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Turbocharge your brand with omnichannel activation​

Executive Summary

Life sciences brand managers are exploring newer ways to maximize the impact of their brand given the changes in the macro environment and physician and patient behaviors. This paper offers a 4-step prescription to adopt omnichannel activation early in the brand planning process to grow prescriptions, maximize returns from marketing investment and effectively orchestrate field sales and marketing programs.

For decades, life sciences brand planning operated like a well-oiled machine. It included sales force activation, media planning and single platform messaging as major parts of a routinized process. But two major events are questioning the status quo.

1. Prospects of a recessionary environment

Inflation and a potential recession in the US and its impact on consumer spend is creating growth and budget pressure for life sciences brand managers. Brand teams are increasingly exploring ways to maximize returns from their marketing investments.

2. Evolving physician and patient demographics and behaviors

Covid-19 and the resultant lack of in-person access made the in-person engagement channel largely ineffective. At the same time, the proliferation of data and sophistication of omnichannel orchestration turned a potential adversity into an immediate opportunity.

While omnichannel activation should be prominent in the brand planning process, too often it is reduced to a ‘nice to have‘, one that often gets sacrificed through the iteration process. But embedding omnichannel activation early in the process can deliver significant benefits.

Growth in prescriptions
Efficient use of marketing investment
Effective orchestration of field sales and marketing programs

With the right capabilities and partnerships, you can turbocharge your brand with omnichannel activation. Here‘s what you need to make omnichannel activation a success.

1. Micro segment your physicians

Deep insights into physicians‘ content and channel preferences, leading to a comparable digital affinity score helps you identify physicians with the highest probability of engagement and drive better prescription behavior. Big data sets such as closed-loop marketing activity data, sales data, anonymized patient-level data, and demographics information offer deep insights and recommendations on physician behavior. Use predictive scoring approaches, leveraging ML techniques to predict key physician behavioral characteristics, like their content and channel preferences and their probability to prescribe a certain type of treatment.

2. Personalize your content

A global survey of 984 digitally-savvy physicians by Indegene revealed that 77% of physicians use digital channels for personal learning and development. 68% of them use video conferencing for professional networking. 62% of them are overwhelmed with promotional content. Yet, life sciences companies continue to share promotional content with physicians. 62% of physicians would like reps to understand their specific needs and share only the most relevant content with them. Apply the granular segmentation to truly understand what content your physicians prefer. Then automate and modularize your content so you can deliver a personalized customer experience at scale.

Figure 1: What purposes do HCPs use digital channels for?

Figure 2: Which type of content are HCPs overwhelmed with?

Figure 3: How did HCPs‘ sense of value for pharma representatives change from 2019 to 2021?

3. Use only the most relevant channels

As figure 4 states, Indegene‘s survey also found that 63% of physicians preferred joining webinars in 2021, versus 55% in 2019. Only 54% of them would still meet reps in-person in 2021 versus 72% in 2019. 50% of them would engage with a brand on social media in 2021, up 9% points from 2020. 57% of physicians were asking reps to share content through their preferred channels in 2021, versus just 50% in 2019. Yet, brand managers continue to use traditional channels more often. As Figure 3 shows, an overwhelming 56% of physicians expected reps to be accessible on-demand through their preferred channels in 2021 versus just 38% in 2019. By building and understanding your physicians‘ channel effectiveness score, you don‘t just meet them where they are, but also improve the returns on your marketing investment.

Figure 4: How did pharma companies‘ use of channels to engage with HCPs change from 2019 to 2021?

4. Optimize in an agile way

Physician preferences for branded and unbranded content have evolved over the last few years. But the inherent rigidity in brand planning does not allow brand managers to make changes to physician engagement on the fly and share content that is truly relevant to them. The rate of change of physicians‘ preferences and their demand for information outpaces the rate at which campaigns operate. As preferences evolve faster than plans, content relevancy erodes, channel impact reduces and brand experience dilutes. Monitor your segment‘s content and channel effectiveness continuously and optimize the variables that influence them quickly with data to make the most from your omnichannel campaigns.

With an effective omnichannel activation model, you turbocharge your brand planning in the following ways

Respond quickly to rapidly-changing physician and patient preferences
Empower field sales and marketing teams so their programs are lock-in-step with each other
Leapfrog established competitors and promising upstarts who are evolving new ways of going to market

Case Study 1

Omnichannel activation augments sales reps with digital engagement

The non-primary indication of a leading life sciences company‘s product did not receive the necessary resources to drive success. The lack of awareness about congenital auto-inflammatory rare disease resulted in slow diagnosis, long patient journeys and low prescriptions. The brand struggled to identify right patients in a small population and make the most of the untapped market‘s potential.

Indegene segmented the brand’s audience by specialties, discovered but uncovered therapy areas and identified 30,000 potential physicians for the non-primary indication through APLD and Symphony. It then mapped the identified physicians with its proprietary physician interaction data and identified and targeted 12,393 high and medium potential digital affinity physicians. Indegene developed a channel and content mix with insights from its proprietary AI-powered smart profiles. It also personalized patient journeys for faster enrollment leveraging the NEXT HCP Journey Optimization platform.

As a result, the brand grew revenue by $80 million in just two and a half years and reduced its sales and marketing cost by 40%. 100% of the brand‘s sales and marketing team focuses on the primary indication.

$80 million
↑ revenue
↓ cost
aligned sales and marketing

Case Study 2

Omnichannel activation drives growth in a white space

A leading life sciences company needed to optimize its field force as its major drug brand approached LOE. It also wanted to avoid any impact on its topline. The brand wanted to expand reach and prescriber base in a whitespace and reduce sales and marketing costs.

It turned to Indegene to power its strategy. Indegene applied its Digital Rep Equivalence model to measure and deliver the same impact as a field rep through orchestrated digital engagements. It amplified sales force efforts with omnichannel activation to educate physicians in a whitespace. Indegene segmented and targeted physicians with the highest probability of conversion, leveraging its digital affinity insights, prescription potential data and payer mix insights.

As a result, the brand expanded its market coverage by 30%, saved 70% in sales and marketing costs and grew prescriptions 10% in a whitespace.

↑ prescriptions
↑ market coverage
↓ sales and marketing cost

Life sciences brand planning process is inflexible, unscalable and suboptimal for the world we live in today. Brands need a data-driven approach to segment physicians, share only relevant content with physicians and apply life sciences-contextualized analytics to score physicians‘ digital affinity to engage them through channels they prefer. Leaders adopt a test-and-learn, iterative way to optimize this process. They don‘t just realize immediate outcomes this way; but also build capabilities for the future. Every modern life sciences company needs a digital-first omnichannel activation program today.

As physicians and patients become more digitally-savvy, life sciences brand managers also need to adopt a digital-first omnichannel approach to activate the market. There is enough evidence that it works and brands have a dire need to be future ready to make a start now.

Get started on your omnichannel activation journey today!

Indegene leverages data, analytics and a digital-first approach to omnichannel activation for higher brand impact. With data on 1.8 million US-based physicians and 200 million interactions, we combine deep medical science expertise with contemporary technology that is contextualized for life sciences applications to activate your brand and elevate customer experience. With experience in managing revenue worth over $3 billion, we partner with brand leaders from developing the omnichannel strategy all the way through to operationalizing and optimizing it.


Steve Andrzejewski
Steve Andrzejewski

Insights to build #FutureReadyHealthcare