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Don’t fear the technology.
That was the impression I carried for quite some time on digital marketing. The fear or you can say a disliking to get into something TECHNICAL.
There is the technical aspect to it,
but as ‘pharma’ marketers let me clarify, we are interested only in the application part of it and not the back end technical stuff !!
Phew …I know what a relief :))
So today I would say,
Don’t fear the technology – change the outlook !!
Let’s look at the digital world,
- As avenues for us to widen our set of target customers
- To explore creative opportunities in conveying our message, and
- To become more accessible and convenient so as to engage directly with our customer
How does Digital compare to the Traditional way of pharma marketing?
Interestingly, the basics of marketing remain true even today.
It is just that the old way of pharma marketing has adopted newer names in the digital landscape.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing (Infographic)
To the consumers and patients,
digital options have given more freedom of choice and convenience
To the pharma marketers,
digital options have reduced costs dramatically compared to the traditional marketing approaches,
and they are more targeted with a much wider reach.
From targeting a broader customer base within the confines of a geographical location (like zones or regions), digital gives us the tools to narrow down our audience based on their preferences, demographics, habits and much more.
With such super targeting, pharma marketers can choose to have their message in front of the right kind of audience.
Another important thing,
Through online media, it is possible to map out the entire customer journey.
The customers have come into closer reach for the marketers than ever before.
Given this, we can connect with the final consumer and offer valuable and memorable experiences around the brand.
Digital Pharma Marketing is no longer just a trend. Why?
There was a time when pharma companies were in command over the information that was available to the doctors.
Today, information is freely available to the doctor. And the doctor can access this information in the format he likes (audio, video, ebooks, webinars, etc..)
49% of healthcare professionals spend over 4 to 5 hours a day on their digital devices conducting research or engaging with their peers, it is hard to not to take into account this potential channel.
Not only has meeting doctors, getting tougher –
In the limited time frame, the quality of calls/presentations to the doctors is often compromised because of the pressure on the quantity of information that needs to be shared.
The marketing activities of sampling, creating literature, promotional reminders all feel the same at the end of the day.
The doctor is just not so keen on meeting a pharma representative.
This hints that the role played by the medical representative in supporting the brand activities needs to be re-looked into.
Digital initiatives for the brand should be such that it can armor the representative with resources and talk points that can aid and interest the digital-savvy doctors.
Why is having an online presence so important?
1.The doctor focused approach to marketing will remain dominant but the patient has also become an important influencing component in the value chain.
Did you know?
77% of the consumers will do a Google search on specific diseases or conditions; treatments or procedures; and doctors or other health professionals.
This is something the Pharma companies cannot afford to miss out.
Patients are more aware and are playing an active role in their health conditions and treatment decisions.
Earlier pharma companies had little or absolutely no opportunity to directly interact with the end-user. But with the digital medium, it is worthwhile to adopt patient-centric strategies.
Patient experience is an area most pharma companies have yet to fully deliver on.
2. The digital platform provides a wealth of data
Every customer touchpoint provides unique insights into consumer concerns, desires, satisfaction and much much more.
Analyzing patterns of their behavior, preferences, decisions can all provide valuable insights for possible customer segmentation.
Tailoring content based on specific customer needs and interests can create powerful customer experiences and positive brand associations.
Moreover, personalized interactions are more meaningful, engaging and have a higher probability of converting into a sale.
3. Social media has become one of the best ways to connect
It is a platform to start a dialogue. And this trend is bound to rise.
More than 40% of consumers say that information found via social media affects the way they deal with their health. (source: Mediabistro)
60% of physician’s most popular activities on social are following what colleagues are sharing and discussing. (source: Health Care Communication)
The challenge to digital pharma marketing
True, pharma companies are highly regulated and have to be very cautious with the word in the online world.
Because of the regulatory requirements, pharma companies are reluctant to socialize or have personalized interaction.
Playing silent seems to work best to avoid any unintended criticisms or consequences.
It’s like the more you are present and active, the more you can expose yourself to the type of social media attacks of negative reviews and bothersome complaints!
Still, with social media being such an important part of everyone’s lives today, marketers need to have their presence and find creative ways to ENGAGE, LISTEN and RESPOND.
To summarize, one thing is clear.
Relying on a single channel to get attention will not work anymore.
Multichannel campaigns engage patients and doctors 4 times more than single-channel campaigns.
However, adopting multiple channels without a solid understanding of the strength and weaknesses of every channel in relation to the customer needs will not yield results.
Strategies that are bold and well-defined strike GOLD.
Wishful strategy without a purpose will leave YOU confused and lost in the world wide web.
For now, stay curious, stay positive and on an ambitious lookout for what is to follow.