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Measurement and optimisation for digital marketing success in the pharmaceutical industry

In this article, Jiayi Chen explains why you need a measurement plan for your digital marketing efforts, and the key steps and common issues in developing a measurement framework for assessing digital marketing success.

Measurement and optimisation for digital marketing success in the pharmaceutical industry

In the current market landscape, opportunities are arising to engage with healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients through a multitude of digital channels. In the last few years, pharmaceutical companies have been increasingly active in carrying out digital marketing activities despite a slow uptake compared to other industries. Even with easy access to large quantities of data, measurement is still a relatively grey area – either marketing efforts are not being measured, or the data is not understood and utilised.

In this article, Associate Consultant Jiayi Chen explains why a measurement plan needs to be in place, and the key steps and common issues in developing a measurement framework for assessing the success of digital marketing efforts.

Why do we need a measurement framework?

A measurement framework is used to align top-line business objectives at a strategic level with measurable metrics and data at an operational level, with the objective of evaluating the results of marketing efforts. Setting up an effective measurement framework is used to understand your marketing performance, shape your digital strategy, and help plan your tactical campaigns to deliver better outcomes. 

1. Define business objectives and marketing objectives
As the first step in creating a measurement plan, you should understand your overall business objectives and define the specific objectives of your marketing activities. Your marketing objectives should support and drive the successful achievement of the business objectives.

While it’s good to be ambitious, marketing objectives need to be realistic, specific and measurable. For example, “increase the number of drug samples ordered by 20% in 6 months”.

Here are some common objectives in pharma marketing:
  • Increase market share of a product by 10% in 12 months
  • Increase sales revenue of a product by 15% in 12 months
  • Increase new users of an HCP portal by 1,500 in Q1
  • Increase customer satisfaction with portal by 20% by Dec 2016
  • Increase traffic of a product website by 10% in 12 months
  • Increase drug samples ordered by HCPs by 10% in 12 months
  • Provide patient education to 5,000 more patients in 6 months
2. Identify critical success factors and KPIs
Based on business and marketing objectives, the next step is to identify critical success factors associated with each of the objectives. Critical success factors are the essential elements that ensure marketing objectives are achieved. For example, improvement in customer satisfaction, and reduction in service cost.

While critical success factors are limited to key areas for success, KPIs are more specific metrics that are used to measure performance in each of the key areas, such as impressions, customer satisfaction rate, number of downloads, page views, and time spent on site. It’s critical for the development of meaningful KPIs, rather than measuring for measurement’s sake.

When choosing metrics, always think about the purpose each metric serves and how it helps you to make better decisions. When the objective is to measure engagement with HCPs, focus should be placed on metrics that reflect the interaction such as the number of returning visitors, or the number of registrations and content downloads rather than “reach” metrics such as impressions and visits. 

Download the full article and printable check-list from Blue Latitude Health

8th April 2016



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