7 Reasons Why Pharma Needs Digital Marketing
The pharma industry has been slow to embrace digital marketing. Regulation doesn’t make it easy, of course, but there’s a strong sense that a digital disruption is on its way – that those who can embrace the online space will reap the rewards, and those who don’t will be left behind. If you’re worried about the future, it’s best to look at the present – what does digital offer pharma marketing right now that makes it so appealing and, potentially, disruptive?
More and more decisions are made online, and pharma isn’t there
How advanced is your digital strategy? Pharma, on average, is late to the digital marketing party. As of 2017, only 6% of healthcare and pharma companies consider themselves digital-first, compared to 11% of companies in other industries. That digital gap is trouble, given how many decisions are made online. While 29% of people want to learn about products from salespeople, 62% will use a search engine, and let online resources guide their decision. That’s where micro moments – those tiny moments during which you reach for your phone or computer to solve some problem or answer some question – exist, and can be targeted by marketers. But only if they have a comprehensive digital strategy.
Access to healthcare providers is hard to get
Beyond their busy schedules, many healthcare providers receive nearly 2,800 pharmaceutical contacts each year. Digital marketing is more likely to be seen, since it requires less time to see – but for it to have the same effect as an in-person meeting, it needs to stand out and make an impression. So while digital marketing can get a foot in the door, it needs to be good to open it.
Your material needs to be easy to find
How easy to find and access are your online product monographs? Are they in a landing page with additional e-detailing and publications that health care providers might be interested in? Having compliant content readily accessible can make your sales reps and call centers more efficient, Similarly, running email drip campaigns can help you provide health care providers with the correct materials while staying in their field of vision.
Digital marketing offers a hands-on way to be hands-off
Sales pressure, both real and perceived, can put many providers off of meeting with reps. Digital marketing tools, like personalized video and interactive tools, can let them explore your offerings for themselves, without the attendant pressure of (and difficulty of scheduling) a face-to-face meeting. Having a clear, compliant sales aid with a consistent, approved message helps reps provide information to health care providers.
Patients are already tracking their health
Consumer health data and biometrics are readily available, thanks to smartphones, wearables, and Internet of Things. What’s lagging behind are products and services that build on them. A huge wealth of useable, marketable data is being built, and a digital property that does it justice is bound to be built at some point. It just needs someone to build it, and someone to promote it. Pharma companies are perfectly positioned to make use of data-rich apps while holding data securely, navigating compliance comfortably, and keeping patient privacy paramount.
Health care providers are already online (and digitally-savvy!)
Health care practitioners are going increasingly digital – more and more aspects of their job are becoming computerized, networked, and put on tablets or computers. They’re already comfortably online – your marketing should meet them there.
If you don’t adapt, the competition will beat you to it
The digital pharma marketing frontier is opening up, and you’re not the only one looking out over it. Your competitors are almost certainly thinking these thoughts, and developing their digital strategies as you read this. Putting plans into action takes time, and the more you delay, the farther behind you’ll lag. You don’t want to be sitting still when the next wave of digital-first marketing materials starts generating buzz – you might not catch up in time.
Digital marketing isn’t the only form of marketing, but it’s growing in importance in all industries now – including pharma. As more and more of our lives and attention are spent online, so must more and more marketing happen online. Rich Media knows digital marketing, and can help you expand your pharma marketing expertise further into the digital realm.