The increasing digitization is causing a great deal of change within the Life Sciences & Health sector. Healthcare professionals (HCPs) are offered information in a variety of ways and have a multitude of informative sources to consult. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digitization enormously, as representatives of Life Sciences & Health companies are more limited in visiting their target groups. These changes cause an increase in the use of digital channels for marketing and sales purposes. In addition to the “offline” sales representatives, there are currently “digital sales forces” who contact HCPs through social media, online magazines, search engines and other channels.
The use of different channels is also called a multichannel strategy. This is the successor to the single channel strategy. In recent years, many Life Sciences & Health organizations have taken the first steps towards an omnichannel strategy. You can read about the meaning of these three strategies and their main differences and similarities are in this blog.
A single channel approach is a (pre-internet) strategy aimed at communicating with HCPs via a single channel. In the case of the pharmaceutical industry, these are the sales representatives who previously visited the target groups.
In a multichannel strategy, the target group is approached through different channels that are in principle not coordinated with each other. There is often a discrepancy between the message, pricing, brand experience and information. Moreover, there is no data exchange between the different responsible teams and channels. Because channels do not communicate with each other, the lead process is difficult to map, the marketing communications are often based on a push strategy and content is not geared to the phase of the customer journey that the lead is in at that moment.
In an omnichannel strategy for Life Sciences & Health (just like in a multichannel strategy), multiple channels are used to achieve a certain objective. The difference with a multichannel strategy exists out of four aspects:
• The HCP and his or her information needs are central throughout the customer journey.
• There is a synchronized brand experience, message and pricing for all channels.
• The various contact moments are aligned content wise. This allows the prospect to move seamlessly through the customer journal process.
• Principally, one universal information source (instrument) is used for all channels.
A good omnichannel strategy is designed in such a way that channels reinforce each other. For example, an HCP that has recently been contacted via a representative can be contacted by means of an automatic e-mail flow with additional information. After the HCP has opened the email (s), he or she can be targeted with relevant whitepapers. In this way the HCP will flow deeper into the funnel to eventually take the desired action.
The HCP is followed through every touch point throughout the flow. Determined is which information through which channel is relevant to the HCP at that time. This way, the HCP is always central. Because the sales representatives and the other offline channels are also part of the omnichannel strategy, gaps between the offline and online experience of the HCP are avoided.
In short, a well-designed omnichannel strategy has many advantages for companies within Life Sciences & Health. The conversion on leads will increase and the price per lead will also decrease. Finally: an unambiguous communication strategy radiates professionalism and confidence from target groups.