How to Overcome Eight Digital Pharma Marketing Pitfalls
With Covid-19 & declining Physician access, a good number of pharma companies across the world have included digital as an integral channel to reach out to their target doctors. However, only a handful have developed a systematic view with an integrated strategy
According to the research paper published by global consultants, L.E.K. Consulting, effective implementation of comprehensive strategy has potential for sales growth of at least 15.2% every year. But if that is the case then why most of the Pharma companies are struggling with digital marketing initiatives?
With this article, we aim to make you aware of certain pitfalls commonly faced by pharma companies that may lead to the downfall of their digital marketing strategy. Pharma marketers and medical affairs team members can then accordingly plan and drive their initiatives in this unexplored territory.
What are 8 Digital Marketing Pitfalls for Pharma Marketers?
- Vision: Most critical of all, unclear vision while creating, adopting and implementing digital marketing initiatives is the biggest pitfall Pharma companies encounter. Even if the vision of top executives is clear, not sharing it further down the hierarchy also creates hurdles in implementing digital marketing initiatives.
- Business, Marketing & Digital Objective: Pharma companies need to decide what channel they want to choose to engage their target HCPs. Pharma companies can use digital channels to access the hard-to-see and no-see doctors and reinforce their access to currently accessible physicians. But more often than not they are confused where to use digital – is it to acquire new doctors or retain their existing doctors? It is increasingly feasible to systematically track and measure different content types and their performance for their target HCPs.
- Empathize, Be Relevant & Resonate: Digital Content is not simply duplicating traditional visual aids on to a digital platform. Determine the type of content that interests physicians, the frequency that doesn’t saturate them with the content and understand their preferences for content. Some may prefer clinical information communicated by a peer. Others may want patient education material. Some others may wish to access the information themselves from a library of self-serve content. Pharma companies should also understand the channels by which physicians prefer to be contacted like Docplexus platform (India’s largest online medical community of verified allopathic doctors with focus on latest medical updates through journals, articles, patient case studies, guidelines, webinars, accredited CMEs, live surgeries etc.)
- Systemic Vs Opportunistic Approach: Using a few digital marketing tools for a limited amount of time doesn’t help overall customer engagement and core brand strategy. Many companies still do not see digital marketing as a mainstay of future pharma marketing. Digital Marketing is here to stay even after COVID-19 because HCPs have changed their ways to keep themselves updated and connect with their peers now. They often turn to unbiased infographics/webinars/KOL videos/curated articles as per their interest/online CME modules to keep themselves updated – all of these combined with target HCP preference insights – can help create a strong Digital Marketing strategy to reach out to them where they are available, 24X7.
- Digital marketing integration: Various reports have suggested that a traditional methodology views digital Pharma marketing approach as a potential threat to current field-force based approach and thus fails to integrate digital marketing initiatives in marketing mix completely. It is possible to use analytics to understand how different marketing channels reinforce each other. Not just market and content analytics, but complicated yet imperative insights on physicians performance can also be tracked through Mindset Analysis and Perceptual Mapping done by Docplexus. Pharma marketers and top executives must understand that digital marketing is not a replacement for the traditional approach but it reinforces and equips the field-force with innovative solutions.
- Regulatory streamlining: Digital marketing is quite novel and crosses a number of traditional boundaries including the regulatory processes, jurisdictions and has a potential to disrupt various ongoing processes. However, it also allows Pharma marketers to innovate and streamline the redundant processes which not only cost money but also the time.
- Overlook omnichannel marketing: Pharma marketers are exploring ways to engage with the HCPs beyond face-to-face & print media. They mostly focus on using different offline & online channels to engage customers which are relatively independent from one another. Think about following segments of physicians:
- Physicians who are unaware of the treatment or your brand or using a different brand
- Physicians who have just started prescribing and sent their first prescriptions for your brand
- Physicians who have taken up your brand and prescribing more or less regularly
- Physicians who are high volume prescribers and brand advocates who influence peers proactively to prescribe the brand
- Each segment requires different medico-marketing messaging to meet their communication needs. The pitfall is to not have both your traditional and digital marketing strategy help you with desired messaging at the right time, every single time for this physician staging.
- Deficiency in training: Digital revolution is disrupting Pharma, rather at an incredible speed. New technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning are changing the way doctors consume content (on platform like Docplexus); 3D printing getting adopted for developing medicines to prosthetics; Social listening to scour platforms for product conversations; or technologies in improving Pharmacovigilance, innovation is happening. These radical changes are posing a significant challenge for pharmaceutical companies to keep pace. With different success KPIs, and innovative digital marketing solutions coming very frequently, many Pharma companies are struggling to train their employees to adopt. Docplexus with its strong digital marketing, business development, clinical engagement and project management team can help Pharma companies create a strong Digital Marketing strategy for their brands and execute it with recommendation in place at different milestones of the project.