Pharma Hot Topics Blog

Is Your Digital Strategy Flying Blind?

We see a lack of progress in many company’s digital strategies as people get distracted by new software, and numerous platforms, that all do cool things. They buy each of these platforms, and then attempt to put a strategy together to use all these platforms and tools.

I remember this happening with a Pharma client in 2008; they bought an amazing personalization platform and then asked me to come up with a strategy to fit the platform. That is all fine but, ideally, you should start with the strategy and then determine what tools fit.

You need to start with your customer. Everyone knows that, right? So you map the customer journey. The issue is that every customer has slightly (or in reality, vastly) different journeys - different touchpoints, different sequences, different content consumed.

You then use a CMS to identify the persona…so far so good. However, in using a CMS to set up personas, CMS applications use assumptions and rules, and lump personas together very roughly. It is not granular to the person. Thereafter, you set up rules to deliver what is determined as the right sequence and content.

This is where these systems are failing: lack of strong strategy, lack of being able to analyze customers on all their touchpoints simultaneously, and the evolution of how the relationship develops.

In order to be successful, companies and brands need to differentiate themselves by adopting an engagement-centered orientation. So, what is your value proposition and how congruent is it with your strategic intent?

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What is the perceived value experience you deliver?
  • What are the series of products/services you offer?
  • What benefits and value do you provide your customers?
  • What are the other alternatives you have to consider?
  • Where is the evidence showing that you have done this before?
  • How does it differentiate you from other alternatives?
  • What model will you use to support your value proposition?
  • What are the key processes, decisions and actions that matter most to your customers?
  • How will you manage this to optimize the value you create for your customers and organization?
  • How will you implement and measure value?

In thinking about drug brands, each of these questions brings a specific client to mind about how they successfully did this. For example, the perceived value experience that you deliver reminds me of a client in the US who was bringing a product to market which was an identical compound to all the generics on the market, but a different dose and delivery mechanism. They created a ‘beyond the pill’ strategy that was highly successful. Despite the product being identical to everything else on the market, they wrapped it in great relevant services to both physicians and their patients.

These are the things digital strategists should inspect before deciding on which cool tech tools to buy. They should examine the entire ecosystem before narrowing the focus on what the most important things are that one needs to deliver one’s outcomes.

Move from the big things (vision, culture, target markets, etc.) and refine this to pull out the core values, brand attributes, brand strategy, business strategy, sales strategy, and competitive advantage. Then you can think about the value proposition, differentiation and positioning, moving to define the central concept, the key messages, the voice and tone. Also, what tools will help you deliver that strategy successfully.

The B2B customer journey in today’s digital world has changed. In the old analogue world we had fairly simple journeys, from Awareness to Lead Generation, to Lead Nurturing, to Sale and Purchase and Contract.

Now, in the new digital word, we simultaneously gain awareness and engage with a brand well before we ever purchase. Think of Apple. You go into the store and immediately pick something up and play with it. The same thing happens online – you are engaging with brands well in advance of every considering purchasing them. So, after awareness and engaging, you move to explore and score, then to evaluate and plan, then to prepare and select, then to purchase and contract.

However, within this new customer journey are many routes, touchpoints and channels, a lot of content and different sequences. CMS applications available today need help as they are run on human-based assumptions and rules, and less personas that the real customer has. They need the power of AI to pick through the complex web of a trail each customer has made and predict what sequence moving forward will be best.

For our clients we take all input from all channels, combine them in our integration engine, add a temporal tag to every ‘event’, then put it through the integration engine and into the Artificial Intelligence algorithms to pick it apart so that we can get ‘under the hood’ and granulate each individual customer’s journey to get a better understanding of how these journeys evolve and change with the customer.

Once we understand how the optimal journey would work for each customer, we feed that data (automatically in real-time) to the client’s CMS to serve up (at least in the digital channels) the right content in the right channel at the right time to increase engagement and customer loyalty while also achieving stronger revenue and profit.

For more information on how to plan your digital strategy, collate all your data (including social listening, CRM, CMS, etc.), to really understand what is going on with your customers and how to impact them to enhance their engagement, loyalty and evangelism, please contact the author at Eularis: to see how we are doing this for our Pharma clients.

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