“You can’t please all of the people all of the time”: tips for prioritising your multichannel marketing

Jack Sedman

Blue Latitude

In our digital and social media focus month we hear from Jack Sedman of Blue Latitude, who shares his advice on prioritising your multichannel marketing in pharma.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that increasingly constrained budgets mean Pharma marketers are having to achieve more with less. You can either do less (fewer activities) overall, or allocate less (dollar) to your activities. Or you can be relevant: both to internal and external needs.

There is simply less probability of multichannel marketing (MCM) success if you throw everything at trying to reach a particular group, without first understanding how well you are able to answer their needs and harness their behaviour. Prioritisation is effective multichannel planning, cognisant of existing and desired organisational capability, and built around your customers:

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Figure 1: Prioritisation in effective multichannel marketing planning

Prioritisation doesn’t just mean allocating your budget to your most ‘important’ channels, it means mapping your existing channels and capability against the most appropriate audience segments.

The following overview provides a number of inputs and models which can assist with the prioritisation of your MCM as part of your planning process.

1. The ‘right person’

Customer research is a vital input for audience prioritisation. There are three major questions which you want answered, to feed directly into the prioritisation process:

•  What is the role of different groups within my target universe in influencing and determining prescribing behaviour?

•  What are their core information needs professionally (in order to do their job and to reach prescribing judgements)?

•  How do they use different channels to find and assimilate this information?

Expand the scope of your research beyond your traditionally ‘high value’ customers and you will develop a better understanding of emergent stakeholders and changing dynamics of power / influence.

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“Prioritisation doesn’t just mean allocating your budget to your most ‘important’ channels, it means mapping your existing channels…”

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2. The ‘right channel’

Audience insights gathered from customer research can be mapped onto the diagram below. Customer behaviour across channels can be mapped against your existing provision to show alignment (x-axis), perceived customer value can be tied to a number of different business objectives, such as prescribing power or influence (y-axis):

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Figure 2: Mapping customer behaviour across channels

Following insight development, you can plot relevant groups within your target universe onto this matrix to understand the strength of your external engagements.

Research and testing is the only way of authentically validating your existing channels against target user behaviour and preference. You might find that your channels would best serve an under-targeted yet strategically useful audience (the ‘Key Influencers’), equally there could be misalignment in adequately reaching and engaging your highest-value customers at present.

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Figure 3: Channel planning &amp, customer value

Once you have understood your target audiences’ preferences for consuming Pharma content, and performed high-level prioritisation in the short and longer term, you can map channel CPI against the value of the customer. Key influencers can be reached by lower-cost channels which might already be in place, user research can tell you where to invest to reach your misaligned audience.

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“Research and testing is the only way of authentically validating your existing channels against target user behaviour and preference.”

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For instance, depending on the context of use of your product, you could leverage the wider audience of specialist nurses through the lower-cost channels of web and email to influence relevant specialist physicians, whilst simultaneously building insight and capability on those same specialists to target them directly and successfully.

3. The right ‘message’

Equally, business and customer needs must be aligned when prioritising content development and related messaging – an effective strategy will always locate the common ground. It’s simple in theory but customer needs are all too often skewed by business priorities and assumptions:

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Figure 4: Business and customer needs must be aligned when prioritising content development and related messaging

Apart from product differentiation and customer mobilisation, consistency across channels is a key consideration, and this should also inform your tactical planning: can you deliver properly integrated messaging to your audience across the most appropriate touchpoints to achieve your strategic goals?

The above provides a snapshot of how you can manage the prioritisation of your MCM, and investment in your external channels to engage valuable audience groups in the short and longer term. In order to apply these models with any accuracy, it’s crucial that you have a strong understanding of your internal, as well as external situation. Appropriate research will save you untold frustration and wasted resource further down the line.

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Blue-Latitude

About the author:

Jack is a consultant at Blue Latitude, a strategic marketing consultancy. He has extensive experience of working end-to-end on Global projects, from customer research and insight, through to strategy development, implementation and optimisation of tactics.

Project work has included the internal digital development of multiple Pharma companies, developing the strategy and proposition for several Disease Awareness Campaigns and managing the expansion and optimisation of an international healthcare portal.

He believes the primary obligation of a marketing consultant is to represent the voice of the customer, in the context of the client’s needs. Your mission is to find exactly where their objectives coalesce. This often involves playing the Diplomat, and occasionally the Hostage Negotiator.

Can you deliver properly integrated messaging to your audience across the most appropriate touchpoints?