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Needle in a haystack

Is it possible to plan media campaigns to targeted doctors or is it like trying to find a needle in a haystack?

A significant amount of time, resource and money is spent by pharmaceutical companies on developing, maintaining and refining target doctors lists. Sometimes even segmenting these lists to create different tiers of target doctors, to be able to target them with different sales messages. These lists have historically been plugged into CRM systems for the benefit of the face-to-face selling teams. To maximise their efficiency and to give them the best chance of having an impact on sales in their territory.

In comparison to face-to-face sales, the approach taken with supporting marketing activity in pharma is often more broadbrush and perhaps less sophisticated than the detailed targeting used by the face-to-face salesforce. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We at MSA feel this same targeted approach can be taken with our media planning – in order to be better aligned to, and indeed support, the face-to-face channel.

We recently completed a targeting exercise with one of our clients to look at which email providers would give best access to the target doctors currently called on by their salesforces, across a number of therapy areas. This involved taking the client's target lists and performing a cross-matching exercise with the main email list providers relevant to their therapy areas. The suppliers matched against a range of variables to ensure the highest level of accuracy – including first name, last name, post code and GMC number. In one case we were even able to cross-match using Cegedim Onekey IDs, which is by far the most accurate approach.

The results were both interesting and reassuring. All four publisher lists consistently matched to between 15% and 20% of the client's target doctors. So there were no obvious anomalies. However, this posed the question – what was the level of overlap between the lists? Did they all contain the same doctors? Fortunately the answer was no. Otherwise an email to each list would have simply been duplicating activity. And do they all have significant unique elements to their audiences? In the main, yes.

So now comes the clever (and more difficult to facilitate) piece of work. We convinced three of the email list providers to agree to pool their results and use a third party data handling company to work out the total unique coverage across all three lists. The results were impressive. If the client was to send an email using these three separate suppliers, instead of using the supplier with the single best penetration of their target audience (21%), then they could increase coverage of their target doctors to 44%!

Had we just stopped at phase one of this project then I'm convinced the client would have used the supplier with the single best penetration and come to the assumption that all the lists were roughly made up of the same doctors. But we took targeting to the next level and got three of the major email providers to collaborate in an exercise which had never been done before. Providing our client with industry-leading and unique insights. 

So the message is simple. Yes you can take an even more targeted approach to marketing that's aligned to the face-to-face channel, but sometimes this requires the use of a blend of audiences to get the best coverage. 

Contact one the team to discuss our targeting tactics or to find out how we can work with you to focus your campaigns even further.

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