The PharmaAdvertising FutureIs Now
Hard Times, Big Opportunities
It has been a known fact that the pharma industry has traditionally been slow in adopting new technologies, especially when it comes to digital. However, 2020, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, became the year where many industries had to change how they operate to stay relevant in the increasingly demanding and complex business. That specifically touched the pharmaceutical industry. Why? The pandemic was an issue for the global healthcare system that required it to adopt and mobilize completely different ways of working on many levels (especially in under-developed countries). Also, the world required prompt support from the system that has been – running on autopilot for so long.
It’s a common saying that with every difficulty comes an opportunity, and it was no different for the pharmaceutical industry. In the face of so many challenges, technology has shown to be crucial in keeping the pharma business resilient, demonstrated through healthcare technology investment, which has grown by 47% and hit a record $51Bn in 2020. According to the latest ABI research report, the pharmaceutical industry is forecast to spend $4.5 billion on digital transformation alone by the year 2030.
Currently, those investments went towards the 8 top trends that will soon become usual processes in the pharma industry:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Wearable Tech Integration
- Data Management & Analytics
- Single-Use Processes
- Precision Medicine
- “In Silico” Testing
- Real-World Data
And as we know, one change always pulls the other – in this case, the trends above are signs of a massive paradigm shift in the industry, especially in terms of technology. But COVID-19 also put a lot of pressure on the industries of pharma marketers to reconnect with the healthcare professionals (HCP), as their traditional connection was broken due to around-the-world lock downs. They needed to find a way to reconnect and deliver quickly – and that’s where digital technologies came to the rescue. Through this, pharma can integrate with other health systems more seamlessly to meet the demand for omnichannel, comprehensive, interactive customer care.
How can that be done, you may ask?
- Embracing social media trends
Today, almost every brand is present on some social media platform. It’s a straightforward, mutually beneficial way of communicating directly to consumers (DTC) – In a way that hasn’t previously been adopted by the pharma industry. Social media also has the added benefit of humanizing brands, allowing consumers to feel an increased sense of trust and authenticity.
- Focusing on Brand Culture
Now more than ever before, consumers are invested in the internal activities, behaviors, and culture of an organization. According to a study by McCrindle, 86% of Australians say they are more likely to engage with an organization that clearly communicates its social impact. Pharmaceutical companies must find a way to build trust with an increasingly skeptical consumer.
- The Changing Nature of Work
The pandemic fundamentally changed how we work. This continued into 2022 as the pandemic forced people to re-evaluate their work lives and highlighted the importance of creating flexible, agile work environments. Companies now need to understand the value of it to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive job market.
- The Consumerization of Healthcare
Patient empowerment is increasing organically as access to information and increasing skepticism means that individuals are researching and becoming highly involved in the provision of their care. This means that patient expectations are higher than ever and that brands need to focus on the whole customer journey. This is a shift from traditional pharmaceutical models focused on the product to now being focused on the customer.
- Increasing Digital Healthcare Solutions
The medical field had previously been slow in shifting towards digitalizing the industry, however, there are many benefits to digital health, including accessibility and affordability. Digital healthcare helps patients access trusted information and optimize treatment results. For pharma companies, this means more innovation and more at-home care solutions are needed.
- Personalization in Marketing
CRM one-on-one marketing creates a unique, tailored experience for your customers. It’s a good practice generally, 80% of people are more likely to buy from a brand that provides a personalized experience. Particularly in pharma marketing, this makes every interaction with your customers more valuable, creating efficiency and increasing patient empowerment. Through this strategy and adopting technology that collects data, you can make more informed decisions to create personas and target specific audiences and customers in a way that feels personal.
To conclude, Pharmaceutical marketing is a unique industry that’s undergone immense changes in the past several years. With the fact that what COVID-19 started in terms of focus shift is not going away anytime soon, brands must be willing to accept these new ways of working and changes to health technology to compete in the market.
Pharmaceutical marketers need to focus on the holistic brand image, how to communicate this to their audience and focus communications and innovations on the customer to not only remain competitive in the industry but to keep the trust of their consumers.