Only “27% of global biopharma medical staff say they are developing an omnichannel strategy” (Indegene 2021).
That’s not enough.
Because without e-marketing and omnichannel strategies, pharma is missing a golden opportunity to enhance HCP experiences across all channels at every stage of the marketing funnel.
We recently spoke alongside hundreds of life science industry experts at the Veeva APAC Commercial Summit, Avonax Global SFE & Digital Marketing event, and Pronovea Pharma Summit.
One of the main topics was HCPs’ rapidly changing needs and expectations.
One of the main challenges was how to attract HCPs to events and how to keep them engaged once they get there.
How can pharma do this?
By using e-marketing and omnichannel strategies.
In this article, we’ll explain what e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma are, show how HCP needs can drive your strategies, and explain what channels you can use within your strategies.
What are e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma?
Marketing Evolution defines omnichannel marketing as:
“[T]he integration and cooperation of the various channels organizations use to interact with consumers, with the goal of creating a consistent brand experience. This includes physical (e.g. stores) and digital channels (e.g. websites).”
If we apply this definition to the life science industry, e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma are about using the most appropriate channels to attract and engage HCPs. In a way that creates a seamless and fluid customer experience.
In practice, it involves:
- Identifying all the channels HCPs use (personal, non-personal, media, online, offline)
- Defining HCPs’ personal needs
- Creating content that takes HCPs on a journey
- Orchestrating channels and content to give HCPs a curated experience
Are you a life science company looking for the best event tech to help you run successful virtual and hybrid HCP events? Check out the 9 event platforms we recommend for 2023.
E-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma vs multichannel strategies for pharma
Be careful! Omnichannel is not the same as multichannel marketing.
Multichannel marketing for pharma is fragmented and siloed. Omnichannel marketing for pharma, on the other hand, is integrated and logical.
Here are some key differences:
Overall, using e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma instead of multichannel marketing results in a more enjoyable and useful experience for HCPs.
They don’t receive the same information again and again on many different channels. Instead, they feel like they are at the center of your communication and can easily follow messages that naturally flow from each other.
Events are becoming a bigger and bigger part of omnichannel strategies in 2023. To discover 12 other event trends and learn how to run successful events in 2023, read our post.
Example of e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma
To simplify things, here’s a specific example of e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma:
- A cancer HCP receives an approved email about a new method in breast cancer treatment.
- The HCP clicks a CTA that takes them to a website landing page with more information about the new method.
- The HCP gets an invitation to an e-detailing session with a rep or MSL to discuss the new method.
- At the end of the session, the rep or MSL invites the HCP to a webinar in which a KOL will discuss the new method.
You can clearly see that by using e-marketing and omnichannel strategies in pharma, your communication starts by meeting specific HCPs’ needs and builds up over time to give them exactly what they want.
For more information on engaging HCPs and KOLs at meetings, check out the definitive guide to great HCP and KOL meetings and the ultimate KOL engagement plan for successful pharma events.
Are e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma something new?
You’ve most likely heard of e-marketing & omnichannel strategies before. It’s not a new topic.
In fact, other industries have been implementing and running omnichannel strategies for years. And they’re already reaping the benefits thanks to the increase in digitization.
But a lot of healthcare companies are falling behind with e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma given the importance of F2F interactions within the industry. They’re still interacting with HCPs through traditional channels such as:
- Scientific meetings
- In-field MSLs
But they’re not paying attention to the fact that HCPs increasingly want to receive medical education on their own terms. In other words: anytime, anywhere.
“69% of EU4+UK specialists and 61% of US specialists prefer a mix of online & offline or purely digital medical offerings”. (Across Health Navigator365TM2021)
It’s true that pharma has to deal with very complex customer journeys, but that’s no excuse for not listening to customers and giving them what they want when they want it.
After all, what better way to break through today’s overly crowded pharma marketplace?
But what do HCPs actually want?
To find out how to engage HCPs at your events while staying compliant, read our article event compliance: busting 5 myths in the pharma industry.
How HCP needs can drive your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies
The ‘digital native HCPs’
It’s the era of the ‘digital native HCPs’. That’s right, those who studied and qualified from med school during the digital age.
As you can imagine, they have very specific learning needs based on digitization. In the end, that’s how they’re used to receiving and absorbing information – digitally.
Given that there are fewer and fewer ‘digital immigrants’ (HCPs who studied before the internet existed), these ‘digital native HCPs’ are the future (and have been since 2014!)
So, it’s time to put ourselves in their shoes and understand how they want to learn, absorb a stack of ever-changing information, and put it into practice to benefit their patients’ health and the wellbeing of the world.
To put the ‘digital native HCPs’ desires into perspective, just take a look at this research from Across Health Navigator365TM:
The graphs clearly show the huge gap between what HCPs want vs what they actually get from pharma. The reason this gap has hardly changed over the past few years is that reach and HCPs’ preference for digital learning have both increased.
If that doesn’t show the need for e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma, we’re not sure what does.
The type of medical educational content HCPs like best
HCPs are bombarded with information every single day. On hundreds of different channels. This is all “thanks to” digitization.
They have the chance to learn so much, it’s unbelievable.
So if you present information to HCPs in a way that’s long-winded and difficult to digest, your e-marketing & omnichannel strategy will not be effective. And you will lose the battle in the competitive life science industry.
Here’s how to grab and keep HCPs’ attention with your content:
- Send short messages
Imagine you’re an HCP and you receive a 500-word approved email about new research into autoimmune diseases. Too long. You need to catch their eye in 7 seconds or less.
That means creating short teasers with a snapshot of information. Instead of a 500-word email, send an infographic or an image with a few lines of text. Especially if it’s your first communication with the HCP.
- Increase personalization
Think about all the sources of information HCPs have access to anywhere, anytime in today’s world. News websites, Google, online communities, and digital journals. But none of this information is customized to them.
If you can tap into individual HCP’s needs and personalize messages to them, you’ll not only grab their attention, but you’ll keep it. And they’ll absorb your message.
After all, engagement should be one of your KPIs for your e-marketing & omnichannel strategy for pharma.
If you’re a life science company looking for the latest HCP engagement trends, check out HCP engagement: emerging trends, success metrics, and omnichannel strategies.
How HCPs learn
You probably have a particular way you like learning things. Or rather, a particular way you learn things most effectively. And there’s perhaps a specific time of the day that you learn more.
HCPs are no different. And you need to take this into account when creating content for your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma.
As mentioned above, each piece of content should relate to one another and tell a story. This is key for an omnichannel strategy. Like any story, it needs to be unforgettable.
So, to ensure HCPs don’t forget your story, your content needs to appeal to a range of different learning styles.
Here’s an infographic that clearly shows how you can adapt to various learning styles using different channels:
The wide variety of learning styles illustrates that a one-size-fits-all approach in your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies is not the way to go.
What to consider when planning e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma
Every day, HCPs search for medical content to help them expand their knowledge to assess, treat and manage patients to the best of their ability.
So, when planning your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies, you need to:
- Ensure HCPs can easily find what they need when they want it
- Give HCPs interactive experiences that help them consolidate material
- Provide HCPs with the latest information specific to their area of expertise
- Send HCPs material that helps them answer questions at the point of care
- Make content accessible on demand, so they can learn when it suits them
- Use multiple digital channels to meet different HCP needs & learning styles (& create measurable KPIs for each channel)
- Get your content endorsed by recognized leading experts in their field
- Create optimized content that is relevant to a specific HCP audience
- Produce bite-sized material for initial engagement and in-depth material for engagement later on
What channels to include in your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma
Virtual & hybrid medical congresses
Given the ever-increasing rise of ‘digital native HCPs’, in-person medical congresses are becoming less and less popular. That’s because they can access the congresses online when and where it suits them.
But that’s not the only reason why in-person medical congresses are not as successful at attracting HCPs:
- Due to compliance regulations, fewer HCPs attend and speak at congresses.
- Ever-evolving technology makes it easier for HCPs to attend congresses virtually and save costs.
To provide HCPs with consistent, personalized content all year round and keep them engaged, life science companies need to focus on running virtual and hybrid congresses. In turn, this will help them boost their reach and advocacy – two important KPIs of any e-marketing & omnichannel strategy for pharma.
For steps on how to plan hybrid events, read our Hybrid event planning: an executive guide and 6-month practical plan.
Virtual life science meetings
According to Across Health Maturometer 2021, “86% of pharma companies in Europe intend to increase their use of webcasts”.
And for good reason!
Virtual meetings include webcasts, webinars, and virtual symposia. And they are an essential channel for all e-marketing & omnichannel strategies in pharma.
They’re a great way for life science companies to deliver medical content to HCPs and also to boost that all-important HCP engagement.
Virtual pharma meeting advantages include:
- Extend event reach: you can attract more HCPs to your event from all over the world
- Increase frequency of contact: you can organize webinars much more often than in-person events
- Improve customer experience: you can engage those digital native HCPs more
Across Health lists 10 key elements that you should have to run successful virtual life science meetings:
- Early buy-in from legal & regulatory on the topic & its approval requirements
- Experienced internal project lead
- Clearly defined target group, attitudinal & knowledge ladder objectives
- Robust event platform vendor & experienced content agency
- Compelling content & CME accreditation (if applicable)
- Speakers who will allow content to be put online
- Clearly defined session host location (internal or third party)
- Clearly defined omnichannel promotion plan
- Multichannel, multiweek reminder process
- Follow-up items with delegates
(Evidence-based omnichannel: Delighting pharma customers in the omnichannel age by Across Health)
Given that only “44% of EU4+UK specialists and 42% of US specialists are satisfied with pharma’s digital offerings” (Across Health Navigator365TM2021), it’s time to increase this number with effective e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma.
Researching the best virtual meeting platforms out there and trying to find the ones that suits you? Take a look at our post about the 6 best virtual conference platforms.
The future of e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma
HCPs’ need for medical education is always increasing. And their preference for personalized content and exceptional customer experiences through digital channels is too.
Given that medical educational content is already proving to be a huge success when pharma delivers it to HCPs, this trend will not stop here.
HCPs will seek content from pharma companies that offer them the seamless experience they crave through e-marketing and omnichannel strategies.
So, to reach more HCPs on a global scale and have a high impact on the future of medicine, it is well worth investing the time, effort, and budget into learning digital skills and using digital event platforms.
Looking for the right event platform to kick off your e-marketing & omnichannel strategies for pharma?
SpotMe is an event engagement platform for life science companies. With approximately 50% of our customers from the pharma industry, we help large pharma companies to create, build and execute webinars and in-person, virtual, and hybrid medical events. We, therefore, have first-hand experience of what life science companies need to run a successful medical event and achieve their omnichannel objectives.
SpotMe has also created an RFP template tailored specifically to large pharma companies looking for a vendor to fulfill their omnichannel life science event platform needs and requirements.
Not only does it include 200+ new RFP questions for hybrid and virtual event technology success, but it also has sections on new footprint, reputation, integrations, and information security. And it contains an RFP outline and a vendor response sheet, so you can efficiently exchange information with prospective event platform vendors.
Download our RFP template and join 10,000 life science industry experts who are effectively mapping out exactly what they want from an event solution vendor and ensuring their medical events are a roaring success with sky-high HCP engagement.