 

Many believe that the best vision would be consumer-centric. Citing a new hair loss treatment product as an example, some emphasize the importance of understanding the needs of potential consumers of the product. Questions that should be asked include: What is the emotion behind hair loss? What is the stigma? What are the elements behind hair loss, like genetics? And then, where are consumers looking for information? What impacts and leads their (purchasing) behavior?  

Others indicate that a successful omnichannel strategy and product launch would help remove the stigma of hair loss and at the same time, normalize hair loss. 

So omnichannel developers need to understand where consumers stand on these concerns, and then personalize content for them. In addition, it would be necessary to run as many clinical trials as needed to show that the product is safe and effective. During the pre-launch period, it would be helpful to send sales reps into the field to make physicians aware of the product and build sales momentum. 

Based on personal information about consumers and how they might react to a product, developers would be able to create content and select channels. Having this knowledge in hand also would help them use their money more effectively, especially when budgets are constrained. 

Establishing partnerships 
In addition to promoting a product directly to consumers, some say that it would be helpful for pharma to establish partnerships with organizations that could shed light on consumer needs and purchasing habits. In the case of a hair loss product, data from pharmacies might be helpful when developing both prescriptions and over-the-counter products. 

As long as there are no product shortages, making the product available through pharmacies would help drive consumer traffic. With pharmacies, pharma could amplify and piggyback on their marketing opportunities and their channels and use their skill sets as well, some indicate. But this is not about utilizing one channel. It’s about utilizing the right channel at the appropriate time. 

When taking this approach, pharmaceutical companies should be prepared to share a percentage of the sales with their pharmacy partners, some suggest. 

Also helping the omnichannel effort would be a patient support program that includes use cases and discussions of patients’ successes and challenges. This type of program would support patients and create a community. Gathering these types of data and insights would influence current and future omnichannel content. Harnessing such real world evidence would give product credibility to a prescriber base as well. 

Other omnichannel strategies for driving consumers to the product include creating an app for smartphones that would allow one to scan their hair and learn the potential for hair loss. 

Different customers will have different reasons for purchasing a hair loss product, such as stopping age-related hair loss or loss of hair caused by chemotherapy. So, a successful omnichannel strategy will understand the individual customer journey and these types of issues.  

Remember that omnichannel is about educating consumers and influencing their decision making process. It's about making sure that healthcare professionals and patient-customers are informed about products. It’s about effectively getting new drugs to patients, while harnessing data to gain insights and personalize customer engagement. 

This article covers the main points from a 'hackathon' session 'Redefine and Reinvent your Omnichannel Strategy to Provide Truly Personalized HCP and Patient Experiences' at Reuters Events Pharma EU 2024, in Barcelona, sponsored by Cognizant.



Pharma Customer Engagement Europe 2024

Nov 4, 2024 - Nov 5, 2024,

Prioritise personalized customer journeys