Online marketing departments around the world are discovering something beautiful. Something that makes them better at what they do and increase online conversions while decreasing costs.

Too good to be true? No! It’s called closed-loop marketing, and it’s number one in the top 5 pharma marketing trends of 2014.

What is closed-loop marketing?

Think of a circle. Along the circle are little dots. Each dot represents a department in your company. Because they lie on the same circle, they communicate with each other. One department, say Marketing for example, finds out that HCPs love reading a particular study on your website. Marketing tells Sales to get their representatives to focus on that study when e-detailing HCPs. The reps do this and find out in face-to-face talks with the HCPs which aspect of the study they find so interesting. They feed this information back to Marketing, who adjust the website based on this information. This creates an information exchange along a closed circle. Hence the term closed-loop marketing.

Closed-loop marketing evolved – the M in CLM

If CLM stands for closed-loop marketing, what’s MCLM then? Easy: Multichannel Closed-Loop Marketing. MCLM means applying the data-driven learnings from closed-loop marketing to multichannel marketing. Engaging multiple target groups across multiple channels based on analytical insights – that’s what MCLM tries to achieve.

Analytics gone social

The value and importance of data for digital marketing is obvious. Those marketers who understand their target group the best will have the most success. The internet makes gaining a holistic understanding of consumers more achievable than ever before. Targeting options are continually evolving and becoming more sophisticated. We have recently described why custom audiences are awesome. While custom audiences add an extra layer of precision to social media ad targeting, MCLM adds the element of social to analytics. Why? Because it wants to make data insights social. It’s based on the premise of communication between different software systems, departments and groups. While collecting and analysing information is good, sharing it in a continuous loop with other stakeholders is better.

A marketing gem for pharma

The struggles of the pharmaceutical industry with a changing competitive landscape and diminishing access to doctors are well known. Marketing departments are under pressure to find new ways of engaging with HCPs and online assets and channels offer a measurable way of acquiring, engaging and retaining HCPs.

Imagine a fully integrated stream of communication between the sales force and the marketing department. Information collected by Marketing is used by sales reps to engage with doctors in a personalised way. Sales reps enter facts they find out about doctors in conversations with them into their iPads, which feeds information into a database that marketers, sales reps and other stakeholders all have access to. Over time, sharing this information creates a wealth of insights, allowing for a personalised and highly targeted approach of HCPs. This is marketing based on hard facts, not assumptions.

Action points for MCLM implementation

MCLM has the potential to create true competitive advantage. But, like any well-executed marketing initiative, it requires careful planning and perseverance in execution. Here are some points to consider:

  • Having the right software solutions. Typically, a CRM and a marketing software that communicate with each other are considered essential. Salesforce is an example of this kind of software.
  • Set KPIs and benchmark those against industry standards to be able to define what “good” looks like for you.
  • Manage the collected data and create actionable reports based on it.
  • Deliver marketing initiatives based on the insights you have generated, and measure the performance of each campaign based on the KPIs you previously established.