Physicians now spend more time online researching medical topics than they do with sales reps, according to Harris Interactive/Boston
Consulting Group. To meet this demand, pharma marketers have increased their online marketing spend to an average 9 percent
of their total professional marketing budget (Jupiter Research, 2004). Yet many who use e-detailing as a standalone, broadcast-style
marketing tactic report mixed results. What is the disconnect?
Closerlook's in-market studies reveal that a brand's strategic marketing plan yields maximum results when it integrates e-detailing
with other sales and marketing activities. The integration creates links among the brand, the sales force, and physicians
that, combined with current internet technology, give e-detailing the potential to become a platform for creating and managing
A technologically sophisticated e-detailing program gives marketers the ability to track the success of various nonpersonal
marketing channels and to collect information that would help marketers get to know their different customer segments. And
integrated marketing is all about delivering personalized messaging based on customer segmentation, thereby increasing the
productivity and performance of the entire marketing budget.
This article illustrates how companies can use integrated e-detailing as an ongoing physician relationship-management tool.
At the foundation of any successful integrated e-detailing program is a clean, up-to-date database of target physicians. It's
worth the investment in "scrubbing," enhancing, and maintaining a proprietary database that will allow marketers to create
targeted messages (segmented according to channel preference, specialty, and promotional response) and to deliver them at
optimal frequency. A proprietary database also can be leveraged across other key initiatives, including recruitment to e-CME
and peer-to-peer events, local symposia, and medical education programs.
The program and database development costs can be amortized over the life of a fixed-fee integrated e-detailing program. The
fixed-cost nature of the contract means that with every completed e-detail, the effective cost per detail decreases, leading
to incremental profits and superior return on investment (ROI). (See "Exponential ROI,")
But it takes more than database strategy to make a successful integrated e-detailing program. It is important to strive for
a creative, easy-to-use, and interactive online experience to engage the target physicians. Make the interaction interesting
and fun to ensure a positive brand impression and increase the likelihood that the physician will remember the messages when
it's time to write a script.
Did You Know
E-Detailing as CRM
Integrated e-detailing can be an effective customer relationship management (CRM) tool as well. Physicians provide unique
insights into their preferences—including their prescribing practices, concerns about efficacy or side effects, and attitudes
about the therapeutic category—every time they complete an e-detail. Such intelligence can be used to develop subsequent e-details
and other targeted communications.