Pulse Issue 4 2023


There’s no doubt that pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing went through a rapid cycle of digital transformation during the pandemic.

Now that we have returned to normality, it’s time to ask how far your digital strategy should reach. How far has your digital offering transformed, if at all? Do you stack up against the new industry benchmarks? Is your organisation leading the way, or falling behind? And most importantly, are you providing your audience of healthcare professionals the best possible digital platforms to make their jobs – and the connection to your brands – as seamless as possible?

You can start to get a better feel of where you stand in terms of digital excellence, by taking note of these five essential considerations for your digital strategy.

Healthcare professionals are busy and work long hours, often shift work. They can view a meeting with a rep as a distraction. Because reps work more restrictive regular business hours, it’s clear we’re limiting sales potential.

Sales reps or medical science liaisons often hear “I am too busy to see you” or they can’t find a suitable time to schedule a meeting with a healthcare professional. The solution? Find a more convenient method to reach clients at a time when they are both ready and willing to listen.

Remove that barrier by giving your target audience the option to access material on demand, 24/7. A digital offering allows clients to access the same information on their terms and according to their availability. Just like we’ve moved from watching TV at a fixed time every week to streaming services, health education and marketing messages must be led by convenience.

Sharing key insights and presenting data in a clear and compelling manner are two important skills your teams need to excel at to be of value to healthcare professionals.

If they struggle to confidently explain complex data, digital content can help enhance the communication process.

Used properly, a digital content strategy will help your audiences more easily find the data most relevant to them. This is especially true of clinical data, which is in great demand when HCPs make decisions around new medicines or therapies.

Digitisation allows for intelligent segmentation beyond demographic, including analysis of attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and behaviours akin to what surveys and research can produce, and can help all delve into the data in new ways.

We have seen more and more pharma companies utilise the digital hub strategy as a cost-effective way to keep their audience up to date with the latest news and data.

This digital strategy is ideal when you need to update information quickly or leverage a small budget for the biggest exposure. In this scenario, print material is not ideal, and there’s no way to tell if HCPs (and therefore patients) are using outdated material.

Having the material available digitally ensures you can edit clinical data rapidly, control which version people are viewing and share the latest research with a large audience.

While many campaigns focus on awareness, a more valuable measure of success in the digital space is engagement.

Healthcare professionals often don’t want to see sales reps all the time, so digital channels allow brands to track and measure how clients interact with them.

Tactics like content marketing and online support assure your target audience that the rep is still in touch, but at a distance. The power is with your audience to drive the relationship on their terms.

Many healthcare and pharma companies will say they don’t know enough about their clients and would like direct relationships to understand how to serve them better.

Tracking and analysing how clients interact with digital content enables the healthcare and pharmaceutical company to understand the audience better and improve their ability to contextualise marketing efforts. By optimising how we engage and interact with customers, we have the potential to help them improve the quality of patient care.

Today there are very few industries that aren’t affected by the increased capability of AI to provide a more personalised and predictive approach to healthcare solutions for patients, and they can also be of benefit to the way we market to and educate healthcare professionals.

A great example of a one-to-one communication opportunity is the friendly chatbot, which can help create a more compelling and helpful digital experience, answer commonly asked questions, and even provide better data analysis depending on the HCP’s needs and questions.

Importantly, they can provide a more personalised and therefore relevant experience for the HCP, allowing them to get the exact answer they want and help them use their time more effectively.

Once you evaluate your patients’ journey, their needs, and the questions they frequently ask (whilst taking privacy and medical guidelines into consideration), you might decide if a chatbot is right for your digital strategy.

Either way, a strong and adaptable digital strategy is a ‘must-have’ for healthcare and pharma brands. How you employ digital tactics in conjunction with your sales team will mark the next era of healthcare marketing innovation.

So, make sure you and your teams are alert to the signs that remind us to leverage the power of digital channels.

Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545

Daniel King
M: 0440 190 700


We are always interested in hearing from great people dedicated to making a career in pharmaceutical communications. If you’re ready to make a positive impact with Bastion Brands, get in touch today.