COVID-19 had a profound impact on just about every aspect of life, especially in the way in which we experience healthcare. As the most ordinary interactions went online, telehealth boomed, but without easy in-person access to experts, so did skepticism of the new and unfamiliar. As a result, in order to meet consumer’s health needs, companies—including pharmaceutical giants—have had to adapt.
While this year brings hope that there is light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, successful marketing in the healthcare industry must embrace last year’s lessons and forge fresh ways to engage providers. In a recent report, Intouch Group highlighted some of the most important pharmaceutical marketing trends in 2021 and beyond:
- Personalize your marketing efforts
- Adopt an omnichannel approach to targeting
- Build trusted relationships with digital consumers
Pharma marketing trend #1: personalize your marketing efforts
Gone are the days when doctors doled out generic advice or patients happily accepted a one-size-fits-all answer to their health woes. Many of us have forgotten what traditional advertising even looked like.
Now and in the coming year, technology will give healthcare marketers more tools than ever to target the right people at the right time and make the most of their budgets. In fact, industry experts estimate that by 2022 healthcare-based artificial intelligence and machine learning will constitute an $8-billion industry, using data to drive personalized treatment plans.
“Integrating predictive models across a patient’s healthcare journey—from their doctor, to prescription, to disease state management—will open up pathways for personalized tools and trackers, which ultimately means better outcomes,” says David Windhausen, Executive Vice President at Intouch Group.
Pharma marketing trend #2: adopt an omnichannel approach to targeting
Even before the pandemic, getting into the same room with a healthcare provider could be challenging for pharmaceutical representatives and patients alike. As individuals and companies have embraced location independence, tech has filled the gap, expanding the use of telehealth services remote monitoring, digital clinical trials, and more.
These tools have opened the door to better build and maintain the relationships that are essential to supporting optimal diagnostic and treatment efforts. But, for pharmaceutical companies to effectively engage with the right audiences, it’s important that they too include a variety of digital solutions as part of their portfolios. Rather than automatically jumping on endless video calls or pummeling providers with emails, brands must know where in the virtual world to find their customers and wield precise technological tools to meet them there.
“Healthcare brands need to recognize this new reality and start creating omnichannel experiences that allow patients and HCPs to connect with brands 24/7, whether by online chat, SMS, video call with MSLs, etc.,” says Intouch Group Executive Vice President Boris Kushkuley.
Pharma marketing trend #3: build trusted relationships with digital consumers
While being remote has given us the ability to connect with experts virtually, it also muddied the waters with uncertainty. And without trust in experts, skepticism of the unfamiliar is high. This can be especially harmful to groups that are already the most vulnerable.
With vaccination efforts well underway, pharmaceutical companies have the opportunity to build trust and reputation among the public and help drive equitable access to the vaccine. Marketing done right will harness trusted voices and share fact-based information tailored to the individual and their underlying motivations.
According to the COVID Collaborative, “Trust building efforts must focus on helping minority communities build confidence in the people and institutions responsible for developing and delivering a vaccine. These efforts must also work to demystify the process itself, ensuring that communities have access to quality information that helps build their understanding of the science.”
This means using data and technology to reach at-risk communities and targeting them with clear, factual information about the vaccine, its benefits, the safety and effectiveness, and how it's accessed. Working with high-profile and trusted individuals—from celebrities and local influencers to healthcare providers—will also be a critical piece in supporting vaccination-related efforts.
For pharma, digital marketing presents more opportunities
Over the past year, we’ve experienced a global upheaval that, amongst other things, has forever altered the way we communicate. But all that change brings opportunity for healthcare marketers. Pharma marketing trends are clearly pointing the way to using data and technology for more targeted, personalized, and ultimately trusted messaging. Of course, caution is warranted as well. There has been a global consumer backlash regarding data privacy and online tracking. While employing personalization and other technologies enables you to deliver more relevant, targeted advertising, doing so without balancing against consumer sentiment could undermine your efforts in creating those trusted relationships.
Is your organization looking to optimize campaign performance using data and technology?
Schedule a demo with PulsePoint and discover how we can support your marketing efforts through more accurate HCP and DTC targeting and personalized messaging.