Reshaping pharmaceutical marketing: multichannel pharma marketing doesn't exist

Every day in the company we talk about multichannel, thinking that it is the frontier of the future. But it is not, because it is already present.

I got further confirmation of this by talking to an innovation and multichannel group of a major multinational company. We were downstream analysing the reasons for the success of the multichannel approach and the use of the Remote Pharmaceutical Sales Representative, in which we have been partners for over a year. In particular, the points of discussion were: the method of communication with the doctor, the partnership, the skill of the Remote Pharmaceutical Sales Rep the content, the Multichannel project. Well, the solution identified was to put the correct adjective before the answers: the correct scientific information, the correct application of 'traditional' marketing to the new channels.

To develop a good Multichannel practice in pharmaceuticals, it is essential to always keep the subject in the foreground of communication actions. The doctor who is the subject of our communication plan will use different channels to receive the same Key Message. The concept is very similar to the Touchpoints in marketing which were developed many years ago. Touchpoints in marketing communication are all the moments in which a brand comes into contact or interacts with the customer; alternatively they can be defined as everything that creates a direct experience of our product or service through the possible channels. These are the moments or precisely the experiences that induce a purchase. In the B2B space.

In pharmaceuticals, after all, things can be simplified because the application of the 4Ps of marketing is simplified. The ways in which the brand interacts with the doctor are limited and more easily recognisable and controllable than with consumer goods. On the other hand, the limitations, apart from being dictated by law, are also for the scientific rigour that is the hallmark of the message. While for us, for example, two yoghurts may appear different, thanks to differentiators linked to characteristics that are not really scientific; in the pharmaceutical world, positioning can only be linked to the specifications of the active ingredients, benefits and advantages.

The analysis of touchpoints is broader and more complex: the packaging and its colours, the message contained in the package insert, the visual and scientific messages of the Visual Aid, the clinical studies, the way in which the pharmaceutical sales rep in Italy represents the product's therapeutic specificities are essential elements. If the moments of pre- and post-purchase evaluation are all Touchpoints, if the contacts with the pharmaceutical company are multiple, then the judgement that leads to forming an opinion in the physician is crucial. If we include the service and the way the message arrives, then Multichannel makes sense.

While shopping and strolling through the shelves of a supermarket or while at home reflecting on a durable good or being out and about and window shopping, reading comments about a product on the internet or talking to friends and sharing experiences: these are some touchpoints. Similarly, if a remote informant calls us and discusses with us, sharing a video or if we receive a message via email that prompts us to open a website with thematic insights.

Looking at marketing and the doctor's relationship from the Touchpoints' point of view is therefore a more 'traditional' way, but one that complements and complements the doctor's vision of our brand. From the conference to the pharmaceutical sales representative's visit, everything is already being studied today to get a single Key Message to the doctor in the different ways that these foresee: at the conference I will bring a roll-up, to the sales representative I will provide a Visual Aid: it is difficult the other way around...

Increasing the channels of communication obviously means I have to tailor the message for the specifics of the channel and get the right doctor the message in the right form for the channel through which it is received. Obviously the Touchpoint is a finer, more precise model than the Multichannel and for that reason it is actually more complex, as each touchpoint is analysed in its own right and not just as a channel.

Pharma Multichannel marketing in Italy is the child of marketing adapted to contemporary needs: in itself, the Multichannel is the model adapted to the multiple channels and touchpoints that each of us has and experiences every day.

One-to-One Marketing is a big hat, under which many declinations have arisen, but in essence these are only true if they work, and if they work it is because they are Customer-Centric (I used the term Customer!). And, if they are Customer-Centric as Multichannel is, they are simply 'marketing' and any declination is pleonastic.


Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero

Salvatore Ruggiero nasce a Napoli nel 1964, si definisce un imprenditore seriale. Oggi a capo del gruppo Merqurio, di cui è stato anche fondatore. Sposato con Giuseppina, ha due figli e nel tempo libero, tra un'escursione e un'altra, tra un film ed un altro, è alla ricerca della ricetta dei biscotti perfetti.

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