shutterstock_264480446.jpgIn my colleague Pete Mehr’s article, “Campaign Management: New Tools + Old Process = Time to Change!”, he describes how cloud-based campaign management tools are being under-utilized in the pharmaceutical industry. In part one of my blog series, I weighed in on one of those key roadblocks—the inability to “plug and play”—and provided a few approaches to overcoming this obstacle. Here, I’ll dive into two more of those roadblocks and discuss steps for overcoming them in order to reach the full potential of your campaign automation tool. 

Lack of Customer Engagement Data

Many pharmaceutical companies lack a strong process for collecting and validating customer engagement data. And as you’ve probably realized, customer engagement data is the fuel needed for an automation tool to run. Automation tools use this information to identify the next activity and message to launch for each customer. The more robust and accurate your customer engagement data is, the greater the benefits you’ll receive from your automation tool.

By creating a repository of customer data, or a 360-degree customer database, you gain a holistic view of your customer’s historical activities and preferences, and you can use this information to develop better promotions. If you’ve been building a 360-degree customer database, take a minute to see if you’re capturing the following information at an HCP level:

  • Sales calls
  • Samples dropped
  • All non-personal promotional activities (delivered and engaged with)
  • Speaker programs (invitations, registrations and attendance)
  • Rep emails
  • Engagement with electronic detailing
  • Website activity
  • Costs of promotional activities at the tactical level

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it should provide you with strong insights into what your customers are receiving and engaging with. Through some quick analytic exercises, you can identify which tactics (or combinations of tactics) lead to the most scripts. You’ll be able to identify how frequency, cadence and sequence impact your customers. Not only will this information allow you to optimize current and future campaigns, but also it will allow your marketing automation tool to trigger communications with content, channel and timing based on your customer’s actions.


BLOG POST: Three Common Challenges When Launching a Marketing Automation Tooland How to Overcome Them (Part One)

BLOG POST: Campaign Management: New Tools + Old Process = Time to Change!

Barriers to Content Development

We all realize the challenges experienced by our industry with respect to content. There are lots of regulations for layout and verbiage, and the internal review process is difficult due to delays, last-minute changes and inconsistencies from one week to the next. These challenges can make delivering effective and customer-centric marketing campaigns difficult, and can nearly eliminate the benefits of a marketing automation tool. While we’re not going to solve all of these issues immediately, there are some approaches that can help.

  • Create full campaigns before deployment begins. Similar to how many pharmaceutical companies approach adherence programs for consumers, you can fully develop content for HCP programs before deployment begins. This approach allows you to use collateral at the time that it’s needed based on the experience that you’ve designed for your customer, not based on when it was approved by the review committee.
  • Utilize templates. While personalizing messages with the addressee’s name and correct salutation has become commonplace, this same use of templates can be applied to paragraphs that highlight a product’s attributes: for example, highlighting efficacy (and the associated legal verbiage) to customers who respond to that message versus a safety message for other customers. This approach reduces overall creative costs, allows for personalization of messaging and helps with efficiency through the review process.
  • Employ a separate review committee. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of material that needs to be reviewed for all promotional activity can sometimes cause non-personal promotion (NPP) to fall to the bottom of the priority list. Since it’s difficult to argue that promotional items needed by the most expensive resource (sales reps) should wait until an email campaign is reviewed, perhaps a review committee that has responsibility for NPP for multiple products in a franchise may be a good approach. They could work from the guidelines set up by the main review committee but focus their efforts on NPP tactics. As they become adept at working with templates and understanding NPP, the backlog can be eliminated.
Overall, marketing automation tools can be effective in deploying personalized promotions based on the data that we collect from our customer interactions. In fact, we’ve found that the right promotional sequence can increase prescriptions generated from a campaign by 25%. If we take the time to design our customers’ promotional experiences, collect as much granular engagement data as possible and employ approaches to efficiently develop relevant content, we can begin to realize the full potential of marketing automation tools as enablers. 


Topics: Pete Mehr, CCM, Jim Anderson, campaign management tools, marketing automation tools