Content Marketing

The Next Generation of Multi-Channel Marketing

The Next Generation of Multi-Channel Marketing

Healthcare is the most personal of categories, and the micro-/macro-economic benefits of addressing individual patient needs and barriers at population-level scale are huge. Digital marketers from the early 2000s will remember the earliest pushes into personalization – most efforts were not successful. But a lot has changed, especially in the past year. A new generation of multi-channel marketing (MCM) is coming – one that successfully merges time-tested crafts of traditional digital, direct, and RM with rationalized people-based marketing enabled by ad-tech and CRM automation.We see 2016 marking the turning point in our ability to orchestrate a direct, personal customer interaction in a logical, spontaneous sequence, that is automated and in real time. The results we’re seeing are positive – lifts in ROI as high as 5-10% across industry groups, as well as higher engagement rates, lower media costs, more scalable revenue and profits, better health outcomes, and a rich proprietary data trove that drives the single-most-important source of competitive advantage today – customer relationships.
MCM transformation must now move beyond the incremental. Bigger value creation will be architected through connected journeys where segmented, personalized game plans automate a range of individual addressable opportunities. These media investments won’t necessarily show up on Kantar, so competitive intelligence will be harder to glean going forward. Companies should look both ahead and laterally in their MCM maturity curve to create disproportionate value. For example, digital-centric brands pushing forward with personalization may look to drive greater scale and cultural relevance via traditional DTC and pilot addressable video. HCP-sales-focused organizations should better integrate the consumer/ patient influence models and direct relationships. DTC-focused brands who lack time to master search and content marketing can demonstrate digital halo to secure funding for automation initiatives. Despite this great diversity and range of motion, most firms have to create greater value. Here are four developments I would emphasize to drive continued MCM maturity in 2016:
Prioritize Addressable Media in the MCM Playbook
Personalization is the pinnacle of people-based marketing. It relies on the fact that addressability, the ability to target an individual and create a tailored event stream at scale, is increasing volumetrically across all of the people-based platforms we work with every day, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, and many more. As the agenda and role of the consumer are changing rapidly, marketers have to personalize the way we speak to our audiences.
The good news is that personalization in healthcare can be accomplished in lots of different ways with different levels of effort and risk thresholds. Consider some of these as entry points:
Personalized marketing materials include different treatments and offers – or the copy, creative (imagery), and calls to action – based on the recipient
Personalized content provides specific materials that are relevant to the individual based on preference data, medical specialty, condition,  demographic data, or based on key terms that the individual provides
Preference personalization is when healthcare companies enable their consumers to select product options and manage desired interactions
Accelerate Strategic Planning Cycles via Real-Time Analytics
The prediction for 2016 is that advanced analytics, with more powerful campaign platforms like Adobe Workbench, will continue to become mainstream, particularly to inform how customer strategies drive the overarching business strategy at the enterprise level. Traditional analytics teams working towards monthly reports could not, and cannot, operate in real time. Now, real-time reporting requires faster synthesis and strategy planning oversight. Whether you’re in CPG, financial services, entertainment, or healthcare, all marketing game plans are learning to operate in more real-time environments. Thus, customers’ immediate needs, behaviors, and values can be served in the instantaneous moment of truth. Speed to insight is the new source of competitive advantage in increasingly crowded marketplaces.
Increase Adoption of Next Generation of Immersive Media
We will see further convergence between the addressable digital, virtual world and the real world. You must collapse the physical and temporal distance between your customers and the brand while inserting the brand into both prescriptive and spontaneous journey maps in unique relevant ways. The power of both addressable and more immersive media, including live human-to-human interaction, and supportive content marketing will increasingly simulate and unlock steps towards the real life health experience. Journey mapping will focus more on connective experience design across advertising and augmented care delivery, creating highly experiential value chains that are more immersive accelerating the pace towards true behavior change.
Layer Brand Storytelling Across the Connected Journey
A tighter link with brand storytelling will give newly empowered MCM teams a considerable edge over those who try to build brands in traditional ways. Brand storytelling needs to capitalize on the revamped MCM toolset – one that guides customers to immerse in newly combined digital / virtual reality, but also keeps them focused on the behavioral goals that lead to better outcomes. Whether it’s completing a hospital procedure or starting and staying on a potentially costly prescription medication, brand stories are essential to guiding desired behavior. The future of customer care is about caring for people and people feeling cared for. When measuring healthcare outcomes, high customer motivation scores correlate to a positive mental attitude. Brands must be evaluated on the softer scores that indicate behavior change alongside the hard metrics that indicate engagement.
Connected Journeys Will Define What Good MCM Looks Like
Given changing media consumption behavior and the rise of addressability, brands will be increasingly built in the addressable mid-funnel, giving multi-channel marketing powered by connected journeys a resurgence in 2016. 2016 will require a healthy dose of ideation, but shifting to a customer-driven world where real-time segment needs drive more dynamic planning cycles will accelerate change and speed to volume for most brands. Going forward into 2016, if we expect to fundamentally change the way we go to market, we all need to get better putting the customer at the center of the planning process to illustrate the ideal experience, then align the teams, tools, and talent to push ahead further and faster in the individual conversations that will drive brand success going forward.

Customer Experience Lead in Life Sciences at Merkle
For more than 16 years, Croom has led integrated customer relationship marketing engagements that have driven growth for Fortune 500 companies, particularly for pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical device, and health food brands. He recently joined Merkle as the Customer Experience Lead in Life Sciences.Croom is recognized as one of the pharma industry’s most innovative marketers. He has helped brands at all stages achieve new trajectories in growth by identifying research-based insights, delivering breakthrough creative, changing patient behavior, and improving health outcomes through effective marketing interventions.Croom was one of the founding members of the Strategy & Insights group at Wunderman, DC, an early member of the Consumer Communications and e-Marketing groups at Wyeth/Pfizer and Merck & Co, and the digital communications COE at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in patient relationship marketing through paid, earned, owned, and shared channels. He is one of the founding members of the Health Committee of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.He holds an MBA in marketing from the American Graduate School of International Management, and a B.A. in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia.