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9 Essential Audience Research Tools for Pharma Marketers

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9 Great Online Market Research Tools for in-depth customer insights…that are Free !

How to find out what people are searching for?

How do you get to know Your Audience more closely and understand their Search Intent?

9 essential free market research tools for pharma marketers

With close to 7 billion internet searches a day worldwide, 

where to start from and
what people are searching for
get into understanding the deepest fears, anxieties, and feelings of the audience

Here’s how I got into using these important online market research tools.

So I had to work on developing some fresh web content for a website that my client was interested to launch.

The disease was something that I wasn’t familiar with earlier.
Though we sketched the entire outline of the website
, something was missing!

I wasn’t comfortable writing about the disease and the treatment offers – with absolutely no knowledge of the audience.

I am not referring to all the known details of the disease like the age group, causes, symptoms, or risk factors.

But for me to write to this audience, to emotionally connect with them, I needed a mental picture of this patient – their sufferings, their daily lives with the disease,
their greatest fears and expectations, deepest desires, and hopes.

So yes, I needed to have my Customer Avatar / Customer Persona

And you know what, I used these very Free tools! 

The findings and the insights just elevated my understanding of the patients, the disease, and the way I wanted to communicate with them, to a completely different level.

What if, I tell you,

With the collective data, I was kind of able to enter their lives and understand them.
Their words of frustrations, and joy – which I knew would work very well when creating promotional messages.

The intricate details of the patient’s complaints with their current treatments, their post-treatment satisfaction, and some of the most commonly searched for queries – can give the opportunity to prepare a robust FAQ section.

I was clear in my mind, on the kind of information they needed next and thereafter. 

Excited to know about these free market tools?
So here we go …

How will these pharma marketing tools help you?

These tools are going to be a great source to gather information over the usual one-on-one surveys by way of questionnaires or interviews.

These essential pharma marketing tools can help you:
>> Understand user search intent
>> Get a feel of the pulse of the target population
>> Help you build your customer avatar
>> Set the tone of your content
>> Help you choose the best and the most useful content topic for your audience and also help you anticipate the next topic 

And so much more…

Even if you are not into keyword research yet –
(but which you will become very soon!!)

This is going to be an important part of building your SEO

Let me tell you how?

When going in for your content planning there are 2 basic kinds of research:

1. Deciding on the topic
and once you have done that, your next task will be

2. To figure out the keywords to include in your content

What are ‘keywords’?
These are the terms that people enter into search engines while looking for a topic.

These tools will help you in the very first step of your research – i.e, deciding on highly relevant content ideas.

So let’s go discover…

The best and the must-know pharma marketing tools that will help you know your target audience better !

1. Google Trends

Google trends is quite a popular tool and will give you a complete snapshot of how a keyword is trending over the previous months.

Just type in the keyword your interested to look into. For example, let us do a basic search on ‘diabetes’ –

Google trend search bar - pharma market research tool

You can also ‘compare’ it with another keyword; and then select the required time range and geographical location.
Here I selected ’12 months’ and wanted to see the trend ‘worldwide’.

Demonstrating an example of  pharma marketing tool
Results from using the Google trends which is relevant for pharma marketers

2. Google Autocomplete 

Have you noticed, when you type in Google’s search box, Google will quickly give you some other options as well, in the form of a drop-down list.

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - the list of options by Google, when typing in search box

Google is infact, making some search predictions on the possible search terms related to what you are looking for and what other people have already searched for. 

As shown in the example below, look at the varying options in the drop-down list, when I just typed in ‘diabetes symptoms’ compared to only ‘diabetes’.
Also when I tried to be very specific like ‘diabetes symptoms in adults‘, I got a different list of suggestions.

Demonstrating another variation example of a pharma marketing tool - Google's autocomplete feature
An example of a pharma marketing tool - Google's autocomplete feature

3. Google People Also Ask

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - Google People also ask

Once you type into Google’s search box, somewhere in the first part of your search result page – you will notice a box with the title ‘People Also Ask’ >>>

This box has variants of other possible questions around the search term you are looking for. 

And the interesting thing is, 
you can expand each of these questions to find the answers. That will also open up another set of related questions to the one you just clicked on.

So you can generate some hundreds of these search queries which will help you get an idea of the general search pattern of people’s queries.

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - Google searches related to

4. Google Searches Related To

As you scroll down to the very bottom of the search results page you will find a section on ‘Related Searches’.

Another useful tool that will help you get closer to understanding the user’s search intent and will bring in some more clarity to your gathered insights.

5. Answer The Public

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - Answer the public

A very user-friendly search listening tool, which will instantly give you an unbiased list of all the search queries around a key term.

The data is compiled from some millions of searches and is laid down in an easy-to-read graphical format.

Just type in your desired keyword, and discover interesting questions, search queries, and some really unexpected insights.

6. Online Patient Communities

Many patients and their families actively seek help by participating in the online health communities to make better-informed decisions to manage their disease condition.

These groups are a source of emotional and moral support for the patients.
Patients are supporting other patients by sharing their experiences with a therapy, side effects of a treatment, reviews of doctors or brands, and much more.

And then, there are also Health Forums that provide expert support in which patient queries are answered by medical doctors.

Going through these online forums (for the disease of your interest) and reading some of the comments is a great way to uncover discussions around a drug or competitor brands or in anything around the disease. They help understand the patient’s emotional distress and areas of satisfaction as well.

Check out this big list of online patient communities and health forums on various disease segments.

7. Health Support Groups on Facebook

I find health communities for individual health conditions on social networking sites like Facebook, another great source of gaining some really valuable information.

Here is an example of how you can go about searching for these groups on Facebook. Check out the different groups that exist, when I did a search on ‘diabetes’.

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - Facebook groups
Demonstrating another example of a pharma marketing tool - Facebook groups

8. Quora

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool - Quora

This is yet another kind of listening tool.
You can use it to check what people are asking about your topic.

There are Spaces on Quora, dedicated to a specific topic- which is about questions asked by people. >>>

You might find it interesting to look into the kind of questions that are being asked and also the answers provided. Some of the answers given by other users are interesting and get upvoted by the community.

Overall this tool will help give you a good perspective on how people approach a topic and what concerns them.
Again a great area to have your thinking caps on when looking for some refreshing content ideas.

9. Google Search Tools 

This option is right at the top horizontal menu and helps you filter your search results to find exactly what you want.

For example, you can customize results to find sites updated within the last 24 hours.

Demonstrating an example of a pharma marketing tool -Google search tool
Demonstrating the results of using Google's search tool

So that’s it !

These are the 9 highly valuable pharma marketing tools that every pharma marketer must be using to get a good understanding of their online audience.

I am sure you will be amazed with the collective information you are able to gather with these essential tools for your target audience research.

It will provide you with a much better understanding of
the patients’ pain points,

helping you make Real-time, Responsive Marketing Decisions
that will serve YOUR customers,
by being Relevant, Empathetic, and REAL.

Do you know of any other tools that can help provide some great insights to pharma marketers? Please do share them in the comments section below.

9 Essential Audience Research Tools for Pharma Marketers to obtain in-depth customer insights

9 Essential Audience Research Tools for Pharma Marketers

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