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Taking Omnichannel to the Next Level: Forging Long-term Relationships with HCPs Through a Unified Asset Lifecycle


Enhancing long-term HCP relationships and brand loyalty with a unified asset lifecycle approach, leveraging omnichannel marketing from clinical development to commercial delivery.

By Stacy Hartung, VP, Marketing, Syneos Health

Omnichannel marketing continues to be top-of-mind for life sciences companies as they see the potential to forge deep relationships with healthcare providers (HCPs) beyond face-to-face meetings. Mostly used for commercial delivery where asset adoption and brand loyalty are key indicators of success, omnichannel experts are calling on life sciences companies to leverage digital marketing much earlier in the asset lifecycle.

The goal is to reach HCPs starting in the clinical development phase where they can help solve issues of recruitment and retention for clinical trials and then stay connected with them as the asset moves through Medical Affairs into commercial delivery. This way, life sciences companies could utilize HCPs to inform clinical and commercial marketing while cultivating long-term allies with a streamlined asset narrative.

Omnichannel is a perfect fit for reaching short-term goals within each stage of an asset lifecycle and developing long-term HCP allies for your brand. The technology to understand the needs and preferences of HCPs is here, as is the ability to meet those needs. I believe those companies who take a whole lifecycle approach to omnichannel will reap the benefits sooner than later.

Omnichannel for Pharmaceutical Marketing

Omnichannel in the life sciences is a marketing strategy that utilizes a combination of engagement channels to reach targeted HCP audiences: email, face-to-face visits, phone calls, electronic health record (EHR) advertising and online ads placed on websites where individual HCPs visit.

What’s compelling about omnichannel is not only its ability to send messaging to multiple channels at once but the personalization of that delivery according to each HCPs specific preferences and the coordination between channels. For example, if one HCP responds better to emails while another tends to click on banner ads after work, omnichannel refines its media delivery strategies to their preferences. It is this personalized, multi-channel approach that makes omnichannel successful and that is forging better relationships with HCPs.

When we talk about developing an omnichannel campaign for the whole of the lifecycle, the benefit would be in understanding targeted HCP preferences early and continuing to nurture those relationships from product inception to delivery. A full-cycle approach would also give marketers the ability to create informed and seamless narratives about an asset as it develops and evolves.

Furthermore, HCPs are on board. “The State of Omnichannel in Biopharma 2022 Global Trends Report” from Across Health reports the more than 50% of surveyed HCPs said they understood the importance of omnichannel marketing for their practice.

How Marketers Can Use Omnichannel to Topple Silos Along the Way

One issue life sciences companies face when trying to create a seamless narrative and long-term relationship is silos. Currently, each phase of the asset lifecycle—clinical development, medical affairs, and commercial delivery—typically operates independently of each other. For example, the list of HCPs involved in clinical trial recruitment may not get passed to Medical Affairs teams and so on. Instead, each develops their own outreach lists and strategies based on siloed intelligence, which creates a fractured narrative for HCPs by the time the asset is launched.

Siloed intelligence also creates knowledge gaps for marketers. If we’ve learned in a clinical development setting that a single HCP prefers a specific engagement channel, but we lose that information in the next phase, we risk losing momentum in building that relationship because we are not continuing to meet that HCP’s engagement preferences. This means the HCP who was successfully engaged in an earlier stage would be forgotten in the next, making it harder for marketers to establish cohesive relationships and create a streamlined narrative. For omnichannel to work across the whole lifecycle, this needs to change.

The Role of Data in Relationship Building

Data analysis and big data play an important role in today’s omnichannel campaigns and will likely be the glue that helps to create a less fractured approach. While the two mechanisms—data lakes and omnichannel--are separate, they work in tandem. Through data lakes, data analysts can locate high-impact HCPs for any given omnichannel campaign through demographic and behavioral information found in HCP National Provider Identifier numbers. When those lists are handed over to omnichannel marketers and field teams, the engagement data subsequently gathered through omnichannel deepens the understanding of who these HCPs are, what they care about, and how they behave. This more personal information can help data scientists refine their analyses and build more targeted high-impact HCP lists for the next phases of the asset lifecycle.

For example, in a clinical breast cancer trial, analysts might choose to focus on an HCP’s proximity to the trial site, the HCP’s percentage of breast cancer patients, and the type of treatment those HCPs usually prescribe. But once in an omnichannel campaign, they might learn that of those HCPs, the ones who engage with marketing and follow through with clinical trial referrals are also the ones who identify as female or who have strong influencer tendencies or who serve a certain population, etc. This valuable data can be used to inform ongoing HCP list development in other stages and guide outreach strategies.

Phase-Specific Omnichannel Products

One way experts are beginning to merge siloed resources and keep all this data intact is by creating data and omnichannel products that serve each stage of the asset lifecycle. Products like these make it easier for life sciences companies to address the unique needs and parameters of each phase while passing along vital intelligence to the next through data capture, reports and refined lists.

Not only does this help keep the integrity of each phases’ campaigns, but it is also incredibly helpful to field representatives who engage with HCPs on a day-to-day basis. Using an omnichannel-driven content management system that usually includes next-best action technology, field reps are guided in how to engage best with HCP. This way, a field rep can confidently engage with high-impact HCPs already knowing their engagement preferences and concerns. The level of HCP knowledge will be so robust, they will know not only who prefers email over digital ads but who has engaged and why. Or at least that’s the goal.

Life sciences companies and the marketing teams who serve them must start thinking holistically about HCP engagement. The technology is already here.


Stacy Hartung, VP, Marketing, Syneos Health

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