Five Must Haves While Initiating Digital Pharma Marketing
We have previously discussed the report by Deloitte which indicated that Pharma companies are the laggards in digital strategy implementation. Deloitte report indicated that Pharma’s digital spend on marketing and advertising is way below other industries. Pharma sector needs a comprehensive strategy backed with the structured plan to engage with doctors through digital marketing. In the previous article titled “Five Things, Pharma Must Have for Great Digital Strategy” we have seen the five important things Pharma’s digital strategy should consider.
However, just making the strategy will not help Pharma companies. The strategy needs to be backed with the properly planned workflow and processes that can ensure the effective implementation of digital initiatives. While shifting from traditional channels to digital channels, a lot of process, systems will change. Some of them will change drastically, whereas some others will have a minuscule effect on them. In order to get these things done efficiently 5 key things are must for any Pharma company.
Here they are:
- C-Suite Participation: C-Suite is the widely-used slang term to collectively refer to any corporation’s most important senior executives. Top executives must demonstrate a commitment to the development and implementation of digital marketing strategy. A clear vision and endorsement from the top executives not only drives away the fear but also motivates the others for effective implementation of digital marketing strategy. C-suite’s commitment and participation plays a pivotal role in every other component associated with digital marketing initiatives.
- Cross-functional Team Participation: Like a C-Suite which is comprised of executives representing different departments such as marketing, finance, operations, medical affairs etc. a team in charge of execution of the digital marketing strategy must have members from different functional areas of the Pharma organization. Undoubtedly, Pharma companies are some of the most internally regulated and hence bureaucratic organizations. By forming and assigning cross-functional teams for implementation of digital strategy, a lot of unwanted bureaucracy can be let away. Processes can be much more streamlined and realistic resource requirements can be identified.
- The Commitment of Resources: As suggested at the start of this article, Pharma industry spends a lot less money on the digital marketing efforts. In addition, the same report also highlights that Pharma spends a majority of its allocated money on advertising rather than on marketing initiatives. Pharma must understand advertising and packaging are different than marketing, and marketing activities require a separate allocation altogether. C-suite personnel with the cross-functional teams must generate realistically effective sum for digital strategy implementation. Digital Pharma marketing is different than traditional marketing and so its resource requirement. That is why resource commitment, both in term of money and personnel is critical in ensuring the success of digital marketing implementation.
- Physician Inputs: Pharma digital marketing initiatives can only be successful when the physicians will see the value in it. Hence, it is important that physicians are consulted time to time. Going a step beyond, it is important to co-create digital marketing initiatives that are more connecting and effective. Physician inputs are very important as they decide the journey from initiation to an adoption of digital initiatives. Physicians are also the bridge and advocates for both Pharma and patients. The balance of advocacy provides Pharma marketers realistic approach towards digital marketing campaigns. In-house medical affairs team must be consulted for Alpha-testing. Alpha testing is done with a limited number of participants to avoid potential pitfalls in the marketing efforts. In-house medical affairs team helps Pharma marketers to correct the pitch, the tone and the content of marketing campaigns. In the next phase, a targeted audience with limited number provides an opportunity for beta-testing before the full-fledged marketing campaign to all the doctors. Importantly, the point here to be noted that Pharma marketers need to collaborate with physicians and incorporate their inputs at all stages.
- Access for Digital Marketing Partners: It is known that Pharma marketers can achieve the best results by collaborating with professional digital partners. In order to achieve the best results though Pharma needs to give early access to the proprietary insights which can be used for designing better marketing campaigns for the audience. As a result of this, digital marketing partners and other stakeholders bring new perspective about the digital Pharma marketing initiatives. They can help Pharma marketers in curtailing the risks and tailoring the marketing campaigns in the most effective manner. Moreover, partners can also help Pharma marketers understand and realize new monetizing opportunities.