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Five pillars of pharma multichannel excellence

Blue Latitude Health|16th December 2013

In today’s multiscreen, always-on world, the rules of customer engagement have changed, shifting from push to content-based, multichannel interactions. Whilst pharma companies have realised the importance of developing multichannel strategies, most are still on the journey to achieving multichannel excellence.

Multichannel is about planning, implementing, and integrating multiple touch points and stakeholders to deliver improved return on investment. To achieve multichannel excellence, pharma must incorporate the following five core elements into their strategies in equal measure:

Customer Insight

The first pillar of multichannel engagement strategy is centred on developing great insight, by uncovering real customer needs, behaviours, and preferences. This insight helps to focus your multichannel strategy on the customer’s perspective, rather than solely on your business objectives.

To generate in-depth customer insight, you need to speak to your customers to understand what really matters to them. This insight, in addition to iterative user testing, will inform your decisions around content development, as you’ll understand which content is most valuable and relevant to your customers at each stage of their information-seeking journey.

In addition to this, you should look at operational data to understand exactly who the target customer for your brand really is, by seeing which segments and channels have generated the most engagement and conversion in relation to your key performance indicators.

Multichannel Planning

In order for your multichannel strategy to work, it’s essential that you develop an integrated multichannel plan, which aligns multiple functional teams behind a central objective.

All functions should be involved in this process, as whilst Sales, Marketing, and Medical teams have insight from customer interactions, colleagues from Legal and Regulatory are central to the content approval process. And that’s not to mention Business Technology, Training, and other functions, which multichannel activity is also reliant upon. Without this multi-functional collaboration, your multichannel activity will suffer as everyone continues to work within their siloes and not fully buy-in to the overarching plan.

It’s within multichannel planning that important decisions need to be made around your targeted audience, required content, and channels to be employed based on customer insight. It’s also at this point you need to set your multichannel KPIs, based on industry standards and your own internal benchmarks, to show success.

Customer Experience

The cross-functional alignment around your multichannel strategy, which is achieved through continuous collaboration, will set your organisation up to deliver an integrated customer experience. Delivering an exceptional customer experience will help to differentiate your brand from competitors.

Your customer insight should help you to design an exceptional customer experience by allowing you to look from the customer’s perspective, looking from the ‘outside in’.

Capability Development

Your cross-functional team are your invisible multichannel customers, normally forgotten about when building out a multichannel strategy. However, as mentioned above, it’s important to communicate and collaborate with the colleagues that will deliver multichannel activity, to achieve buy-in. Still, this is just the first step, as even when your colleagues are bought in, this doesn’t mean they have multichannel experience or expertise.

You must investigate your organisation’s multichannel maturity to find out where there are gaps in resource, training, organisational structure, business culture, and technology. You can then make the necessary investments to start to fill these gaps, and ensure multichannel success.

Measurement and Optimisation

Once you begin executing your multichannel activity, it’s important to measure your performance against set KPIs, which should be created during multichannel planning. By doing this, you can understand the return on investment achieved, and improve activities that are not delivering expected results.

Problems frequently arise when teams are reliant on a variety of reporting systems, which provide totally unintegrated information. Equipping your team with a singular measurement dashboard, which incorporates a variety of metrics, will allow them to better understand trends in activity and identify areas for optimisation, rather than feeling swamped by a sea of data that they don’t know how to interpret.

The dashboards and reports should be used to improve your service in a meaningful way through a series of iterative improvements.


Ultimately, without a cohesive approach to multichannel, with investment of time and money into each of the five pillars, your strategy will suffer. This is because each of them helps feed into your strategy in a slightly different way:

  • Customer data and insight provides you with the foundation to ensure the content you develop meets real customer needs, and delivers value to your target audiences.
  • Multichannel planning allows you to create cross-functional alignment, set KPIs, and decide on which content, channels and audiences you want to focus your resources on.
  • Understanding your organisation’s internal multichannel capability, and multichannel maturity gives you an indication of where to prioritise investment going forward.
  • Customer experience improvement will enable you to differentiate your organisation, and better engage with your customers at multiple touch points throughout their information-seeking journey.
  • Measurement and optimisation provides you with performance data, allowing you to see trends, and optimise activities more effectively.

We understand how tough it is to get all five wheels in motion within your organisation. However, with the right knowledge and expertise, you’ll be able to achieve so much more with your multichannel strategy.

For more about our work in multichannel strategy and planning, click below.

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