The way in which the pharmaceutical industry engages with healthcare professionals (HCPs) has changed dramatically in the last year. Restrictions on face-to-face interactions have given way to greater use of remote and digital channels. Have they worked? Laboratories have had to adapt in record time to the new needs, hitting and missing in those attempts due to the speed of change, but now, with the new normal, we can stop and think about what can be improved.
Face-to-face visits have decreased and the use of digital tools has increased, especially videoconferencing and e-mails, and this has been done all at once and for everyone, but for this new model to work, something more is needed to enrich the relationship with healthcare professionals and at the same time be effective in terms of informing, training, not being intrusive and adapting to the place and time that the professional needs.
The multichannel strategy is not about being in many channels at the same time and for all of them, but about being able to segment to whom to send what content, through which channel, time and place, and that the messages that are shared in the different channels are coherent. You have to put the customer at the core and adapt to each one of them.
It is very important to use channels that are not intrusive to the HCPs. During the pandemic, because of the overnight changeover, the industry over-saturated many practitioners by not having the time to further study the channels, the appropriate content for each channel and the profiles of their customers.
Thoughts: Why is mobile not being used as one of the main channels in the industry-HCP environment if it is both the most adaptable channel and the most used on a day-to-day basis?
Before we begin, let's look at one advantage of the moment.
By 2021, approximately 70% of HCPs are digital natives, meaning they use mobile, social and digital technology on a regular basis both personally and professionally to communicate or keep up to date with the latest trends. Companies need to make a big step forward in building relationships with these doctors and pharmacists,... through their mobile phones by creating a close bridge of connection.
"The results of the "Digital Engagement Value Chain beyond COVID. Survey Report 2021" by Next Pharma Summit and Viihealth, estimated that 70-100% of 25-35-year-olds will use remote and digital solutions in their daily lives, 60-80% of 35-45-year-olds, and 40-50% of 45-60-year-olds (although as many as 29% of respondents thought it would be 60-80% in this age group)."
So what's next?
#1 - Empower sales reps digitally
Until a year ago, visits to doctors took place in the hospitals themselves, often "spontaneously" in the corridors. Now face-to-face interactions have dropped significantly, making maintaining the relationship with healthcare professionals a more complicated task. The solution? Multi-channel digital programs that help bridge the gap between the value that the delegate can provide in-person and the value provided in the digital connection.
But not all professionals are ready to embrace this new concept 100%, which is why it is the delegates who must be the driving force behind this change and guide the HCP in the new tools. But to achieve this, the first and most important thing is to train and empower the sales force.
Delegates: a key player in multichannel.
#2 - Segment your target also at the digital level
The introduction of digital communication channels may not be so easy as it does not suit all different customer profiles.
So how and to whom should the change be applied? An indispensable point must be the personalisation of both the content and the medium used, be it remote or face-to-face. Flexibility and personalisation, in this case, must become the new promotion philosophy. The pharmaceutical industry must easily adapt to remote communication while maintaining the rest of the more traditional channels, which is the true essence of multichannel marketing.
The HCP must be understood from a new approach, putting them at the centre of Customer Centricity and describing their Journey, and to begin with, it is essential to research the profiles of the different HCPS in terms of contact with the pharmaceutical industry, analysing what they want from it, what type of content and how they want the contact, relationship, etc. to be made. In other words, attitudinal segmentation and digital segmentation.
The mass-market model should be changed to a target market model.
#3 - Content will be the key to success
One of the most significant transformations observed through the influence of digital media is the fact that pharmaceutical companies are no longer the sole providers of information about their treatments or products.
Through online communities, mobile applications and a wealth of web content, doctors, pharmacists and also patients now have access to a wealth of information on diseases, science and products.
The digital health professional is not a consumer to be bombarded with messages, but someone to whom to offer relevant information that they cannot find elsewhere, and with which to resolve their doubts, showing themselves as a useful and valuable brand or company.
The form in which the content is offered is also very important. Before, it was usual to offer it in books, scientific materials, face-to-face or online courses, lasting many hours, ... now more agility and flexibility are required, so the most appropriate content format in multichannel is that of micro pieces, which allow reading and study in no more than 10 minutes each, allowing adaptation to the appropriate moments of each target profile but making it effective in terms of knowledge retention for as long as possible.
Therefore, putting customers in the middle, differentiating and personalising content and making sure it is well structured, targeted and with relevant information, will be key to adding value to digital relationships.
#4 - Building Loyalty with User Experience in virtual Meetings and Events
Virtual meetings are an excellent complement to existing face-to-face relationships to bridge geographical and health barriers. What benefits do they bring? They provide flexibility in the moment of contact and allow for more impactful conversations. According to a study by Veeva Systems, remote interactions increase the engagement of healthcare professionals by 133% and offer the opportunity to share a multitude of content.
How to captivate healthcare professionals?
Events continue to be a primary channel for PS engagement and education, representing the second largest area of spend for marketing and sales organisations. Despite the fact that healthcare professionals see more patients and have more administrative burdens than ever before, the events channel continues to grow. To this fact, Veeva Systems has also found that 96% of HCPs prefer to attend more virtual conferences and meetings.
To get the most out of your events, whether face-to-face, remote or hybrid, it is essential to have solutions that allow you to deliver content in a way that retains awareness for as long as possible. Ideally, this should be delivered on the same channel before, during and after the event.
- During the pre-event you must create a communication channel to transmit information effectively, providing materials and tests to prepare the audience.
- During the event, permanently capture the attention of the attendees and create interest in the audience by transforming the event into a social interaction between peers thanks to the gamification of the content.
- Finally, in the post-event, it extends the experience beyond the event with activities to reinforce the concepts presented to minimise the forgetting curve and obtain relevant data to improve future celebrations.
#5 - Measure EVERYTHING
It is impossible to improve if you do not measure the results of your actions. To do this, it is essential to set KPIs before starting any digital program. Research carried out by McKinsey & Company indicates that companies that take advantage of the data obtained increase sales by 85%. Surprising, isn't it? In addition, one of the main advantages of using digital channels is that they offer the opportunity to collect a large amount of data, analyse it later and make adjustments in an agile way.
This can be done with the help of different CRMs integrating campaign and activity measurement platforms. This multi-channel data integration allows further tactics and strategies to be developed across multiple channels that constantly update the physician journey maps.
An example of a digital tool that meets the 5 keys are gamified applications, such as the Atrivity app.
Compettia's Atrivity is the gamified app for communications and training in the pharmaceutical industry.
What can you do with it? You can offer all the content about a pathology, treatment, product or whatever you want, in micro pieces and be able to create automatic challenges when the reading of each piece is finished in order to obtain a lot of data. It is a method that will allow you to deliver all the necessary information and increase knowledge retention by more than +25%. But that's not all!
In addition, it allows you to segment to the desired level, the content to be sent, the frequency, the moment, etc. To adapt to each customer profile.
How can you take advantage of Atrivity's potential in your relations with your healthcare professionals? Atrivity's mobile solution allows you, among other programs, to prepare a continuous training of any kind to multiply the impacts between delegate visits, allowing a greater repetition of the content and message and optimising the delegate's face-to-face visit. Another program is to prepare an event, whether large or small, acting before, during and after the event, multiplying contacts with attendees. A differential factor for the user experience at events is to send pre-reading micro-content, challenges to all participants during the event and, finally, once the event is over, don't let them forget everything they have learned! Reinforce the knowledge acquired with challenges associated with the most failed topics.
At Compettia we have extensive experience working with the TOP 20 most relevant Pharmaceutical and Medtech companies in the world and we have developed different programs to ensure the success of their branding plans. For this reason, we know that the relationship between industry and healthcare professionals must adapt to the new normality using new channels to make it efficient for both parties.