The latest in pharma marketing strategies
The pharmaceutical marketing trends are constantly evolving, as are the audiences. In recent years, we have seen several new trends emerge.
The rise of patient-centricity
In the past, pharmaceutical companies focused their marketing efforts on talking about the molecular benefits. However, in a generic driven market like India, talking about the benefits of a molecule that is marketed by 30 other marketers is not a great strategy unless of course we resort to marketing molecular side effects too; sample jingles like, “Side effects by chance, are the ones that invoke a spontaneous dance, luckily there is more – additions, an inexplicable fondness for sitar renditions. Ting ti ding ting ting ”
Who wouldn’t want putting JOIE DE VIVRE back into health?
Well, we are not going to do that, are we? We are responsible. We swear by the pharmaceutical advertising best practices.
That’s where the investment in patients comes in. Companies are now focusing on creating disease awareness. This relaxes the regulations that have to be adhered to when talking to physicians. Physicians are happy with the efforts as this drives patient to seek treatment much earlier, much before complications set in. It also helps change attitudes towards treatments. Cipla’s berok zindagi and inhalers hain sahi, aim undoing inhaler taboos.
As for agencies they are happy that they don’t have a thesaurus permanently stuck to their keyboards with words like “breakthrough,” “most-trusted,” and “clinically proven”.
The growth of digital marketing in pharma
Though late adopters, pharma is increasingly depending on digital marketing. Encouraged by the acceptance of physicians it will continue to grow – a study, by the Medical Marketing & Media Group, found that 80% of physicians prefer digital marketing.
Companies are now using social media, email marketing, and other digital channels to reach their target audiences. Physicians are getting busier and have begun opting for the digital media channels over personal detailing. Though personal detailing does offer its own benefits, especially those of building relationships with physicians, the use of digital is likely to escalate.
The formats to be shared on digital channels, however can do with some experimentation.
Content beyond detailing
Unlike detailing content, which can be categorized as active content – actively received by physicians as it is personally delivered, digital content is passive. It is self consumed. It therefore is competing with content on web and socials.
Physician studies have shown that, this needs to be short, sharp and independent. It needs to be engaging, visually appealing and most importantly it needs to be shareable.
We are tempted. However, much we would like to bring back the side effects jingle that has the potential to stick to your brain like gum on a shoe, we must stay with evidence.
The face of evidence, though, can definitely change. The majestic realm of pharmaceutical communication, where bar graphs and pie charts reign supreme as the monarchs, needs the introduction of a commoner. A simple emotion perhaps? Story?
The use of data analytics
Companies are now using data to track communication effectiveness. We no longer need to be blind folded when crafting communication. Let’s open our eyes and ears to what the customer wants.
Profile based marketing
Mapping patient journeys now allows us to segment patient population more effectively.
These segments go beyond demographics, to look at behaviours and beliefs of patients. It’s no longer a 50-year, old Mr. Sharma with HbA1C, 8. It is possibly, a 50-year-old, Mr. Sharma with HbA1C 8, who has taken 5 long journeys in the past 3 months, each crossing at least 2 time zones. In every city, Mr. Sharma looks for a specific type of restaurant serving Indian food; if he doesn’t find it, he skips meals.
Personalized medicine is a new approach to healthcare that considers patient’s behaviours, ethnicities and beliefs. This is having a significant impact on pharma marketing, as companies are now developing marketing messages that make their brands more tailored to specific patient populations.
Last but not the least, the use of AI will surely impact pharma marketing as it has other fields. The results will emerge soon. And we’ll be sure to bring them to you.