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Why deploying AI and analytics in tandem is a key targeting tool.
Attaining optimal access to healthcare practitioners has long been a challenge for pharmaceutical commercial teams. In response, they have turned to more comprehensive, digital augmented promotion to put important product news and information in front of healthcare providers (HCPs). As HCPs embraced multichannel touchpoints, it created new opportunities for pharma companies, but also challenges. After all, they needed to ensure their content stood out amid an increasing barrage of communication aimed at HCPs.
For the most innovative and customer-centric pharma, what may have started as a disjointed effort pushing messages out across a variety of channels eventually turned into a coordinated omnichannel approach. These companies use the customer journey to provide seamless coordination of online and offline channels, while creating a personalized customer experience.
A challenge to keep in mind is the information overload faced by HCPs. Hence, pharma companies must deploy highly tailored digital promotions to complement traditional, in-person sales efforts. If a commercial team can address in a compelling way an HCP’s specific needs using the channels the HCP prefers, it can improve its ability to engage this HCP. Of course, executing this approach successfully is easier said than done.
Blend analytics with local knowledge
Using promotional response modeling in our work with pharma companies, we have found that the number of times an HCP needs to hear a message before it resonates is increasing. But that doesn’t mean companies should simply send more promotional emails. Instead, to improve the chance that an HCP sees and retains important information throughout the customer journey, a commercial team must spread its promotions across channels in a way that’s customized for each HCP. How can commercial teams do this effectively? It can be accomplished by ensuring sales and marketing teams coordinate closely, and make decisions rooted in rigorous analysis of data.
One key to executing omnichannel marketing well is to use both data and local insights to determine the next-best action, personalized for each customer. For example, if an HCP clicks on a digital ad about adherence, the next-best action might be to send them an email with details on the company’s patient support program. Especially as companies increase the frequency of promotional efforts, knowing when and where to best reach an HCP is key to boosting engagement.
By combining data, analytics, and advanced analytics-driven suggestions that incorporate local knowledge, the sales force can leverage information that would never be known from fragmented and incomplete data, no matter how rigorous and sophisticated a company’s analytics. This omnichannel approach allows commercial teams to create and implement a holistic strategy that ensures each customer receives the most appropriate, situationally dependent experience across all channels—from in-person meetings to emails, to social media, and other online channels. Call it “AI plus analog.” This mix of new and old in omnichannel marketing allows the sales force to complement the efforts of the marketing and digital teams.
Advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are powerful tools that play a critical role in omnichannel strategy. Commercial teams should apply analytics, via machine learning and AI, to the barrage of data available to them—to uncover deep insights into HCP preferences and prescribing practices.
At the same time, analytics and AI alone are not enough to power an omnichannel approach. A sophisticated omnichannel strategy also considers the local insights of the sales force—the people who know the HCPs better than anyone else.
Most pharma companies have all the pieces of the omnichannel puzzle—sales reps with important customer insights; data and technology systems to uncover trends in HCP preferences; an understanding of the customer journey. Now, they must bring the pieces together into a coordinated approach.
About the Author
David Laros is VP of Digital Strategy, Analytics, and Insights at Beghou Consulting.