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Article: The positive impact of technographic profiling on omnichannel marketing

Marc Yates, April 2021

Technographic profiling shutterstock_505184179One of the biggest impacts of Covid has been how we interact and pharma has seen a rapid acceleration of digital communications. The old models, which were heavily reliant on face-to-face communications, were dramatically disrupted during lockdowns. However, the pharma industry has demonstrated exceptional agility in ramping up digital channels to continue to service the needs of customers.

Whilst it is almost impossible to predict what the next 12 months will bring, we believe that the pharma industry will continue its move from multichannel to omnichannel marketing.

Omnichannel and multichannel are terms which are often used interchangeably and, as they appear to be very similar, many people do not differentiate between them. Both offer multiple channels to engage, educate, support and develop target customers. However, the key difference is that in multichannel marketing each of the channels work in isolation, whereas in omnichannel marketing all channels are aligned to present an integrated and seamless customer experience across multiple devices and touchpoints. The pharmaceutical industry has identified this as the best approach to customer engagement and is investing heavily in developing a true omnichannel experience.

So what makes an excellent omnichannel experience? Essentially, there are 5 critical success factors. The experience must be:


HCP convenience is not a nice to have it is an essential element. Being able to access the right information anywhere, anytime

Consistent The user experience and the accessible content must be uniform
Informed HCPs need support in making informed decisions. They need access to objective, reliable information, real-time
Agile Solutions must adapt to any situation, HCPs are looking for real-time answers
Relevant  HCPs will expect all interactions to be real-time, localised and tailored to their preferences

Relevance is growing in importance to HCPs. Omnichannel marketing allows pharma companies to communicate with their customers using the channels they prefer, with the information that they want. The optimal omnichannel solution is well-executed and provides the target customer with a personalised offer. So, the key question is, how can we develop this tailored offer? The answer is the use of technographic profiling.

What is technographic profiling?
Technographic profiling was first developed 35 years ago by Dr. Edward Forrest who worked on a methodology that profiled consumers based on their “motivations, usage patterns, attitudes to technology in combination with measures of a person's fundamental values and lifestyle perspective."

With the advent of social media, digital communications and online influencers, technographic profiling has gained increasing traction and is rapidly becoming an essential tool allowing marketers to develop and refine omnichannel solutions to HCPs.

Traditionally, segmentation of HCPs has been based on a number of factors to help understand their current and future behaviours. These factors included work setting, workload, profiling of patient pool, factors that influence decision-making and brand choice. The objective was typically commercially focused and this is where technographic profiling differs.

The aim of technographic profiling is to group HCPs according to their digital communication preferences and usage. Understanding this allows the marketer to personalise omnichannel marketing to reflect the preferences of those HCPs in that segment.

For example, younger HCPs are more likely to access information on their mobile phones, meaning pharma companies must produce responsive content formatted for small screen viewing. If it is not easy to read or if the relevance of the information is unclear, then HCPs accessing the content via mobiles will not read on. This is an example of how usability plays a major part in whether the message is delivered and emphasises the importance of style over content.

Technographic profiling is also helpful in identifying the usage of different channels. HCPs use different channels according to their specific information needs. For example, during the launch of a new brand or class, HCPs want to get accurate information that is fully compliant with marketing regulations from trustworthy, independent sources. Therefore, they are likely to sign-up for a webinar with a KOL featuring a live question and answer session. Technographic profiling allows pharma to understand what information they need, what format or channel to choose and to schedule at a convenient time.

How is technographic profiling conducted?
The methodology borrows heavily from classic HCP segmentation and consists of 3 distinct phases:

Deep dive An initial qualitative phase is conducted to understand the type of information HCPs are seeking, at what stage they need it and in what format. Additionally, we seek to understand preferences across a range of target customers to develop a playbook that will be used in future communications.

Advanced analytics techniques are undertaken to enable the derivation of customer segments based on digital propensity. TURF (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency) analysis measures the reach of different channel combinations for each segment. Semantic Differential scale (MaxDiff) results, can be used to develop customer segments driven by their digital channel preferences.

Profiling tool

Once segments are developed, a typing tool can be derived to allow reps to identify segments by asking customers ~5 highly predictive questions that will assign them to a digital propensity segment in a client CRM. Potential profiling questions in the survey can include; demographics, technology adoption questions, and channel usage which will be used by the typing tool to predict segment membership


Technographic profiling infographic-01

How does technographic profiling benefit pharma? 

Technographic profiling allows marketing to gain a detailed understanding of their target customers in terms of HCPs expectations, attitudes and usage of digital channels. For example, for what occasions do HCPs use digital channels and what are they looking for when they do so? How does their expectations differ according to the occasion that they are using these digital channels for? For example, during a patient consultation, the most important factor is speed, so the channel needs to cater for this. Technological profiling can allow us to explore the impact of Key Online Influencers (KOIs) and how this impact will differ according to the technographic profile of the target. Ultimately it allows us to understand what should be avoided for certain HCP segments and what features should be enhanced.

Once the different segments are understood, solutions can be designed to meet the needs of that segment. Market research can be used to inform the design of a solution. For example, if an App was produced, research could be used to view the content and tailor the user experience elements. We can then see how the target audience reacts to the solution and how the solution performs against KPIs and competitor solutions.

Finally, once launched, each solution can be evaluated. The evaluation process reveals when each channel is used, what channel is used the most and how many times it is used on different occasions. We can rate the performance against KPIs and competitors and work out the impact of the solution and its ability to cut through the clutter. The content is personalised in both design and delivery, enabling the pharma company to obtain a bespoke approach for their solution that effectively engages their target customers.

In conclusion, digital is here to stay and we can expect the shift from multichannel marketing to omnichannel marketing to continue. Technographic profiling is crucial in order to understand customers and to tailor the right content to be delivered in the right way at the right time.

If you would like to find out more about how our experts use technographic profiling as a means to better understand your target customers, please contact us now and we will get back to you with further information.

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