Creating a Seamless Customer Journey in Pharmaceutical Industry Through Multi-Channel Marketing

The pharmaceutical industry is looking towards innovative ways to create and communicate values to its customers as several blockbuster drugs are reaching patent cliff. In today’s market, with decreasing access to Health Care Professionals (HCP) and increasing adoption of mobile devices by the Health Care Professionals, the traditional sales force strategies need to be realigned and complemented with digital inventions.

Multi-Channel Marketing has emerged to complement Sales Force initiatives to reach out to the customers in most efficient and cost effective way. With the advent of digital technologies, the pharmaceutical industry is exploring the option of reaching out to the customers using non-personal digital channels such as email, brand websites, online forums, electronic detailing to name a few in addition to the Field force. The pharmaceutical companies are able to build a seamless customer journey with synchronized and sequential use of multiple channels to communicate with the customers.

Multi-Channel Marketing (MCM) is the mode of reaching out to customers through various channels. This has been a very popular concept in various industries where we have seen credit card or insurance companies trying to reach out to us through multiple channels – Emails, Direct Mails, TV ads, Newspaper ads, etc. Traditionally the pharmaceutical industry has been relying mostly on its sales forces to convey the message and has not utilized other modes of communication to its full extent. But in recent times, the environment has changed and doctors only want to see/ hear the information which they require and in the way they want. The access to the Health Care Professionals (HCPs) for face-to-face Sales Rep interactions is decreasing and HCPs are adopting digital media to obtain required information.

This change in HCP behavior is driving the pharmaceutical industry to adopt Multi-channel marketing to communicate with customers.

But MCM comes with its own challenges. Imagine fifteen different instruments are played at random and you are forced to listen to it – it will be a painful experience rather than being an elated customer experience. On the contrary, if the same fifteen instruments are played in an orchestra in a well-organized way, they create a soothing experience to our ears. Similarly, if a particular pharmaceutical company tries to reach out to a particular physician, through different channels with uncoordinated messages, the communication creates a sense of nuisance than a pleasant customer experience.

Current State vs To be State of Health Care Professional (HCP) Communications:

(I)Pre-MCM era:

(A)Pharmaceutical Company’s Interaction with HCPs:·

a. Pharmaceutical companies mostly rely on Sales Force to provide details about their brands to HCPs

b. Low Knowledge of HCPs’ needs

c. Limited time to provide information to the HCPs:2 – 3 mins detailing interaction with each HCP

(B) HCPs experience:

a. HCPs get unwanted information

b. HCPs do not have the required information (e.g.: Formulary, Dosage, Product Info, Side effects etc.) to prescribe the brand

(C) Results:

a. Incomplete knowledge about brands, prohibits HCPs from prescribing new brands and restricts themselves to fewer brands

(D) Customer Experience Level:


(II) MCM era:

(A)Pharmaceutical Company’s Interaction with HCPs:

a. Non-Personal channels implemented to compliment Sales Force

b. Uncoordinated channel interactions with HCPs

c. Pharmaceutical companies provide a plethora of information without any knowledge about HCPs’ need

(B) HCPs experience:

a. HCPs receive multiple non-correlated communication from pharmaceutical companies

b. HCPs face challenges to use the received information

(C) Results:

a. Plethora of uncoordinated communication, creates a sense of discomfort among HCPs

(D) Customer Experience Level:

Low – Medium

(III) Customer Centricity through MCM:

(A) Pharmaceutical Company’s Interaction with HCPs:·

a.Pharmaceutical companies communicate with HCPs through coordinated personal (Face to Face) and non-personal (Digital) channels

b. Pharmaceutical companies have a knowledge of HCPs channel preferences and interacts with the preferred channel

c.Pharmaceutical companies educate HCPs about their brands through non-personal channels

d. Pharmaceutical companies gather feedback about the HCPs through non-personal channels and Field Force

(B) HCPs experience:

a. HCPs receives the information they require in the mode (Channel) they prefer

b. HCPs are educated and can take informed decisions while prescribing

(C) Results:

a. The synchronized way of information delivery by multiple channels creates an elated experience among HCPs

b. HCPs start prescribing newer brands

(D) Customer Experience Level:

Improved experience

Brand Loyal

Implementing seamless customer journey through MCM

Following key steps are to be taken to create a seamless customer journey through Multi-Channel Marketing:

Knowing the customer:

A Multi-Channel communication journey starts with knowing the customer. Pharma companies need to create technological infrastructure to gather and store actionable data regarding their customers. The data needs to be collected from:

1. Monthly Sales data – This provides the HCP level sales data (Total prescriptions and New prescriptions, Competitive prescription data)

2. Marketing Communication data – This provides the details of campaigns targeted to the HCPs and HCP’s responses to the campaigns over past three to six months

3. Analytics driven data – This provides analytical insights about the HCP’s channel and offer preferences, several analytically driven behavioral information and insights and predictive modeling output to generate customer journey

Communicating with the customer through MCM

Customers like to receive the unique information based on their interests and through their preferred channels of communication. Ideally, Pharma companies need to create customized promotional campaigns at individual customer level and communicate through their preferred channel to have maximum customer engagement. But this will increase the operational cost and hazards. To obtain the optimum result, customers can be grouped into several micro-segments based on customer’s behavioral similarities, channel preferences, offer likeliness and specialties. A sequence of multi-channel interactions can be defined for each customer micro-segment. The campaign tactics are to be sequenced into stages and each stage to be triggered by the responses of the HCPs in the previous stage. Therefore, a segment specific customer journey is defined as a multi-channel campaign plan.

The pharmaceutical companies are adopting various analytical approaches to generate the campaign plan and using campaign management tools to build and execute the plan.

Measuring the engagement of the customer and impact created

Measuring the engagement level is a key to understand the effectiveness of the communication made for each customer micro-segment.

For measuring the customer engagement level, historical sales data and the targeted campaign data need to be integrated. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to be defined to identify the difference in customer behavior.

Based on the engagement level of the customers, the campaign plan needs to be revised.


Generating a profound analytical insight about individual customer segment, preparing a customer journey (campaign plan) for individual segment based on analytical insights, automating the campaign plan using a campaign management tool and learning and optimizing the campaign plan based on customer responses can help the pharmaceutical companies create a seamless customer journey using Multi-Channel Marketing. This will enable the pharmaceutical companies to engage with the customers with the specific details they want and to communicate with the customers with the preferred medium at their individual pace.

Source by Arindam Mukherjee


Professional Graphic Designer

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