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Multi and Omni – the big marketing channel discussion

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Marketing is a unique industry that is constantly shifting. Think back to a time where billboards, radio commercials, and print advertising were the most popular marketing channels for advertisers. People tuned in and listened to their favorite radio program every night. They would hear a commercial and be instantly engaged with the messages that were being communicated to them. Since then, marketing channels have grown and progressed.

Omnichannel and multichannel are marketing “buzzwords” that are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are defined a bit differently. Multichannel marketing strategies seek to interact with consumers through various channels, while omnichannel marketing focuses on providing the customer with a seamless experience across all devices and channels.

Medical Marketing and Media recently looked at the concept from both the “omni” and the “multi” perspectives.  In discussing how to harmonize healthcare campaigns in today’s complex marketing world, Kathleen Bonetti, our Executive Vice President of Marketing talked about the number of media choices that are available to healthcare consumers today, and the need for pharma marketers to focus on using channels that will reach people when they are actively looking for solutions, likely to be receptive to healthcare message, and motivated to take action. For pharma companies, information will be most useful when it is delivered at a healthcare “mindset moment”. It is that point in time when consumers are thinking about their health and considering solutions.

Marketing plans for pharma products, more likely than not, include multiple channels. But figuring out how to get those channels to actually work together harmoniously is the hard part. Pharma brand managers want to build a two-way relationship with patients, and they are looking for “non-traditional” ways to do so.

I was also asked for my predictions regarding the non-mobile channels that will experience the most growth this year.  My thinking is that healthcare brands will want to be where healthcare is actually taking place. Increasingly, that’s the pharmacy channel, as pharmacies continue to take an ever-expanding function as health and wellness destinations.

Popular communication channels of the past are being supplemented by (or in many cases, replaced by) a whole new spectrum of approaches. The marketing landscape will continue to change and will no doubt look very different five years from now, or even one year from now.  The key thing is to adapt and use the channels that reach the right consumers, with the right message, at the right time.