How Technology Plays a Key Role in Customer-Centric Marketing

Saby Mitra, Associate Principal

The use of marketing technology has probably changed in three ways in recent times. First, if you look at 10 years back and today, there is a significant amount of data that’s been produced. There are more channels, more interaction models. There are new types of data sources like EMR and click streams, and these are creating huge amounts of data that needs to be processed and mined.

Number two really is what we also see as a market driver in pharma. There is 67% of the U.S. health care professionals actually prefer to consume content from pharmaceutical companies through digital media. There is a big push towards creating a total digital strategy and digital experience for the customers, delivered through mobile solutions, delivered through other technological solutions.

The third is probably more organizational than technological. We do see as technology, marketing technology in particular, goes to the cloud, it also supports some of the experimental needs of marketers. Marketing is really actually stepping up and having a big stake in technological decisions, buying decisions.

What three technologies are essential in customer-centric marketing, and how should pharma companies implement them?

The fundamental enabler for customer-centric marketing and the role that technology will play is really the customer database. This is the database that companies can create by integrating a wide variety of data sets—behavioral patterns, attitudinal patterns, engagement patterns. And that can inform a wide array of promotional strategies and targeting decisions.

The second one, which is somewhat related to this and will integrate into the database, is a campaign management solution, and the solution will actually enable a fairly coordinated cadence of communication that goes out to the customers to drive the engagement, and the reporting and analytics that goes along with it, to understand the campaign program that we just ran—how effective was it and do I have to readjust the campaigns.

The third area really is about the integration of sales and marketing. Because we believe unless we integrate the two organizations—and technology plays a role in doing that—companies are never customer centric.

What are the key elements for making good use of technology in customer-centric marketing?

First, smart use of technology that drives quicker time to market, versus over-investment into solutions that takes forever to implement, because time to value is critical for a competitive advantage.

Secondly, the marketing environment is extremely dynamic in nature. There are new channels that will be added. There are new agencies to be onboarded and new brands to be launched, new label updates, so the marketing technology has to support a very agile process and needs to make changes to the systems very quickly.

Thirdly, technology alone cannot drive change and success. Technology has to be supported by proper business processes, proper training, and the proper organizational infrastructure to enable it makes the desired impact.