Here's the problem: The digital communication movement travels at warp speed, and the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are far behind. With healthy marketing budgets to support world-class products, more can be done to improve the return on investment in pharma and healthcare marketing programs.Email is an example of an efficient, highly targeted tool that is encumbered with institutionalized poor behavior that handicaps the high potential of email to push marketing programs across channels.
Based on DMD benchmarking studies, we observe these common missteps in pharma email marketing:
The vast majority of emails are poorly designed for the channel
- Core direct marketing practices are often ignored in email, including the placement of a call-to-action, key messages, and/or offers within the email
- Emails are not developed to adapt to different devices and email service providers
Pharmaceutical companies typically do not optimize email for mobile, even if they have a mobile-ready website.
- About half of all email is opened on a mobile device
- Research shows that a bad mobile experience will cause a recipient to dismiss future emails from the sender
"One-and-done” deployment practices exclude potential responders.
- Consider sending multiple waves of email to the same recipients and using alternative email addresses (e.g, work and personal email addresses)
- Continuous corporate learning from alternative campaign strategies provides insight for programming and planning in other HCP marketing channels
Virtually all campaigns lack alternative versions.
- Less than 1% of campaigns take advantage of A/B subject-line testing
- Considering different target audiences and the projected differences in their relationships with a product can optimize messaging and improve opens
Many marketing programs don’t use trigger emails to connect email to other marketing channels
- Emails deployed following a trigger event, such as a sales visit or a direct-mail launch, receive higher response rates
- Email serves as the connective tissue between channels, messaging, and audience segments
The Med Legal approval process typically begins prior to complete optimization of an email
- This limits the ability to make creative and content changes that improve opens, click-throughs, and ROI
- Completing a thorough optimization assessment prior to submission shortens timetables and improves the ability to implement lessons learned for the next deployment.
There is a tendency to lump all HCP behaviors into one basket.
- Different credentials, specialties, and practice locations often reveal different digital media usage patterns and behaviors
- When HCP email preferences are taken into account, email campaigns experience higher response rates
Some of these problems are endemic and require organizational shifts that may prove challenging in the near term. But, using strategic consideration to maximize the impact of the email channel can be implemented today.