Infographic – Pharma marketing to physicians

The vast majority of physicians today are digitally active, accessing multiple devices and networks as part of their day-to-day activities. Physicians are increasingly interested in video and social media for personal and professional use. These trends have numerous implications about what pharma cannot miss in creating its marketing plans.

  • According to recent studies 72% of physicians use social media sites for personal and professional reasons. Based on current trends 81% of doctors will own a smartphone by the end of 2012.
  • 73% of physicians use their smartphones to search content online while 55% of them use mobile apps.
  • 35% of physicians said they think tablets are a useful tool for pharma reps. According to their answers they find presentations a lot more effective when carried out with the help of a tablet device.
  • Online videos are also more and more popular among physicians. 82% of them prefer video content on WebMD while 50-50% of them watch videos on pharma websites and YouTube as well.

 

(Source: publicishealthware.com)

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Consumer use of social media in healthcare

Social media is becoming a bigger part of the collection of health information, but it varies by health condition and treatment options how patients use social channels during their online search. The more serious the condition, the more time patients spend online researching with social media tools as part of the equation.

This is one of the findings of a recent qualitative research project designed and carried out by Rich Meyer, an experienced DTC marketer working in the pharma industry for over 10 years now. The study showed other interesting trends about how consumers are using social media for seeking healthcare information and how it influences their decisions as well.

Here are the key findings of the research:

  • Seeking health information online is often triggered by health concerns of a patient or family member. People usually do not search for health-related information proactively. The search is initiated after experiencing the symptoms.
  • There is not one online source that is the most popular when it comes to searching for health info. There is no ultimate source. People in older age groups usually start with search engines, and often mention being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of health-related information online. One of the main problems for internet users is complexity, the often feel frustrated when not finding answers to more simple questions.
  • While some people use social media sites during their search, they rarely trust the accuracy of posts. The main reason to go to social media sources is to read about others’ experiences with the same health concerns. This is trend is more dominant with more serious conditions.
  • People are concerned about personal and data privacy, so they are usually not comfortable posting their medical information on social media sites. This was even a bigger of a concern for older demographics.
  • Before making a healthcare-related decision, women usually do more research online and go to a lot more websites than men.
  • While physicians are still a very important source of medical information, the need for a more cooperative approach to healthcare is obvious. Participants stated that they would like to discuss different options with their doctors.
  • Another interesting and possibly worrying aspect of the study is that during focus groups participants didn’t mention pharma company websites as a health-related online source at all. This might be due to the fact that they questioned the trustworthiness of pharma companies all together.

(Source: Pharmaphorum.com)

Why Dive Into Developing Mobile Health Apps?

While digital marketing solutions and social media projects became the center of attention in pharmaceutical communication recently, it is also important to notice the growing popularity of everything mobile. Below is a list of reasons why pharma companies should invest considerable time and energy into developing effective, creative health-related mobile applications.

The mobile trend is here to stay: Based on a recent study by Comp TIA, half of all physicians use smartphones for professional purposes and the use of mobile applications is steadily growing as well. According to another study, mobile technologies can be utilized especially in healthcare. There are many factors that influence mobile adoption on different markets. These factors include “consumer adoption, clinical adoption, evidence of efficacy, costs of deployment, and regulatory climate.”

High demand for healthcare and drug-related information online: Patients are looking to find valuable information about different treatment options, drugs and medical conditions online. According to a recent survey looking for health-related info online is the third most common activity of internet users. Maybe the biggest issue when it comes to treatments is medication adherence, which can be managed with easy-to-use, always available mobile devices in a very cost-effective way.

Mobile devices during clinical trials: A recent article emphasized the role mobile apps could play in the entire process of clinical trials. “The recruitment of patients, transmission of clinical trial records, and the reporting of adverse events in a prompt and accurate manner” can be all managed with creatively developed mobile applications.

Mobile apps can help communicate with HCPs more effectively: Tight budgets, digital solutions and the demand for time-efficacy resulted in big number of layoffs in the pharma industry with decreasing number of sales reps conducting in-person visits with physicians. “The significant decline of sales force presence has created an educational void for prescribers.” The need for a more effective educational method and better understanding between pharma and healthcare professionals could be managed with mobile apps created specifically for medical education and delivering prescriber information.

Information to bigger groups and institutions: With mobile applications it is easier to deliver a big amount of data to a wider audience in a manageable way. This is especially important when it comes to communicating with hospitals, healthcare organizations, patient or physician communities. Pharma can utilize this when providing information about products, treatments and different conditions.

(Source: The Digital Health Corner)

The Battle Of The Reps and Digital Devices

More often than not there is a perception that using digital devices and e-detailing technology to communicate with physicians and provide product information is going to eliminate the need for sales representatives. This belief is only strengthened by the big number of layoffs at pharmaceutical companies due to tight budgets. Thousands of sales representatives lost their jobs everywhere in the last couple of years while digital solutions to deliver product messages successfully took center stage. So how do these two changes correlate? Is pharma trying to replace sales reps with digital technologies or is the connection between these two trends less obvious?

 

 

There is no reason to deny the financial difficulties and how these effected the changes in the number of sales representatives. It is also clear that digital devices are more popular than ever. But I feel hesitant to draw a parallel between these trends. I also feel the predictions about the total replacement of sales reps are over-represented and exaggerated.

Wall Street Journal recently ran an article about the connection between e-detailing solutions and the decreasing number of sales reps and in person visits:

When German drug maker Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH launched the cardiovascular drug Pradaxa in the U.S., it put together a digital-marketing package to target doctors, including organizing webcasts for leading physicians to speak to other physicians about the drug. But the company found that sales calls to doctors’ offices were still the most powerful tool for driving new prescriptions, says Wa’el Hashad, vice president of cardiovascular and metabolic marketing. ‘No doubt digital marketing does have an impact … I don’t believe, however, the shift happens overnight. I think it’s a gradual shift,’ he says.

Other studies also proved that physicians still prefer assistance from sales reps while they are increasingly find digital detailing and e-detailing effective and a comfortable way to receive information. According to the research 68 percent of the physicians who received iPad details before reported being extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the digital technology. It also seems that using digital platforms still needs the sales reps to present the information in an effective way. Based on the findings it is safe to say that pharma representatives have a key role in providing a combination of digital and face-to-face detailing.

Additionally it has been shown that physicians who are interactive during an assisted e-detailing process have a better experience and detailing presentations that engage doctors are more likely to drive prescriptions as well. To ensure that a presentation is interactive, to make physicians involved in the information delivery process a company needs tech savvy sales reps who are comfortable with not working against digital tools, but to work together with those.

Maybe it is hard to see digital tools as helpful and handy while constantly facing more layoffs, but digital solutions are not created to replace human work force. These devices are only tools and not messages, they help sales reps to work effectively, but they have to be used correctly. A new device may catch a physician’s eye, but the emphasis has to be on the information represented with that particular device. and this is where sales reps are not replaceable.

(Sources: Pharma Marketing Blog, Wall Street Journal, MedAdNews, STwemM)

Pharma Websites Among The Most Effective Online Platforms

There is another reason why titles like “Pharma is behind on the web” and “Pharma doesn’t get e-health” are getting outdated. According to the Bowen Craggs Index published in the Financial Times the websites of Roche and Novartis are in the top 10 most effective portals among corporate sites. Other pharma companies were also included – AstraZeneca took the 13th and Sanofi the 17th place on the list.

One can read numerous articles about how pharma is the slowest industry to adapt to digital and online solutions and still, some companies like Roche and Novartis managed to be relevant and secure better positions than robust corporations like Nestle, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. This means that other pharma companies cannot use the industry’s bad example anymore for their own lack of online initiatives.

In its study Bowen Craggs & Co points out several issues that pharma companies with less effective web presence have in common. Most of the time portals operated in the United States are supposed to work as the corporation’s global site but it lacks information about worldwide initiatives and activities. Another issue is that pharma companies are trying to put together their websites as an iPad app, but these sites only look like apps, they don’t operate like ones. If the functionality of the application setup is missing, there is no point in turning our portals into applications.

There is another issue concerning mobile trends – out of 81 companies analyzed in the study only 25 of them had separate mobile versions. Among the numerous pharma companies only four of them, namely Bayer, Boehringer, Pfizer and Shire have websites accessible on mobile devices without a problem.

While I don’t necessarily think that one single index number can describe a company’s online efforts, but it is certainly helpful in creating an environment a little more competitive. This way pharma companies can see how well others are doing and realize – an industry is not behind in general. There are teams and organizations within the industry that are up-to-date, using cutting-edge solutions and have no problem adapting to new and creative online solutions to be more effective.

(Source: PMLiVE.com)

Digital Strategy In Seven Steps

In its newly launched digital handbook, PMLiVE.com included a seven-step guide to create a successful digital strategy for pharmaceutical companies put together by Ben Tilly, marketing channel manager at Sanofi. Even though these are only the basic steps for planning a complex digital approach and surely, many more details need to be worked out along the way, this guide can serve as a checklist for launching a creative digital campaign.

Here are the main steps Ben Tilly mentions as crucial ingredients of a successful digital strategy:

  1. Determine the key business objective before choosing the channels or key performance indicators.
  2. Know your target audience:  Who are they, what kind of behavioral patterns do they have?
  3. Differentiate you customer groups. Segmentation is key and so is choosing the right channel and appropriate messages for different audiences.
  4. Develop all key performance indicators that you want to measure later. This is a step to take only after getting to know your audience and deciding what channel to use.
  5. Measurement is crucial in every phase of creating and implementing your digital strategy.
  6. Channel integration should be done with careful consideration, multi-channel strategies also need to have a clear objective and a rather simplified approach.
  7. Engagement with sales representatives is one of the most important parts of putting together a digital strategy.  Reps have the insight about your customer that is more than valuable, it is the crucial information that a successful digital strategy can be based on.

Planning ahead, a clear idea of objectives and careful consideration of the audience’s characteristics when choosing channels and messages – these are the crucial components of building a digital marketing strategy in healthcare and pharma. But most importantly creating a digital strategy can’t be separated from other marketing activities. Efficient marketers can blend digital efforts into the company’s complex marketing approach.

(Source: PMLiVE.com)

A Guide For Effective Detailing

When it comes to detailing, there are a lot of different factors pharma pales reps have to take into consideration. There are a lot of different circumstances that influence what type of presentation a sales rep can give, assuming getting the opportunity to present something of course. A lot of times even getting the physicians divided attention takes a lot of effort. So because all the possible difficulties, reps have to be prepared for a number of scenarios and have to be flexible readjusting their detail plan along the way.

The infographic below helps to decide what kind of approach is fit for different situations. You can prepare the most cutting edge e-detailing presentation, if there is no time or place to show it to the physician, you have to do your best verbally. No access to physicians always seems to be an obstacle, in which case maybe it is more effective to send the details electronically so that the doctors can view them on their own schedule.

Here are the main pain points pharma representatives face on a daily basis and the possible solutions to overcome these obstacles:

 

(Source: Healthcarecommunication.com)

Novo Nordisk Is The First In Pharma To Join Pinterest

It has been stated numerous times that the discussion about your brand is happening online whether you choose to take part in it or not. The latest social media sensation to prove this right is Pinterest. Launched February 2010, the number of users of the now popular image sharing site skyrocketed. Only two short years after its start, Pinterest had an amazing 11.1 million visitors just in February 2012, becoming the fastest website to have 10 million users.

With these numbers showing the enormous reach of the site it is surprising that pharma is just starting to think about jumping on the bandwagon. With so many new social applications and sites emerging one after the other it is understandable to wait and see if something is on the way to become the next best thing or if it just turns out to be a quickly fading trend. But a two-year waiting period is way too long by any measure. By now there are Pinterest users that claimed names of pharma companies on the site.

As John Mack (@pharmaguy) points out on his Pharma Marketing Blog, several companies are going to have some trouble claiming their own name on the photo sharing site. Among others, usernames like Boehringer, Roche, Merck and Novartis have been taken by other members of the site. And while they obviously have no intention to post content about these companies, using their names, connecting their brand with unrelated posts is hardly helping on any online platform. This can highly alter searches carried out by patients, clients influencing the companies’ content marketing strategies.

Novo Nordisk confirmed that it created a Pinterest profile for the company being the first one to do so in the pharma industry. And while the company hasn’t started pinning away yet, it already has an introduction uploaded on the site making the profile an official one. This way – even if only by dipping a toe into the water rather than jumping head first – Novo Nordisk reserved the right to control the content sent out in the name of its brand. With registering on Pinterest, the company has the opportunity to explore the options on the image sharing site and take its time to decide whether to utilize the possibilities of the platform or not. Bottom line is: while doing so, no one else is pinning unrelated content to their name.

While it seems that Novo Nordisk is still leaving most of its Pinterest page blank – other than the very important bio section mentioned before – Bayer started pinning under the name of “bayerus”. The company has 3 boards with 28 pins covering its business, and the subjects of sustainability and innovation. This shows that on the long run it’s not going to be about what username you pick, but rather how you can utilize the platform and find creative, effective ways to share content with your audience.

(Source: Pharma Marketing Blog, PMLiVE.com)

eMarketing Europe & Mobile 2012 Conference In Tweets

The 7th annual eMarketing Europe & Mobile 2012 conference organized by eyeforpharma drove a lot of attention to subjects like social media risk management, digital strategy building, regulatory issues and mobile devices in pharma. The discussions were lively and thought-provoking both at the conference and on Twitter under the #e4p hashtag.

Top tweets were published by @LionelREICHARDT, @jamesmusick and @KayWesley. Among the 2400 tweets shared throughout the event @whydotpharma, @gaborgy and @KayWesley were mentioned most frequently. Check out the analytics and the Twitter feed and share your thoughts about the conference.

(Source: Symplur.com)

The Shifting Business Model Of Pharma

A recent study carried out by Booz & Company and National Analysts Worldwide showed a lot of interesting data on how pharma executives see the industry, what they think are the most pressing challenges and how they are planning on changing their business according to the new economic environment.

They survey gathered answers from more than 150 pharmaceutical decision makers working in the US and Europe. Among the respondents were directors, vice presidents and managers. Their replies suggested something that is part of the pharma conversations for a long time now. Namely that the current model of doing business is not effective anymore and there is a significant need for transforming the industry.

Key findings:

  • 44% of respondents suggested that the pharma industry’s business model is not working, 24% strongly agreed with this notion. Only 6% disagreed.
  • When asked about the biggest challenges pharma is going to have to face in the coming years, 76% of respondents mentioned the pressure from cutting budgets and the rising price of healthcare. The second issue most decision makers (70%) were concerned about was delivering cost-effective solutions and demonstrating success in finding these alternative solutions. 60% of respondents said they fear the competition coming from generic products, while 53% finds less access to physicians a pressing issue. Interestingly with higher healthcare pricing being such a big concern, only 50% of respondents were worried about how patients are going to pay for their medications.
  • There is no agreement between decision makers about how these changes are going to effect the actual time that pharma representatives will spend with physicians. 43% of respondents said they believe face time with doctors will decrease, while 26% of executives thought the opposite.
  • According to the data gathered digital solutions are going to be the go-to sources to cut costs and to be more cost-effective. 58% of respondents plan on spending more on social media aimed at physicians, 55% are going to increase spending on mobile solutions while 52% of executives mentioned e-detailing as one of the main areas to focus on.

The shift from the old model of the pharma industry toward a digital, more social and interactive way to do business seems inevitable. The question remains how different companies are going to face the challenges of change and how effectively they can implement new solutions into their business.

(Source: Pharmalot.com)