What if you build a great online eDetailing portal and then nobody shows up? That is the quagmire awaiting most drug companies as they shift money into digital marketing. At the heart of this shift could be the mistaken belief that physicians want to engage drug companies and here about their products. Of course this is not true for all drugs but physicians just don’t have the time to engage any site that doesn’t add value to their patients and practice.
In a Booz & Company survey in 2011 many pharma executives believe that physicians will have less time for their marketing efforts and that HCP marketing could shift from physicians to toward key accounts, payors, and hospitals/GPOs. In fact 68% of respondents believed that the current pharmaceutical model is broken and needs significant repair. The shift to digital is not the remedy for this problem.
According to a Press Release Last Year for PR Web:
- Physicians expressed a strong desire for more websites designed specifically for healthcare professionals.
- 86% wanted more disease-state websites designed specifically for healthcare professionals.
- 77% wanted more product/branded websites designed for healthcare professionals.
- eSampling continues to have high demand, with 85% of respondents wanting more availability of eSampling.
- Despite all the sales force cuts the US Pharma industry implemented over the last three to four years, physicians are still receiving a significant number of sales calls. Some specialties seem to be almost overwhelmed with pharmaceutical company attention.
So how can pharma connect with physicians online ?
(1) Make each interaction relevant and meaningful – Drug companies have to stop relaying on “canned” detail pieces and customize online engagement for each physician’s needs.
(2) Provide real value – Today it’s more than about how your drug works it’s about how YOUR drug provides better outcomes in patients.
(3) Talk about patients more - Do patients on your therapy stay on it? What do they think about living with chronic conditions ? Believe it or not physicians want to hear about these subjects and you are the expert. The more they understand patient behavior the more they can be successful in practice.
(4) Provide links to patient tools to stay on therapy or show how your marketing is driving consumers to physicians – Less people going to the doctor means that they are either waiting too long for health problems or not following up with existing conditions which could make matters worse.
(5) Develop a model where you continually optimize your online marketing to make it more efficient and impactful - Shared learnings and follow up with doctors to ask what they liked and did not like.