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The multipipe approach – Multichannel communications according to the 4C principle

At this year’s eye4pharma, one conclusion in particular was clear – multichannel is more relevant than ever. The call was heard repeatedly in the forum that future campaign planning should be much less driven by “channel thinking” and more by “customer relevance”. It is this need that the new multipipe approach addresses. Taking the “customer journey” as a basis, the approach breaks this down using the 4C principle – Catch, Connect, Close and Continue. But how is that done? And what advantages does this offer?

Multichannel campaigns usually work per the same principle: a message is disseminated, often randomly, via several different channels . The channels are interlinked so the message is no longer monotonously communicated on one medium, rather on several in parallel. Although a lot of time is invested in the planning of such campaigns, there is too little investigation into whether the message being sent is relevant to the audiences of each channel.

‘Hold on,’ I expect you are thinking, ‘in marketing we invest a lot of time developing relevant content. Without relevance, there is no message.’ Modern multichannel campaigns do not operate with relevance per se, rather with relevance at a particular point in time. Healthcare communications, which start with the clear target of triggering a prescription (Rx) or purchase (OTC) must send focussed messages oriented on the customer journey. Even when a message works wonders at the start of the journey, the same message may endanger the decision if it is placed at the end.

Key messages according to the 4C principle

It is precisely for this purpose that the multipipe approach was developed, with the explicit aim of influencing the decision-making process (the customer journey). For this the right channels must be supplied with the right messages at the right time. And these key messages are compiled according to the 4C principle:

The 4C principle simplifies the customer journey by breaking it down into four phases: Catch, Connect, Close and Continue.

  • Catch: This is the phase where we primarily fish for attention. How can I “capture” the target group and keep its attention?
  • Connect: In this phase we service interest in the product and stimulate a desire for further information. How can I convince? What differentiates the product?
  • Close: This is the phase where a buying decision is reached. How can I remove any remaining doubts and assure the customer that the product is the right choice?
  • Continue: In this phase we maintain the positive dialogue in order to generate repeat prescriptions and purchases. How can I stay in contact?

As a first step, drivers and barriers are identified for each individual phase. A frequent barrier to gaining the attention (Catch) is the limited need of the target group for alternatives: After all, they have often had many years of good experiences with other products. In addition, the target group is rather reluctant to change.

Any negative points of competitive products (effectiveness, compliance problems, etc.) can be leveraged as drivers. If we counter these issues it sometimes captures the desired attention. Intrinsic motivation (‘I consider the treatment of this disease as important.’) can also act as a driver.

From the key message to measures – with the touchpoint card

The identified drivers and barriers are then allocated to the available product facts and aspects. It soon becomes evident from this whether they are relevant in the particular phase and ultimately convincing for the customer. Finally, key messages will be developed for the four phases based on this understanding, which address each stage of the decision-making process.

Generally, it is best if a team of people – combining as much experience with and knowledge about the target group as possible – develop a customer journey in accordance with the 4C principle. For that reason, it is best to develop the journey in a workshop. A tip from practical application at this point: the sales force should be included in the workshop – this often introduces some valuable insights.

A workshop is also suitable for the next step: combining the messages, mediums and schedule, which is best done with touchpoint cards. In a practical way, this also helps to put further aspects in concrete terms: e.g. budget for measures, key performance indicators, calls to action.

Michael Vorbrink
Head of Campaigning

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Veröffentlicht: 15. November 2016 // antwerpes