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You Receive the Best from Dr. Umbach's 3 Business Books and 50 Published Articles

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Successfully Marketing Clinical Trial Results: Winning in the Healthcare Business. Includes a CD with checklists and illustrations. Also available as a free audiobook

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Erfolgreich als Medical Advisor und Medical Science Liaison Manager (Succeed as Medical Advisor and MSL: How to communicate scientific data effectively and cooperate with experts)

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Erfolgreich im Pharma-Marketing (Succeed in Pharma Marketing: How to win physicians, pharmacists, patients, experts and managers. Second edition)

Multi Channel Marketing: Goals

You Realize the Full Potential of Your Brand

You multiply the opportunities by increasing the number of avenues to which your customers have access to you. You achieve this by increasing the number of channels through which prospects can contact you and by connecting all channels.

This site offers you some ideas, insights and tips on how to use multi channel marketing in such a way that it helps you to

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Gain more impact
  • Reach peak performance
  • Achieve results
  • Enhance customer loyalty
  • Strengthen market share
  • Increase product revenue
  • Become more successful

What is Multi Channel Marketing?

The "Seamless Customer Experience": Your success will depend on the customer experience you're able to create

Multi Channel Marketing (MCM), or multichannel management or cross channel (sometimes abbreviated as Cx) strategy means interacting with prospects and customers via various platforms or channels with the objective to make it easy for a customer to buy or order or be informed.
In other words, multichannel marketing is accommodating the customer's choice such as websites, emails, events and face-to-face conversations.

To be effective, multichannel marketing needs to deliver consistent messages and offerings through all channels. Your goal is to provide a great customer experience - independent of the channel the customer is using.

Input versus Results

You should clearly distinguish between "Input" and "Results" achieved. "Input" can be described by activities carried out or tasks undertaken. "Results" for our purposes are always business outcomes.

Although common-place in some companies, input measures are always inappropriate for evaluating business outcomes. You can be very busy, but it is important what you are busy about.

For example: If you are visiting the wrong physicians or using the wrong channels, it does not matter how many hours or euros you are spending - the impact will be very low.

From a company's headquarters point of view, there are things even more important than revenue generated: Cash-flow and return on investment.

Measuring Impact

Ideally, you would do a detailed analysis of the return on investment from each different channel, measured in terms of customer response and conversion of sales. However, in most instances, this poses major challenges. "Analytics, "Tracking" and "Reporting" can be nicely applied if you are doing pure digital marketing, that is, if you are working exclusively in the online world. Many agencies have specialized in this area.

However, the healthcare industry (especially pharma and medical devices) is often simultaneously using six to eight interrelated channels - where the digital channel is only one of them. It is therefore difficult to assess the individual contribution of a single channel on the final revenue generated.

Here are some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) or Success Criteria that you may find useful. The first items on the list apply especially to the online sector:

  • Organic Search Engine Ranking
  • Visitors on website
  • Downloads on website
  • Conversion rate
  • Number of subscribers to newsletter

  • Number of subscribers to newsletter
  • Number of contacts in CRM data base
  • Response rates to print mailings
  • People asking for presentations (repeat business)
  • Number of participants at workshops
  • Trend in monthly market share or sales
  • Repeat business: People asking for something
  • Recommendations from various sources

A few things are worth to remember regarding success criteria:
- Just because you can measure it, does not mean that you should measure it. - A few key parameters are more useful than a broad array of many parameters.

In financial terms, the trend in monthly market share and sales provides a measure of the overall impact of your endeavour. It is essential to measure performance parameters once you start your multichannel marketing endeavour in order to establish a baseline. If you do not have a baseline, you obviously cannot measure progress - and then you do not know if you should change direction or if you are on the right track.

Note: An interesting article can be found at: https://www.dmnews.com/multichannel-marketing/the-good-and-bad-news-about-marketing/article/427427/

Role in the Overall Marketing Strategy

Things to Consider Before You Start Multi Channel Marketing

1) Multichannel marketing is not about developing good content. This must be done before considering which channels to use. Remember: A channel can only be as good as its content. Example: If you do not have a clear, compelling core message conveying a benefit and a clear call to action, multichannel marketing will be useless to you. In other words, if you do not bring value to your customers, even the best multichannel efforts cannot fix this shortfall.

You will find more about "content marketing in pharma" at
www.content-marketing-in-pharma.com (English language) »
www.content-marketing-in-pharma.de (German language) »

2) The company must be willing to start and entertain a dialogue with the customer: You want to enhance customer engagement.

If your company does not have this attitude, you should reconsider - unless you are a pure e-commerce shop. Your whole team needs to show a consistent, positive, welcoming face to the customer.

3) The selection of effective communication routes is customer-specific. Thus, different customers prefer different channels. Example: You should not send unsolicited faxes to physicians, whereas pharmacists are used to receiving faxes.

4) You and your company should be aware: Coordinating and harmonizing the various channels is an art that requires time, resources, discipline and patience.

You need to meet all of the above requirements before starting multichannel marketing - which can then be your roadmap to success.

MCM and Customer Relationship Management

In order to implement Multi Channel Marketing (MCM) effectively, your company should have a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system as part of its business strategy. This helps you manage your interactions with prospects and clients.

It should be organized around the customer and not around the products. The system should allow for establishing customer profiles so that you can navigate toward valuable clients.

Your CRM data base should answer the following questions:

  • Date of last contact
  • If it was a personal contact: Who was responsible
  • Transaction history
  • How valuable is the customer (e.g. A, B, C, D)
  • If applicable: Payments made
  • If applicable: What has been planned or promised

Channels to Consider

  • Experts: Advisory boards, professional societies
  • Events: Conferences, workshops, presentations
  • Scientific publications: Abstracts, articles
  • Personal contacts: Network with people
  • Market research: Interviews, focus groups
  • Online: Websites, videos, social media, communities
  • Public relations: Engage the media, work with journalists
  • Advertising: Print and electronic adverts, brochures
  • Sales force: Train and motivate representatives
  • Direct response marketing: Mailings
  • Telephone service hotlines and call centers
  • Continuing medical education
  • Non-interventional studies
  • Professional societies (sponsoring)
  • Patient advocacy groups (a very sensitive issue)

Combining the Various Channels

You are not executing the channels in isolation, but you are integrating the channels in order to exploit synergies.

Some big consultancy firms talk about "Ensure CRM based segmentation and the right channel mix integration with relevant touchpoints along the decision-making journey".

It is especially important to connect print with online media, that is combining offline with web-based activities.

It's important to remember: Your goal is not to create campaigns, but to create conversations with your customers.

However, all of this is easier said than done (see also next chapter).

Seamless Execution is Key

The concept of MCM is easy in theory, but putting it into practice and making it happen is more complex than many organizations realize. Some key challenges and hurdles to overcome are:

  • the number of stakeholders involved
  • the organizational walls, silos and stovepipes
  • differing interests of external agencies
  • disparate IT-Systems
This means that you have to harmonize objectives, bridge gaps and orchestrate team efforts. This endeavour requires excellent leadership and project management skills.

Effective Implementation

Some more tips for effective execution:

  • Attract good people: Get talent on board
  • Train and teach your team members
  • Demand performance
  • Write a comprehensive action plan
  • Post deadlines and milestones: Make timelines visible
  • Monitor performance
  • Ensure follow-up
  • Appreciate and reward your people

A critical comment:"Multichannel Marketing: Easy to Brag About, but Difficult to Do" : Article »

About the Author

You benefit from Dr. Umbach's experience as

  • Prescribing physician
  • Medical Advisor und Medical Director
  • Pharmaco Vigilance Officer
  • Marketing Director and Brand Team Leader
  • Author of 3 books, 50 articles and 80 videos
  • Lecturer and guest professor
  • Independent entrepreneur
  • Trainer and facilitator in 500 workshops
  • Consultant to more than 40 companies
  • More »

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