The right message delivered to the right person at the right time through the right channel is what multichannel marketing is all about. And how to achieve this was the theme of MM&M’s March 12 conference, Enhancing Multichannel Marketing: Messaging in Support of Pharma’s Paradigm Shift, held in New York City.

Boris Kushkuley, Intouch’s executive vice president of multichannel marketing and consulting, presented a unique take on this theme to an audience of about one hundred people. Boris contrasted the marketing approach of the last century — when messages were broadcast, and reach and frequency were the names of the game — with today, when it’s all about understanding customer needs and responding to them.

In today’s world, consumers no longer have to rely on marketers or salespeople to learn about products and services. They can easily access full information online; get peer feedback, such as with reviews on Amazon; and use their phones in stores to comparative shop.

“Other industries, like banking and insurance — operating from the premise that their customers are people like them — have changed their business models to provide the products and services that customers want,” Boris noted. “But pharma is still stuck in the 20th century, and we blame it on the regulated environment we work in.”

However, Boris used Copaxone, a treatment for multiple sclerosis, as an example of how this is changing. This drug launched with Shared Solutions, a surround-sound patient support program that includes a nurse call center, financial solutions, free in-home injection training and refill delivery, a case manager, and more. Not only were all these services available, but they were also all tied together. This approach put customers in control, whether they were HCPs or patients.

According to Boris, the brand can attribute much of its success to this support ecosystem, which should serve as an example of the way forward.

“In the twentieth century, it was all about the big idea,” Boris said. “But today the big idea can be expressed like this: The sum of smaller ideas across all audiences and channels times the integration factor.”

It was interesting to see how much this equation resonated with the audience, as many attendees pulled out their phones to take photos of the corresponding slide.

Boris said that this equation allows marketers to create a brand tapestry, expressed by weaving together a lot of small experiences we create for customers.

He explained that the integrated multichannel planning process has three components:

  1. Create a brand strategy where insights, barriers and customer behavior drivers are translated into core marketing strategy.
  2. Create a multichannel blueprint by defining the customer experience and engagement plan across all channels for each audience.
  3. Create a tactical plan grounded in logic that will provide the customer with what they need.

“It’s also important to use data along the entire journey, from prescription and OTC data and predictive segmentation pre-campaign, to segment behavior data intra-campaign, and finally to metrics and behavior data post-campaign,” Boris said.

He added that this model is already in use by companies like Zappos and Pandora and allows already-targeted marketing messages to become more targeted to an individual customer as he or she engages with them.

Boris pointed out that the use of predictive modeling helps Intouch understand what customers look like, identify and score the target audience, deliver personalized messages segmented by target, measure effectiveness, and enhance performance measures.

Other conference speakers also provided interesting insights about enhancing multichannel marketing. Eric Rothstein of Merck talked about how to build the right culture and structure for successful integrated multichannel efforts. Simone Bailey of IMS Health and Bruce Markewicz of Beacon Healthcare discussed the challenges and benefits that life science companies encounter by engaging in multichannel marketing. And Jen Daily of Abbott Nutritionals and Fred Petito of Guidemark Health detailed the content as a service model as a strategy that drives deeper customer engagement.

The half-day conference ended with a panel, where the speakers offered ideas on how the industry can use value-based marketing to go beyond the product.

Whatever their approach, every speaker drove home the message that today’s marketers need to engage customers by providing them with what they need where they live and when they want it. Only then can we truly deliver a meaningful customer experience.