The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly incorporating programmatic media into their marketing plans, especially with the shift from multichannel to more customer-centric omnichannel strategies. In a recent report from a leading DSP, 69% of US pharma marketers prefer programmatic marketing for improved healthcare provider (HCP) reach with five out of 10 dollars in digital budgets being earmarked for this type of marketing. And in this same report, programmatic media saves time and increases return on investment (ROI): it requires 1/10th of the time to execute versus manual campaigns and demonstrates a 2x opportunity to earn revenue over non-programmatic digital campaigns.
Bottom line: incorporating programmatic media into a digital marketing strategy saves time and money while demonstrating a strong ROI against key performance indicators (KPIs). But how do you know how to get started or how to know you are maximizing the full potential of this approach to meet your goals? Our seasoned team of healthcare programmatic experts at Kinetic identified four keys to unlocking a successful healthcare programmatic media campaign:
- Align campaign measurement to brand KPIs. Tracking standard media metrics, such as impressions and click-through-rate (CTR) and using tools such as Google Analytics, are critical to understanding campaign traction, but it doesn’t show the customer journey and campaign influence, whether that is increasing prescription (Rx) lift or expediting clinical trial enrollment. There are now quantifiable ways to demonstrate programmatic media’s impact on driving the bottom line. For example, in the commercial space, it is important to design a measurement framework that allows marketers to understand how programmatic media is specifically impacting Rx performance as part of the broader marketing channel mix and omnichannel strategy.
- Know your audience and what they are worth. The cost of delivering programmatic media can vary widely across specific stakeholder types: consumers typically cost less than targeting physicians, and even among physicians, some specialties demand higher cost-per-clicks (CPCs) than others (e.g., oncologists vs. dermatologists). Know what you are buying and the value that audience will bring to your brand. You want to account for the “lifetime value” of your segment and make sure it can be tied to a relatable ROI. Avoid buying a very detailed audience which can likely come with a premium price point, but not back into a relatable ROI. At the same time, buying large audience groups at much more efficient price points does not necessarily mean you will reach the right audience. Be sure to do the research to ensure you are maximizing your budget for optimal reach, performance and ROI from campaign set-up through ongoing management.
- If you are working with a partner/vendor, choose one with healthcare expertise. There are so many vendors out there who can provide various programmatic media solutions that choosing the right partner can feel overwhelming. A programmatic partner that can bring this experience to bear on your campaigns will be able to run the campaign efficiently and effectively for optimal customer experience and ROI. Given the specialized and highly regulated nature of the pharmaceutical industry, we recommend prioritizing programmatic partnerships that can demonstrate strong capabilities in:
- Audience generation across stakeholder types and therapeutic areas
- Channel and device mix (e.g., display, EHR, connected TV) strategy and trading
- Customer data privacy and data ethics
- Market/environment and product lifecycle expertise (i.e., a campaign targeting HCPs with scientific/medical education messaging pre-launch versus a campaign targeting the same HCPs post-launch in a crowded therapeutic class)
- Be open to experimentation. When planning your programmatic strategy, do not be afraid to build in an experiment or test a hypothesis. The speed at which a programmatic campaign can be set-up, turned on and monitored can take days versus weeks which lends itself well to in-market testing across multiple angles, from creative to channel to segment. This is especially critical to help establish benchmarks and ideal optimizations as early as possible in the campaign flight. Programmatic campaigns can also pivot just as quickly as they can be initially set-up, if not faster, so if your field team or the latest market research report comes back with new insight about your (potential) customers, you can quickly recalibrate your campaign accordingly.
VP Media Solutions, Kinetic