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It’s no secret that the pandemic created significant areas for change throughout the healthcare industry especially among pharmaceutical industry sales forces who continue to experience decreased access to HCPs in-person.
And the marketing ecosystems in pharma can be highly complex to begin with. It can be tightly regulated, involve multiple validated systems, and requires the participation of numerous internal departments from engineering to legal to marketing and each with different agendas. What’s more – historically, pharma marketing was very traditional in its approach, with a focus on print and face-to-face networking opportunities to sell products and services.
However, with the perfect storm of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation affecting the healthcare industry and business, pharma marketers need to begin prioritizing new and innovative marketing methods to better reach their target market.
In fact, with such increased pressure to adapt to new technologies and workflows, HCPs are requesting a partner that goes deeper than a sales pitch and understands their pain points – ultimately providing added value. Let’s take a look into how marketers at pharmaceutical companies can improve their relationships and overall engagement with HCPs in the future.
HCPs’ Burnout Sparked Need for Streamlined Solutions
Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that a record of 4.5 million workers left their jobs by the end of 2021 – and healthcare was among the top three industries impacted.
There have been changes to nearly every aspect of clinical practice including new payment and delivery approaches, electronic health records, patient portals, and publicly reported quality metrics—all changing the landscape of how care is manufactured, marketed, sold, provided, documented, and reimbursed.
Unfortunately, as a result of all these major changes and increased pressures, many HCPs are burned out. And are seeking out new opportunities to improve work-life balance and embrace hybrid working environments, all while keeping their families healthy.
With burnout being a top priority in the healthcare industry, the pharma sector needs to prioritize new opportunities to streamline workflows and reengineer processes to align with HCPs as well as consumers and patients in today’s changing world. For example, cost savings, shorter turnaround time, and enhanced productivity are some of the key criteria for success in pharma companies. There also must be an ongoing dialogue between those in the field, on the corporate team, and those marketing the products – with all parties willing to adapt strategies and operations as necessary.
Pharma marketing campaigns that are able to implement streamlined solutions and evolve operationally now will enjoy brand growth in the future, ensuring the resiliency of their marketing ecosystems. Now more than ever pharma companies must be nimble when it comes to delivering both content and innovations.
The Pandemic Accelerated Digital Transformation
The pandemic has influenced the way pharma brands communicate and deliver their products to HCPs. And consumers are becoming more knowledgeable and proactive and businesses are having to adapt to an increasingly digital-first world.
The growing importance of digital innovation combined with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has significantly transformed how the pharma industry operates. In fact, according to recent Statista data, 74% of respondents agreed that COVID-19 has significantly accelerated digital transformation in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.
Prior to the pandemic, pharma companies were lagging on the adoption and evolution of new marketing models. However, as their competition increases and margins decrease, pharma companies need to create a strong sense of urgency in order to stay ahead of the curve.
What does this mean in terms of marketing tactics? HCP marketers must continue to build assets that go “beyond the banner” – video, mobile and native, as well as larger consideration of audio messages, which should be considered within their media plans given an HCPs shorten the supply of time. Marketing teams must find new ways to capture attention, breaking through in unexpected ways and keeping brands top of mind. AI and automation can be used to create personalized deployment and sequencing of messages and interactions that are highly relevant to the HCP’s patients. Marketing teams can automate repetitive tasks, precisely target customers, and scale-up campaigns across multiple channels. And technologies like AI, big data analytics, and machine learning can be utilized by pharma companies to improve efficiencies, speed up processes, and make data-driven decisions.
For example, advanced data analyses can improve lead generation and drive more focused, patient-oriented, and productive clinical trials. Electronic submissions and digital communications make for more timely, responsive approval assessments. Digital channels are opening up dialogue with time-pressed or media-saturated HCPs as well as with new patients.
Digital health offerings continue to expand, fueled by such technologies as big data and predictive analytics. Thus, the technologies that digital transformations entail offer considerable grounds for innovation.