MCM has become such a common topic in the pharma industry, it needs no explanation of the acronym. Its increasing importance is a natural outgrowth of the way information is consumed in our evolving world as well as more specific changes affecting the healthcare industry.
Yet, most pharma companies struggle with how to launch multichannel marketing programs that have real impact. Personal and non-personal marketing remain siloed and the effectiveness of MCM programs is mixed at best.
Success does not have to be elusive. We have worked with a number of pharma companies that see a new path forward. This path entails more integration and leads to tangible, measurable impact.
From this experience, we believe there are six essential components to succeeding with MCM:
1. The rep is key
The rep is still the predominant face of the company to your customers. If he or she is not involved, communications can come across as disjointed or worse, contradictory. When involved, an HCP tends to give more credence to other channels (e.g., rep-sent emails have higher open rates) and they share more information with the rep.
2. Your customers are individuals
Not all customers are equal. They have different channel preferences, knowledge bases, patient mixes, and priorities. When an HCP becomes accustomed to receiving relevant information from you across channels, they pay more attention, and thus you will have earned a slice of their scarce time.
3. Strategy matters
Channel mix, cadence, and topic should all change, not only according to customer, but also according to your own brand priorities and brand context. MCM cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach – the customization makes it succeed.
4. Everything changes all the time
What works best today will not work best tomorrow. Use of data in strategy development must be a continuous process. Best strategies collect data continuously (remember your rep) and employ contingencies as needed.
5. Technology is an enabler, not a panacea
Even with all of our technical tools and channels, execution still depends on people. Seek a technology-human interaction mode that leverages the best of both.
6. Walk before you run
MCM-Rep coordination can have far-reaching benefits in your organization, but starting simple is essential. Look for three elements in your initial project: 1) an easily achievable goal, 2) high visibility across the organization, and 3) a use case that represents the full decision scope for reps. Success in each of these areas will give you momentum to build upon in future rollouts.
MCM is here to stay. Its benefits are enormous, both to the pharma company as well as the broader health care industry as HCPs need better ways to stay informed with less time available to do so. Fortunately, the path to MCM success is becoming clear. Pharma companies that move ahead with the six essentials noted above will help lead this transformation.