With the vast majority of our marketing efforts focused squarely on the sales force, e-marketing is still an add on, says Martin Hensen, head of e-strategies, UCB Germany. But successful e-CRM strategies are the basic starting point for all e-activities, he told attendees at eyeforpharmas 4th annual e-Marketing Europe Summit 2009 in Munich.
For the sales force, CRM strategies build targeting and steering, as well as customer classification to personalize and individualize marketing efforts. And such personalization and individualization, Hensen says, reminds him of Web 2.0. But he questions whether pharma is ready for Web 2.0.
The health system is 100% regulated, Hensen says, making it Health 1.0. But pharm itself is no better. He says with content needing 100% approval, social media tools like YouTube and Facebook blocked at many companies, more SOPs than websites and more people in Legal than in e-Business, pharma companies themselves are still at Pharma 1.0. And its strictly Product managers 1.0, Hensen says, considering that most have only sales force, not Internet, experience.
Evolution, not revolution
The march toward online marketing expertise is an evolution, not a revolution, he says, that begins with simple strategies such as corporate websites and classical online advertising and matures through newsletters and syndicated content offering value added website services to e-detailing and e-CME, eventually leading to Web 2.0 and mobile activities. As the involvement, complexity and cost of online marketing initiatives increase, so too do a companys experience and expertise, Hensen says.
Traditionally, the sales force has been the center of classical marketing. Through strategies such as detailing, samples, conferences and service, he says, reps build an emotional involvement with their customers that relies on a personal, expert, entertaining and continuous experience.
But Hensens teams strive to deliver online strategies that build that same relationship with customers. Newsletters, for instance, must be targeted and serve different customer groups by delivering the kinds of service, events and specialty information that MDs have come to expect from the company. Successful newsletters, he says, are organized around an editorial calendar, offer a personal touch and introduce interactive elements that invite discussion and collect user generated content.
And because successful relationships are based on a conversation, its important to send the newsletter from a real person not a team or robot computer and include industry insight and opinion tied to an individual that gives a human face to the company, Hensen says.
Good content and added value are the best arguments to attract new subscribers, he says. We have to be interested in establishing long term relationships. And while incentive is good to attract attention, its not an intrinsic motivation. We must appeal to physicians basic needs we must provide added value, information on how to save time and money, or competitive advantage. You want them to have the sense that if they unsubscribe, they might miss something important.
Long term strategy
It all comes down to focusing on long term strategy, rather than quick wins, Hensen says. And that can create a conflict of interest with product managers, he warns, particularly when the best tactics for gaining and retaining physician interest in online marketing offerings such as newsletters hinge on discreet product promotion with minimal annoyance to the customer. Offering variety, through new categories and series, and strategies such as occasional relaunches and a focus on data quality ensure the effort retains a long term focus and appeal to customers.
Use newsletter analysis software to determine killer subject lines and improve content relevance by analyzing click behavior, Hensen suggests.
His online newsletter tricks and tips also include:
e-CRM, Hensen says, should always be a part of CRM and he dreams that e-marketing will eventually become an integrated part of marketing not an add on.
Its important, Hensen says, to align your CRM activities and remember that although the sales force is not the only channel, neither is the internet. Make sure you have good relationships with your customers on all channels and remember, in the end, the customer must be the one to choose his preferred channel.
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