What multichannel means in the world of European pharma marketing

Becky Street  •  3 min read

Historically, the pharma sector relied on the tried and tested format of using sales reps armed with brand-centric promotional strategies to get the message across. Fast forward to today and that style of communication has become ineffective as a single source of promotion. Of course, face-to-face engagement will always have a place as part of a wider communication campaign but, as those working in the pharma industry tasked with forging relationships with HCPs will be aware, there is an increasing need to engage in the digital space. These days comms experts are encouraged to provide clear, concise brand and product messages which can be easily shared across multiple channels.
Enter the customer-centric, multichannel approach — a value-added approach, focusing on delivering tailored messaging via integrated channels/platforms selected to meet the needs of the individual Healthcare Professionals.
But, before we can fully immerse ourselves in this approach, the pharma sector needs to prepare itself. Understanding how the various parts of the multichannel approach link and interact is perhaps the biggest challenge facing our industry today; the new digital channels represent a big opportunity, even if they are, to a certain extent, an unknown entity.
Some people may advocate digital as the only means of promotion in the future, but our view is that it is not a case of ‘either/or’. Peer influence, opinion leaders, attendance at congresses, events and conferences, and even rep visits all currently score higher as a trusted source of information than the highest-rating digital influencer (social media). Digital channels have a strong influence but should be used to compliment the trusted channels to create effective campaigns.
While that balance may be slowly shifting, it seems certain that pharma will need to carry on investing in all these channels for the foreseeable future to redefine its relationship with healthcare stakeholders, including doctors, nurses, payers and patients.
Implemented in the right way, a multichannel approach talks to multiple audiences effectively — the customer receives the information they need in a way that suits them, and pharma organisations can recognise efficiencies by not wasting resources, resulting in much stronger and mutually beneficial relationships.
To launch a truly individualised multichannel campaign, agencies use technological advances in data to collect analytics to monitor and adapt campaigns to suit the individual. However, this is a working progress across pharma — it will take many years for all the pharma organisations to become ‘digitally transformed' using the analytics and advancement to make the most impactful campaigns.
In short, the European pharma industry needs to move away from impersonal brand orientated traditional campaigns and:
  • Plan multichannel customer-centric campaigns
  • Understand the platforms/channels that work for the individual being targeted
  • Identify critical success or failure factors and adapt campaigns accordingly for maximum impact/results
When it comes to multichannel campaigns, OSP can help guide the decision-making process and recommend the most suitable platforms to meet your objectives. And with more than 25 years’ experience in the healthcare sector, we are quietly confident we can get the right message across in the right way!