Subhash Vaid

Subhash Vaid is a Principal at Axtria, responsible for developing and launching innovative cloud based platforms. He was responsible for the initial development and launch of the successful Axtria SalesIQ™ solution which delivers end-to-end sales operations processes on the platform.

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The Four Pillars of Customer Centric Marketing

Much of the customer engagement that takes place today is still carried out in traditional face-to-face channels. In this new data driven environment, the ability to combine data from both traditional and digital channels and build a holistic picture of the customer is key to success.

The life sciences industry is experiencing a digital transformation. Patients’ expectations have grown with the amount of health-related information available online, and almost 67% of healthcare professionals are set to become digital natives by 2020. Digital footprints are left at every stage of their journey and the Pharma industry must use all available insights to ensure relevant and contextual engagement.

Traditionally, Pharma marketing has been campaign driven and product centric. Product centric marketing focuses on a mass market message, which leads to poor customer experience due to a myopic point of view. The approach does not take the customer's unique context into consideration or harness the power of engagement over multiple channels of choice.

Patients are becoming more self-sufficient and demand value over volume in their interactions. This has reduced their dependency on both the healthcare professionals and the traditional marketing message. Physicians and patients now demand an omni channel experience across every channel that focuses on their unique requirements. There is a real need to evolve to a more Customer Centric Marketing (CCM) approach.

The following pillars provide a transition path to a more Customer Centric Marketing (CCM) approach:

1. Capture and Organize Customer Data

Much of the customer engagement that takes place today is still carried out in traditional face-to-face channels. In this new data driven environment, the ability to combine data from both traditional and digital channels and build a holistic picture of the customer is key to success.

Customer data can take many forms across traditional and digital channels, as well as across owned, paid and earned sources. Organizations should maintain an accurate inventory of all existing sources and proactively look for emerging data sets. With this, the speed at which new sources are onboarded and insights leveraged will ensure competitiveness. One should never be bottlenecked by legacy technology or need to start from scratch with every new data source. Understanding the value of data sources, their advantages and disadvantages is key to building an accurate picture of customer behaviour.

As marketing becomes more personalized and customer-centric, and campaigns more sophisticated, the need to leverage clean, complete and accurate data gains more importance. This cannot be done in an ad-hoc or inconsistent manner. Incorrect data in the marketing database can do anything from waste money to annoy, and possibly lose, customers. The key to success is leveraging enterprise-grade data quality and enrichment processes at every step of the customer data journey.  

This, in turn, lays a strong foundation for the other three pillars.

2. Leverage Analytics and Predictive Analytics

Data alone provides little value and is pointless without actionable insight.

Today, marketers continually struggle to find the right mix and volume of promotional activities to support their ever-growing sales targets. With new channels, new stakeholders and constantly evolving expectations, this is no simple task. Marketers must leverage analytical insights to continually evaluate promotional tactics and go to market with a multichannel approach, driven by customer preference.

Underpinning this new focus is the need for advanced analytical approaches that support marketers with powerful insights across areas such as customer engagement, journey insight, next-best-action, marketing mix optimization and ROI analysis. Predictive analytics capabilities should provide triggers to personalize and recommend an action during the engagement process. This should be automated and delivered through embedded business analytics.

There is also a need for timely and accurate performance metrics. This is first required in order to understand the effectiveness and overall return on investment of any promotional activity. But more importantly, it provides indicators early in the cycle, allowing real-time tuning and course corrections.

Without such analytical insight, marketers are challenged by the ability to drive greater sales and profits from their promotional investment.

3. Engage Customers Based on Their Unique Journey

Leading organizations are creating end-to-end personalized journeys for each customer across both traditional and digital channels. Key to this strategy is a powerful recommendation engine that supports personalized engagement and next-best-action for each customer driven by models that capture life-event patterns, buying behaviour, social media interactions, and other triggers.

Determining the next-best-action involves analysing profiles, needs and current customer behaviours. This links directly to the data collection from all channels that customers use to interact with an organization. With a solid data foundation in place, event marketing is the secret sauce that powers next-best-action. This identifies the events that are key customer milestones such as work/life changes, brand interactions, environment and market changes.

Predictive analytics can then mine this historical data and identify common behavioural patterns before an event. Based on these patterns, a predictive model will determine if the behaviour indicates future interaction. Also, scoring can determine customer value, risk and profitability.

These insights can then be used to tailor each customer journey and can be pushed directly to the field users as triggers to inform their face-to-face interactions.

Various platforms in the market enable the execution of such a journey, albeit only across the digital channels. Due to regulatory constraints, organizations invest heavily in offline channels too, which is why the primary requirement of engaging every customer based on their unique journey is only half met. There is a serious need for life science companies to invest in the synchronization of offline and online information sources. This is a must to drive an omni channel, customer centric experience.

4. Create An Insight-Driven Culture

Customer data can be aggregated to generate the most valuable insight, but it is pointless unless it is actioned. This is where organizational culture comes into play.

Organizations must embrace this insight driven culture and allow people to multitask and move across functions with ease. For example, a marketer needs to be a bit of a technologist to understand how data is created in the digital world. This helps them exploit data for effective marketing campaigns. Having such a culture adds a definite competitive advantage.

Many organizations are exploring the collaborative advantages of cloud computing. They are partnering with specialized analytics firms and leveraging their expertise as an extension to their own. This delivers an efficient and cost effective partnership.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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