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Supercharge Your Digital Marketing ROI in 2024 and Beyond

Top tips to stay current and drive revenue

Read time: 4.5 minutes

The most masterful storytelling and marketing execution that set the gold standard for every campaign since 1984 was Ridley Scott’s Super Bowl commercial for the very first Macintosh computer. The shot that was heard around the world sent shock waves through the business community. That ad allowed Apple, a previously unknown player, to upstage the tech giant IBM and become a household name.

“I still regard it as one of the greatest ads of all time,” said Chris Johnson, the Global Head of Marketing at AstraZeneca and biotech industry leader for 20 plus years. “It aired just one time, but everyone remembers it and everyone was talking about it. When planning a campaign with my team, I still refer to that ad, which embodies the core principles of effective communication: engagement, impact, memorability, and brand linkage.”

These principles haven’t changed, but the digital marketing strategies and tools that embed these pillars have. To keep pace with this rapid acceleration, AMA Philadelphia reached out to Johnson for three emerging trends to supercharge your campaigns and ROI and set marketing leaders up for success in 2024.

Data-driven customer segmentation

Digital marketing is enabling a brave new world of customer segmentation. Separating customers into different audiences that go beyond demographics and buying behavior – called attitudinal segmentation – is not new.

“The thing that’s changing right now in digital marketing is we’ve learned how to leverage data and make customer segmentations more actionable,” explained Johnson. “Not just in the healthcare world. Not just based on prescribing data for doctors or patients, but also based on discovering other things customers are interested in.”

He explained how this has led to:

  • Getting much more precise in tailoring communications to customers.
  • Using artificial intelligence to create content that aligns with where customers are in their journey. 
  • Using the YouTube or Netflix model: “If you liked that, you might also like this…”
  • Parsing out content that moves people from awareness to product adoption.

Actionable data

Before, large attitudinal segmentations offered great insight but were difficult to implement,  pointed out Johnson

“You couldn’t act on the data because you couldn’t identify who fell into which segment. Now you can use data to align messages to customers based on their attitudes and interests to deliver more relevant messages. If you’re reaching them where they are in their customer journey with personalized content, it’s going to be more engaging, relevant, impactful, and memorable — the hallmark of every successful campaign.”

One example he provides is this: customers who are early adopters of electric vehicles are probably also more likely to adopt other new technologies, so you can start to segment them based on where you would expect them to be in a product adoption cycle.

Optimizing omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing has hit a tipping point, believes Johnson. “Now it’s part of every marketing plan, to ensure that we’re getting to the right customers, with the right message, in the right channel, at the right time.”

He still feels that “engagement is king in marketing. In healthcare, there’s nothing like a good face-to-face chat.” Building relationships is essential. “Field sales teams continue to be important in educating healthcare professionals about disease areas and new treatments. “

But customer follow-up is evolving. “Now, you can leverage multichannel marketing data to inform which communication comes next and in which channel. Field sales reps can get additional insight after their calls to help make their next interaction more relevant.”

AI is all the rage

Still in its infancy, there are endless ideas of how to use generative artificial intelligence. Johnson believes “we’re going to find out which methods have staying power, no different than the dot-com boom at the turn of the millennium. There will be hits and misses for sure.”

There is a broad range of ramifications for the healthcare market “from drug development and discovery to clinical trial recruitment for marketers and content development.” And the key for it to be effective “is having a well-defined ecosystem. We must set the parameters for what the universe looks like that is going to guide it.”

This is especially important for heavily regulated industries. “The place where AI is pulling in vast amounts of data needs to come from the most reputable sources and adhere to any industry’s regulatory and compliance requirements.”

“When you consider any disease and the products within that space, you need to define what’s in and out of scope. So, if I’m going to have AI design first-pass content, then I want the engine to be drawing from a universe that is ‘on label’ and representative of the clinical trial data that can support our communications and messaging. You need to think of AI as an employee; you need to guide it and coach it.”

AI is the thread that runs through digital marketing. “It enables us to deliver more personalized, relevant communications that are more engaging and help us better meet customer needs, whether that’s education, or product and safety information. The big data that sits behind all of this is how we’re able to leverage it. And we don’t even know how much it can help us yet.”

Johnson’s best advice to stay ahead of the rapid acceleration of digital marketing is to “be curious” about trends, competitors, and other industry marketing, and continue to evolve through all the changes.

“It’s all happening right now in real-time. I think that we’re going to see hits and misses, and we’re going to learn from what works and where we need to evolve.”

The views expressed here are those of the author and Chris Johnson and do not represent AstraZeneca’s viewpoints or opinions.

Looking for more marketing insights for the coming year?
Join Chris Johnson and other top marketing thought leaders for exclusive, live insights at our annual Superbowl Smackdown on February 15, where they’ll dive into how top brands creatively use the Super Bowl to elevate their identity and boost brand awareness.

Lynda Dell is the AMA Philadelphia blog editor and content strategist who is a web copywriter for B2B, health brands, ed publishing, and learning markets to become a sought-after online resource driving sales and growth. When not writing and developing content, you can find her exploring Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton Township, NJ, going on nature hikes, and binging on personal development podcasts.