Keep abreast of our marketing and media insights about what’s shaping digital pharma, healthcare communications, marketing tech and the future of brand/consumer dynamics.


Space-time CRM: A New Healthcare Media Paradigm

Marketing automation has come of age, trigger-based communications now addressing the full spectrum of both list-based and programmatic channels. Business rules governing classical email marketing and relationship marketing programs have been liberated from the constraints of space and time. Hard-hitting messaging previously reserved for very motivated opt-ins classified by a carefully researched audience segmentation scheme can be intelligently applied to full addressable audiences. Orchestrating truly integrated digital campaigns that apply the same rigorous logic that drives ROI-based direct programs to media channels previously relegated to reach and awareness-building is no longer an aspiration but part of the new gold standard. To wit, as recently as five years ago, paid media and CRM solutions for life science companies were largely siloed initiatives but for a handful of niche specialty programs. Things have changed.

With “cost of entry” digital tools now including nearly unlimited programmatic access, retargeting by profile or custom behavioral triggers, cross-device consumer profiles, social media monitoring, page-level whitelisting and multichannel lead scoring, marketers live in an unprecedented nirvana. The power of CRM can extend across the entire digital ecosystem – media, direct and website creating an Omnichannel continuum that is a brands’ lifeline to efficiency and growing meaningful audience relationships.

Lookalikes Don’t Cut it in Pharma

One consequence of this is that the world has moved on from correlation modeling that endeavors to build high-propensity patient profiles by identifying broad demographic and behavioral attributes that “look like” those diagnosed with a given disease or likely to be prescribed a particular drug. The predictive power of attributes like geography, household income and favorite TV shows simply does not rise above the noise when it comes to actionable lift on more direct and meaningful health signals.

The Genuine Article: Real People, Real Relevance

The ability to tap vast digital and direct insights using real-world digital analytics and crowd-sourced survey tools allow marketers to build distinct, custom segments and map out the marketing journey that will take each from their current state to the brand’s desired state of awareness or behavior. Channel mix is no longer a templated affair – we can now see and influence every step of the journey, from first ad impression to website actions to email engagement to social behavior.

In fact, the case can be made that the idea of channel planning itself has become obsolete – the digital ecosystem is now an artist’s palette, triggering connections across the ecosystem as even ardent brand loyalists can be engaged from afar as they browse content that matters to them outside of an endemic context. Often, it is these “upstream” touches of loyalists that surprise marketers, a function of both the low cost of non-endemic programmatic targeting and the disarming nature of a highly relevant ad in an uncluttered environment.

Seeing the Big Picture

More and more pharma marketers seek partners that can apply the right tools and unify the conversion path, delivering integrated digital strategy and accountability for KPIs with direct business value. Expertise must extend beyond planning and buying, beyond impressions and clicks – it must include fluency across channels, from awareness down to 1:1 direct communications, from paid ads to mobile alerts to social posts – and in the principles of both reach/frequency and bottom-of-funnel CRM ROI. Marketers can and should broaden their perspectives to take full advantage of these new opportunities.

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