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Looking at the night sky, we might think about the horizons that technologies open for customer interaction and what lies ahead. Today the variety of channels available for customer interaction captures the imagination, however, without a sufficient amount of data, we can compare our audience to distant stars that we try to reach in the dark.
Thus, the way organizations are collecting, managing, and utilizing users’ data in the era of digital omnichannel technologies has become a serious competitive advantage allowing them to provide something extra to the customers. How is it for pharma companies that have followed the path of digitalization but remain especially burdened in terms of different regulations? Let’s talk about how omnichannel technologies address these issues, introducing the secure basis for pharma communication in terms of regulatory compliance.
Pharma’s regular operations are closely related to the procedure of consent collection. This is an obligatory practice as the data they possess is under the label ‘sensitive.’ Thus, at all times, the biggest possible threat to the pharma company’s reputation was the disclosure of confidential information.
Under consent collection, we mean the generally accepted procedure when a physician or patient provides a legal basis for further communication with a particular pharmaceutical brand, providing their personal information like gender, age, location, email address, interests, etc. The marketers use this information to provide them with targeted ads and commit to processing and storing the obtained data properly, providing the correct operation of systems and tools that collect this data.
This process is supported by General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This remarkable regulation obliges all brands you interact with to first ask consent before processing your data.
Another urgent regulation is California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA that is aimed at protecting your right as a consumer enabling you to opt out of further communication and use of your data at any time.
The consent policy may vary in complexity depending on the regulatory bodies of different countries. Usually, the compliance departments in pharma companies are responsible for ensuring that all the activities of the company are clearly regulated and comply with all laws, and regulations.
However, despite that, pharmaceutical companies annually pay billions of dollars in fines for violations of rules or regulations.
Consent can exist in several forms:
The rise of omnichannel communication has offered a wide range of opportunities for improved customer experience, however, at the same time, it comes along with many challenges of consent collection for numerous pharma companies.
Making the transition from in-personal interaction to digital, we have inherited a huge amount of data that, if used correctly, allows us to deliver HCPs the ever-personalized content. We got an extra bunch of channels to deliver the right message to the HCPs, however, their newly acquired digital consuming habits have migrated from ordinary life to professional activities, and now they spend much of their working time balancing between devices. Now half of the HCPs said they want to receive promotional content on their mobile or tablet. Another 62% of HCPs and 57% of HCPs opt to get clinical and medical content on computers/laptops.
This causes problems for pharma companies as it damages the environment in which they are accustomed to living. In the days when communication with a doctor was based mainly on personal communication, the process of gaining consent was strikingly different from what it is today.
With the splash of digital activities, there was a need to manage huge amounts of data across multiple channels. For pharma, it has become a real challenge as there is still a huge gap in how to set up consent collection via digital channels. On the other hand, there is a tangled mess of regulatory measures in the industry that have no right to be violated.
The consent collection process depends on the type of interaction, whether it is face-to-face or virtual interaction. As you may understand, it also depends on the Customer’s requirements, country legislation, and regulations. As, for example, certain countries require reps to send confirmation to HCPs for capturing consent. This can also be done via email. Other countries have regulations requiring HCPs to verify their email addresses when giving consent to receive email communications.
In simply regulated countries, only 1 checkbox is required in the form to receive consent and communicate via all channels. In countries with more complicated regulations, 2 checkboxes are required. The difference in the number of channels that will be engaged in a communication. Usually, the subdivision is as follows:
Also, the variety of tools that can be utilized for consent capturing. During the face-to-face meeting, consent is usually gathered with CLM (mobile part of the CRM). During virtual interaction, we can reinforce it with emails, landing pages, webinar registration, or filling out a form to download any materials which always results in better HCP engagement rate (43% of HCPs agree). In the end of the journey, customer data is transmitted to a customer’s CRM or consent management system.
Today, buyers are happy to provide their data in exchange for personalization to the brands they trust. However, in the pursuit of personalization, we should not forget about the importance of following all the rules of customer data management for HCPs.
According to the GDPR, subscribers must have full control over the information they share and have easily searchable access to documents explaining the purposes for which their data will be used.
The main rule of CCPA must be observed that implies that before users consent to the processing of their data, they have the right to be informed that at any time they may refuse to communicate further.
All materials and language you use to gather consent should be clear, understandable, and should not include vague, difficult-to-understand forms, wording, and terms.
Earlier, in the article ‘Ensuring data security and compliance in pharma’s digital transformation’, we talked a lot about how to achieve security in personal data management and derived a golden rule for working with customer data, which read as follows:
The customer should always be provided with transparency on what their data is used for, what channels will be engaged, and see what’s behind each tick they put into a checkbox.
Earlier the routine communication of pharmaceutical companies with their target audience is based on personal communication. This was the case until the surge in digital activity and companies began to communicate with doctors through digital communication channels. This way of communication has settled in and turned out to be the preferred mode of communication to both parties.
Pharma companies have reaped the benefits in terms of significantly higher engagement rates, while HCPs have found the optimal way to communicate with pharma brands without significant damage to their schedule. This can be traced in numbers saying that 50% of HCPs would like to engage digitally and remotely given their tight schedule.
On the long road to obtaining a doctor’s consent, the biggest obstacle for a medical representative is primarily to get to this doctor, fit into the schedule and persuade them to give consent. Note that the last HCPs do without much enthusiasm. Thus, the most justifiable method is to collect consent through at least several channels.
It turned out that the easiest way to get to the HCP is through their daily habits. The wide range of channels they use every day provides various opportunities to show up on their radar. It takes is qualitative content and an understanding of where to sell it. 61% of HCPs said they want pharma sales reps to have a better understanding of their needs and the needs of their patients.
This is where the omnichannel stepped in and thrived introducing the new look at targeted digital HCP engagement. The ability to build a detailed customer journey allows to capture each interaction and consent in detail and provide the customer with the rights information through the right channel.
For pharma companies, this means a large financial investment in terms of change management and the involvement of professionals who understand the specifics of the pharma industry and the process of collecting consents as well. A million-dollar issue? Not really since annual fines paid by pharmaceutical companies for non-compliance reach $9.6 million.
Becoming a trusted service provider takes compliance with certain communication rules, among them, are:
The modern customer got used to the convenience of communication and independent choice of the appropriate format. The main idea is to communicate via social media, context, and target ads to the potential audience and provide some useful materials relating to their therapeutic area. Emails are the preferred channel for many HCPs. We can use them to introduce many types of content like webinar recording, presentation, and other useful materials. The engagement may also occur through landing pages, social media, posts, and many others.
For example, pharma may develop a webinar involving KOL to expose the depth of the problem and build trust in the product showing its expertise. It would be a good piece of scientific content. To make it saleable on the market, it is crucial to present it to the right segment of HCPs through the channel they use.
When in a certain country, we may have one checkbox, the flow is relatively simple. When there are two, the information in the customer’s account in the marketing automation system must be collected in separate fields. This, in turn, requires expert intervention, a specialist who can reconfigure these two fields in the automation system’s code, avoiding critical errors in the account.
In some cases, companies reaping the benefits of the omnichannel approach may immediately define the target segment of HCPs and create the interactive content to satisfy their basic request a priori; conduct A/B testing, set the right targeting, and create the highly personalized social media marketing campaign.
The advanced agencies on the market are distinguished by combining the technical and marketing expertise when it comes to omnichannel. This is especially graphical when it comes to consent. As a global provider of omnichannel services, Viseven implements Consent Collection and Management projects for global pharma companies considering their specifics and marketing goals. Fill out the form below to get a personal expertise and reap the benefits of digital communication in the most compliant manner.