Redefining medical communications in the age of omnichannel engagement
Medical affairs has undergone a subtle but profound transformation that has led to a need for cross functional collaboration across medical, market access, commercial, and patient engagement, to name a few functions. There are three trends underlying this transformation:
- The increased complexity in the new medicines landscape
- The adoption of digital engagement
- The advent of omnichannel communications
What omnichannel is, as well as how to map out and execute an omnichannel journey, is subject to various definitions. We define omnichannel engagement as a seamless, personalised experience with integrated customer touchpoints, where the data metrics for how content has been delivered and received are available and synchronised across all available channels. In contrast, a multichannel experience offers multiple, single journey touchpoints that are not synchronised and create a disconnected customer experience.
Demand by healthcare professionals (HCPs) for medical information that is readily available, relevant, and conveniently found in their preferred channels has accelerated the adoption of digital and the need for omnichannel engagement in medical affairs. As such, pharmaceutical and medical device companies have met the demand for new content with an increase in investment and allocation of resources to digital and omnichannel activities. Interestingly, despite the effort, surveys of both pharmaceutical employees and HCPs revealed that two-thirds of pharmaceutical responders were dissatisfied with their current omnichannel activities. Similarly, two-thirds of HCPs felt they were ‘spammed’ with digital content. Such insights beg the question. Where is the disconnect is between what HCPs want and what they get?
A likely reason for this generalised dissatisfaction is that, in most cases, HCPs are experiencing disconnected journeys where each touchpoint keeps repeating the same message without expanding or enriching their awareness or education.
That HCPs feel spammed suggests that most content reaching them is either irrelevant to their interests or simply repetitive. Further research into the interests of HCPs show, unsurprisingly, that they seek out information on treatment advances, clinical trial data and clinical research. However, they have less time to keep up to date and prefer ‘bite-size’ content on digital or mobile channels, available at a time convenient to their schedule. Therefore, the key to greater engagement and greater impact can be defined as:
- Novelty: The number one reason HCPs engage with communications from pharma
- Specificity: HCPs prefer communications with clear, specific language, information, and terms to help them gauge how relevant the information is to them
- Convenience: Technology that reduces effort and anticipates HCP needs
- Digestibility: Communications that quickly address the information need
To remain relevant, traditional medical content must continually evolve into intelligent content, which can be structured into approved, format-agnostic, core fragments and assembled into various materials that can be used across an omnichannel journey. In our experience, our clients’ biggest challenge in omnichannel planning is mapping out and executing an omnichannel delivery plan that intelligently takes account of the potential touchpoints and possible variable interactions (in effect, a decision tree) while remaining relevant, engaging, and code-compliant.
To achieve the latter, first, we must define our engagement objectives and their relation to any broader strategy we have in place. Only then can we identify the tactics and channels needed to meet the audience and goals across the customer journeys. Essential to this plan is a deep understanding of customer segments and/or personas (detailed stakeholder mapping) to ensure that personalised content is delivered to the right customer at the right time. The omnichannel delivery plan then becomes the visualisation of the customer journey with the key customer interactions with intelligent content developed for the specific persona.
At Aurora, our approach to medical communications means our specialist teams can be brought in to assess and recommend the strategy, approaches, tools and measurement needed to transition from disappointing multichannel journeys to effective omnichannel engagement. Our specialist-driven approach to omnichannel engagement can help with:
- Innovation: Omnichannel maturity assessment before execution
- Strategy: Ensure a correct approach based on the company’s and the brand’s strategic drivers as well as the market landscape
- Medical communications: Develop intelligent content informed by customer-specific personas
- Digital: Upskilling of internal teams, technology and platform assessment, and execution of the omnichannel roadmap
Aurora is an independent, integrated healthcare communications and marketing agency committed to improving lives by accelerating access to medical innovation. With seamless access to senior leaders and an unwavering commitment to agile delivery, we foster collaborative partnerships.
Unlock the power of effective omnichannel engagement for your clinical trial recruitment strategy with Aurora’s specialist-driven approach – reach out to Chris Hall, Strategy Director at email@example.com and elevate your medical communications today.
 Across Health; Multichannel Maturometer 2021
 Accenture: The “new” rules of engagement: How pharmaceutical companies can give HCPs the new and meaningful interactions they want
 Nature publishing. Available at https://partnerships.nature.com/blog/creating-content-to-engage-health-professionals/ (Accessed Aug 2023)