Today we’re pleased to feature a Q&A with Justin Freid, VP of SEM and Emerging Media at Communications Media, Inc. (CMI). CMI is a strategic planner of healthcare media specializing in direct-to-consumer (DTC) and business-to-business (B2B). Recently, Skai released a case study highlighting the success CMI has achieved by utilizing Skai Local. Today, Justin shares some additional insights into the agency’s paid search strategy.
What are some challenges inherent to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and what tools and practices have you implemented to overcome them?
The pharmaceutical space is highly regulated. Prior to launch, all keywords, ad text, and landing pages go through a rigorous approval process. To combat this, CMI has developed strategic processes for all of our SEM managers to follow. This ensures we move through the legal review process in an efficient manner.
One other challenge we often come in contact with is the overlap between DTC and B2B campaigns. For example, for certain disease states, some patients may search the same technical or brand terms that a healthcare professional (HCP) also searches. For these keywords, we develop overlap strategies for keywords that appear in both campaigns. When the websites are on two different domains, we are able to double serve ads and direct the user to the right web property by prequalifying them through ad text.
During the development of the overlap strategy, we determine which keywords have overlap and which web property receives priority. We then utilize Skai’s Bid to Position bid policy to make sure the priority web property consistently receives the higher position.
As you point out, your clients have multiple brands and target several audiences, each with their own distinct goals. How do you manage search programs to reach these audiences while achieving set goals?
At CMI, search gets involved in the planning process significantly earlier than other agencies. With search being the largest driver of traffic for almost all pharmaceutical brands, it makes sense to have the team managing the channel to have a seat at the strategic table. We work directly with brand teams, and CMI’s media strategy and analytics teams to ensure our KPIs, goals, and search efforts directly align with brand strategy.
It really starts early on in the process with developing an understanding of the brand’s place in its specific disease state and its product life cycle. We then work from there to develop goals and a custom program that helps them reach those goals.
One other key point to keep in mind is there is not only a small overlap in what keywords a patient or HCP are searching for but also overlap in their process of gathering information about a new treatment. For example, if a new treatment is launched, there are potentially two individuals, a patient and HCP, researching in parallel paths up until their scheduled appointment. We have to make sure we lead both of these individuals through the right path and help them reach the right content so they can have an educated conversation with each other about the well-being of the patient.
At Skai we aim to develop tools that help organizations become more “proactive”. What are your best practices as a proactive marketing organization and what are some things your team has done to stay ahead of the curve?
Utilizing Skai and some of its advanced reporting features definitely helps our team be more proactive. Each morning when our SEM Managers log in, they have a plethora of data and unique reporting options to find that key data point or trend than can lead to an optimization to boost results. What helps the most is being able to customize reporting templates and easily adjust date ranges and metrics. This way, we are able to set up dashboards that directly reflect the brand goals.
We know, as an agency partner, it is our job to help our clients stay head of the curve as well. We try to keep our ear to the ground and understand what new features are coming through paid social media advertising and the likes of Google and Bing. This way we can easily educate our client and its legal teams on what needs to be done to get the most from its media dollars. We actively push out POVs that showcase new trends and how they can potentially help our clients.
As the VP of SEM and Emerging Media what do you think is the next biggest opportunity to grow marketing efforts that search marketers might not be focused on?
To me, there are two areas that will continue to grow significantly and become bigger parts of what we are already doing: content and location. We’ve already seen Google make a significant amount of changes to the organic algorithm over the past three years that eliminate thin content.
We know the audience wants content available across all devices and available at his or her fingertips. From a location standpoint, we are getting more and more data based on mobile devices and the areas where individuals travel. Mobile ad technology is now able to pinpoint an individual’s location within a strip mall to a single store.
By leveraging location data and understanding where an individual is, where he or she has been, and trends that show where that person is going, we can make sure our paid efforts across search engines and social networks match up with expectations. This means serving audiences ads and content that is directly related to the path they are on. Essentially, SEM managers need to think past the keyword and truly understand where someone is at during their research or purchase cycle and adapt their efforts accordingly.