Creating a successful pharmaceutical marketing strategy and plan

Have you noticed how everyone’s got a slightly different take on pharmaceutical marketing and in particular multi-channel? You’ll hear views about how it can turn pharma marketing teams into agile marketing machines or how it’s the natural evolution of CRM; some claim it offers a way in which sales and marketing teams can work more collaboratively together, or it’s simply the best way to incorporate digital channels into the marketing mix.

The other interesting thing about multi-channel for pharma marketing is that there’s a lot of people talking about how important it is and why it should be adopted, but very few are actually showing how to create a strategy or implementation plan.

Well, as a healthcare communications agency with strategic chops and a sharing nature, sit back because this post is going to take you through, step by step, how to create your multi-channel pharmaceutical marketing strategy and how to build out your tactical plans to implement it.

1. What does good look like?

First things first, you’ll need to be clear about your objectives and how success will be measured. Then be clear about who you’re targeting, prescribers, patients or payers and decide if it’s worth profiling and segmenting this audience group.

Ensure you have a persona for your target audience group or segment and a high-level experience journey map for them, we use a 4 phase journey map as shown below.

pharmaceutical marketing

2. Get to know your audience

Next, choose the relevant phase of the journey and set out the relationship stages for this phase. For example for HCPs in the Product Launch phase the relationship stages may be A) unaware B) aware C) interest D) consider E) evaluate and F) trial.

Then for each relationship stage get a clear understanding of what makes them tick. What are their needs, what do they see, hear, think, feel, say and do, as well as their pain points? Also ensure you know what their channel, media and device preferences are at each stage. All this will help you gain valuable insights into the barriers and opportunities which will be crucial for creating your pharmaceutical marketing strategy.

pharmaceutical marketing

3. Fish where the fish are

Next, you can get to work on the strategy, define the appropriate media channel mix by reviewing the audiences media repertoire, while also considering their needs at each relationship stage.

We believe a great way to scope out the right channels for healthcare communications is to use the Paid, Owned and Earned Media (POEM) model which was originally created by Nokia in 2009. As each category has its pros and cons, with regards to cost, responsiveness, targeting and control, this approach ensures you have a well balanced multi-channel strategy.

pharmaceutical marketing

4. Putting meat on the bone

With all media channels now identified, it’s time to build out the tactical plans for each of them. Although the plans will all be slightly different, and different teams or agencies may create them, they should all consider the following:

  • Targeting and personalisation: As data-driven marketing is the bedrock of multi-channel marketing ensure you are using 1st and 3rd party data to maximise targeting and personalisation.
  • Content: Be relentless about creating relevant content and messaging. Relevancy will usually boil down to how valuable the content is and how timely it is. Find the sweet point between your brand strategy and what your audience will find relevant.
  • Schedules and costs: Once you have all your costed plans together review the whole plan. It should work like an orchestra, with various tactics playing their part at different times during the execution.
pharmaceutical marketing

5. Learn to be agile

Lastly, put your measurement framework in place, ensuring the media channel’s KPIs are aligned back to your original objective.

For digital tactics, set-up attribution modelling and use your analytics to make manual adjustments to your tactical plans or to provide further re-targeting and personalisation.

pharmaceutical marketing

We hope this helps those pharma marketers with their own multi-channel pharmaceutical marketing efforts and for the record, we believe pharma multi-channel marketing is all those things mentioned in the first para, and more.

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We’re Owen Health, a Healthcare Communications Agency that specialises in Multi-channel Marketing to make you Digitally Fitter, Stronger & Faster.

You can read more about our thoughts on healthcare communications, brand planning, CX, multi-channel marketing and digital marketing for pharma on our blog.

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