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The Pharma Brand Planners’ Blog: Part 4

Part 4: Local brand planners – creating multichannel customer engagement plans to drive your tactics.

Stephanie Hall

This month we focus on the tactical part of your pharma or biotech brand plan – finally, hurray! This is often the part of the plan that the team enjoys the most – putting together exciting tactics, messages and campaigns to communicate with, engage and motivate key audiences.

Brand teams approach tactical planning in different ways – some take a very top-down, financial approach, others start with a big brainstorm, or use agency partners to recommend innovative tactics, still others take a conservative approach, repeating what has been done the previous year.

The big challenge here is to ensure that the tactics align to the strategic decisions made earlier in the plan and that resources are allocated disproportionately based on the prioritisation of the customer segments.

Building a tactical plan

1. Ensure you have clearly defined and prioritised customer segments and defined attitudinal and behavioural objectives for each segment

2. Assemble each segment’s content, channeland engagement preferences – do you know what content (messages, quizzes, tools, data summaries) your segment likes, which channels it likes to use (face-to-face, meetings or email, social media) and when?

3. Collate your best tactics from this current year and any global/regional tactics that you will be able to use/re-use

4. Create segment-specific customer engagement plans for the 12 months ahead, recognising any key dates (publications of new data, launches, congresses, etc) so that you map your channels and content over the 12 months in the most efficient and effective way

5. Now, cost up your customer engagement plans and assign owners for each tactic. Creating these customer engagement plans as a cross-functional team – and potentially with your agency partners – is a very dynamic and productive exercise and is well worth the investment in time and effort.

Creating a strong, multichannel customer engagement plan

How do you know if you have created a strong multichannel customer engagement plan? If you can pass the red-faced test on these eight criteria, you are likely to be onto a winning tactical plan!

1. Is each customer engagement plan and set of tactics aligned to one specific customer segment?

2. Have you checked that you have the resources (people and money) to implement the plan?

3. Do you have the team/company capabilities to implement the plan effectively? If not, who could help?

4. Have you leveraged the wider industry experience of your agency partners and challenged them to recommend innovative tactics and how to measure their effectiveness?

5. Have you checked that you are delivering interesting and engaging experiences to your customers vs a push-message approach?

6. Have you truly connected your tactics across online and offline channels to provide an integrated journey?

7. Have you checked that your tactics are industry and company code compliant? (This is always a big consideration in our industry.)

8. Have you anticipated what the competition will be doing in the coming year and how your tactical plan will outmanoeuvre their tactics? (With better creativity, timing, relevance, credibility.)

Next, you may want to anticipate the classic questions – what would you do if you had half the resource? If you had another 10% what would you do? How are you leveraging synergies with other brands in your company?

So how are tactical plans changing in pharma and biotech? If we look at current spending trends across the industry, there are increases in the areas of:

1. Webinars – connecting local and regional physicians with a national Key Opinion Leader and as an outreach to national or international congresses

2. Social media – fellow physicians sharing their content and views on new publications, launches and disease management trends on platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

3. Specialist physician e-communities – connecting specialist interest groups in rare diseases, oncology and research groups.

Next time, we’ll be looking at how to collate, present and engage your internal stakeholders – so critical to your brand plan’s success.

Available on PMLive

Follow the links to find part 1, 2 and 3:

Part 1: Calling all Global and Regional Brand Planners

Part 2: Local Brand Planners – Put the Moose on the Table

Part 3: Local brand planners – creating bold not bland strategies