Category: Multichannel

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation in Pharma: What is first, the tool or the strategy?

Omnichannel in the Pharma Industry and the adoption of new tools like Marketing Automation

When we start thinking about how to implement Omnichannel strategies sooner or later we will need to think on Marketing Automation. But really, what is the state of implementation of this type of tools? How integrated is with the business strategy and connected with the rest of the organization?
Let’s start talking about a tool that represents a change of mind in the strategy and the organization and that it’s determinant to engage and build strong relationships with customers.

Here is still a great deal to do in Pharma, in fact only 10% has implemented a Marketing Automation tool as standard practice and 27% have started or plan pilots. (Data from Across-Health-Multichannel-Maturometer-2016)

“62% of Pharma hasn’t implemented Marketing Automation tools in your multichannel strategies”

Acquiring a tool is easy, but having an organization ready to run in an “omnichannel model” is tricky. Currently there are Marketing Automation tools with a B2B or B2C approach: free software to start like Mautic, SalesForce that offers Pardot and SalesForce Marketing Cloud, QuintilesIMS with Nexxus Marketing, Marketo, Adobe, Eloqua, Selligent, HubSpot, etc.

The reality is that in general the approach of Pharma is not a real “Omnichannel model” and first approach focus on outsourcing campaigns. The outsource model doesn’t mean a change in the organization, but I know that for some agencies talk about Marketing Automation, Omnichannel, Customer Journeys, etc, to some Pharma can be close to science fiction due the digital maturity and lack of a digital structure.

What do we need to start working with an Omnichannel model with marketing automation tools? Looking at capabilities, you need to be an expert in digital marketing, inbound marketing, content marketing, eMail Marketing, Social Media, Multichannel Campaign Management, analysis and measurement among other capabilities. Of course, these digital capabilities need to be distributed among specialized digital professionals and organized around a digital marketing department. Because although Marketing Automation include the word “automation” it does not work by itself.

But the second and important need comes with the changes at the organizational level. We need new ways to work and it is necessary to work transversally between Digital, Product Marketing and Sales Force Effectiveness. First because Digital need the product strategy, and help producing digital contents and / or services that we can offer to our customers. We need to really be aligned with the Business strategy on this.

Second, we need all the knowledge and collaboration of the SFE, because they have the capabilities to analyze, create segmentations, potential knowledge, data analysis and for Digital is extremely important because in most cases is where the CRM is managed

The challenge for SFE department: be ready for a real multichannel and not only thinking on rep tools like e-detailer or approved email and they will need to be ready for manage multiples data sources.

A Marketing Automation tool needs the CRM as much as it needs the Marketing Automation, and if they aren’t connected “Tool and People”, the digital channels can remain isolated and what really Pharma needs is to have a single 360 profile of our customers as well as a general overview of the “On and Off” impacts.

The most powerful Omnichannel strategies are those that can combine different strategies, segmentations and frequencies while making a cross channel approach to our targets.

But to ensure the success of these strategies is essential to customize the content as well the services we are offering, and thinking always on offering the best user experience along a mix of channels that our customers will select on their journey.

“We must be the “mentor” like Gandalf, of the customer journey of our customers… not the Trolls… ;-)”

A dynamic self-segmentation where we will generate dynamic content adapted to the person through emails, pop-ups, physical visits, websites, Social Media, etc., looking for provide the best user experience and cover unmet needs. In this environment, going with a Marketing Automation technology made all the sense in the world.

Pharma organization use to focus basically on a single channel, and Omnichannel represents an enormous change, from both the strategic and organizational point of view.

To achieve this, we must put the traditional marketing concepts aside, start running away from organizational and information silos and thinking that our strategies have to focus on an attraction marketing, where we always have a story to tell and attract patients and healthcare professionals to turn them into BrandLovers. And as I always say: Why can not Pharma have Brandlovers?


Top 3 Ranking Klout 2016

Spain Top 3 in Social Media KLOUT : LEO Pharma, Roche and Pfizer

Omnichannel en Pharma desde el punto de vista del visitador médico

Omnichannel, ¿from a medical representative perspective?…

I try to do Omnichannel strategies in Pharma, try, because like I always say, Omnichannel is an aspiration, something like reaching the Nirvana, and more evident if we are in the pharmaceutical sector where we go in small steps.

But returning to the title, I receive an email with an “I do Omnichannel but from the Rep perspective.” I re-read and took me time to react. I try to set an example for myself … Would this be as if Zara does Omnichannel but only from the point of view of the Avenida Diagonal store?

But, what is Omnichannel?

I return to the basic concept of the Omnichannel: we want that the consumer or customer live a brand experience, not just a channel experience.  The marketing Omnichannel defines a strategy through different integrated channels.

It is at this point that we have to ask ourselves who is our customer: Being Patient Centric minds that the patients are at the center of everything we do.

But we aren’t CocaCola or Zara, so in Pharma all the marketing is very complicated and part of our communication reaches only the health professional, another important part reach patients or society in general, either through awareness campaigns or trough campaigns offering an holistic approach for pathologies.

The Rep has been “the channel” in Pharma and although it is still a very important channel, in the Omnichannel Marketing, is not the only one.

Offline Channels en Pharma

  • Call
  • Fax
  • Newsletter
  • Rep Visit
  • Rep tablet
  • Sample
  • MSL
  • Advertisement
  • Earned (KOL, Associations, Patients, Nurses, Pharmacist, Hospital, government, etc.

Online Channels en Pharma

  • eMail
  • Teledetailling
  • Twitter
  • Website
  • eMSL
  • Webcast, Webinars, Streaming
  • Smartphone app
  • Banners
  • Website: Patient Association, Health Authority, HCP Association

When we provide a Rep with tools like Veeva, an edetailler, Approval eMail, Engage, etc. what we are doing is opening new communication channels, but then to be a real Omnichannel it is necessary to have all this integrated with the rest of the ofline and online channels  thinking on a final strategy that gives a personal experience in all points of contact with our company.

At this stage the integration of physical and digital channels becomes essential, as well as a segmentation strategy based on user preferences.

Digital Marketing is the basis to unite and work in coordination all the channels. This means a big change in Pharma where in many cases it continues anchored in the use of a single channel with the F2F visit, multichannel activities where the customers sees multiples touch-points acting independently.

Changing the Digital DNA in Pharma

We must to integrate this mentality into the DNA of the company, this state of mind, and have the right people and digital profiles experts that have internalized this “thinking omnichannel” to help make the change.

What I finally do recommend is that you look at the digital habits of oneself and how we are “influenced” in our purchases through interlaced channels trying to sell us that trip that we search at Google one day.

Of course, then another problem comes, ¿ how can we measure the effectiveness in this mix of channels ?. Although this problem is not only in Pharma: imagine how many customers visits a Nike store and after trying on the shoes then when they leave the store buy it on Amazon. How can you measure the return of the store inversion?

Omnichannel presents new challenges for attribution that are no longer linear and can not be reflected in the marketing funnel. It is necessary to think and work on new models of omnichannel marketing in Pharma to evaluate the journey of a customer and to have a more complete view of the experience on all the points of contact.

And now I’m going to try to convince my colleague that Omnichannel is something more than tools in the hands of rep, even if they are an essential channel, in many cases talking about tools is more effective in their communication the WhatsUp, but … this channel is not reported… However, with this sort of omnichannel the consumer can not choose his preferred channel only those offered by the rep!



Multichannel in the Pharma Industry

The use of Multichannel in the Pharmaceutical Industry

QuintilesIMS presented the results of an online survey that provides a very revealing discussion on the state of Pharma at the level of experience, organization, budget and strategy on Digital and Multichannel.

The report designed by@aramdaucik shows all the conclusions perfectly, but I will try to analice the data and see how the Pharmaceutical Industry itself understands its Digital and Multichannel status.

Experience: in Digital & Multichannel Marketing

Experiencia Multichannel Pharma

On the one hand there are 45% of the companies that assure to have moderately or highly experience in multichannel. However, we see that only 9% has a Digital dashboard against which to measure multi-channel activity and impact … In fact, 50% does not measure any multichannel digital actions !!

50% of Pharmaceutical Industry doesn’t measure any Multichannel activity

Regarding Social Media, 54% say that it’s a commonly use strategic channel. This fact is a surprise, because if anything highlights Pharma is in its fear of entering on Social Media. Some Pharma are doing a great job in Social Media, but for others it’s nothing more than a corporate channel, which has no real engagement with patients or it isn’t aligned with marketing objectives.

We continue with some confusion regarding Multichannel in pharma, as the report points out, 45% of Pharma say that they have experience but only 9% generate measurement dashboards and only 23% have experience of more than 3 years.

45% of Pharma claimed to have experience on multichannel, however, However, only 23% have an experience of more than 3 years

Organization: how the company is structured

We depart from the point that 45% of the laboratories do not have staff dedicated to these areas, and this information is really distressing, when today it is usual to have in any company a strong Digital department.

Only 27% of the laboratories start to create these departments with 3 people and only 22% have a department created that operates transversally and it is responsible for managing the actions in the digital and multichannel area, independently of the product.

Again, it’s difficult to understand that 50% said to have enough or much experience in Digital and Multichannel, when there is no department that truly understands multichannel and have digital knowledge to ensure the implementation of digital strategies.

Budget: how much and where are investing the laboratories

And we enter in the area of “who has the power has the budget”, and in the case of Digital unfortunately about 40% of the laboratories doesn’t have a specific budget assigned to Digital Multichannel.

In fact only 27% manages budget, this reminds me of my time to ask for money from other departments to create campaigns and how you have to be more creative to fill the budget gap and keep trying to have your Digital department grow and have your place in  the organization.

Only 18% allocate more than 5% for multi-channel and digital actions

Strategy: how Pharma use multichannel


And here is where true multichannel is shown in Pharma, the reality of multichannel understood as in 2008 was called “Multichannel”: the use of a series of channels completely independently.

SingleChannel Multichannel CrossChannel Omnichannel



Only 27% relies on a Digital cross department, most of it is outsourcing and is carried out through various agencies.

Regarding the integration with the CRM, it stands out that only 13.6% have all the channels integrated. And here we find that the first thought is the added value that would give to the Rep the information of the other channels … and for Digital Multichannel not?

In a multichannel integration it is imperative to know any F2F action carried out in order to be able to offer correct messages and information to our clients via digital.

When you only have one channel as a reference we run the risk of a multichannel strategy only from the point of view of rep (interesting topic that I deal in another post here )

From a user experience point of view with our channels, how can I offer a good cross-channel/Omnichannel experience if my channels aren’t coordinated?


If we do not have the channels integrated, it is clear what  happens with the client segmentation. In the survey it is reflected that 77% performs the segmentation only based on potential.

Segmentation: 77% performs the segmentation only based on potential

In a world where we consume information based on our preferences in terms of online or offline, in multiples devices and time slots, will be an error not consider the client preferences.

And finally, I put a question to you… How can you perform a content strategy if you do not define a clear segmentation that takes into account Digital criteria and the information of all channels in order to create a good brand experience?