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?


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