Inbound marketing is a marketing philosophy that puts the customer at the center of the buying process. This is an opposite approach of many organizations that take their product or organization as the focal point when interacting with their target audience. As experts in the Pharma and Health sector, we see this happen often. In fact, many pharma companies have a product strategy, through which they want to convince HCPs or patients of the benefits of their product and/or treatment method. Although inbound marketing can serve the same purpose, the approach is quite different.
With in bound marketing you make sure that your target audience comes to you instead of the other way around. You do this by providing added value in the form of relevant content. In an inbound marketing strategy, the target audience is supported with relevant content in all phases of the customer journey. You can probably imagine that a healthcare professional at the beginning of their journey needs different content than at the end of their journey. There it is important when applying inbound marketing to research the information needs of the target group. Then, capitalize on this by offering exactly the right content and information at the right time.
Exactly the right content, at the right time and on the optimal channel. That is easier said than done. Because you need to think about several things like what kind of content does the target group need? Which channel is most suitable? And how to determine the right moment? Answering these questions requires thorough target group research. Unfortunately, this often costs a lot of time and money. An alternative is to interview people within your organization who regularly interact with HCPs. In addition there are often customer service teams that answer questions from HCPs or patients. These colleagues possess valuable knowledge that can help you identify the information needs of the target group. You can ask them the following questions:
Answering such questions enables you to create buyer personas. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of the ideal customer, based on data and interviews. Buyer personas are indispensable within the inbound marketing methodology and essential to work out well before executing the strategy. All interactions with prospects and customers, whether through the marketing, sales or service team, must be based on the characteristics and behaviors of these personas.
After creating buyer personas, you have learned more about the information needs of the target audience. The next step is to translate these information needs into relevant content. Data and channel research helps determine when a lead from the target group is ready for a specific interaction with your content. On the basis of (analytics) data you try to map out the behavior of the target group. For example, it is relevant to know which social media channels are popular and which website pages are well viewed. In addition, it is valuable to analyze when the target group is willing to provide contact information.
Our experience shows that social media is also an excellent channel for companies in the Pharma and Health sector to reach the target group. At the beginning of the customer journey, when the target group has had little to no interaction with a pharma company, the social media channels Linkedin and Twitter are suitable for reaching HCPs. For organizations that want to reach patients, Facebook and Instagram are more relevant. The Campaign Managers of LinkedIn or Facebook, for example, offer you many insights about your target group. Because of the focused targeting possibilities it is possible to reach a very specific target group. You can also see exactly how many people your target group consists of. In the initial phase of the customer journey, the trick is to bind your target group to you with relevant content that perfectly matches their information needs. Avoid product-related information in this phase.
Do you want to know more about this marketing philosophy? We have created a page where we tell you all about the design and execution of inbound marketing.