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Not Just Another Tactic: Why Pharmaceutical Brands Need to Build a Strategy Around Point of Care Messaging


Point of care messaging offers unique advantages in pharmaceutical marketing and should be a high priority in brand strategy discussions.

Harshit Jain MD, Founder and Global CEO, Doceree

Harshit Jain MD, Founder and Global CEO, Doceree.

As life sciences marketers continue to adapt digital channels into their brand strategies, alignment with the overall business goals and objectives remains paramount. With the C-suite not engaging in every line item in the marketing budget, it becomes imperative for pharmaceutical managers and planners to provide the much-needed vision and direction for any marketing effort, ensuring they have the right resources, strategies, and channels to create an impact and to set clear performance benchmarks.

While pharmaceutical brands must include marketing channels that touch every stage of the consumers’ journey to achieve business goals, one channel that has recently and evidently stood out as a driver of script lift and conversion has been point of care (POC), which enables relevant messaging to healthcare providers (HCPs) during their clinical workflows.

However, it is important to understand how to make the most of the channel by including it in marketing strategy and not treating it as another channel or tactic. Let’s find out what makes POC messaging key to a brand’s success and how to ensure and evaluate the right resources and partners.

Why should POC messaging be your NEXT big strategy?

HCPs spend most of the day inside a digital POC platform engaging with information about their patients, ordering tests, and writing prescriptions. These channels offer unique advantages in the pharmaceutical marketing mix. Here are four reasons why this channel should be included in a brand’s strategy:

  1. Direct engagement with HCPs: Digital POC platforms used by HCPs, such as electronic health records (EHRs), telehealth platforms, and e-prescribing (eRx) software, provide direct access during the workflow with patients. This ensures that the brand message reaches decision-makers at critical moments of care within a platform they trust. POC messaging creates an avenue for personalized messaging unavailable on broader media channels, such as social media and direct-to-consumer television placements.
  2. Advanced targeting in HIPAA-complaint environments: Without revealing a patient's personal information, POC channels provide targeting based on diagnosis codes, national prescriber IDs, and test orders. Life science marketers can precisely target messages using metrics such as clinical indicators, HCP specialty, and prescribing patterns to increase the relevancy of messaging.
  3. Enhanced patient outcomes: By delivering timely and relevant information to HCPs, POC messaging can help prescribers improve patient care, treatment adherence, and health outcomes. This aligns with the broader goal of improving patient health and helping patients save on overall healthcare expenses.
  4. Data-driven insights: POC platforms generate a wealth of data that can be used to refine marketing strategies. Executives should look for plans that leverage these insights to optimize messaging and targeting.

How to effectively create a POC messaging strategy?

Creating an effective point of care marketing strategy involves understanding the unique dynamics of reaching and engaging with your target audience in healthcare settings. Let’s look at some simple yet effective steps to devise a POC strategy.

  • Define demographics: To begin with, it is of the utmost importance to define the audience by understanding their demographics, psychographics, and healthcare needs within the POC setting, which could include patients, caregivers, or healthcare providers.
  • Identify POC channels: Identify points of care such as hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies, and understand the context of audience mindset within these settings to tailor messaging accordingly. Of the many choices available to hospitals, health systems, and independent physicians’ offices, not all offer POC advertising capabilities. The ones that do can be reached either through a direct purchasing model or aggregated programmatic purchasing power through a third party. Approaching several platforms directly can divide the budget into many small potential audiences, limit reporting capabilities, and increase costs.
  • Communicate value: It is also very important to provide value through content and messaging, such as educational materials or product information. The content should be highly targeted and relevant to the codes and demographics targeted by the brand. Unlike a broad marketing channel, these messages should be specific to the needs of the HCP, such as formulary coverage, clinical trial details, and patient assistance information.
  • Collaborate efficiently: Dedicating design, writing, and data monitoring resources (to understand physician behaviour in clinical set-up using PLD) to this channel will lead to higher levels of script lift for the campaign.
  • Allocate budget: Brand marketing teams and agency partners should determine a portion of the campaign budget to invest directly into this channel. Because this is a high-conversion channel with precise targeting, it may have higher rates to consider during the budgeting process.
  • Stay updated: Leverage technology, collaborate with healthcare providers for seamless integration, ensure compliance with relevant regulations, measure and iterate based on metrics, build long-term relationships, and stay updated on industry trends to adapt your strategy effectively.
  • Choose wisely: POC messaging requires working with unique marketing partners with access to the inventory within EHR, telehealth, and eRx platforms. These partners will guide targeting based on specialty, testing codes, geographies, and other physician level data points. Marketers adding POC channels to a campaign strategy should consider how these messages interact with other campaign channels

Why is a good POC partner important to your brand?

Choosing the right POC marketing partner can make or break the campaign success for a pharmaceutical brand. Despite numerous agencies touting expansive HCP reach, the true measure of success lies in quality interactions.

Merging POC messaging with other channels may seem efficient but risks budget dilution and misleading reach metrics. If the marketing team and agency plan on using a vendor that delivers messages on other channels as well as POC, ask for details on how the budget will be allocated across channels and beware of cryptic bundling.

All this makes it crucial to identify a marketing partner that has specialized POC messaging capabilities and offers premium POC inventory to ensure best business returns and health outcomes. Such partners should be able to provide transparent reporting into physician level data, prescription lift, and frequency of impressions.

To conclude, integrating POC messaging into a pharmaceutical brand strategy is a powerful way to engage HCPs, enhance patient outcomes, and drive brand success. Executive involvement in marketing strategy planning is crucial for ensuring strategic alignment, effective resource allocation, and the establishment of meaningful performance metrics.

By focusing on the unique advantages of digital POC platforms to reach HCPs and committing to a dedicated strategy, the brand can maximize the impact of its marketing efforts and achieve measurable results. Remember, POC messaging is not just a tactic—it’s a strategic imperative that requires thoughtful planning and execution.

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