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3 ways to prepare for an omnichannel strategy

Jan 19th, 2023

3 ways to prepare for an omnichannel strategy

So you’ve caught the omnichannel buzz. Whether you first heard about omnichannel strategy at an industry event or picked up the term from one of your peers in the life sciences, you can’t seem to get it out of your head—or your newsfeed.

Or maybe you've avoided the buzz, and you’re wondering what this whole omnichannel thing is. Either way, we’ve got you covered.

First, a quick definition. Omnichannel strategy is a process of identifying and connecting all the channels through which your audience engages with your brand. The goal is to give a seamless experience to your customers as they navigate their various touchpoints with your brand. Along the way, you’ll collect data to understand how, why, and when different types of customers interact with your brand.

By now, you’re probably beginning to realize: Omnichannel strategy is way more than a buzzword. Putting your audience at the center of your engagement channels and streamlining their unique journeys really can help you target customers and win business

But where do you start? 

In just a few steps, you can prepare your organization for an omnichannel trial run—or a full-fledged strategic overhaul. In this post, we’ll look at the three things you can do to ensure a successful omnichannel launch:

  • Get to know your customers
  • Understand your marketing goals
  • Get the right data to shape your strategy

Get to know your customers (and their influencers)

Your customers are the heart and soul of your omnichannel strategy. While a multi-channel strategy envisions distinct marketing plans for a variety of customer touchpoints, the omnichannel approach aligns all your messaging and engagement efforts across a customer’s journey from initial contact to product implementation and servicing.

In order to streamline your customers’ journeys, you’ll need to understand who they are, how they engage with your brand, and where they fit into the market. 

Your customer could be a physician with decision-making authority, a head of surgery, a nursing facility administrator, or any number of other healthcare professionals, each with their own unique journey. Understanding the specifics of the customer’s role will help you determine the problems they’re hoping to address with your product, as well as their relationship with other decision-makers and influencers who may impact a final decision.

Your customer may be the person at an organization with the power to make a final decision, but an effective omnichannel strategy should also consider those who influence that decision. These influencers could be organizational leaders, decision-makers from other departments, end users like doctors and nurses, or even patients. Mapping influencers’ experiences with your brand can help you find opportunities to build favor toward your product beyond your target buyer. 

Once you have a list of customers and influencers established, develop personae for each and outline their journeys: What’s their role? What are their challenges? Do they have content preferences? Where do they get their information? What is their first point of contact with your company?

Use whatever data you have on hand from existing campaigns to determine how customers’ and influencers’ various personae typically engage with your brand, and be ready to adapt to shifting preferences as you make the switch to omnichannel. 

Understand your marketing goals

If you’re considering a transition to an omnichannel strategy, keep your business goals top of mind. These might include building branding awareness, driving net-new leads, or retaining customers and end users.

If your brand or product is struggling with adoption, you’ll likely want to focus on building awareness to ensure buyers, influencers, and users know that you offer a solution to their challenges. 

If you feel confident in the level of awareness around your brand, look further down the sales cycle. Driving net-new leads is a common reason to adopt an omnichannel strategy; if it’s one of your goals, consider which channels your audience is using. You’ll use these channels to spread information about what differentiates your therapy or device from the competition.

For organizations with an already-robust customer base, retention might be a primary goal. If this sounds like you, then start thinking about ways to keep end-users happy while demonstrating continued support to decision-makers. You might incorporate tactics to support your omnichannel strategy like providing clinical training and in-service campaigns for users, sponsoring continuing education opportunities for providers, or even medical transportation services for patients. 

Whatever they may be, make sure you (and anyone involved in the implementation of your marketing and sales strategies) have a firm understanding of your organization’s goals. These will inform the way that you engage with every segment of your audience. 

Get the right data to shape your strategy

By now, you know who your customers are and how they align with your organizational goals. But there’s still plenty that you don’t know. To fill in the gaps, you need reliable data—luckily, daily life in the digital world produces a wealth of data that you can leverage for a variety of purposes.

The right data will help you define your market beyond the basic geographic region where your therapy or product is sold. 

If your brand supports patients or physicians within a specific therapeutic area, you can use claims data to find providers and patient populations associated with certain CPT, ICD-10, DRG, or HCPCS codes. You might also seek out experts to support your product using data on industry activity (presentations, published articles, editorial board participation, etc.) aligned to your audience’s communication preferences.

Assuming you’re already engaging with your audience via your brand’s website, social media, event registrations, or other channels, you likely have an array of identifying data that can help you understand the habits and preferences of potential customers and influencers. You just need a way to connect these data points with your targets. 

Using a process known as identity resolution, you can associate multiple identifiers across devices and channels with your customer and influencer personae. This isn’t an easy task; you’ll need to prioritize the data points that are most critical to your organization, and you will likely require additional externally sourced data to paint a full picture of your audience’s engagement habits. You could use an internally managed platform to combine and update both internal and external data manually—or you can start with a robust, up-to-date dataset that integrates seamlessly into your existing systems. 

See how Definitive Healthcare can help

Is your organization ready to take the omnichannel plunge? Save time and effort on all that data collection by leveraging Definitive Healthcare’s commercial intelligence platform. Combine your existing data with our medical, institutional, and prescription claims data on procedure volumes, diagnosis volumes, affiliations, referrals, and more to understand your audience’s journey from start to finish. 

Sign up for a free trial today and see how we can support your omnichannel strategy. 

For a deeper dive into the omnichannel approach for life sciences organizations, check out our e-book.
 

Alex Card

About the Author

Alex Card

Alex Card is a Senior Content Writer at Definitive Healthcare. His work has been cited in Becker's Hospital Review, Forrester Research, HealthTech, Insider Intelligence, and…

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