Clearing the confusion on pharma marketing vernacular

Throughout my decades of experience in pharma marketing, I’ve learned a thing or two about the industry’s vernacular: mainly, there’s significant discrepancy in how brand decision-makers define key marketing terms. This matters more than you think. Misunderstanding key concepts such as multichannel marketing and ROI can cause even the savviest pharma brands to make costly marketing mistakes. At Measurement Mojo, we’re your ultimate resource for clearing the marketing confusion so that you can achieve undeniable marketing results.

If you’re concerned with generating measurable marketing ROI and waging smarter campaigns each year, these terms should become a key part of your pharma marketing vernacular. Here’s how Mojo’s gurus define the following:

Multichannel Marketing (MCM)

Many people mistakenly believe that MCM refers to all promotional channels except for personal. This is not the case. MCM encompasses not only consumer marketing, but also includes the sales force and human interactions, and digital (mobile, banners, webinars, emails, social, etc.). We see countless brands leave key tactics such as the sales force out of their MCM strategy due to a misunderstanding of this crucial pharma marketing concept.

Non-personal Promotion (NPP)

NPP refers to any and all promotional tactics that don’t involve your internal or external sales teams. This is one of the main ways in which NPP and MCM differ from one another, but remember that NPP isn’t just digital. The NPP umbrella can also include direct mail, fax and anything else that doesn’t directly involve your brand’s sales force.


“Digital” is a word that gets thrown around quite often in the pharma marketing world, but what does it really mean? In this space, the word “digital” typically refers to email, webinars, banners or other forms of online advertising, mobile and—more recently—social media.


Like “digital,” the word “advertising” can mean many different things to many different people. In the world of pharma marketing, it most commonly refers to journal ads and banner advertising. Such ads may be used for generating awareness or driving engagement with relevant MCM tactics. Note that, while the word “advertising” can be somewhat loosely defined, it shouldn’t be used as a catch-all.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI has got to be the most misunderstood term in the pharma space, even though for most of us, it’s the most important sign of marketing success. In pharma marketing, ROI is calculated using either WAC (wholesale acquisition cost) or ASP (average selling price), the latter of which yields a more accurate result. Most vendors are not privy to ASP, which is why they often use WAC to calculate ROI. Because ROI can utilize a variety of assumptions like NRx lift, refill rate, internal DAW activity, and more, it’s all about being explicit about the assumptions, and ideally having an objective 3rd party conduct or review the analysis to determine the true reflection of lift.

At a base level, the goal with ROI is to figure out the amount of incremental revenue generated by the marketing tactic or campaign in question. This requires a clear, consistent understanding of what expenses are considered in your calculation, paired with one of the key three methods of measuring ROI: a control group, considered the gold standard; a convenience sample; or a pre and post comparison — for example, a comparison of previous sales from the same group, or a comparison of those that received and engaged with a message to those who received it but did not engage.

Pharma marketing terminology can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to keep you from executing successful campaigns. Measurement Mojo leads the charge towards clarity, whether through setting KPIs for vendors or offering in-depth insights that show leading brands exactly what is and isn't driving measurable ROI. Contact our team today to see how we can get these key pharma marketing concepts working in your brand’s favor.