Today’s post comes from guest author Kurt Mueller, Chief Digital & Science Officer at Roska Digital. With over fifteen years experience providing digital marketing solutions to the Clinical Research Organization (CRO), manufacturing, Rx, and OTC industries, Pixels & Pills turned to Kurt to answer a key question that’s been weighing on the minds of many Pharma executives: how do you measure the ROI of a social media strategy?
By Kurt Mueller (@RoskaDigital)
Most of the blog posts, whitepapers and opinion leaders have recently focused on measuring the effectiveness of social media using soft metrics (also known as “buzz metrics). These social brand metrics include units of measure such as:
- Volume the amount of discussion happening
- Velocity the speed at which volume is increasing
- Sentiment the degree to which the conversations are positive or negative
- Influence the perceived importance of who is talking and their influence over others
Free tools, such as Social Mention can provide pharma marketers with an interesting glimpse into their brands footprint and reach within the social universe (be careful of the results, remember¢‚Ç¨¬¶this is a free tool). More robust fee-based tools such as Spiral 16 or Radian 6 provide greater functionality and more in-depth metrics.
However, pharma companies and marketers alike are still left trying to answer the age old question, “Whats my return on investment?
The ability to answer this question lies in how the campaign was designed and if clear calls to action (CTAs) were incorporated into the strategy.
In order to truly measure the ROI of a social program you need to do the following:
- Establish clear business objectives. Is your main objective to drive awareness? Acquisition? What about driving product sales? Or, perhaps streamlining customer service?
- Embed hard offers wherever possible. Regardless of whether you are incorporating Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other social media into your program making coupons, vouchers, rebates or even sample requests a part of the experience will provide a link to sales data (note: this does not mean the hard offer if part of the social message, but rather a benefit of participating in the conversation).
- Determine the key performance indicators (KPIs). Are you trying to lower your cost per lead (CPL) (generating more qualified leads for your sales force at a lower cost)? Do you want to increase product sales? Is the program designed to field questions and provide improved customer service and efficiency, thereby reducing staff resources? Your KPIs must measure performance against the stated business objectives.
Many social media pundits will tell you there is no real method by which to calculate true ROI in social media. I challenge that position and say that if we go back to basics and dust off our direct marketing hats, we can prove ROI using social media in pharma marketing.