PharmExec Blog

Marketing: Harnessing the Power of 'Pull'

Morten-face-_-580Morten-face-_-580Pull marketing – rethinking channel building
A big problem
Since the early days of the internet, we’ve been busy creating websites and other digital
channels. It’s not an exaggeration to say that most pharmaceutical companies already
have hundreds of websites and still more are coming. And now everybody is building
apps.
There’s a lot of activity here and in many ways that is a good thing; these digital channels
have the potential to reach a lot of people. That’s why they are assumed to be the future
of pharmaceutical marketing; the expectation being that we’ll move our customers to
these more efficient channels of communication.
Yet there is a problem: how are we planning to get the medical professionals to connect
to them?
It’s pretty obvious that most of these initiatives don’t attract the numbers of people that
we were hoping for; and they are nowhere near to being the cheaper alternative channel
of communication we anticipated.
Asking people to make an effort – whether it’s going to work, seeing a movie, or visiting
a website – will only happen if you believe that the benefit outweighs the effort required.
In other words, if the content that you’re asking your customers to invest energy in
looking up isn’t both highly valuable and accessible with a minimum of effort, then they
just aren’t going to go.
The only one who knows what’s valuable for you – is you!
The fact is that what’s valuable for one person may be totally irrelevant for another.
That’s why the huge industry effort of pouring digital content into web “libraries” often
ends up being, for the audience, both irrelevant and a poor investment of their time.
Content has to be both relevant and easily accessible for the individual. And that doesn’t
just mean putting it “out there” in a nicely designed website. That fact that there are lots
of examples of precisely this, I believe, demonstrates that companies often update their
technology without updating their thinking. They are still trying to do an old-fashioned
“push” rather than a “pull” that technology now makes possible.
New channels might feel like pull communication because healthcare professionals can
go and pull out the information, but it’s deceptive. Really it’s still a push, though a
passive one.
So if push is saying, “Here’s is what we want you to know,” then most channels are
saying, “Over here is some information I want you to know.” True pull communication,
by contrast, is about saying; “What do you need to know and how would you like it
delivered?”
The rep as pull-channel tailor
The good news is that we already have the best pull agent we can imagine. And that’s our
sales force. Empowered with pull marketing technology, our reps can not only personally
connect healthcare professionals with new channels but also make them relevant to each
individual. That means that each customer can now have his or her own tailor-made
channel.
So rather than saying, “There’s a library over there with everything a healthcare
professional needs to know on this topic,” we can now say, “Here’s the precise
knowledge you’re seeking – presented in a way that’s just for you.”
Which would you choose?
[Boxed text]
This the second is a series on digital communications and pull marketing from Morten
Hjelmsoe, founder of Agnitio. You can read his first post here.

By Morten Hjelmsoe.

Since the early days of the internet, we’ve been busy creating websites and other digital channels. It’s not an exaggeration to say that most pharmaceutical companies already have hundreds of websites and still more are coming. And now everybody is building apps.

There’s a lot of activity and in many ways that is a good thing; these digital channels have the potential to reach a lot of people. That’s why they are assumed to be the future of pharmaceutical marketing; the expectation being that we’ll move our customers to these more efficient channels of communication.

Yet there is a problem: how are we planning to get the medical professionals to connect to them? It’s pretty obvious that most of these initiatives don’t attract the numbers of people that we were hoping for; and they are nowhere near to being the cheaper alternative channel of communication we anticipated.

Morten-face-_blog

Morten Hjelmsoe

Asking people to make an effort — whether it’s going to work, seeing a movie, or visiting a website — will only happen if you believe that the benefit outweighs the effort required. In other words, if the content that you’re asking your customers to invest energy in looking up isn’t both highly valuable and accessible with a minimum of effort, then they just aren’t going to go.

The only one who knows what’s valuable for you – is you!

The fact is that what’s valuable for one person may be totally irrelevant for another. That’s why the huge industry effort of pouring digital content into web “libraries” often ends up being, for the audience, both irrelevant and a poor investment of their time. Content has to be both relevant and easily accessible for the individual. And that doesn’t just mean putting it “out there” in a nicely designed website. That fact that there are lots of examples of precisely this, I believe, demonstrates that companies often update their technology without updating their thinking. They are still trying to do an old-fashioned “push” rather than a “pull” that technology now makes possible.

New channels might feel like pull communication because healthcare professionals can go and pull out the information, but it’s deceptive. Really it’s still a push, though a passive one. So if push is saying, “Here’s is what we want you to know,” then most channels are saying, “Over here is some information I want you to know.” True pull communication, by contrast, is about saying; “What do you need to know and how would you like it delivered?”

The rep as pull-channel tailor
The good news is that we already have the best pull agent we can imagine. And that’s our sales force. Empowered with pull marketing technology, our reps can not only personally connect healthcare professionals with new channels but also make them relevant to each individual. That means that each customer can now have his or her own tailor-made channel.

So rather than saying, “There’s a library over there with everything a healthcare professional needs to know on this topic,” we can now say, “Here’s the precise knowledge you’re seeking – presented in a way that’s just for you.”

Which would you choose?

Morten Hjelmsoe is founder of Agnitio. You can read his first post here.

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