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The new world of omnichannel: Embracing emerging channels and disruptive tech in customer engagement

28 Sep 2023
The omnichannel revolution in the pharmaceutical industry marks a significant shift towards a more integrated and customer-centric approach to marketing and sales. By leveraging both digital and traditional channels, this strategy aims to create a seamless and personalized experience for healthcare professionals and consumers. The adoption of omnichannel tactics presents numerous opportunities for enhanced engagement, improved customer insights, and increased efficiency. However, it also poses challenges, including the need for sophisticated data analytics, cross-functional collaboration, and continuous adaptation to evolving customer preferences. Successfully navigating this revolution requires pharmaceutical companies to balance innovation with operational excellence, turning potential obstacles into catalysts for growth and differentiation.
Life sciences marketing teams are grappling with the management of a multitude of new channels and touchpoints, the integration of disruptive technologies, and the heightened demands of a more educated and discerning customer base. To tackle these challenges, organizations must embrace change, adopt innovative strategies, and redefine how they think of customer experience.
At the Indegene Digital Summit, industry experts Adam Higgins (Janssen), Elliot Antrobus-Holder (Gilead Sciences), and Bozidar Jovicevic (Evermed) delved into these omnichannel challenges and opportunities.
Challenges and opportunities in customer engagement
The changing landscape of pharma
The conversation began with Jeff noting the rapid evolution of the pharmaceutical landscape. This transformation is characterized by an explosion of complexity, driven primarily by the proliferation of digital channels and data sources. In this era of information overload, pharmaceutical organizations must grapple with the challenge of effectively managing, integrating, and deriving actionable insights from this wealth of data.
Elliot emphasized the importance of effectively orchestrating channels by leveraging data and behavioral insights.
The challenge lies in delivering personalized and meaningful content through the right channels at the right time. He discusses the ongoing exploration of engaging niche channels and platforms, such as TikTok and Instagram, for hard-to-reach healthcare professionals. The change management aspect proves to be challenging, as this level of micro-segmentation and customization requires a shift in organizational mindset and processes.
The demands of intricate omnichannel orchestration is blowing people's minds in a lot of cases, and not just marketers but also data scientists and others around the business.
– Elliot Antrobus-Holder
Change Management
Change management emerged as a critical aspect, and Elliot highlighting that technology is not the most challenging part of transformation – it is instead the change in mindset and ways of working. Micro-segmentation and personalization challenge present challenges for both marketers and data scientists. Leading the organization through this transformation and adapting processes are essential to prepare for the future of omnichannel.
Adam shared a similar perspective, noting that his company's digital strategy revolves around personalizing engagement across channels and maximizing clinician interactions. Building a harmonized process for campaign planning and execution is crucial to scale operations. The focus has been on leveraging first-party data to provide intelligent content suggestions and dynamic segmentation for the field force. Adam discusses experimenting with email journeys and using various data sources, including patient data and health statistics, to inform marketing and medical activities. Generative AI also emerges as a significant area of experimentation.
The conversation then moved on to the challenge of achieving a cross-functional understanding of customers. While data is readily available, silos in thinking and roles persist between scientific communication and commercial activities. However, awareness programs and local country perspectives are helping bridge these gaps. The pharmaceutical industry is making strides in cross-functional collaboration, especially in disease awareness and scientific message dissemination.
ChatGPT is another channel in itself because you'll have HCPs asking questions within these tools about your medicines.
– Adam Higgins
The crucial role of change management
Highlighting the frequently overlooked importance of change management, especially within an industry historically bound by well-defined roles, Adam stressed the necessity for substantial investment. As these roles evolve to meet the demands of the digital age, organizations must invest significantly in upskilling their workforce. Empowering employees to make data-driven decisions that align with the evolving strategies of the company is paramount to success.
Additionally, the conversation underscores the need to rethink how information is presented and trusted within the organization. Building trust in AI and automation proves to be a substantial challenge, especially within the highly regulated medical and commercial segments of the pharmaceutical industry. This transformation necessitates a different approach to selling and the careful cultivation of confidence among stakeholders.
Elliot’s idea of starting with a clean slate gained particular relevance when launching new products or entering new markets. Instead of grappling with the complexities of altering existing processes, organizations can design entirely new go-to-market models. However, it's crucial to acknowledge that this approach comes with its own set of challenges. It may potentially result in the operation of two different models concurrently, creating a bimodal organizational structure and exacerbating challenges.
The power of video
The crucial role of content and video was underscored, with a particular focus on their influence on healthcare professional (HCP) decision-making processes. Bozidar emphasized that video content, when presented by trusted opinion leaders, can hold considerable influence. With the power of AI, rapidly produced, personalized, and visually engaging videos (accompanied by appropriate disclaimers) have the power to establish trust and drive engagement.
Moreover, Bozidar highlighted the crucial role of a Centralized Data Platform (CDP) in this context. The CDP serves as the cornerstone, facilitating the organization and centralization of data—a fundamental prerequisite for realizing the potential of personalization and automation in the pharmaceutical industry. Learn how to effectively leverage a CDP to create industry-leading customer experiences for life sciences success.
It will become increasingly difficult to function and execute any kind of engagement or marketing without first-party data.
– Bozidar Jovicevic
The promise of generative AI
The conversation takes ventures into the future as the participants discuss the role of generative AI and machine learning (ML) models in the pharmaceutical industry. Adam raised an important question: how can organizations cultivate trust in AI models that may not lend themselves to easy validation throughout their development?
Offering an optimistic perspective, Bozidar highlighted the considerable potential of AI in compliant content creation at scale. AI-powered avatars and language capabilities are poised to revolutionize content production while ensuring compliance. The prospect of generating compliant content in multiple languages, coupled with real-time rule enforcement, promises to significantly enhance the efficiency of content approval processes.
Navigating omnichannel transformation with confidence
In conclusion, the omnichannel transformation sweeping through the pharmaceutical industry offers a landscape brimming with opportunities and challenges. To successfully navigate this complexity, organizations must invest heavily in change management, elevate the skills of their workforce, and focus on building trust in AI and automation. Additionally, the transformative potential of video content and the critical role of a centralized data platform cannot be overstated. These elements are foundational in achieving personalization and automation, and pivotal to staying competitive in the industry.
As pharma companies continue to adapt and innovate, building on advanced data management, cutting-edge technology, and creative engagement channels remains the key to success in omnichannel engagement. This in-depth exploration of insights from industry experts underscores the transformative potential of technology to improve engagement, ultimately paving the way for a more efficient, data-driven and patient-centric pharmaceutical landscape.

Insights to build #FutureReadyHealthcare