How do determine ROI on a Digital Marketing Strategy in the pharmaceutical industry
As marketers we are accountable for the business impact of the (digital) marketing strategies we bring to life. With an increasing number of touch points accurately calculating the marketing ROI prior to the roll out of a strategy or before embarking on an ad hoc marketing activity is challenging.
How do we determine whether a Multi Channel Marketing plan e.g. comprising a specific email program; a certain schedule of follow up calls by “Inside Sales”, product banners on a given number of third party HCP portals, a 4 page leave-behind for the doctors’ interactions with patients during consultation, an integrated sales rep e-detail and the opportunity to download Prescribing Information on the Healthcare company’s HCP portal is going to deliver ROI? And what would be the exact influence of adding an advertorial on Medscape or something else to that mix?
There are predictive models available which can support the ROI calculation, but these are — in my experience — not practical in the context of most Healthcare product launches or for the ongoing marketing of an Rx product to professionals. Here is an alternative way to substantiate your digital marketing strategy to yourself and the C-level.
The ultimate aim of any marketing activity is to influence the opinion and behavior of the “buyer”. The buyer is the prescribing doctor in this simplified example. It is a gradual process of influence typically described as a Decision Journey. The prerequisite for a change in opinion and behavior is the ENGAGEMENT of the HCP in what you bring to the market. And when it comes to Digital Marketing what is on offer is typically content featuring different levels of intelligence (e.g. personalization) and delivered in various formats ranging from apps, to website to videos.
For the sake of simplicity, here is an old school decision journey model.
In a product launch project, the challenge is to help HCPs through the stages of the journey. First, we want the HCP to notice that a new drug is on offer; second, we want the HCP to actively evaluate the profile of the product and find it superior; third, the HCP should be able to match the profile of the drug to a specific patient with the relevant patient unmet need and make a prescription; and lastly, she should experience positive patient outcomes and buy-in to the wider application across her legible patient population thereby moving up the adoption ladder for the product.
However, there are barriers to completing the journey for the doctors.
In our endeavor to move the HCP through the customer journey, we zoom in on how we can break down the barriers that are preventing doctors from passing from each stage to the next.
In this example, the barriers to the Discover stage include:
These are examples only, and you should use the aggregate knowledge of our organization, legacy research or bespoke studies e.g. via the DigitalIQ to determine, detail and prioritize these for your unique circumstances. In my experience, the classic approach gathering all internal stakeholders in a workshop format to collect shared knowledge will help drive the required momentum for what is often also inherently a significant Change Project.
For each of the prioritized barriers you need to define a barrier buster(s). What is the message or method which you can use to bust the barrier in question? Again the definition of such can be a communal process across the organization’s different stakeholders.
Examples of high level barrier busters could be:
Next, you can define the (digital) activities to deliver the prioritized Barrier Busters.
Example of activities could include:
Finally, you calibrate the selected activities by applying the below criteria to each of the digital activities and calculate a “fit score”. You should through the process for each of the transitions between the stages in the funnel.
If you present the process and results of the above analysis garnished with the omnipresent DRG data (or similar) on the extensive use of digital in the info seeking process leading to prescription, you have a pretty solid, if pragmatic, argument for your digital strategy. Here is a reference point for a one slide framework for your digital strategy.
As you go live with the digital strategy you obviously need to make sure that all relevant metrics are being tracked. At the end of the first quarter you have a baseline and you can start measuring yourself and up against industry benchmarks.
Now, the next stage in the digital journey is Optimization starts, but that is another story.