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Get The Most Out of Digital Communications: Strategies That Give Results
New digital technologies present huge opportunities to engage our customers on a deeper, more personal level; communicating effectively by being relevant to their needs.
But simply ‘going digital’ won’t give any immediate benefits beyond making it easier and cheaper to distribute marketing material. To really get results, we have to access the true potential of the technology by changing our strategy.
So how do we go about developing the right approach? What are the rules of engagement when it comes to developing a digital communication strategy that works?
Be an individual thinker
Try switching your approach away from one-size-fits-all campaigns. Instead ask how technology can help you communicate on a one-to-one basis. The latest digital communication systems give you the flexibility to work on a global level without pushing exactly the same message to everyone. This switch from a ‘push’ to a ‘pull’ approach immediate turns your marketing around; you’re no longer having to guess what healthcare professionals want to hear but rather enabling them to lead the conversation. Immediately you reduce the risk of talking past each other and the physician is engaged in topics that interest him or her right from the start.
Design a dialogue
Interaction brings understanding. The more engaging something is, the more it will be remembered. So use the power of digital interaction and see customers’ message retention rise from approximately 20% to around 80%. So empower your sales force to have meaningful conversations. And get physicians talking about scientific elements with easy-to-understand animations and visuals.
Put the doctor in charge
The latest digital technology allows you to ask customers what matters to them instead of pushing pre-defined topics. So think about making signposts not roadblocks – allowing medical professionals to find their way through your information. And work at their pace. Because smart digital communications put the healthcare professional in the driving seat, your communication must run at their speed. It moves fast when they know a topic well and slower when they need more information.
Capture rich data
Start capturing, on an individual level, what’s important and relevant for a customer. It’s important to collect ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ data. So if you can only see if a message was delivered, you’re still in push communication mode. You can only learn how ‘pushy’ you are being. Instead you need to understand how each customer understood the message, to extent to which it was important and whether there was actually something else entirely that they wanted to discuss. This is the kind of ‘rich data’ that actually enables further communication.
Once you see the value of that initial data, you can look at how to make it even richer – so your next move might be to start tracking the quantitative data against the qualitative data. What are the doctors saying? Now trends might begin to emerge. These trends can be used to develop your future strategy and sales calls. This approach works equally well on a macro and micro level, so you can use this understanding to update your overall messaging or making specific content that individuals are asking for.
Show you’ve listened
By having access to rich data on an individual level you make your communications even more relevant – and demonstrate that you are engaged. So if you learn that a medical professional is interested particular topic, make sure that the next time you deliver content it has some focus on that subject. He or she will be interested in talking to you because you’ve actually listened and you get the confidence that you’re returning with something of value. And it continues this way – continually developing a better customer understanding that further powers the provision of high value and very relevant information.
Deliver the right content in the right context
By asking individuals how they prefer to receive your content, you can optimize the channels for delivery – and so provide what the customer wants in the format that best suits them. Consider eDetailing across multiple channels. What begins on an iPad at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon with a doctor and a sales rep, may finish on the Sunday night with the doctor on his own on his laptop because the content can be moved around to different places. New generation technology frees you from delivering content at particular times in particular places – instead the healthcare professional can access it whenever and however suits them best.
Ask: could I do this on paper?
A simple test for how effectively your accessing the potential of technology is to simply ask yourself, “Could I do this communication with paper materials?” For example, if we’re putting PDFs on an iPad then this really isn’t that different from just printing them up. It’s still a fixed message going out to everyone.
The bottom line is that the latest digital technology can bring about a revolution in how we engage with healthcare professionals. We have an opportunity to make our communications relevant to each physicians needs – something that not only brings more effective communication but also a much better working relationship for the future. But to get there the technology alone isn’t enough. As we update our technology it’s vital that we update our communication strategies too.
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