Next week, I’ll be presenting at Intelligent Content Life Sciences & Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on the topic of Planning for a Unified Multichannel Strategy. In preparation for the event, I have immersed myself into researching how this sector is approaching and embracing multichannel strategy.
Last year, Accenture published the results of a survey they conducted with 200 sales and marketing executives in the Pharmaceutical industry, Life in the New Normal: The Customer Engagement Revolution. The top business priority for 2013 for 83% of the respondents was Reducing Costs, followed by 70% choosing Mastering Multichannel Marketing. The use of external agencies and partners was identified as the primary way of addressing cost-cutting measures, while incorporating greater use of analytics and increased attention to digital and expanded multichannel marketing.
Interestingly, another survey conducted about the same time last year by PharmaPhorum echoed Accenture’s findings, particularly related to the rational of increasing the use of third party resources. Although pharma and agency respondents to this survey confirmed interest in integrating a multichannel strategy in their marketing efforts, two things were cited as obstacles: 1) 63% stated lack of resources and 2) 50% indicated that “they were badly or very badly structured for multichannel.”
If the answer to addressing shortfalls in resources and organizational structure is to outsource, it seems to me that these organizations will have more challenges ahead in developing a unified multichannel strategy. One key to a successful multichannel initiative is enabling a cohesive marketing strategy so that regardless of whether I’m on the mobile or desktop website, or watching a television ad or staring up at a billboard on a building, that there is some thread connecting all of these channels to each other as well as the brand.
With multiple agencies come multiple marketing campaigns, messaging, and creative look and feel. How to herd all these cats and provide smooth, consistent, and recognizable branding across touchpoints is the challenge. For example, recently, while working on a redesign for Procter & Gamble’s home care products, I happened to be watching Extra! Mario Lopez was talking about a great campaign that he had just joined as spokesperson, where ConAgra Foods and P&G were teaming up with Feeding America. For every brand code entered into the ChildHungerEndsHere website, one meal would be donated. Unfortunately, no one on the account team knew anything about this, nor have any of the P&G websites, including the corporate site, added any information or even a callout to drive participation in this important campaign.
Multichannel requires multi-communication within organizations. It’s as much about busting silos to open communication across departments, as it is about integrating backend systems and databases, and developing customer-centric intelligent content.
Here are the building blocks for planning a multichannel strategy, which I will be speaking about next week:
- Know your audience
- Do a quantitative analysis of metrics related to touchpoints
- Do a qualitative analysis of current content
- Bust silos – it’s about communication across departments
- Integrate backend systems and databases
- Create multi-channel mapping
- Develop customer-centric intelligent content
- Test and retest
Are you involved in creating a multichannel strategy? Would love to hear what you use as building blocks and what challenges you face.