“Pharma Marketing Trends” #4 – Digital Print = Yearlong Success

digital marketing

Despite the possible risk, pharmaceutical companies have been shifting their spending to allow for more use of digital marketing, such as websites, e-marketing and social media, in place of more traditional media that has been used in the past. Digital channels can include, owned websites, sponsored websites, ad spots, banner ads, paid searches, mobile and social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.

Increasing investment in digital channels is an area still under some exploration. Early studies have shown it’s a clear contender in the marketing world, but with a shorter history than the traditional forms of marketing, such as television, radio and print, the long term results of its success just haven’t happened yet. However, several pharmaceutical companies are making the jump for a variety of reasons.

Five factors that have influenced this growth include:

The Recession: When pharmaceutical companies needed to cut spending, TV and print advertising were under scrutiny. Functional and lower in cost, digital channels became the new way of getting out the message for several companies and in turn, YouTube became the common replacement for television.

Poor ROI for Traditional Media: As the success of television, radio and print advertising dwindled, and the cost remained the same, it was even harder for companies to justify keeping them around. By focusing more on digital channels, companies were able to advertise more frequently, and at a lower overall cost, than they could in the past. Scaling back on the use of traditional media and allocating more of the budget on digital channels brought a higher ROI.

Mobile: Steadily climbing, the use of mobile technology is increasing faster than the use of any other digital channel. Through the use of mobile apps and mobile technology for marketing or medical affairs initiatives, more companies than ever are spending a great deal of their budget on this type of marketing. Of these healthcare mobile apps, majority are directed towards healthcare professionals, including physicians, physician assistants and pharmacists. Pharmaceutical companies are also transiting their internet websites to be available to be viewed on mobile devices, allowing for easier access to commonly prescribed drug brands.

Social Media: With research reports indicating that one third of people discuss medical issues via social media sites, it has become obvious that pharmaceutical companies should have a presence there. Through observation of how consumers talk about brands and speak honestly about their likes and dislikes of particular drugs, companies are able to gain valuable information efficiently. In addition, patient centered sites, such as PatientsLikeMe, tracks information provided by patients and organizes it to include side effects, comments, ratings and recommendations of alternative options, all based on consumer feedback.

Regulatory Concerns: With the increase of digital marketing, the existing regulations won’t match up to today’s concerns. For example, in 2009, a handful of pharmaceutical marketers received a violation over the “one-click rule,” a misunderstanding regarding the placement of risk information one click away from a sponsored online link promoting a drug and its indication. Currently, the lack of influence by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration works in favor of the pharmaceutical companies, but with the increase use of digital channels, that’s bound to change.

As the leading email marketing service, MMS is proud to offer solutions for marketing to physicians and healthcare professionals. Frequently updated, an MMS list matched with one of our email or direct mail options can create a marketing campaign that is accurate, up-to-date and highly effective as a marketing tool.

For more information about email and direct marketing mail services, contact MMS at 1-800-MED-LIST or visit our website at www.mmslists.com.

“Pharma Marketing Trends” #3 – Maintain Ethics in Marketing Campaigns

marketing and strategy

It’s always been important to maintain a separation between persuasion and manipulation in marketing campaigns. As the debate over “white hat” and “black hat” methods of SEO never ceases to reach a final decision, it’s vital to look at the issues that lie behind the ethics in marketing.

These 5 scenarios help demonstrate the differences between persuasion and manipulation in marketing.

Scenario 1: Simple Alignment

The customer wishes to purchase a product, and your client or employer is a seller of that product. You work in the middle to complete the buying and selling process. The alignment could be the act of you bringing the customer and your client or employer together. In this scenario both parties win.

Scenario 2: Simple Choice

In this scenario a customer wishes to purchase a product, but they haven’t made the final decision about which type of product they would like to buy. As the seller, you push the customer to purchase the product that will fit your objective. In the case that you explained the features and benefits of the product you wanted to sell, and it matched the desires of the customer, than both parties in this situation still win. However, if you flat out lie to the customer, therefore convincing them to buy the particular product to fit your objective, it has become unethical and manipulative.

Scenario 3: Competitive Choice

In the first two scenarios, there has only been one clear buyer, and only one available seller. In a more realistic world, there are multiple sellers of products and services. In this scenario, there is still a buyer looking to purchase a product. However, you (the person in the middle) steer the buyer towards one seller over another seller of the same product. While it easy to become unethical in this situation, if you can manage to do so without lying about either seller or their products, this is still an act of persuasion.

Scenario 4: Unknown Desire

In some cases, customers don’t know what they want because they are unaware of all of the options available to them. This is very much a form of modern marketing, creating desires for products we didn’t know previously existed. While many would say this has gotten out of control in recent years, it isn’t necessarily unethical. Making a customer aware of their options for purchasing a product isn’t manipulative, however, using customers envy, fear, doubt and uncertainty, to convince them to make a purchase, is.

Scenario 5: Altered Decision

In this scenario, the customer could be looking to purchase one product and upon talking to the seller decides to purchase something else. In one case, this could be the same as scenario 4, upon being presented with alternate options, the customer changes their mind regarding their purchase. On the other side, the seller could push them to the alternate product for their own objectives, and result in the customer making a purchase they later regret.

The Moral of the Story

In the end there is a lot of gray area regarding persuasion and manipulation in marketing. It’s easy to bounce back and forth over the line when the line has been drawn in chalk. Overall, it all comes down to your intent. When you met with the buyer, did you intend on meeting their true needs with one of your products, or had you already decided upon the product you were going to sell to them?

By far the easiest sale to make is scenario 1. There is a product to sell and a customer is looking to by that product, all you have to do is bring them together. If you find that you are more frequently in one of the other scenarios, you have probably learned that completely changing a customer’s mind can be difficult. It is here that you are most likely shifting to forms of manipulation to make the sale, most likely indicting that you are targeting the wrong market of buyers.

Money is well spent on customers in scenarios 1 and 2, when marketers are doing their best to persuade customers to make a purchase. As the leading email marketing service, MMS is proud to offer solutions for marketing to the right physicians and healthcare professionals. Target the best audience with a frequently updated, accurate and highly effective MMS list. For more information, contact MMS at 1-800-MED-LIST or visit us online at mmslists.com.

“Pharma Marketing Trends for 2013” – #2 Go Mobile or Go Home – Send Smartphone Ready Communication

doctor with smartphone

It’s harder than ever for sales reps to connect with prescribers. As reported by Access Monitor, in a report from the global consulting firm ZS Associates in 2010, the number of doctors who would see most reps dropped 20% and the number who refused to see most reps increased by 50%.

That means 8 million planned sales calls were nearly impossible to complete because physicians had already made the decision not to visit with the rep before the meeting had even been scheduled.

It’s time to change our perspective on how we communicate with physicians and what the best methods to market to them will be. As reported by Manhattan Research in a 2010 survey of 11,000 physicians by Knowledge Networks –

 72% of physicians use Smartphones

95% of doctors with Smartphones download medical apps

The number one search topic is information on drugs

There are currently 13,000 different mobile health apps available for downloading on smartphones. Of that, majority are designed to help people stick with a diet or exercise plan. But apps with rising popularity include those that monitor blood sugar or blood pressure levels.

Among physicians, a popularly used medical app is Epocrates, which boasts, “point-of-care digital solutions that enhance the practice of medicine. More than 1 million active members, including 50% of U.S. physicians, use Epocrates to help improve patient care and practice efficiencies with its drug reference, educational and clinical apps.” Medscape from WebMD is another popular Smartphone medical app that offers “specialists, primary care physicians, and other health professionals the Web’s most robust and integrated medical information and educational tools.”

E-detailing is one of the areas we can tap into for future marketing with physicians. E-detailing is making drug or product information available to a physician through a presentation that they can access when they wish. Of the 72% of physicians with Smartphones, 17% of primary care physicians and 18% of specialists currently use their Smartphones for e-detailing. Instead of a scheduled visit during office hours, physicians who prefer to receive information at other times can access a presentation from a rep, watch it when they wish, and receive a follow up call another day.

As the leading email marketing service, MMS is proud to offer solutions for marketing to physicians and healthcare professionals. Frequently updated, an MMS list matched with one of our email or direct mail options can create a marketing campaign that is accurate, up-to-date and highly effective as a marketing tool.

For more information about email and direct marketing mail services, contact MMS at 1-800-MED-LIST or visit our website at www.mmslists.com.

Pharma Marketing Trends for 2013 – #1: Tailor Your Marketing Campaign

Dan Mathews, managing partner of Accenture’s UK Life Sciences Practice and chair of judges for the Pharmaceutical Market Excellence Awards (PMEA), was interviewed by PM Live earlier this year about what he feels to be the current trends shaping pharmaceutical marketing strategies.

He stated:

“For the first time people are able to scale marketing beyond the limits of sales force capacity. A key challenge is deciding which channels to [utilize] and when. When should you use the sales force? What role should digital play? … The next generation of marketing strategy will pick which channels work best based on robust channel impact data.

“A greater use of analytics supports this, but also enables marketing teams to understand customer segments and how to tailor your campaign to each. There will be more deployment of closed loop marketing, very successfully enabling marketers to see what’s happening with customers at a much faster frequency. The challenge lies in moving from data-overload to getting good insights and using them to adapt the marketing approach at speed.”

Success in today’s direct marketing environment takes more than great lists. MMS offers you a full range of services to help you master the medical market; from marketing research that discerns characteristics and trends in your target market to identify the right strategy, to tactical services that help you implement and successfully execute your plan.

Contact MMS today to learn how you can begin to tailor your message and check back each month until the end of the year for a new pharma trend. You can also subscribe to our updates to receive these trends directly to your inbox.