Integrating technology into CRM programmes

& how this helps realise the power of personalisation

‘Dear Sir/Madam’ doesn’t cut it anymore.

If customers are going to connect with marketing communications at all, they want a more personal, and personalised, approach which acknowledges them as an individual instead of lumping them into homogenised ‘audiences’.

Unfortunately, the healthcare sector has found it especially difficult to create and integrate the internal technical and data structures needed to successfully generate and maintain a true 360° view of a customer.

However, it’s also fair to say that some Pharma organisations are currently upping their game – using marketing technology to create the type of targeted personalised content which could honestly be labelled multichannel or omnichannel marketing.

So, in this article, we’ll look at the current state of play; examine what’s going well – and not so well; see what we can learn from some real world case studies and consider why it’s so important to invest in the type of joined-up, data-driven communications which drive more relevant, meaningful and, therefore, more valuable experiences.

Marketing’s current big three ‘must do’s

2019’s Digital Trends Report published by eConsultancy and Adobe surveyed over 12,500 marketing professionals across varied industry sectors – so it gives a pretty reliable and up-to-date snap shot of what’s keeping the marketing world awake at night.

As the report itself notes “The battleground for customer loyalty has moved from the tangible to the intangible. From products and services to experiences and ease of access.”

In fact, the Report identified three dominant and recurring themes:

  • The importance of data-driven marketing – with companies also having to be much smarter with their data management in order to really dig out those valuable insights
  • The importance of creating personalised customer experiences – this is proving to be the ultimate differentiator between brands or organisations
  • The importance of effective customer journey management – taking people seamlessly from a positive first impression through to a pro-active and engaging on-going relationship.

Of course, these themes aren’t new – or particularly surprising.

But they do show the marketing world recognises that, as a whole, it has a lot of work to do before it reaches the promised land of omnichannel marketing.

And the holy grail of delivering the right message, through the right channel, at the right time to the right person is as elusive as ever for many organisations.

This is especially true – unfortunately – within Pharma…

The problem with Pharma…

In the wider world of marketing, the pharma industry has never really been viewed as a cutting-edge innovator.

As other sectors enthusiastically explored the potential of digital communications, the industry stuck with the traditional face-to-face channels it felt comfortable with (and which, to be fair, were still delivering effective results.)

But, as budgets have been squeezed and access to HCP audiences has become increasingly restricted, the industry has had to play a panicky catch up.

And, ironically, the efficacy of old school face-to-face marketing is still hampering pharma teams today.

Siloed brand teams which had little incentive to pool resources and make significant investments in technology remain reluctant to take the plunge.

Whilst IT teams remain focused on developing internal infrastructures rather than branching out to include marketing within their remit.

So, ultimately, healthy bottom lines have made pharma lazy.

Multichannel marketing – and marketing technology – is only now making it on to the agenda and becoming a strategic priority in pharma boardrooms.

With its implementation just beginning to filter through into actual action.

Despite this, there has been progress in some areas…

The empowered sales rep – a Pharma success story

Thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom.

For example; to enable a completely rounded, 360° view of a customer, you need the right kind of technology infrastructure.

Indeed, the Digital Trends Report shows companies with a highly unified technology stack are 131% more likely than their peers to have exceeded their top 2018 business goal by a significant margin (30% vs. 13%).

This is why companies such as Veeva (for which, incidentally, ADC are a certified partner) and IQVIA developed sophisticated software which supported that most traditional channel – the sales force.

The software provided sales reps with the insight and content they needed to create effective, relevant and personalised interactions – allowing highly targeted communications with specific customers.

And recently, here at ADC, we’ve noticed more and more of our clients are securing access to more sophisticated marketing technology supplied by, for example, Abode, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Marketo which goes beyond the sales force and impacts their whole organisation – true omnichannel marketing.

Let’s quickly have a look at two real-world applications we have seen first-hand…


Here’s another exciting and new way to use automation; supporting physical and virtual events.

We’ve already helped an affiliates brand team get more out of their Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) platform and create a much more dynamic and engaging experience for their product launch events.

Simply by developing a suite of easily editable landing pages and email templates, and combining these with pre-defined journeys within SFMC, we helped ensure delegates would receive engaging email content in the build-up, during and post-event.

With proper planning, automation of this type reduces duplication of effort and increases the consistency of the experience for delegates/attendees.

The final pieces of the CRM jigsaw

Of course, technology is only a tool – not a magic wand.

It’s never going to provide a complete solution on its own. So, if you’re aware that your marketing needs to focus on increasing personalisation to heighten its effectiveness, you’ll also need to invest in:

  • coherent planning – true omnichannel marketing never happens by accident. A structured plan, with buy-in from every part of an organisation, is a must.
  • increased content to serve your customer’s experiences – on-going relationships need constant attention and active nourishment. Read our article discussing content production and inbound marketing
  • an ability to measure impact and continually optimise experiences – this is a new skill for marketers to master and focuses on how to get maximum advantage and leverage from the insights generated by this technology; helping make evidence-led decisions about where and how to invest.

“we are best-placed to help you make the most of your investment in marketing technology’. ‘And, in doing this, we will create a 360° view of your ‘customer’ – whether they’re an HCP, buyer or patient – helping you deliver more personalised, valuable experiences.”

Lee Wales Director, Ashfield Digital & Creative