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From push to pull: what makes effective multichannel marketing?

How designing CME becomes a listen and learn exercise as physicians are adapting to social media
Multichannel marketing

Over the last few years, the way physicians learn has changed dramatically. They access the learning materials and information that help them in their daily work 'on the run,' and therefore need formats that suit this requirement. This is visible in the fact that 50% of CME site visits are made from smartphones and tablets. While this speaks to the time constraints of physicians, it also hones in on their need for reliable, bite-sized, easily searchable, user-focused information that can be accessed quickly, on demand - and customised to the liking of each individual user.

One-size-fits-all push communication is dead, because internet users are tired of sifting through a plethora of information. This is why they are actively engaging with each other to make their choices. Today 50% of users rely on other customer reviews and ratings to guide their selection. The world of continuing medical education has become interactive, and enters new realms as physicians discuss and follow-up on their lessons with peers. In fact, this exchange has become part of the learning process with time zones no longer representing a limitation.

This poses a huge challenge to brand and medical liaison managers. To build a hub that is even vaguely competitive, you need to anticipate innumerable user and learning types. The extent your multichannel marketing approach should veer towards pit stop or immersion learning depends on the target group and the disease area you are catering for.

Some physicians wishing to learn more about a rare disease will appreciate in-depth training on how to identify it and value diagnosis tools and simulation exercises to hone their diagnostic skills. Other physicians in the same disease area will be looking for e-books and apps that support patient education and boost adherence; others will pick up bits of information and look out for news throughout their working day as and when they need it. Whoever they are and whatever they do, there will be a time when they are looking for an online 'sparring partner' to discuss the merits of one approach against the other.

The world of continuing medical education has become interactive

In short, before you decide on which hub design to use and whether to prioritise app stores or e-book libraries over Google, it is important that you canvass the preferences of your target group. In the age of two-way communication, interaction begins at the concept stage. Involve users from the beginning and on an ongoing basis in focus groups, user-feedback and editorial panels. Listen to their needs, learn which content they want, how they want to receive it and which forms of interaction they prefer.

And then apply your insights by designing a site where content and usability are king and that can be shaped to individual requirements and preferences by the users themselves. Your target group will thank you by flocking to your hub, as long as you make things interactive and adaptable to the taste of the individual user. Avatars will learn from user behaviour and suggest relevant content. A flexible user interface and individualisation options are key to attract visitors and keep them coming back to your assets.

The technical options are abundant: interaction and shareability as well as your own social media and email campaigns will help to make your sites known. Particularly when the KOLs who helped you at the concept stage join the social media discussions and tweet, share and recommend their favourite assets.

Sure, it is more involved and processes may take longer, yet your users will thank you by adding multi-layered perspectives to your content with their discussions - a fact that will pull more visitors in. By that time you will have entered the next game level, the realm where the challenge is to determine how to react to questions from your audience and how to integrate them in the follow-up to your programme.

Ingo Barmsen is CEO and Christian Guhlke is director of IT and digital communication at infill

In association with Infill healthcare communications

3rd August 2016

From: Marketing

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