by Mike Steward

Pharma-land has common analytic capabilities that surround commercial needs (sales contribution, forecasting, sales force planning, formulary, market access, etc.) as well as market research (awareness studies, messaging research, customer life cycle mapping, etc.), but often leave a vacant, or marginally filled, space between those capabilities in regards to in-campaign marketing performance. This area is frequently referred to as Multichannel Marketing (MCM) Analytics.

Based on my experience, companies manage MCM analytics in 1 of 3 ways which naturally lead to gaps in analytic fortitude:

  • Advanced analytics teams are often given responsibility of MCM tactic level assessment, which in theory is a perfect fit. Advanced analytic teams have access to the appropriate data, analytic resources at their disposal, and benefit from a “center of excellence” approach.However, the advanced analytic teams have a variety of high-profile analytics on their plate that continually push MCM performance to the backburner. In addition, the resources at their disposal tend to be data scientists (model builders, forecasters, etc.) and don’t possess the time or the proper communication skills to embed themselves with marketing teams to understand campaign nuances.
  • There are other instances where internal market research teams are given control of MCM tactic level analysis. This team is typically embedded within marketing teams, has a working knowledge of campaigns, and also benefits from a “center of excellence” approach.Similar to the advanced analytics teams, the internal market research teams also have a variety of high-profile research on their plate and often lack the tactical level analytic skill sets needed to assess MCM performance.
  • Both of the above scenarios lead to frustration within marketing teams. Marketing teams don’t have the time, resources, or skill sets required to properly assess MCM performance. However, they are the end consumer of the information in that they manage the marketing budget and continually want to improve performance as it relates to marketing spend. This often leads to one of two scenarios
  1. Marketing teams make decisions based on their experience or “gut”. This becomes less viable as marketing teams continually need to justify every dollar spent
  2. Marketing teams throw MCM analytics over the fence to agency partners that create and/or recommend tactics. This may be an easy fix, but creates a myopic view of performance in the sense that agency partners only have access to information within their campaign silo which often leads to biased performance assessment

So what works? Who should own MCM analytics?

In theory there would be an additional analytic “center of excellence” created to specifically manage MCM analytics. This team would assess tactical recommendations during brand planning, create KPIs that ladder up to strategic brand goals, track performance to said goals, and create actionable optimization recommendations for agency partners to implement.

Most importantly this team would be constructed of marketing minded analytic talent that not only understand MCM analytics but also have the ability to translate analytic findings efficiently and effectively to marketing teams. This would take the burden off of the marketing, market research, and advanced analytic teams. Plus this would break MCM analytics free of agency partner silos.

In fact, these teams exist in industries outside of pharma. I believe this doesn’t exist within our industry because of the perceived cost of MCM analytics. I use the word perceived because quite frankly marketing teams are already paying for MCM analytics. It’s just being done in an inefficient way by paying for bits and pieces in analytic pass-through from creative agencies, media agencies, relationship marketing strategy partners, amongst others. If those dollars were instead given to an internal team focused on MCM analytics we could start moving the needle towards tighter fiscal responsibility as well as build a cross-brand, cross-channel view into MCM performance.

Mike has 11+ years of experience in analytical strategy, database marketing, and market research. His expertise is focused on market analysis and planning, customer centric marketing, segmentation, customer targeting, campaign management, research, online consumer behavior, web analytics, and ROI optimization. His analytical, managerial, and technical skills provide clients with insights into global and tactical decisions such as budgetary spend, marketing forecasts and campaign performance.

To contact Mike, email him at