Five Things Pharma Must Have For Great Digital Strategy
Covid-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technology by almost six years. It has fundamentally changed the way people do things. This may include the way they consume products & services including healthcare. While many aspects of healthcare industry have changed, Pharma industry is still considered as the late adopter of digital technologies. Pharma marketers are struggling to keep up with the digital adoption. They are spending more time in understanding newer digital channels & tools to implement their marketing strategies but fail to identify a clear path to their key customers- the doctors.
Even if the discussions on many forums indicate that the focus of Pharma marketers is tilting towards the patients as a primary customer, Pharma can never ignore the importance of the physicians in the field. Especially in the country like India, where socioeconomic parameters still suggest that doctors drive healthcare delivery, Pharma’s digital strategy needs to be leveraged for marketing their brand to the doctors.
As mentioned in the previous article titled, Strategy, Not Technology Drives Digital Transformation in Pharma Marketing, it is clear that technologies are not the solution. The technologies need to be incorporated along with the workflow that is driven by clear strategy. Here are the 5 key points that Pharma companies need to include when designing and implementing the digital strategy
- An Efficient Digital Partner :Pharma companies are not IT companies. In other words, Pharma companies’ core competency is not building or managing the infrastructure for Information Technology. While moving to digital channels Pharma companies need to implement “pull” (by customer) mechanism, not a “push” (by Pharma) mechanism as digital channels behave a lot differently than traditional marketing channels. The digital path is not as direct as traditional marketing and Pharma needs a partner that not only understands but masters the digital channels. IT-driven digital marketing partner is an efficient way to enter the domain of digital marketing. However, while doing so Pharma needs to select a professional and efficient consultative partner that has implemented the strategy effectively.
- Presence on Professional Apps: The communication technology has changed in a great way as to how doctors and patients communicate. Due to regulatory guidelines, a big chunk of techno-savvy doctors is moving to more secure communications with professional apps where they can share their clinical insights, opinions, and views freely. Tools and communication targeted at doctors who are connected with mobile devices must be an essential part of digital strategy. Pharma must appear on these professional apps. Pharma can bring clinical insights on the table and understand the reactions from the professionals to gauge how they can tailor their move ahead in the digital domain.
- Collaboration with Digital KOLs: Like traditional KOLs, digital KOLs have emerged as a key influencer in healthcare and medical field. Highly interactive communication through digital KOLs will be the norm of the healthcare field. In the previous article titled “” we have gone to lengths to describe how digital KOLs are shaping the sector. Even if Pharma wishes to focus on patients more than the doctors, they cannot yield the same results. This is because physicians are uniquely qualified and best situated to assist patients in almost all the clinical situations. Physicians highly rely on and are influenced by the experts in their field and that is why Pharma’s digital strategy must include collaboration with digital KOLs. To leave the digital KOLs out of the loop would be one of the greatest marketing flaws Pharma can have.
- Effective use of social media: In the last decade, social media has emerged as a frontline tool to spread awareness, communicate and engage. Undoubtedly, social media is taking over traditional ways of communication. Thus, it is important that Pharma understands that social media behaves entirely different than traditional media and many laws of traditional media do not apply to social media. Moreover, social media instantly puts everyone in a fish-bowl ready to be analyzed, criticized, praised and judged immediately. While patient-centric marketing activities can be done on common social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, it is very limited. Professional communication cannot take place on these common social media platforms and requires secured, verified and guarded platform. Docplexus is one such platform where more than 3,80,000 doctors routinely carry out their professional communication within themselves and with Pharma companies. The digital strategy for any Pharma company must include the strategy to effectively use the social media.
- Insights from Big data: Pharma marketers must start utilizing the huge, open data that is present on web. The data needs to be effectively analyzed to understand the pain-points and sweet-spots. A great, unbiased data along with proper analytics, insights and recommendation engine to drive those customer insights can help Pharma marketers understand the ever-changing dynamics of the digital ecosystem. Considering the use of a doctors-only community on an online platform like Docplexus which can provide a great analytical understanding with technology is the best tool in Pharma marketers’ box.