"Best Practice Pharmaceutical Marketing during Covid times"
While Covid lockdowns and vaccines continue to grab the spotlight, there’s significant change happening behind the scenes in pharma marketing.
Covid has been a huge catalyst for the sector and has accelerated the rate of innovation and transformation within sales and marketing channels.
The opportunity to enhance the physical sales experience with well-crafted digital tools has opened up significant growth potential for pharma marketers doing it well.
Here are three critical ways to address these emerging pharma marketing trends.
1. Develop a hybrid marketing strategy
With reps unable to see clients during lockdown, virtual sales and marketing became a primary channel for many brands in 2020 (and in Sydney, even more so in 2021). However, despite its many advantages – flexibility, data capture and scale – the virtual channel still falls short of face-to-face interactions where personal chemistry and connection can drive the relationship.
The most effective pharma sales reps impart the science while delivering the ‘sell’ using emotion. That’s why an improved hybrid version of virtual and face-to-face methods should be a priority for brands, building on the best of both worlds.
This could include self-directed presentations, videos, interactive visual content, webinars and live Q&A sessions conducted virtually. Reps should continue to spearhead the relationship, while leveraging a bespoke suite of sophisticated marketing material.
2. Account for the changing user experience
Sales reps are travelling less and conducting comparatively far more calls online or on the phone.
This is a different user experience for healthcare professionals. As with any change, some will embrace the flexibility. With others, it may take more time and effort to build rapport.
The key here is providing a broad range of content to appeal to healthcare professionals across the spectrum. And its delivery – both virtually and in person – must be done without losing its meaning or significance. Accounting for the ways in which stakeholders like to acquire information, and providing adequate depth of detail, will help to ease them into the new user experience.
3. Streamline your channels
Many of the in-person channels are likely to take time before they return to pre-Covid frequency, so expect fewer conferences, expos and networking events for at least the next two years. Instead, use carefully crafted virtual experiences to bridge the gap.
This is a prime opportunity to ensure your messaging is consistent and streamlined across all channels for optimum impact.
There were many ‘digital channel sceptics’ prior to Covid. Now, even the most traditional companies are embracing and supporting digital marketing. However, just because most are now ‘online’, it does not mean all are leveraging the channel well or to its full impact potential.
The priority for brands should now be astute investment in digital channels to ensure it is being refined to deliver powerful sales and marketing results.
The role of sales reps is likely to continue to evolve as we refine virtual selling. What won’t change is their role in delivering the must-have ‘emotion’ needed to sell. Digital channels can certainly handle the communication of the science, but the emotional side is still best handled by humans.
The ability to enhance the physical sales experience with digital tools has opened up many growth opportunities for pharma marketers. It’s a vibrant opportunity for pharma marketers to deliver sales information to healthcare professionals in a more compelling way. This new approach to hybrid sales and marketing is not a pandemic stopgap.
It’s going to be central and a positive addition to pharma marketing for the future.
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