Pharma Digital Marketing: A new era

Introduction

“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st Century will be the intersection of …biology [health, medicine] and technology [digital]. A new era is beginning…” –Steve Jobs

Brandspeak Imgaes-03

The Internet is a growing media for information, awareness and treatment options about healthcare. It’s creating an overall better informed patient pool and a better networked physician. Testimony to this, are networking sites like doctorhangout.com with its 25000 members. A space teeming with physicians and patients cannot be ignored by the pharma industry. In our earlier article on media usage by physicians in India, we ran an elaborate on the media habits by physicians. The report showed an optimistic sentiment especially with the smart phone usage.

Team Brandcare helps you keep pace in this evolving landscape with fresh insights. We are sure you would want to know more to help you evolve relevant digital strategies.

 

Overcoming regulatory constrains

As compared to the other industries Pharma industry has been slow to accept the digital platform for marketing purposes. This may be attributable to the cautious behavior of the industry and uncertainties about the regulatory framework which in turn held the industry back while marketers in other domain raced ahead. However the companies that have picked speed here are the ones who have integrated digital as part of their overall corporate strategies

Learning other industry models can be a good start towards understanding usage. Learning compliance from companies who have initiated the usage in this arena can help avoid pitfalls. An integrated effort across several divisions may be the key to ensure better compliance and internal buy-ins.

Indian Digital Advertising Market
Source : Digital Advertising in India Feb 2012, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report

 

Internet has grown but mobile booms

Internet subscriber base in the country is expected to reach 150 million by the end of this year. The number of claimed internet users in rural India is slated to reach 45 million by December 20121. Of these there are 3.6 million mobile internet users. Usage of vernacular language is also on the rise and availability of content in local language encourages the rural user to go online. These numbers are only going to climb further. Increasing numbers of patient are seeking the help of online resources to understand their health problems. Mobile boom in India (thanks to the never heard before call rates) have spread its wings across the cultural and economic strata barriers. This is evident by the fact that India alone has about 951 mobile users. The collaterals of this figure can be numerous, right from the medication reminders to health application.

Source: Internet in India 2012, Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report

Tracking ROI

After regulatory the next “R” to slow the usage is ROI. Return on investment (ROI) Developing clear objectives before embarking on the digital agenda may help branding teams evolve a suitable for metrics for gauging the outcomes and hence ROI. Another way to look at it could be to compare the spends with conventional media and evaluate cost savings. Yet another way would be to evaluate the improving frequency of exposures

If you know a particular media is effective, the next question is “How much should I spend over this media?” Every company will have different requirement, and every brand manager too will have separate agenda when it comes to budgeting the media expenses. Currently though 50% of the managers spend only 5-10% of their marketing budget for digital media, spending on digital media is rising with 17% spending between 10-15% and another 17% spending 15-20%; here, a comparative based on cost per contact can be adapted

 

Integration is the Key

Digital media seems to be the ray of hope if one is looking at reaching out to masses in pharma and there is no denying the customization it can offer. Information channels, interactive dialogues, sponsored or corporate communities that span multiple disease states and issues impacting customers and companies are enabling more engagement and perceived value from pharma companies. How much it will fare only time can tell. But a clever integration of digital and traditional channels can surely strengthen your brand from its very core.

Integrated marketing programs spanning offline, online and mobile are no longer novel, they are good business. Integrated campaigns enable message consistency, increased reach, frequency and cost efficiencies while engaging customers when, where and by which channels they prefer. Integration helps your communications to better achieve strategic objectives and offer more relevant and timely information to customers. Caution is advised to resist the temptation to be drawn into the latest/hottest devices and technology. Don’t fall into the trap of chasing technology that doesn’t address or improve your ability to achieve strategic goals. Technology and integrated campaigns should be an enabler to more effectively achieve strategic goals.

 

(Based on market research report “Use of digital media by Pharma Managers” & “Media usage by Physicians in India” by Brandcare Medical Advt. & Consulting Pvt. Ltd.)

Ref:

  1. http://www.iamai.in/Upload/Research/9320123264601/ICube_2012_Rural_Internet_Final_62.pdf