Varun HasijaDirector – Product Development
Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) always look for reliable and detailed information about the effectiveness of a drug and its safety before prescribing it, in spite of a busy schedule that has them juggling payer demands and regulatory compliance requirements. Healthcare marketing has always factored in this need for information, in any marketing plan. Traditionally, a sales rep was sent to provide the information to HCPs and to answer any questions they might have while assuring them that they also prioritize a patient’s needs. Now that sales reps’ access to physicians has reduced from 77% to 44% in the last 5 years, engagement options in digital have come to replace these face-to-face interactions and the sharing of elaborate content in the form of brochures, a.k.a. literature. The Healthcare marketing landscape is seeing major changes on account of the changing preferences in interaction; with a few trends establishing themselves in this evolving market.
The challenge in any marketing outreach lies in crafting a messaging strategy that ensures optimal reach and frequency in delivering the right message to the right person at the right place at the right time, choosing the right platform from the multiple channels available. But there’s no doubt that digital solutions today offer a better reach than traditional methods with healthcare marketing, with some preferred channels emerging as winners as detailed below.
- Email Marketing: Given how hard-pressed most doctors are for free time, the best replacement for face-to-face interaction with a doctor would be through an email. Even in the face of regulatory issues with privacy, compliance and protection of data that require the revalidation of email databases, emails are still a top option when communicating with healthcare professionals (HCPs). That’s because nothing allows the dissemination of all the information and details like an email. It is also how most HCPs prefer to receive information according to surveys that enquire into doctors’ preferences.
- Social Media Networks: Physicians are using social media as a channel to engage, collaborate, share opinions and seek advice from colleagues from all over the world. This movement is also spreading to nurses and patients themselves as the insights derived are of immense value to them. Pharmaceutical brands need to tread carefully as they can’t simply join in on these online discussions or share information on any discussion on account of restrictions laid down by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).
- Online Communities: HCPs today join online communities to discuss their cases. They receive as well as offer advice to colleagues across the world on medical matters. The fact that this can happen in real-time is a bonus for these professionals; as they deal daily with emergencies or difficult to treat cases that require quick decisions in life-or-death situations. HCP marketing trends 2019 require pharma companies to keep track of the queries and concerns raised online about their products to formulate a suitable marketing strategy that addresses them through effectively tailored communication and information dissemination.
- Personalization: Digitized HCP marketing trends 2019 are about a data capture or data creep strategy to interpret the digital behavior of one’s target group online. The aim is to collect engagement data and demographic information to understand their needs and desires and to forecast their decision-making patterns. It’s also about tracking the type of content which gains the attention of HCPs to plan, structure and personalize the company’s marketing content based on these actionable insights.
- Digital Therapeutics Apps: We all know that such IoT (Internet of Things) apps are used by individuals to manage health conditions like heart disease or diabetes by themselves. Interestingly, some of these apps can also provide insights into patient behaviors and disease management regimens. This forms a highly valuable resource for both pharma brands and healthcare providers as the hard data attest to the efficacy of a given product or the lack thereof. This market is expected to expand further as sensors keep healthcare providers informed of real-world results like a patient’s drug adherence or the effects of a clinical trial.
- Telehealth and remote care: This HCP marketing trend 2019 addresses a targeted and accessible audience with whom one can communicate when necessary. These initiatives also enable an HCP to monitor patient behaviors remotely, expanding the level of care provided while simultaneously saving costs. Pharma brands can use the information collected to validate the quality of their products and the benefits offered.
- Programmatic Media: Let’s not forget the emerging HCP Marketing Trend 2019 of adopting programmatic marketing platforms which help marketers spend less time manually implementing media campaigns. They can now advertise their products and services online to a highly targeted set of healthcare professionals across websites, mobile devices, social networks and even over addressable TV. Using automation and interlinked inventory, programmatic exchanges are reaching high-value audiences, transforming business outcomes.
- Data Driven Marketing: Data-driven multichannel marketing is adopting the capabilities hither to enjoyed only by retail marketers, and integrating their data and blending channels to elicit greater engagement with their campaigns. Identifying key target segments and serving ads to relevant audiences who specialize in a specific disease is now an easy and essential part of many multi-channel HCP campaigns. The ability to track the browsing data of an individual HCP, and to fill a data dossier with the knowledge of their specific interests enables data science driven programs to personalize their engagement and enhance their recruitment abilities.
- Electronic Health/Medical Records: EHRs or EMRs can prove a valuable source of crucial information for businesses specializing in medical products. By knowing about the conditions a HCP information taken from insurance claims is another resource which gives a huge advantage to marketers. Using the de-identified research information from third-party vendors, marketers are able to gain insights into the medical products favored by HCPs. They are also able to present superior alternatives to such products in a targeted manner to these HCPs and engage them with a targeted email even as they are on the point of creating a prescription.
- Omnichannel Marketing: The future lies in the collaborative use of digital technologies, allowing machines and devices to create seamless experiences for HCP marketers as they replace traditional marketing methods to adopt the new HCP marketing trends 2019.
Awareness is the first step towards adopting anything new, like these healthcare marketing trends. By including them in their marketing plans, companies can boost their brands and also engage healthcare professionals and other stakeholders effectively.