March 27, 2013
The media challenge!
Maximizing ROI with ROM (Return On Media)
The moderator for this evening’s rousing debate was Rehan Javeri, Director of Sales Effectiveness at Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada. He introduced the two speakers: Regina Kulikowski, President of Regina K Inc. who was going head-to-head against Darcy Kelley, Director of Insights & Strategy at Sonic Boom (a subsidiary of National Public Relations). Regina was arguing in favour of print media while Darcy was supporting digital media channels.
While these two sides were set to argue against one another, they made the point that a single media channel is not always the answer. Rather, it’s more of a question of using the right channel to reach the audience. After polling the audience, it was discovered that 60% of the audience felt that physicians prefer live CME for information and that 59% felt that the reason for this was engagement versus reach and customer preference. In addition, 55% felt that the sales field force is the most effective communication channel.
Regina outlined some key strategies to use when developing a communication platform. These included formulating clear and specific communication objectives, adopting a channel-neutral approach to communications planning, employing a balanced promotional mix and leveraging channels according to their strengths. She pointed out that one can achieve optimal results by aligning channels according to what they do best. For example, journal ads are good at driving efficiencies and reach, while the sales force is best for building relationships.
Regina then provided some ammunition in support of journal print advertising. Physicians ranked journal media second behind live CME for patient information and product information. In addition, physicians prefer reading as their most preferred pastime. In a survey of physicians, 96% of respondents said that reading online is not the same as reading print journals. Physicians also spend significantly more time reading when it’s in print: they spend an average of 22-45 minutes reading a print article versus 74 seconds for an online article. The difference in the way information is consumed via different channels has implications for what and how information should be communicated. The idea of balance was raised with respect to content existing both in print and online. Regina pointed out that we can leverage the power of print to influence online behaviour.
The podium was then turned over to Darcy to argue in favour of digital media. He pointed out that physicians spend an average of 11 hours online for professional purposes and that they skew towards professional sites such as Medscape, the Canadian Medical Association, UptoDate and government health sites. He also mentioned that we now live in a three-screen digital world, which consists of laptops, tablets and smartphones. These represent different engagement points that can be used for different purposes. Darcy also presented the following statistics: 48% of GPs use smartphones for professional purposes and they use them about 10 hours a month for these purposes. In addition, 62% of physicians own a tablet and 81% have an iPad. He then stated that it’s what physicians are using their phones for that is critical. The most common uses are to obtain disease information, prescribing information and patient treatment information. Physicians use their smartphones or tablets for the following functions: online CME, general practice management and patient treatment and care (for example, dosing calculators, patient education information).
Because of these statistics, Darcy counselled the audience that, when creating resources for patients, they should concentrate on developing them for smartphones or tablets. He suggested working with KOLs to build a tool and talking with patients to find out what they need or want and what the content strategy should be. Half of tablet-owning physicians have used their device at the point-of-care and they use them mostly for patient treatment and care purposes. For example, physicians like being able to show patients information about their condition or treatment, and the ability to show this information with visuals or animations provides more quality and value. Having this type of technology supports patient care and improves the quality of care that physicians can provide and therein lies the value. Darcy concluded by saying that disease state branded patient materials add value in the tablet space for patients and physicians.
In order to measure your return on media best practices, the speakers suggested developing a measurement plan in conjunction with the communication plan. They also advised that the measurement should not be about one metric, but rather measure across the entire brand communication plan. They said that econometric modelling is the most reliable method and that the first step in the process would be to revisit brand equity tracking and then map back change to communications and marketing programs.
In summary, Regina pointed out that digital ads can provide new and innovative ideas and “gimmicks”, but some physicians like the tactile sensation of print advertising and don’t want everything to become electronic. Many people enjoy the unique attributes of print advertising, which include engagement, tactile sensibility, efficiency over the product life cycle and connectivity (even to digital aspects of marketing campaign). Darcy summed up by pointing out the importance of “key word” buys for search engines, as physician sites don’t index as highly as other sites for search engine results. He also recommended doing SEM buys to satisfy physicians looking for specific information. He also reminded the audience that online CME is the preferred usage of digital, as well as patient point-of-care materials, such as calculators, dosing and disease information, patient materials in flexible formats, and patient support program materials. Another area he mentioned was considering customized patient education which could drive adherence with measures of effectiveness or managing expectations.
As the communication environment grows ever more complex, focus, clarity and consistency are essential to maximize return on media. In closing, Regina and Darcy left the audience with these final words of advice:
• Set clear communication objectives
• Adopt a channel neutral planning approach
• Develop a balanced promotional mix according to target preference, product life cycle, brand characteristics, buying decision stage
• Utilize print and digital according to their strengths
• Evaluate channels based on research and evidence