As organizations in life sciences continue to grow and evolve, the strategies they use to reach healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients are following suit. Doctors and patients are inundated with more and more information across digital and traditional channels about relevant diseases, gold-standard treatments, and their various benefits.
So what can life science companies do to stand out among an increasingly crowded field of competition?
The reality is this: life sciences companies need to create brand experiences that make them memorable – for the right reasons – to patients and providers. That’s not so easy to do. Although today’s pharmaceutical marketer has more avenues to reach their target audiences than ever, the variety of options available makes it easy to confuse or overwhelm intended audiences.
Educational materials and advertising launched in market should help physicians understand the differences and identify the product that fits their patients’ specific needs. But without strategic, integrated planning, organizations can find it difficult to make that vision a reality.
Enter omnichannel marketing, an approach that ensures seamless integration across digital and traditional channels or touchpoints. While omnichannel certainly isn’t new, its growing adoption in life sciences is poised to transform the industry.
In the medtech sector, for example, “across digital, remote, and in-person channels… 77 percent report experiencing channel conflict.” According to McKinsey research, leading medtech companies that are shifting to omnichannel models are on track to improve HCP engagement and achieve better outcomes for patients.
Omnichannel for Everyone: Engaging Patients and HCPs on a Deeper Level
Omnichannel marketing has its origins in consumer marketing, an arena in which the connection between siloed marketing efforts and unhappy customers is patently clear. Imagine, for example, you enter a business to conduct a transaction.
Once there, you learn that the deal you found on your phone is deemed “a digital offer” and therefore is not honored at the location you just walked into. The resulting confusion you would feel would not only prevent a sale that day but would also color your impression of that brand going forward, potentially discouraging receptiveness to future interactions or communication.
In the context of life sciences marketing, a poor brand experience would likely look different, but the consequences will ultimately be quite similar – eroding trust, inconveniencing the target audience, and failing to help patients and providers understand what your healthcare products or solutions have to offer. Those poor outcomes are the heart of the business problem that produced the term omnichannel experience.
The prefix omni- means “all” or “in all ways or places.” So it follows that an omnichannel experience should serve as the antidote to badly planned, exclusionary marketing approaches. While B2C companies have practiced omnichannel marketing for years, it’s past time for pharmaceutical and healthcare companies to do the same.
Outcomes for Adopting Omnichannel Marketing Successfully
From paid social and display ads to connected TV and in-person activations, life sciences organizations have seemingly endless opportunities to reach, educate, and engage brand-eligible patients and providers. All of these types of activities are important parts of audience engagement in this industry, and life sciences organizations need to convey the wealth of information as simply and clearly as possible.
At times, however, siloed marketing teams create clashing campaigns, with conflicting or confusing messaging that fails to give patients or providers what they need: a clear understanding of the best treatments for their condition or therapeutic area of interest.
With an omnichannel approach, cross-functional teams can create integrated campaigns that effectively communicate consistent messaging at the therapeutic level and at the individual brand level.
Omnichannel Marketing in Practice – How HCPs Benefit
Above-the-brand communication allows a company to address patient and provider audiences in a way that adds valuable context to their healthcare decisions. HCPs in particular want to learn about prescription treatments in ways that better reflect the complications and multi-drug treatment regimens that patients with comorbidities encounter. This approach would provide them with the relevant information and context they need to make evidence-based prescribing decisions, rather than providing them with communications that focus only on a single indication.
Some pharmaceutical companies maintain portfolios with multiple drugs available to treat a single condition. Imagine a pharmaceutical company offers multiple drugs to treat hypertension: HEARTSAFE, LOWBP, and BPBLOCK.
If the teams responsible for marketing each of these brands plan HCP engagements and communications independently, it would be much more difficult to create and deliver messaging that addresses the needs of the whole patient. What if, for example, HEARTSAFE was contraindicated for patients with comorbidities like diabetes and renal disease, while LOWBP and BPBLOCK were not?
With an omnichannel approach, HCPs could receive both branded and unbranded communications that help them understand the best option for their patients’ specific needs, rather than being served information that only served the goals of an individual brand.
Bringing Omnichannel to Life Sciences
Implementing an omnichannel strategy in life sciences requires strategic, integrated planning across the entire organization. Life sciences organizations can find it difficult to adapt to this holistic way of working, but the results promise to be well worth the effort.
Pharmaceutical and healthcare organizations can apply omnichannel strategies to a variety of use cases, including:
- Implementing growth initiatives to avoid being eclipsed by a competitor
- Certifying HCPs for compliance purposes
- Driving connected product launches across digital and in-person activations
- Streamlining recruitment for clinical trials
- Improving in-person engagements with specialists
- Tailoring activations based on mid-level providers’ prescribing activity
- Coordinating educational activities for key opinion leaders
Life sciences organizations can use real-world data from medical and prescription claims to implement these use cases and many more. Often, the complexity of medical claims data can make applying that data to plan both pre- and post-commercialization campaigns a difficult and time-consuming task.
Between claims denials, tiered fee structures, and patients being seen across multiple sites of care, reimbursement for health services is often a months-long process. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies mandate physical and operational separation between clinical and commercial departments. These challenges make applying real-world insights to create a consistent, connected experience for patients and HCPs a difficult task, but certainly not an impossible one.
How HealthNexus Can Help Solve These Challenges
It’s more important than ever for life sciences marketers to have access to the real-world data they need to devise and deliver a truly connected omnichannel experience. With the HealthNexus™ platform, life sciences organizations can leverage predefined reporting templates to easily leverage on-demand analytics across the omnichannel customer life cycle.
Users can apply sequences (i.e., rules-based processes initiated through an API feed to trigger:
- National Providers Identifier (NPI) list of HCPs aligned to covered lives and trigger codes
- Modeled audiences reflecting the complexion and geography of a patient population are formed and distributed to a demand-side platform (DSP) network
- API-driven alerts prompting sales representatives to engage with HCPs online or in-person
Together, these and the other resources available within HealthNexus allow users to gain a clear understanding of the patient journey and identify key milestones along the physician diagnostic quest – insights that can all help take omnichannel marketing efforts to the next level. HealthNexus users have access to more than 300 million US patient life-cases, 1 million physician specialists, and 600,000 nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.
To understand how PurpleLab can help your organization implement data-driven omnichannel campaigns, request a data sample or demo.