Interaction between pharma representatives and doctors has traditionally been a paper-based and static experience in which the representative enters with one-quarter of a campaign in hand and then tries to deliver the remaining pieces three more times through the year.
Interaction between pharma representatives and doctors has traditionally been a paper-based and static experience in which the representative enters with one-quarter of a campaign in hand and then tries to deliver the remaining pieces three more times through the year, losing any momentum created during that initial visit. But to be effective the campaign cycle must be continuous. Take this analogy: if you were trying to present a book to someone, it would be less effective to unveil it over a long period of time, chapter by chapter, than to be able to present the whole story at once.
A digital sales approach as it allows pharma companies to provide medical professionals with the most comprehensive story regarding their portfolios.
So as the industry relies more heavily on digital as its communication vehicle of choice with medical professionals, how can they extract the full value? The answer lies in moving away from the one-message-for-all thinking and instead matching new technology with a methodology built on knowledge, motivation, and context.
First and foremost, digital communications must match the varying knowledge level of its recipients. Presenting content that physicians find irrelevant or uninteresting will mean losing their attention; pushing information that is either “above” or “below” them can result in them feeling patronized or insulted. If the right information level is not found, it can mean lost opportunities and dollars.
Today, however, the tools exist to quickly gauge a physician’s knowledge with a few simple questions, record their particular interests, and address those interests on the spot as well as provide even more relevant information later on. As a result of new marketing technologies, pharmaceutical sales and marketing teams no longer need to pull the trigger on mass messages that are blindly pushed out, instead they can craft a customized content pipeline that runs to each medical professional providing exactly what they and their patients need.
Through building this central repository of approved content that healthcare professionals - supported by sales representatives - engage with as required, the content can be experienced in inf
inite ways and through multiple channels. This contributes to a much more productive and value-driven relationship between medical professionals and pharma companies.
As with knowledge level, motivation will vary for every medical professional. Why someone wants to engage and what they want to engage with is contingent upon many factors. Pharma companies now have access to marketing technologies that allow them to better understand medical professionals’ motivation, as these solutions pay attention to how every medical professional interacts with the content provided by a sales representative. This establishes a clearer picture surrounding what does and does not resonate; and as a result pharmaceutical companies can design content that will contribute to greater professional knowledge and in turn stronger care outcomes.
To round-off successful digital communications engagement, pharma marketers need to be mindful of a proper context or the process loses its personalization. Marketers are in charge of trying to figure out which context will drive forth the engagement so they can deliver it appropriately, ultimately bringing them closer to the customer. This can be more easily accomplished today through customized portals made for medical professionals, available on any device no matter if it is a PC, smartphone or tablet.
Technology opens up new possibilities for getting context right because it provides new channels of communication that fit different contexts. And medical professionals - like us all - are embracing these technologies and making them part of their work and life.
Fusing the Factors for Success
In the end, going digital is really more about strategy than the technology itself. If digital is the foundation, strategy is the pillars that keep the structure from collapsing. The pillars of any structure need to be mindful of the foundation, solidly constructed, and oriented in the most optimal direction.
Without the right individualized and strategic approach - or pillars - in place, one that comprises knowledge, motivation, and context, not much is accomplished except for the transfer of paper-based communication to the screen. But if it is done right, closed loop marketing will be fully activated, and representatives can help create true behavior change rather than be facilitators of campaign delivery.
Morten Hjelmsoe is the founder and CEO of Agnitio.