Mastering omnichannel success in life sciences
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Mastering omnichannel success in life sciences

How to adopt an integrated approach in four key steps

Health systems around the world share a common goal: to improve patient outcomes with interconnected healthcare. Digital technologies – AI in particular – play an essential role, from enabling people to seek and receive care in radically different ways to giving physicians, pharma companies, and patients profound insights that hone their decision-making.

But despite these advances, life sciences companies still struggle to reach the medical professionals who could prescribe their drugs to the patients who need them. Simply knocking on a doctor's door to sell medicines is no longer an option. And with growing volumes of niche drugs and digital therapies, it's crucial for companies to connect with their customers across the right channels and gain the mindshare of healthcare professionals, caregivers, and patients.

They need an omnichannel approach that goes beyond sending communications across multiple channels. Clinicians expect customized interactions. Some want to access information online without meeting a sales rep. Others welcome a conversation. They all want information on the drugs most relevant to their roles and patients at the right time. And every channel and communication must be integrated, from phone and video calls to email or the web.

Building a successful omnichannel strategy can be complex, but using a proven framework cuts through the challenges.

"By pulling together data from across internal and external systems, AI and analytics can generate suggestions for brand and marketing teams, recommending the next-best action across channels"

The omnichannel opportunity

The stakes are high. Sticking with outdated approaches means limited customer engagement, poor experiences, weak brand adoption, and diluted sales performances. And with different regulations and levels of data access permitted across countries, pharmaceutical companies can face compliance challenges, high promotion budgets, and large sales costs.

Life sciences businesses are also under huge cost pressures as the competition raises its game. They must use their channels effectively because any activities that don't deliver an ROI can't survive. Applying the same message to all channels for all audiences is inefficient and negatively impacts the customer experience.

There is a better way. Using commercial analytics and the right balance of AI and business strategy, a holistic omnichannel approach delivers the right message to the customer – through their preferred channels – at the right time. This is a cost-effective, personalized approach.

Not only that, but by pulling together data from across internal and external systems, AI and analytics can also generate suggestions for brand and marketing teams, recommending the next-best action across channels. So, if a sales professional met with a doctor a month ago and followed up by email two weeks later, the algorithms can advise that inviting the doctor to a specific event the following month will be most effective.

Piecing it together

An omnichannel strategy is a puzzle to solve. With collaboration across sales, marketing, technical, and data teams, life sciences companies can build a holistic, patient-centric approach that offers transparency and flexibility to their businesses.

There are four key steps to creating a robust omnichannel framework:

  1. Plan: Start by understanding your company's omnichannel objective and identifying the stakeholders who need to be involved to ensure they're on board with the vision. Then understand the customer journey for your products to tailor messaging and make sure it's aligned with your brand strategy
  2. Orchestrate: With a centralized data repository, automated workflows, and AI, a company can orchestrate its data, resources, and marketing activities across multiple channels and functions so they work together as one. For example, with accurate insight, businesses can sequence their marketing tactics based on what's worked well for a certain type of doctor in the past, suggest the best next action, and improve engagement
  3. Measure: Set, track, and monitor your lead indicators in real or near real time to maximize adherence to your omnichannel program and its reach. Analyze the impact of every communication, engagement, and experience on prescription rates and adoption levels
  4. Feedback: For ongoing success, review your experience scores and product performance to continually adjust your omnichannel strategy. Use measures such as engagement and response rates to refine omnichannel models and improve predictions on how customer needs are changing

A robust omnichannel framework can adapt to strategy changes, scale your approach, and expand to global markets with full transparency of how data is used.

Making a global omnichannel strategy work

Data regulations vary around the world. Greater restrictions in Europe mean no direct-to-consumer marketing and further limitations on how to market products, so fewer channels are available. In the US, pharmaceutical companies often have access to more granular data, available at the prescription level for individual doctors rather than at a postcode or brick level within Europe and the rest of the world.

Companies can, however, overcome these challenges. They should look at leading measures related to activity, engagement, experience, adoption, and prescription to understand the effectiveness of their campaigns. But even in geographies where access to adoption and prescription data is limited, insight from activity, engagement, and experience is valuable and can direct future initiatives.

With a structured omnichannel approach and careful use of data, methods, and business assumptions, pharmaceutical businesses can predict the best customers to target around the world and respond to their preferences. This enhances the customer experience and increases product awareness and sales.

The impact: Personalized communications boost prescriptions

A global pharmaceutical giant has built a US omnichannel strategy that is patient-centric and focused on delivering medicine in a coordinated, affordable way for patients.

Building the strategy was not without challenges. Brand directors had different priorities and worked in silos. Marketing activities weren't always connected. And some teams needed to be convinced of the strategy's ROI.

The company met these challenges with a well-aligned omnichannel framework with carefully defined goals and the steps needed to reach them. It outlined how to bring different internal stakeholders on board with a shared omnichannel mindset and has a well-thought-through measurement plan.

The company tackled the data challenge by bringing all its cloud-based data together in one place, which it continuously fine-tunes to maintain quality.

With this in place, the pharma business can personalize up to 80% of an interaction with a customer using content sequencing to tailor messages. And it measures the impact annually or twice yearly.

The results? With its omnichannel approach, the company has increased its customer experience scores and delivered a 5% increase in prescriptions, making a sizeable impact on revenues.

Improving outcomes

As technology accelerates progress in life sciences, interconnected healthcare is closer to becoming a reality. By engaging with medical professionals with a tailored message across their favored channels, companies are boosting awareness of treatment options, adoption, and, ultimately, patient outcomes.

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