COVID-19 and Pharma Marketing – A way forward

Issue 1, March 2020 2020

"COVID-19 and Pharma Marketing – A way forward"

The coronavirus crisis is a story with an ever-changing narrative and unclear ending 

But one thing that’s clear is – apart from those already tragically taken – life still goes on. And despite the fear and uncertainty, companies now have an imperative to act swiftly to protect their employees, address business challenges and risks, and help mitigate the crisis in whatever ways they can.Is there a way forward where it’s actually possible to thrive as a business in a time of crisis? We think there is.


There is no doubt that the ramifications of COVID-19 will last some time. Even in a recent Mckinsey & Company report outlining 3 global scenarios toward recovery, the most optimistic scenario still sees us emerging from a slump no earlier than July.1 However Mckinsey & Company do point out that ‘companies that navigate disruptions better often succeed because they invest in their core customer segments and anticipate their behaviors.’1News changes daily and this scenario could improve or worsen, depending on market segment, with Mckinsey & Company stating that ‘Unsurprisingly, sectors will be affected to different degrees. Some sectors, like aviation, tourism, and hospitality, will see lost demand… This demand is largely irrecoverable.’1


In the pharmaceutical industry, however, things are unique in that no matter how long the situation remains, people will continue to require treatments for various conditions and diseases. Conditions and treatments that require solutions.We already know that COVID-19 has started to impact the way pharma companies market their products, with the biggest issue being limited access to HCPs and reduced opportunities for ‘face-to-face’ networking, education and information sharing. Already, travel bans have disrupted or caused postponement of seminars and conventions. It has also limited KOL selection due to location and availability, so many plans have changed for speaker tours, seminars, workshops and even internal conferences.Depending on the levels of travel and contact permitted, COVID-19 could potentially drive a significant change to the way companies utilise their Sales Teams, if face-to-face contact becomes less practical or simply not allowed.Bastion started this week with the news that two separate client projects – each a major event involving overseas KOL’s, workshops and attendees nationwide – have been postponed to later in the year, presuming it’s safer and more responsible from a health perspective.Responsible yes, but from a business perspective it now opens those companies to a big hole in their marketing plans. It all begs the question…

…how are you going to prevent sales decline and importantly be on the front foot in this time?

You still need to get your message out there. You still need to generate awareness, and you still need to educate your audiences. But when face-to-face is no longer an option, what are your options?

Rather than focus on what you ‘can’t do’, at Bastion Brands we prefer to focus on what you ‘can do’.


Which is why we’ve developed our ‘Thrive’ workshops that specifically highlight opportunities you can make the most of, at a time you might least expect, to make market impact.In particular we focus on the opportunity to build a stronger digital presence. If you’ve been thinking about a more impactful digital footprint, there’s never been a better time than now to act upon it.

Our workshops provide a much broader picture for your marketing plans. We discuss and assess ALL channels available for a variety of tactics, from fully integrated, virtual equivalents of face-to-face meetings, eDM strategy and creation, and video content, right through to direct mail.

As a channel agnostic partner, we will explore the benefits and opportunities of various channels through a broad range of tools, applications and platforms to best suit your budget and audience.

Importantly, we take the time to discuss and assess your needs and establish a plan – only a convenient video-link away – that could give you a clear way forward, help build your brand and grow sales in the wake of COVID-19

Book your ‘Thrive’ workshop today.
For more information contact Simon Davies

1: ‘COVID-19: Implications for business’ McKinsey & Company March 2020 by Matt Craven, Linda Liu, Mihir Mysore, and Matt Wilson

For more information, contact Simon Davies
M: 0402 425 545


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.