MASTERING MULTICHANNEL IN PHARMA: How to avoid data paralysis (Part 1)

“Measure everything and report what is important” is one of the most used lines by Analytics people at the moment. With the plethora of data that we are producing, it is hardly surprising that some companies are suffering from data paralysis: so much data that they don’t know what to do with it, so do nothing.

As Multichannel becomes the norm in Pharma(indeed, the integration of online and offline is one our key predictions for the industry in 2013), this data is only going to increase; especially as we start measuring the impact of one channel on another. This increase in data provides considerable problems for teams who are starting to become responsible for campaigns and presence across several channels, each of which has its own reporting system.

What you end up with is fourteen different reporting systems, frequently with overlap, that have their own reports produced in their own style, with their own reporting periods and their own filters. One report implies you should do one thing, whilst another implies the opposite.


We see there being a number of solutions to this:

1. Build a solution (or buy one in like SAS or Business Objects) that brings all the data into one place, and use this as the only point of call for your data:

Pros: Every person in the organisation can build the reports that they need, when they want them and automate them. Plus you can use your new system to create unique identifiers to create holistic views of the customer.

Cons: It could be expensive (you don’t just need the tool, but potentially an army of BI analysts to interpret the data and troubleshoot), you have to teach every person in the organisation how to build reports in the new system. Plus, you’ll be stuck in the same situation that standards are now:


2. Combine all your data into one pre-existing system and use that to report from.

Pros: You can do real attribution and cross channel marketing by building in unique identifiers. Plus, people in your organisation are used to using the system so shouldn’t need excessive training

Cons: They may not know what data exists without training and the system may not be able to report the data in the way that your team are used to. CRM systems designed to hold and report data on an individual level are frequently not useful for reporting trends.

3. Combine all your reports into one system (leave the data where it is) and use the new system to combine and create bespoke reporting.

Pros: This is usually the cheapest option, if the reports exist already it is easy to automate and you can push out to the whole organisation with little training (depending on the format of the output)

Cons: There may be a misconception that rather than just seeing different data sources side by side, there is actually some real integration going on (i.e. the 10 people who the email client claims clicked on an email are the same 10 that the Analytics report say arrived at the site).

Personally, I see too many companies trying to jump into bed with Solution 1 on this list and failing badly because of loose requirements and the organisation not being mature enough to deal with the data.

A far better solution is to move into Solution 3 first, before going to Solution 2 at a later date as your organisation is more capable of dealing with a centralised view of customers. Organisations must learn to walk before they can run, so Solution 1 is for the super mature organisations.

In my next post, we’ll delve into the best way to avoid data paralysis and investing in a solution that suits your business needs and capabilities.

You can also download the full guide to avoiding data paralysis here.

For more information on effectively measuring your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI, get in contact by email or call 0203 328 1840.

This post was written for Blue Latitude by optimisation expert Alec Cochrane.

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