Many pharmaceutical companies have started implementing pharmaceutical marketing by means of digital channels and campaigns; however the marketers in this field are unable to execute an overall effective digital strategy. Increased data has resulted in difficult analysis and utilization of data in digital strategies has thus created a digital catastrophe.The pharmaceutical marketers should unify data across channels; utilize the data in real-time, refine digital strategies accordingly using their digital minds.
The issue of the regulations in each jurisdiction requires close examination prior to any digital campaigns being launched. Pharmaceutical Marketing face stricter regulations when compared to other sectors. The pharmaceutical sector has to follow the FDA as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements from the privacy to the creative copy. In 1996, establishment of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act(HIPAA) protected the security and privacy of the health data. This act prevented the advertisers from misusing the health data online, protecting the privacy of the healthcare data.
In 2010, FDA issued warning letter to Novartis to pull back a Facebook share post, as the risk information about leukemia treatment drug Tasigna provided was inadequate. With the search restrictions the pharmaceutical companies have been more careful about the investment and adoption of new digital marketing practices.Companies who are able to integrate digital and the approval process with built-in compliance workflows can make digital work in real-time.
Bio pharmaceutical manufacturers are slow to use social media. The old “Web 1.0” world is still followed by some of the pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical sector prefers one-way flow of information which is carefully screened, legally approved, and protected against outside interference. Such websites only push information, lacking direct interaction with patients.A poorly maintained out-of-date site website is worse than having no site at all.
Pharmaceutical companies have a huge opportunity to use their expertise healthcare reforms by altering their business model. Pharmaceutical sector is an information-intensive industry. Healthcare’s business model has remained unaffected by the digital revolution until recently. Health information is delivered traditionally as the industry lacks the usage of digital technologies. The strict regulations, lack of proper digital strategies, etc. have been major barriers for adoption of digital marketing. The companies require to have a well defined pharmaceutical marketing strategy and which most of them lack. Technology is not the only solution but it must be also used in the regular work process flow.
Key Problems in Pharmaceutical Marketing
Digital Marketing in any sector is a more cost-effective and less time consuming method to communicate with customers compared to traditional marketing. Digital marketing allows pharmaceutical marketers to use data to create more strategic engagement with prescribes and physicians. However many companies are still not able to integrate digital into the wider business strategy.
Pharmaceutical marketers faces many challenges in adopting the digital marketing strategies some of which are explained below.
Inadequate company vision
Most pharmaceutical companies lack a proper vision for implementation of the digital marketing solutions. The strategies are not clearly defined, agreed upon and shared internally. A strong management is required to confirm the vision, set out the objectives and monitor the pace of work. The identification of the field force and pharmaceutical marketing champions promoting a digital pharma vision is usually not found in companies.
Tackling the digital mindset
The pharmaceutical sector lacks workforce that is skillful and wish to drive digital change. To establish digital marketing in the company, employees should have knowledge about digital marketing, as well as the complexity of implementing digital in the pharmaceutical industry. Most of the companies lack an efficient workforce who understands the industry as well as the new digital marketplace simultaneously.
A digital catastrophe
Many pharmaceutical companies have started implementing digital channels and campaigns; however the marketers in this field are unable to execute an overall effective digital strategy. Increased data has resulted in difficult analysis and utilization of data in digital strategies has thus created a digital catastrophe.The pharmaceutical marketers should unify data across channels; utilize the data in real-time, refine digital strategies accordingly using their digital minds.
Here are five key strategies that pharmaceutical industries can adopt in digital mark
The Five Key strategies
Collaborative business model
The pharmaceutical industry is quickly innovating despite its traditional barriers through collaboration with partners, stakeholders and beyond. The availability of digital technologies provides great potential for almost-limitless collaboration. The collaborators can efficiently and effectively research and develop new therapies. For example, Pfizer has adopted an innovative cloud-based clinical data platform, which enables participants to aggregate, analyses and visualize clinical trial patient data across studies and drug programs, supporting intelligent trial design, precision medicine,pharmacy vigilance and regulatory inquiries.
Digital strategies include partnering with companies which address complimentary aspects of a given disease.For example, companies marketing anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation should partner with medical device companies identifying these patients with remote cardiac monitoring. Introducing a digital marketing tool is not difficult. The companies must not only introduce but they must also adopt them.
Introduce mobile apps
The long wait of the pharmaceutical companies ended when the FDA released the guidance of mobile medical apps. Apps delivered in via mobile phones in a go helps better understanding of patients regarding their diagnosis sand medications prior to discharge. Complete details of any medication can be mentioned in the apps which allows better direct to consumer marketing.Pharmaceutical companies would gain more profit if they partner with companies which can deliver apps in a context of patient management including symptoms and medications, not specifically disease management.
Sharing data for population studies
Large data collected overtime tends to be useless unless good analysis is performed on it. The results associated with data should be brought out. The combination of point of care content, mobile and analytics will be what truly changes healthcare in digital.
Create a new organisational structure for digital marketing
Appoint an e-marketing strategy manager, e-marketing product manager, digital marketing committee, etc.which can help to drive innovation on the digital marketing of the company and build digital strategies.
Ensure IT support
Adequate IT support is needed in order to provide solution to any digital marketing issues.
Patient and Health Care Provider (HCP)services
As patients and HCPs are using more technologies day by day, they also expect pharmaceutical companies to provide technology-based services that can help patients monitor and manage their health. These services can also significantly contribute to the research and development into new treatments. It also connects stakeholders across the broader healthcare ecosystem to support the delivery of treatment and provide evidence of results. Digitally-enabled patient services, such as apps or online platforms or educational resources that link to a broader set of services which aids patients and HCPs deal with health issues should be used.
Pharmaceutical Marketing, in future highly adapt to digitization and develop extensive connectivity, data analysis and collaboration. Digital shall soon become the backbone of pharmaceutical industry, provided they develop proper marketing strategies and implement them. The patients and healthcare teams would provide the communication platform for brands. The traditional one way relationship in our healthcare system will soon change to two way relationship exclusively with help of digitization on this sector.
Mobile marketing, social media and other forms of digital marketing will lead to creation of valuable channels enabling patients to exchange information.There are some businesses that are very innovative interims of digital advancement, but lack of good case studies of digitization in the pharmaceutical sector limits the use .Web marketing is not that well adapted by the Pharmaceutical sector.
The cautious behavior of the sector, which is combined with uncertain regulation,held back pharmaceuticals sector while marketers in finance, professional services, manufacturing and business services have raced ahead online.However,online professional and patient communities have developed to adapt increased usage of mobile, social media as well as online information by patients,healthcare professionals (HCP), key opinion leaders(KOL) and the larger medical fraternity have instigated pharmaceutical companies to invest and explore digital marketing strategies within industry guidelines.
Some organisations are trying to understand the true value of digital while others are integrating it into the wider marketing strategy. However all the companies cannot sell products online as they manufacture prescription drugs, which cannot be sold online.For example, Pfizer is active and responsive to the customers via social networking platforms. YouTube,Facebook and Twitter were used to communicate with customers.
Johnson and Johnson was one of the first companies to launch a YouTube channel. Quantum Pharmaceuticals, Rawwbots and The Specials Lab, North East based pharmaceutical companies offer online ordering of special medicines promoting e-commerce and digital marketing.Digital’ has become an important part of the everyday life. All the sectors have been adapting to the digital era at a faster rate. However other than the website, the pharma industry has not quite been able to adopt digital marketing. In this era more pharmaceutical companies utilize social media sites or eCommerce sites as digital marketing platform. This enables online purchase of products by the customers.