The Role of Data-Driven Marketing for Pharma

Posted by Martha Walz from Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide - Parsippany, North America on May 23, 2016


The promise of big data has largely remained unfulfilled for pharmaceutical marketers. Competitive therapeutic areas and pressures from a changing payer market have altered the model for engaging with physicians and other health care practitioners (HCPs). HCPs now expect personalized, relevant communications tailored to their specific needs. But how do we reach HCPs on such an individualized level? Enter data-driven marketing.


Social listening, surveys, and customer feedback can give direct insight into our targets so that we can understand them better on a basic level. Further, digital media provides a tremendous opportunity to observe HCPs’ engagement habits, their media consumption, and their device habits. Tie this data in with rep-collected customer-relationship management (CRM) data, and pharma marketers have a powerful backbone of data on which to build their future communications.

Insights that can be mined from this data are vast. We can now understand why HCPs are prescribing (or not prescribing) certain drugs. We are able to see how they engage with content, when they are engaging, and on which devices. We can track engagement over a period of time, and see which content is intriguing to HCPs and which isn’t. And we can uncover key decision points, actions, and perceptions that drive HCP behavior in real time, allowing us as marketers to immediately assess, realign, and adjust our approach, should engagement begin to lag.


By leveraging these insights, pharma marketers have the ability to map the most effective opportunities to provide content to HCPs, at the times they are most receptive to receiving messaging. We can better understand, reach, and engage with HCPs on an individual level, delivering optimized content on every channel on every device, across paid and owned media. CRM programs can be tailored to multiple audience segments. With this, we are able to further target each individual HCP based on his/her response to each item in the CRM stream. 

The benefits of data-driven marketing include efficiency, real-time optimization of messaging, improved creative, and extremely quantifiable ROI. It will save pharma marketers time and money, and allow us to create real and engaging relationships with our targeted HCPs, not just advertise and market to them.


Beginning a data-driven marketing approach is straight-forward. Start with a strategy, and define what you want your marketing campaign to achieve. Once your key performance indicators (KPIs) are defined, quantify what aspects of your target audience you want to measure. Then gather the data on your audience. Client marketers should seek out and accept no less than a tool that aggregates data across numerous first- and third-party sources, creating a single HCP-level profile of your audience. From there, marketers will glean insights to deliver individualized content that will help them achieve the as-yet unfulfilled promise of big data for pharma marketers.


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