Is the future multi-channel or multi-disciplinary?

Written by Joe Jones on Wednesday 12th June 2019

Lately, we’ve noticed that an increasing amount of work that we’re commissioned to do is titled ‘multi-channel’. Creating multi-channel campaigns isn’t new for us, but hearing clients identify this need from the outset is interesting.

Our inkling is that the rise in pharma’s digital capabilities has brought channel integration to the forefront. We can indeed do some really cool things in this space now, using CRM platforms like Veeva, AR & VR, personalised websites and real-time advertising –creating even more acronyms and jargon in our day-to-day conversations.

Even for a digital native, it can be easy to get carried away – after all, ‘multichannel’ and ‘digital’ aren’t synonymous.  Traditional channels and face-to-face interactions are still core pillars of a well-executed campaign – the art is integrating these with digital channels in a way that amplifies performance, produces insights and delivers a seamless customer experience.

Fortunately, we don’t believe that good marketing practice has changed; for us it still comes down to four main principles:


Good marketing has and always will be achieved when a laser focus is kept on the customer – not on the product or channel. This means making a concerted effort to identify an opportunity for value exchange between HCP, patient and pharma company; key to this is uncovering the behaviour and information needs of the various segments. Then to ensure our message is heard, we need to create personalised communications that talk about the right thing, in the right place, at the right time.


Brand recognition and emotional investment isn’t about having a presence across every possible channel – it’s about telling the same overarching narrative, irrespective of the touchpoint. To strengthen customer relationships and increase the value of a brand, we need to integrate the channels we use, while ensuring that each segment has a channel mix aligned to their habits and behaviours.

Content first

Having a robust campaign planning process is imperative to both performance and efficiency. One of the cornerstones of this is creating content pillars – well before tactics or channel executions are conceived.  A clear idea of the content allows you to create a centralised bank of messages and assets that can be tweaked and optimised depending on the customer segment, and the channel that they’re being deployed in.

Closing the loop

To create a step change in marketing performance, we need to learn from our customer interactions and feed the insights back into our campaigns. Whether it’s face-to-face rep interactions, traditional, or digital channels, we need to build our campaigns to capture insights that feed our strategy and allow us to make a leap forward in relevance, performance and efficiency.

With that said, we’ve found that our most successful multi-channel campaigns have one thing in common: Multi-Disciplinary Thinking. The benefits of multi-disciplinary care teams are something we’re all familiar with in healthcare; they generally lead to improved patient care and outcomes by bringing expert professionals from different disciplines together as one team, working together to achieve their goals and deliver integrated care to a patient. This collaborative model enables smooth communication across all aspects of a patient’s experience, and is recognised as a best practice method for patient-centred care.

We believe marketing challenges and multi-channel campaign planning benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach in the same way. By bringing together experts from different disciplines and channels, individual ideas are enhanced and accelerated by exposing everyone to different ways of thinking. We’ve found that the end result is a more holistic and optimised channel mix with innovative executions that create lasting impressions and drive long-term behaviour changes.

Even if you run just one multi-disciplinary workshop at the start of a multi-channel campaign planning session, we guarantee you’ll see the difference in the quality of your brainstorm and final outputs.  

Here at OPEN Health we’ve restructured and merged our market research, advertising, patient engagement and public relations specialists into one practice: Patient & Brand communications; we’re also more closely integrated with our medical communications colleagues. We now form multi-disciplinary teams of experts who sit together to tackle client challenges, all the way from insight generation through to campaign planning, content creation, delivery and evaluation. If our MDT approach has sparked your interest and you’d like to learn more, we’d love to hear from you!


For information about OPEN Health’s services and how we could support you, please get in touch.


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