Omnichannel customer engagement: where to start

Digitalization has evolved around the world: various channels for virtual communication are rapidly being expanded. The customers’ choices and intents are changed in a blink of an eye; nobody wants to step on a linear customer journey with such a variety of means that exist nearby. With the pandemic drastically shaped the communication landscape, employing digital channels by Pharma and Life Sciences grew into something must-have rather than nice-to-have. The HCP engagement model has probably been touched the most while the value of each channel itself is no more the same – they were rethought more in favor of digital.

The channel orchestration acquired its new form

The much-discussed omnichannel approach came as the response to the problems faced by any digital strategy that relies on isolated channels. We can see that organizations with omnichannel customer care have, on average, a 91% higher increase in customer retention, and this approach works with marketing, as well. Since HCP interactions are continuing, the nature of those interactions resembles customer care in other industries.

88% of Veeva’s forum participants stated an increasing demand for medical during the pandemic: especially the need for quality scientific content or getting the company ready for digital content and holding virtual activities.  

Therefore, the so-called hybrid model towards HCP engagement became the norm. How can we better interpret that? Well, physicians cannot see medical representatives that much as before. Still, doctors want to have a dialogue with pharmaceutical brands through in-person communication as well (alongside the variety of digital channels). And this is exactly what a coherent omnichannel strategy takes care of. The model’s “formula” here might be the following: the right channel mix plus the right content mix plus the needed frequency of communication.

But is omnichannel just a strategy where you have many digital channels? Like one can simply pile up calls, emails, social media, online events, webinars, and some mobile apps and call it a day? In reality, omnichannel is a far different dimension from what is called multichannel. In the latter, the channels are barely connected. It’s like they’re transmitting the same message or different messages via the channels that have no connection. There’re very few chances any coherent storytelling can be delivered to the audience. An omnichannel customer journey instead is designed and tailored with robust marketing automation to provide customers exactly what they need at a particular moment, how they need it, and when they need it.

Salesforce data stated, as many as 80% of customers value the experience provided by a company as highly as the product itself.

Of course, the data shown is generalized and does not literally concern physicians. But when it comes to pharmaceutical marketing, almost nothing is different. Both patients and physicians alike are craving a personalized experience from pharmaceutical brands, as long as such experiences affect their health and well-being. Even having the diversity of the channel’s “palette”, many pharma companies were slow to adapt to the right channel approach. It turned out that the implementation of omnichannel might be not as easy as supposed: digital channels simply sewing together were too often shown as completely different focus areas without incorporating a personal approach to each customer.

How do we bridge the gaps from strategy to operation?

When you are at the very start of omnichannel implementation, you might come across different hurdles. So, some representation will give a hint of what might go wrong.

The hypothetical case #1: one key message that has been translated across channels with no regard to channels format diversity.

Let’s imagine the company has decided to launch a new product and increase market share. Pharma managers agreed on a strategy, designed a journey, and launched a marketing campaign across the entire database of HCPs. The channels used were eDetailing (to present the product), mass mailing, and follow-up activities (approved emails). But as the campaign came to an end, the set goal wasn’t attained. But why? HCPs just lost interest in the brand as they’ve seen the same content in all channels many times and therefore decided to dismiss it next time when receiving an email.

The hypothetical case #2: bombarding HCPs with too much information.

Overwhelming physicians with content might lead to lower engagement or cause an intent to press the “unsubscribe” button from receiving further information (even though the initial interest in the product was high). In this way, the company might somehow increase brand recognition, but it certainly won’t increase HCPs’ loyalty.

The hypothetical case #3: no alignment between F2F and digital communications.

Let’s say the company’s goal was to invite physicians to an online conference. For some part of the audience was enough to open an email invitation and register through the link attached. But many others required additional details, one more reminder, or simply technical support to register. As we’ve seen, the entire database cannot be “treated” the same way because channel preferences and psychological peculiarities differ from person to person. The strategy lacks a deep investigation of what channel better suits each client to reach that registration goal. And what is the best route out of this? Right, personalization.

How to achieve channel interconnection?

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, as a shortcut to omnichannel customer engagement already exists, aiming to deliver a consistent experience across channels. From the technical point of view, omnichannel can be enabled by the Marketing Automation System that binds together different channel-specific platforms and tools. Besides, they are integrated into a single automation system, such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Oracle Eloqua, or Adobe, that serves as a foundation. But how to deal with content then? Content development should not start from scratch each time for every single channel. From this point of view, it could be achieved only by efficient use of Content Authoring solutions, like the eWizard platform 

We, at Viseven, have the required expertise to grow your omnichannel ecosystem organically based on the infrastructure you already have. We help create the missing bridges, simplify systems and break silos by establishing agile workflows. Our team covers all the stages of an omnichannel campaign, sewing together architecture, content, technology, and people. We help pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences build Customer Journeys suited to their target audience.

If you are ready for the next step, drop a line to our experts, and we will gladly take care of your dream project.