Pharma companies had always been dependent on offline marketing activities to engage with doctors and implement their selling strategies.
By Gaurav Gupta,
Digital adoption across industries has transformed the way companies function and is continuing to do the same. Similarly, the sweeping digital wave is revolutionizing the US$ 42 billion pharmaceutical industry in India for better pharma marketing, improved reach, production, and development. Though the pharma industry is the late adopter of digital technologies, pharma brand managers are running hard to keep pace with the digital revolution.
Where pharma brand managers are dumping traditional marketing techniques, they also face a myriad of tough challenges in implementing new-age marketing techniques. Pharma companies had always been dependent on offline marketing activities to engage with doctors and implement their selling strategies. The traditional approach by pharma marketers was to spend most of their time traveling to doctors’ clinics and waiting outside their offices. However, technological innovations are disrupting all physical marketing activities and enabling pharma companies to modify their communication channels with doctors, pharmacists, and distributors.
Considering the current state of pharma marketing, a large-scale shift to digital initiatives to implement marketing strategies is now inevitable. In fact, online mediums have now become a crucial part of the overall sales and marketing plan of pharmaceutical companies. Unlike the traditional marketing scenario, pharma marketers have to spend more time understanding the newer channels and tools to implement their marketing strategies. Additionally, they also educate themselves on understanding the insights generated from the data generated digitally to continue to implement thriving marketing strategies.
Integrated sales and marketing strategies
Covid 19 has accelerated the digital transformation of pharma companies. And now, Pharma is a forerunner in the phygital change. The hybrid model of physical and digital interaction with doctors offers promising results to pharma companies strengthening doctor, distributor, and pharmacist’s relationship.
Apart from this, brand managers also need to focus on implementing digital-first CRMs to monitor engagements through calls, video, text messages, emails, and WhatsApp. This has also set new productivity benchmarks in reaching out to doctors. With hybrid marketing models, the average engagement has reached 20+ doctors from 8 to 10 doctors per day. This is mainly because of the increased comfort of doctors in interacting through digital channels.
Curating differentiated experiences for doctors
Digital communication has become a valuable driver in pharma marketing. The brand managers also leverage the capabilities of the internet and social media that have increasingly become commonplace for stakeholders to exchange product information and drive proactive healthcare delivery. Further, it also provides the pharma companies with a wealth of data to create value from analytics and deliver superior results.
As the number of physical touchpoints has reduced, there is a huge need for brand managers to establish close-looped communication links with doctors. The use of advanced tools and personalized content such as presentations of new studies make information accessible to doctors.
Enhanced patient engagement
Patient experience and engagement are not a new concept for pharma companies. In the present digital age, patients have become advocates of their own health. The average pharma consumer today is far more empowered and educated than those in the earlier generation. The amount of information that brand managers make available on online resources further makes it easier for patients to take responsibility for their own health. Patients looking for better information and experiences are empowered with the right decision-making that enhances their overall healthcare journey.
The pharma brand managers need to leverage the use of new tools and channels to open an array of independent communication channels. Additionally, data analytics provides relevant insights to pharma companies in ensuring drug safety and efficacy. The advanced digital marketing capabilities help brand managers to derive value and enhance the patient experience.
The immense potential of digital marketing helps brand managers to identify doctors’ needs and respond quickly. By tailoring offline and digital marketing modules, pharma companies can realize the benefit of cost-saving and operational efficiencies even after the pandemic subdues. Consequently, it will empower pharma companies to ensure an efficient pharma marketing strategy.
(The author is Co founder, Navia Life Care – a health-tech startup. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)