Rethinking Omnichannel Measurement

Article Author
Steven Carickhoff
BioPharm Communications

As pharmaceutical marketers, we invest significant amounts of time and budget in building promotional strategies and campaigns designed to have impact for our brands. Historical data tell us that an HCP who engages with the full Brand story is more likely to convert, yet most campaigns and engagement measurement models are designed to drive and capture engagement volume and efficiency rather than the depth and quality of that engagement.

This efficiency model has pulled the focus of marketers to line-item channel performance versus the overall impact of a campaign. We’re trained to look at the “parts” of a campaign, like the open rate of an individual email, and use it as a guidepost for campaign success rather than the sum of the parts. As we begin to shift our collective attention to implementing omnichannel-first campaigns, we need to push ourselves beyond line-item engagement and think more broadly about overall impact. We need to assess how we build campaigns, how we more accurately measure and optimize thoughtful engagement data, and how we should require return-on-investment analysis post-campaign.

Omnichannel isn’t a digital strategy or a traditional media plan. It uses data and channel variance to orchestrate storytelling and focus on user experience. It aims to meet the user’s need for relevance and utility and increases the overall impact of marketing efforts. However, current key performance indicators and metrics developed to measure digital campaigns do not accurately reflect the impact of integrated, omnichannel efforts against Brand objectives.

Standard metrics reporting fails to measure cross-channel synergies, like how digital display advertising can positively impact the engagement rates on direct mail or how providing engagement data to sales representatives can lead to better, more strategic in-person detailing. In addition, standard reporting doesn’t account for the impact various assets have on HCP attitudes and behaviors.

HCP Impact Score™ – Rethinking our approach to engagement measurement

As we orchestrate storytelling through omnichannel, we use a mix of channels with varying depth, context, and quality of content: reminder ads, driver emails, scientific messaging, KOL-led assets, long-form video, and in-person detailing to name a few. Emails with little content designed to drive traffic to a website would not have the same impact as video content on the website itself. When building a campaign or looking at an overall Brand plan, not all tactics are created equal. However, we often get stuck in a line-item “engagement trap,” where we simply count each engagement as a “+1” on the scoreboard. But, since the depth and context of each asset is unique, engagement and impact should not be scored and measured equally across all channels.

Recognizing the limitations of current approaches to measurement, BioPharm felt we needed a new approach that more accurately projected the impact a program or campaign has on HCP attitudes and behaviors, so we developed the HCP Impact Score™. It evaluates campaign performance by looking at the depth of content available within the channel as well as the utility or authority of content, and then it weights each asset for the quality of the interaction within the engagement. These three factors are brought together to define an HCP Impact Score™ per asset. The chart below provides a detailed example of how an HCP Impact Score™ is defined.

As campaigns deploy and HCPs engage with assets, impact is assessed using a truer measurement scale. Overall engagement is then categorized as deep, light, and exposure with the goal of earning enough engagements throughout the campaign to move each HCP cumulatively into the “deep” category.

As the above model shows, having an appropriate asset mix is critical to achieving a high impact. No one channel can accomplish the reach and depth of engagement needed. So, understanding how HCPs engage with assets at varying depths and weights reinforces the importance of channel variance. Some HCPs are high email engagers, while others prefer print, and still others are heavy video and website users. To underscore this example, if the only asset type in the mix is email, by default marketers will engage only about 15% of their unique audience.

The below provides a visual representation of an executed campaign against 5,000 targets with recorded reach and engagements across various channels. As the chart shows, no one channel can generally engage more than 45% of the audience, and over-reliance on a single channel, like email, can leave significant gaps in campaign design and objective achievement.

However, as you begin to look at unique targets engaged through their preferred channel, the importance of channel variance is apparent:

HCP Impact Score™ Paired with ROI

We as pharmaceutical marketers generally anchor our brand plans on driving behavior change and script lift. And while the overall goal is to communicate the value of therapies and help drive better patient outcomes, we still have a fiscal responsibility to do so profitably. HCP Impact Score™ can help drive campaign design and optimization efforts through execution. However, engagement alone doesn’t measure achievement of our overall goal, which is behavior change. ROI is a truer measurement of a campaign’s success. It also more accurately captures the impact of other ingredients in the campaign design recipe that engagement alone cannot: context, depth, authority of content, and coordination of channels to meet the user’s need for relevance and utility. Lastly, ROI provides support for achieving organizational goal congruence like Brand lift and is a markedly better analysis comparator when looking at campaign versus campaign impact.

So, as we look forward to launching next year’s plans, it’s important to have an eye toward integrated, omnichannel campaigns that leverage channel mix at their core. It’s also equally important that we rethink how to measure cross-channel synergies, fairly weigh the impact each asset can have on our customers, and begin to push for analysis on behavior change.


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