Webinar Highlights: Advancing Omnichannel HCP Engagement

July 11, 2023
Sanwari Gupta

On June 29, PulsePoint hosted a webinar, “Advancing Omnichannel HCP Engagement: Understanding and Meeting the Challenges of HCP Marketing,” featuring Beck Spencer, Head of Integrated Planning & Activation at Real Chemistry, Christie Volke, VP of Media Strategy at AbelsonTaylor, and Gus Strominger, Director of Patient Marketing & Digital Strategy at ADC Therapeutics. 

Moderated by Becky Hallam, VP of Platform at PulsePoint, the discussion focused on trends and challenges in omnichannel marketing, how pharma can leverage omnichannel to reach healthcare audiences, and real-world examples of successful campaign strategies.

If you’re interested in learning more but weren’t able to join the webinar, keep reading for highlights and check out the webinar recording here.

What does omnichannel mean to you?

While each expert had a slightly different definition of omnichannel, they all agreed that it was foundational to their campaigns, rather than a flashy add-on or buzzword meant to impress clients. 

Christie Volke, who leads the media team at AbelsonTaylor, said, “Omnichannel is built on a foundation of understanding our audience and where they are in their journey and leveraging media to help push or pull them faster to that conversion.”

Beck Spencer, head of activation at Real Chemistry, compared using omnichannel tactics to building a house. Once you determine what omnichannel means to the client, she said, you tie analytics and measurement back to their goals, and that’s how you establish the building blocks of your omnichannel house.

Gus Strominger, who works in patient marketing and digital strategy at ADC Therapeutics, put it simply: “Everything starts and stops with omnichannel, and we work together with external vendors and internally to make sure we’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time.”

How has omnichannel shaped the way you’re approaching business?

First and foremost, you have to get internal buy-in for omnichannel campaigns. Gus, who works on the brand side, said, “A huge portion of what I do day to day is sell this idea back in to leadership.” To do this, he focuses on accurately describing what’s in it for the organization and how it differs from traditional marketing. 

Continuing her earlier metaphor, Beck said that on the agency side, your omnichannel house has to incorporate all of the different parts of your marketing strategy, from PR to comms and brand to product. “For your client, you’re writing the blueprint… What are the things that you need in order for all of your agency partners to be building that house together, rowing in the same boat?” she said.

Christie, who also comes from the agency side, said that as an integrated strategy team, they have to both beef up their internal capabilities and lean into partnerships with technology companies like PulsePoint who can help power their omnichannel campaigns. To build the best omnichannel solution, they ask themselves, “Where can we bridge our client’s data, our insights and knowledge about the industry and the space, with technology that powers this in real time?”

What are some of the major challenges you can foresee as we go toward that integrated landscape?

Beck said impatience is the number one challenge. People who aren’t there now want to be there, but they need an implementation roadmap to show them how to orchestrate it. “What are the things we can build now while keeping momentum going behind your brand?” 

“Everyone wants to jump in and do everything all the time in omnichannel,” Gus agreed, but they need to slow down with their partners and determine, based on their customer set, what the most important channels are. 

And since no one person can predict exactly where the marketplace is going, he said, the marketer needs to align closely with their agencies, each of which can offer its own insights. “When it works, it works wonderfully. But you cannot rest on your laurels and just activate a couple, and you cannot be the person who wants to eat the entire elephant all at once,” he said.

For healthcare specifically, Christie noted, “Pharma companies hold their data a little tighter than other industries” because of sensitivity to compliance and HIPAA rules, and there is a heavy focus on keeping and protecting data. 

“Pharma presents this interesting opportunity to work more closely together across brands and clients and agencies—but it’s also a challenge in and of itself.” On the HCP side, she said, using NPI numbers makes it easy to activate and measure an omnichannel campaign, but on the patient side, they’re still working with modeled and predictive audiences.

Should we prioritize HCP and fold DTC under that?

Christie noted that HCP and patient or DTC audiences have major differences but play in the same space. “Your patients are part of your HCP journey and vice versa,” she said, adding, “you have to keep them both in mind, but operationally speaking, it’s different how you take them to market.”

Beck brought up the need for hyper-synchronized tactics and messaging to avoid the worst-case scenario: when a patient asks an HCP about your brand and they don’t know what it is or how it works. “You need to synchronize that messaging and that drives the business outcome.”

Are there types of frameworks or practical actions we can take to ensure omnichannel is successful and remains successful as we evolve?

The basic requirement for full omnichannel, according to Gus, is to have creative in place and constant “wood to put on the burn pile.” Historically, it could take months to get ads approved. The solution? Modularized content. You might have to build new infrastructure, but that work on the front end will pay a thousandfold over time, he said.

Ultimately, whatever your framework, it all comes down to agility. “If the content isn’t going to be agile, if the message isn’t going to be relevant or impactful in the moment, then the rest of it isn’t going to matter,” Beck said. “It will all fall apart.”

Final thoughts?

“For me, it’s about starting wherever you are and leaning in to the process,” Christie said. “The more you can bring your agencies to the table, the more you can bring your data to the table, the stronger the foundation for that omnichannel approach can be.”

“Omnichannel is the destination of a very long road trip… and every client’s way to get there will be different,” Beck said. “Every added channel, every measurement opportunity is a pitstop to stop, assess the landscape, and see what’s working.”

“If you take the time to do this right and you have your sleepless nights... at the end of the road of all of this is delivering relevant info for really critical decisions being made that are affecting people’s lives in a positive way,” Gus said.


It’s clear omnichannel has gone past being a buzzword to become the foundation for many brands’ marketing strategies, especially for the pharmaceutical industry. Get your omnichannel campaign started today by partnering with PulsePoint. Reach out at info@pulsepoint.com.

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