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What are Pharma brands competing for in the digital world?

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What is competition for pharma brand in the digital world?

As pharma marketers, we know how important Competition is.

Total sales, prescription volumes, market share and growth are just some of the parameters that we keep a track on, in the traditional way of pharma marketing.

But what is it like in the digital world?

What are the new parameters to competition for pharma brands in the digital world?
How is the overall competitive landscape for a brand?
As pharma marketers wouldn’t you like to know what competition means in the digital world?

Sure we do !!

Pharma marketers are always on the lookout for some good digital tactics.
But are often disappointed with the results.

The reason being, not developing a strong foundational knowledge and understanding of digital marketing concepts

For example, think about when you adopt a sampling strategy for your product in the conventional way of marketing to doctors. You also agree that not every brand requires a sampling strategy. Right?

What works for product A will not for product B. There would be a definite purpose for it.

Before you finalize you will think over, the quantity to be allocated to every representative, whether your doctor needs sampling, will it be effective, and so on.

This thinking can take place, only because of clarity on the marketing processes.

In the same way, when you get a good hold on how the overall marketing works in the digital landscape, you will be able to fit the right strategy for the right set of products and customers. And win !!

So let’s jump into our today’s topic and describe the new parameters to competition for pharma brands in the digital world.

Here’s what you need to understand – 
The only thing every marketer in the online world is interested in is, the Traffic

And I’m going to simplify how to think about traffic, so you have a solid gameplan.

In case you aren’t familiar with the term, “traffic” – it simply means your prospective customer. 

Traffic in the digital landscape is the visitors to your website or the online published content. 

You’re not only competing against your direct competition. In this digital age, you are competing with every piece of content that’s published.

As stated in

Now you may be thinking…
from where will this traffic come, how much will it cost, what should I be really doing….and lots of other questions. 

Don’t worry. However, complicated the digital marketing system may seem, 
Everything will be clear with this important fundamental understanding.

Traffic is the most essential component of competition for pharma in the digital world

There are 3 different types of traffic:

  1. Direct Traffic
  2. Paid Traffic
  3. Organic Traffic

DIRECT TRAFFIC: This is the traffic you OWN

This is the best and the most important kind of traffic you can have.
And every marketer would want to maximize this kind of traffic. 

  • The people in your Direct Traffic, will be the followers, subscribers or fans for your brand with whom you are already engaging through direct marketing campaigns. 
  • You will have their contact details and you can be in regular touch with them through email newsletters and other content of interest to them. 

So with the direct traffic, you will not be spending money to acquire them,
All your marketing efforts will be driven to convert them into regular customers and loyalists.

PAID TRAFFIC: This is the traffic that YOU CAN CONTROL

You will get this traffic when you run any paid ads on Google, social media or other website banners.

You can control this traffic. Because the more money you spend the more traffic you would get.

Many marketers would be very excited to run ads because it gives instant results.

But THE DRAWBACK to such a kind of traffic is,
– These results are only temporary. Not only are they are highly dependent on the money you spend on the ads,

– This traffic is owned by Google or Facebook. Meaning you have no idea of who has viewed your ad, clicked on your ads, etc..

When you run paid ads, YOUR OBJECTIVE should be to convert them into traffic that you can OWN.

You should aim to get the email address of people clicking on your ads.
Because once they’ve given you their contact information, you’ve now turned them into traffic you OWN!

ORGANIC TRAFFIC: This is the kind of traffic over which you have absolutely NO CONTROL

  • They are random visitors to your site,
  • Who may visit your website, share your article, mention you on social groups
  • They could be people who were doing an online search for a particular disease or drug and then landed on your website
  • Your website would have visitors from countries or audiences that you’ve never targeted
  • They could also be people who have re-shared one of the posts by your followers on social media. This could eventually bring new visitors to your company’s site.

The best thing you can do such an audience is to INFLUENCE THEM, by actively responding to social comments when your brand is mentioned

You would also want to build this type of traffic by focusing on some content marketing strategy suited to their liking and unique needs. 

Both PAID and ORGANIC traffic is about driving people’s attention from online platforms to your site.

After you get the paid and the organic traffic,
You must OWN the traffic!

With this understanding, 

Pharma brands in the digital world would be competing for only 3 things

That is all the digital marketing activities that are being done are geared towards having –

  1. Positive online reputation
  2. Lots of attention and
  3. Higher search engine rankings

Online reputation

In the competitive marketplace, adopting only the traditional pharma marketing practices is like having a tunneled vision, and will not help companies drive sales and profits, anymore. 

Information and news can spread faster in the online world. Word of mouth can make a brand go viral and get instant success.

But even a single negative patient experience carries a greater risk of being severely criticized, analyzed and judged on a public platform. And can be a cause of severe damage to the company’s reputation. 

Even if we choose not to have our brand presence online. Anyone, almost anyone would have the right to mention and discuss our brands online.

Being vigilant and attentive to all the commenting around the brand – which is called social listening, has also become quite a necessity. 

Responding to customer comments both positive and negative will need to be done quickly, keeping the tone of interaction personal and positive can be a turning point for the brand’s image.

Lots of Attention

Did you know?
The average internet user’s attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to less than 8 seconds today – which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish!

With this changing attention span in the digital age, marketers are trying everything to make their brands stand apart.

By using paid ads, creating valuable content, special offers, social media engagement, email marketing campaigns, etc…

Higher search engine rankings

What if you are producing lots of content around your brand. But guess what, it is not being read.

Because it lies somewhere way behind in the 6 -7 page of google search results.

Did you know?
The first position on Google search results on desktop has a 31.7% clickthrough rate.

It is not only the QUANTITY of content that matters. But also the QUALITY!

Quality would mean, google likes content that would have visuals, video, with a good number of words and is regarded as authoritative, with the number of shares, comments, likes, and links for the article. 

But most importantly, google needs to recognize and match the words a person types in the search with your content. These are known as keywords.

For example, if the person is looking for some information on ‘heartburn’ but your content uses the term ‘acidity’. No way is google going to recognize your content.

In summary,

The Growth Drivers for pharma brands, to compete in the digital world are,

The Growth Drivers for pharma , to compete in the online world

And guess what this is all connected.

You will use SEO >>> to get traffic and attention.
Positive customer reviews on your brand will build your online reputation >>> which will give better
search engines rankings

I don’t know if you realized the goodness of all we discussed so far,
you get to have FULL CONTROL of all the digital marketing campaigns

That means you can control its implementation, have access to the results, instantly study the responses and analyze the success of your campaigns.
(Unlike the traditional method, wherein you would have to rely on your medical representatives for the implementation as well as wait for the feedback of your campaigns).


Inspiration & credits: Russell Brunson

What are Pharma brands competing for in the digital world?

What are Pharma brands competing for in the digital world?

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