Remaining competitive in today’s fast-paced digital world requires complete understanding of your target audience and engagement opportunities. To do this, it feels like you need to be everywhere, all at once. Exhausting, right?
Well, not if you utilize a digital landscape.
Looking at everything your target audience touches with a birds eye view is the ‘digital landscape’ concept and grasping it can be the difference between getting ahead of competitors and falling behind.
In this guide, we’ll take you through all the elements of a digital landscape framework and how to build one.
Defining the Digital Landscape
In reality, a landscape is a large and defined area of land that encompasses many geographical features. The best way to view a landscape is from a distance, so you can take it all in. A digital landscape is similar and can easily be defined as:
A comprehensive view of all the available digital assets and channels in a specific therapeutic area and/or geography
In pharma, this means that a digital landscape encompasses all the digital assets and channels your target audience absorbs information through.
You can step back to analyze the landscape for suggestions and insights for how to use each channel best. You should also explore the different digital landscapes used by different segments of your audience. That’s where the specific specialties and/or geography of the audience comes in!
For a little reminder of how to segment (and why you should), read our guide on using personalisation to reach HCPs
3 Important Reasons to Analyze the Landscape
Understanding the landscape of your HCPs is a good start, but digital landscape analysis is the essential tool that will help you stay competitive. Here are three excellent reasons why.
Understand Your Target Audience
By providing quantitative and qualitative data and insights, you can challenge and even contradict existing beliefs. You can adjust your approach to better fit reality and create effective engagement opportunities as a result.
Identify New Opportunities
Current and emerging trends, including new channels, can fill gaps in your marketing strategy. An objective view of the competitive landscape identifies where competitors fall short, allowing you to take initiative and capitalize those areas.
Analysis allows you to remodulate investments and optimize spend on channels and assets that are most appealing to your target audience. Informed decisions based on data allow you to efficiently spend your budget and reliably increase ROI.
How to Start Gathering Data
To build your landscape, you need to observe data. Sometimes this data is easily available, other times you need to put effort in extracting it from sources for your digital landscape. Sources are split into internal and external categories.
Collect and filter information from various sources within your organization:
Internal Task Force – insights from teams across departments, from marketing to sales
Advisory Boards and KOLs – lists, programs and boards of KOLs providing data
Customer Data – CRM data, user surveys, persona analysis, and more
Past Analytics – Campaign performance results and long-term analytics
First, implement constant and structured discussions with colleagues across departments – your internal task force. Each team has information to be accumulated in order to form a comprehensive digital landscape analysis. Sales representatives, for example, have constant contact with healthcare professionals and valuable insights into their needs and expectations. Collect and filter this information to avoid potential biases.
The medical team is also a valuable partner in gathering information, especially through key opinion leader (KOL) programs, which identify relevant HCPs and observe their online presence. Influence the topics discussed during advisory board meetings to obtain these insights.
Essentially, master all unstructured data coming from existing digital channels and identify meaningful trends.
Look beyond your organization to identify new opportunities and gaps that may have been overlooked. The analysis of external sources at the core of digital landscape analysis, so observe with an unbiased eye.
Social Media Platforms – track audience behavior through interaction, content consumption and engagement rates
Search Engine Data – search behavior via keyword search volumes and ranking performance
Online Publications – includes trends, traffic volumes, ad formats, and competitors
Industry Reports and Surveys – Overarching trends, growth rates, and preferences
Monitoring both professional and general social media provides valuable insights into important metrics. Search engines are also a useful source of quantitative and qualitative information on all kinds of search behavior.
Publications including medical journals, news outlets, and industry blogs provide additional insights into latest trends and competitor preferences.
Finally, precious insights can be found from research organizations, market intelligence, or consulting firms focused on marketing to healthcare professionals.
Combining these sources creates a map of which channels are most effective in reaching a greater slice of the target audience.
Structuring Data Into A Landscape
There are five building blocks for your digital landscape.
Provide an overview of the target audience, including demographics, psychographics and statistics to demonstrate the context and potential reach of marketing activities.
Focus on search and competition analysis, using search engine results pages (SERP) and search engine optimization (SEO) tools to identify high ranking websites and target keywords. This provides insight into potential web visitor behavior.
Analyze competitors’ digital assets and social media to identify what competitors rank for and their paid channel activities. This could highlight worthwhile advertising opportunities.
Group websites and social networks used by the target audience and competitors into categories, e.g. medical media, doctor’s associations, etc. Assess authority, traffic and advertising opportunities of each.
Evaluate the content that performs well on each channel, identifying the most effective channel to distribute each type. Include analyzing common and best-performing content, such as blog posts, videos and infographics.
An Example of a Digital Landscape in Pharma
Take a look at these extracts of a digital landscape analysis we recently performed.
Our target audience was UK ophthalmologists and we analyzed digital behavior using multiple sources. The final deliverable included lists of relevant websites, keywords, channels and influencers/social media accounts for the specific therapeutic area (ophthalmology) in a specific area (UK).
Importantly, all reports should contain actionable information so marketing managers can identify and select appropriate and efficient channels to reach the target audience.
Performing a yearly analysis of the digital landscape is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest changes, so you can monitor and focus on channels that you may not otherwise consider.
Regularly update and recategorize websites, apps and networks depending on behavior, usage, and function. This is especially important for social media, including both professional networks for HCPs and general networks where they may also be active. Monitor how these networks evolve and develop – they may vary from one country or region to another.
Ultimately, a well-conceived digital landscape provides valuable insights into your target audience (and your competitors’) and helps you make data-driven decisions to optimize your digital marketing strategy. Start by following the steps outlined above and reach out to us at Phamax Digital for Wingman assistance!