How to build an Omnichannel Pharma 2.0 strategy

Article by Noz Urbina of Urbina Consulting

Step 1: Set the business context

Omnichannel is simultaneously one of the most exciting and most daunting areas in pharma content today. Initiatives are starting all around the world in areas like

  • marketing
  • commercial
  • scientific communications / Medical Science Liaisons
  • medical Information
  • and more.

With the combination of strict regulations and large volumes of content and multiple stakeholders including patients, healthcare professionals, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), and staff, many touchpoints must be aligned to create Pharma 2.0 experiences that meet modern content consumers’ expectations. Consumers – both internal and external – expect experiences to be

  • audience-centric
  • consistent in form, message, and data, and
  • easily consumable via the channel of the users’ choice.

Teams in commercial, scientific communications, medical liaisons and medical info can all benefit individually from omnichannel strategies, or form compliant partnerships that leverage knowledge and data for the good of patient outcomes and the brand.

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Omnichannel pharma is win-win-win: better stakeholder experiences, ROI, and patient outcomes

Customer-centric strategy isn’t a cost, it’s a savings and revenue driver. By realigning processes around key journeys and jobs to be done, pharma brands can make sure they’re focused on the changes that will make most impact.

These impacts can save lives. By getting the right content to the right healthcare professionals at the right time and ensuring patients are engaged with key information is good for business, good for treatment outcomes, and a better experience for all involved.

Step 2: Master data and reusable content – the keys to Pharma 2.0 success

Despite the challenges, the potential benefits are so significant that pharma is embracing omnichannel strategies. These usually involve

  • unified audience and customer data, and
  • modular content – LEGO-like reusable content assets that can be reused across multiple deliverables, campaigns, and teams.

Cecil Lee and Jeffrey Alan Ralston of Eli Lilly likened this concept to an automotive assembly line that reuses components to deliver custom experiences with maximum efficiency.


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This 3-minute session introduces the idea and power of component, omnichannel content for Pharma. The concepts are applicable to many different business functions from Marketing to Medical Information and everything in between.


Step 3: Use research and data to iteratively build up your omnichannel pharma strategy

Not every project will go through these questions in the same depth or scope across the enterprise, but it is essential to address them all at a level appropriate for the business context:

  1. What are all the stakeholder personas involved in the key business scenarios? How do they relate to and influence each other to produce the desired business and health outcomes?
  2. What journeys do the personas go on within those larger scenarios?
  3. What questions will they have at key points on those journeys?
  4. How do we make processes, content storage, sharing, tagging, structuring, and platforms are optimal for both compliance and efficiency when we answer the persona questions?
  5. What depth – detail and volume of information – do they want in an answer at at that moment? Are we providing the right depth today? Are we allowing personas to explore to the depth that they want on the channel that they want?
  6. What are the new success metrics for omnichannel? How will we configure platforms and update processes to measure that we’re delivering results – in a way that’s quantitative and scalable? Are today’s platforms even capable of delivering the functions we need, like data integration and federation, content auto-categorization and tagging, and management and measurement of channel-agnostic component content assets?

Step 4: Report quantitative results

Omnichannel pharma projects can affect literally dozens of ROI metrics. Key among them is savings across the content lifecycle driven by reuse. Reuse is a key performance indicator (KPI) on its own, but it’s also directly implies many measurable down-stream results like

  • faster content creation times
  • faster time to market
  • faster update turn-around
  • increased content consistency
  • decreased liability and risk
  • decreased localisation and translation times, error rates, and costs.

On the commercial side, omnichannel can drive increases that tie directly to revenue, such as

  • increased numbers of sales or marketing-qualified leads
  • improved brand impression and trust, and
  • improved net promoter and customer ease scores.

Eli Lilly reported in their 2019 OmnichannelX talk that they achieved reuse levels of around 70% across all production content. 70% less source material to create, format, manage, and govern is a massive change to the cost base. It also ensures the best content is getting updated and maintained and delivered rather than being recreated or lost embedded inside other documents.

A top pharma brand working with Urbina Consulting was able to use new methodologies to refocus their efforts and reported metrics like

  • 180% increase in patient satisfaction with the experience of using content
  • 225% increase in patients feeling that content was suitably organised
  • 160% improvements in customer ease score, and
  • 180% improvement in patients feeling that the brand content had empathy for them as human beings.


Omnichannel strategies also promote collaboration across business functions and enable greater innovation by both freeing up time and freeing content from channel-specific processes and technology paradigms.



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Live & On-demand pharma sessions

Our new series “Omnichannel in pharma & life sciences” is live now. Join live and interact or view the on-demand library. Sessions from Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Roche, Content Rules, and many more.