Meet the New Normal in Pharma Communication
3 Major Shifts that Pharma Marketers and Sales Reps Must Know
The industries felt the effects of Covid-19 and the limitations of face-to-face interactions. However, the pharmaceutical communication approach has been one of the slowest to go with the tide. But the pandemic has brought a sense of urgency. And so, disruption is occurring with remote and digital as the new normal!
On one hand, Healthcare Professionals (HCP) have become less reachable in person. On the other hand, through digital engagement, many of those who were once inaccessible are now within the reach of pharma reps.
HCP and patients are looking for seamless experiences. Specifically where information is a weapon for making knowledgeable decisions and online video consumption has boomed.
Let us look at 3 of the most important challenges for pharma marketing teams and sales reps in this new era.
HCP: Remote Engagement
Covid-19 has enhanced the lack of efficiency in the traditional interaction model of pharma with HCP. The face-to-face meetings and “one size fits all” approach to engagement have to evolve with the new normal. Here, digital and remote are the only way to go.
Mckinsey’s survey in Europe (1) shows the impact the pandemic has had on in-person contact between HCP and pharma sales reps. In September 2020 there was a reduction of 70%.
The new normal made HCP rush to adopt digital channels and telemedicine to interact with both patients and pharma reps. Almost 70% of HCP were in 2021 digital natives (2). These personal life experiences with mobile, social, and digital technologies have further changed expectations towards business interactions.
The sharing of information has shifted. The general population expects to know more. Patients strive to become well-informed and have an open relationship with their HCP. The exchange of scientific data increased and made accessible through digital tools to a more concerned consumer.
Pharma companies need to rethink marketing materials efficiency for remote settings as the use of video and interactive content increases. So, it’s fair to say that disruption is the new normal, where each interaction with the HCP must be strategic and accountable.
With the landscape shifting, it is important to consider a customer-centric approach that takes the HCP and patients’ needs into account. According to a 2020 Accenture Research, 87% of HCP want either virtual or a mix of virtual and in-person meetings with pharma reps, long after the pandemic ends.
Pharma reps need to think of HCP as consumers that wish to be patient-oriented in a new remote environment. In which content is always available and shareable. For that, Pharmaceutical companies need to improve their customer knowledge to provide the expected tailored experience.
A targeted marketing strategy means delivering a journey with a multichannel approach that goes beyond product or brand domain. Both HCP and consumers use online channels to research and buy pharmaceutical products. So, pharma companies need to adjust and evolve from a B2B to a B2C model, also connecting with the end-user.
The way people consume Healthcare has changed. Digital content replaced word-of-mouth and physician referrals. Marketing in this field today means branding, digital marketing, and traditional advertising altogether.
Nowadays HCP and patients don’t want thousands of written lines with data to decipher. Both expect content easy to comprehend and accessible at the moment of their choice and delivered in an engaging way.
To accomplish engagement with the physicians, pharma reps need to have relevant and valuable information available digitally. And this is where explainer videos play such an important part, as the Healthcare industry must follow the online content consumption behaviours of the general population.
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To ensure that the products and messages are getting to the prescribers with success, pharma companies need to build Non-Personal Promotion (NPP) campaigns. Take as an example an approved email with relevant content, such as an explainer video of the product. The interest increases and more detailed information can then be explored in a remote meeting.
This allows the HCP to decide when to consume the information, shared in an attractive format accessible through any device. The engagement is even greater and more productive than before, as you’ll nurture the HCP with needed knowledge according to his customer journey and product life-cycle.
Omnichannel Marketing: Why is Video Important?
What does Omnichannel Marketing mean? Well, it means that pharmaceutical marketing teams now have to enable different marketing strategies directly to consumers and in detail to HCP increasing the share-of-voice.
A more personalized and seamless experience needs tailored content that can be consumed and shared at any moment throughout the different channels. Consistent brand/product awareness present in both business and end-user preferred channels and consumption formats will guarantee trust-building and engagement.
Therefore pharma companies cannot dismiss the boom that online video watching had in the past years and most especially during the pandemic reality. 2020 saw an increase of 96% in online video consumption where 9 out of 10 viewers stated they wanted more videos from brands and businesses.
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It was predicted that this year, an average person will watch online videos for 100 minutes per day. Also that 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be from online video consumption. Video has become a must-have within the marketing strategy for all businesses and Healthcare isn’t an exception.
What made a huge success among consumers were explainers, according to Wyzowl statistics, with 94% of people stating to have watched this format to learn more about a product and 84% purchasing due to that.
And when looking at ROI (Return On Investment), in 2015 only 33% of video marketers confirmed that video usage benefited them. Nonetheless, in 2021 the percentage is a statement in itself with 87% of video marketers confirming positive ROI with video marketing.
In 2022, Pharma Marketers and Sales Reps need to look at the big picture. In this sense, they became more knowledgeable about the customer (consumers and end-users of their products).
To engage successfully in the new normal, one needs to take into consideration both the well-informed patient and the digital native HCP. The goal is to deliver an experience through content that’s relevant, shareable, and accessible at any time throughout devices.
Video consumption has boomed and consumers want a greater offer of content from brands and businesses. So, pharma reps need to get on board fast and start benefiting from video marketing usage. Explainers are more and more noticed. In this sense, they are a great tool that can be used throughout the HCP journey to create a seamless experience of content shared at the right time.