Marketing to Physicians had long been done through the traditional ‘offline’ way. Face-to-face interaction of sales representatives with doctors to increase brand awareness and ultimately push them to conversion was considered by pharma companies the only ideal solution. But it was THEN.
THEN – at a time when digital was in nascent stages and still making inroads. Now, over years digital has disrupted traditional mediums of branding and marketing. Consumer marketers adapted to new ways of reaching out to their target audience, balancing between the time-tested marketing channel of offline and the new fast-growing medium of online.
While they were quick to adapt to the changing marketing dynamics and benefited significantly out of it, pharmaceuticals lagged behind in switching to the popular course of digital.
Though pharma brands are now taking cognizance of the power of digital, embracing the medium by them is yet slow. Pharma marketing campaigns would remain inconclusive in the absence of thought-out digital campaigns.
Physicians are becoming digital savvy. To be present throughout the wholesome journey of a Physician, a Pharma brand pharma must go beyond the physical world to online in a far more effective manner, adopting newer methods and approaches.
Pharma companies moved from single channel communication to multi-channel communication and have been implementing it in their campaigns.
However, time is apt to shift focus from multi-channel communication to omnichannel communication to match pace with the emerging physician landscape, where now there are multiple layers of engagement, touch points and interactions owing to digital.
Single-channel communication > Multi-channel communication > Omnichannel communication
However, omnichannel approach would work best when the communication is contextual. So, the best approach for Pharma marketing is one step forward:
OPTICHANNEL: Omnichannel + Contextual
From just spreading the word via many possible channels to Physicians through the multi-channel strategy, it is far more important today to provide Physicians the same experience on every platform – whether offline on online – while being contextually relevant.
This overall coherent experience of optichannel approach helps build a stronger relationship between Physicians and the brand.
Pharma brands must also focus on making communication more sharp and crisp in view of the ever-increasing digital touch points of Physicians.
Pin-pointed messages at the appropriate time through a suitable channel is what a winnable strategy would be. That’s what precision targeting is all about in digital. Also because Physicians’ attention span is less, heavy content pieces do not serve the purpose of grabbing their attention anymore.
To achieve best results via the omnichannel approach, what can Pharma brands do to amplify the impact of each online interaction? Could it be contextual communication along digital journey of Physician or multiple sub campaigns to take the physician down the conversion funnel?
Here, both the approaches are appropriate and valid. Digital conversation with a Physician needs to be looked upon exactly in the same way how physician interaction looks like in the offline world.
It’s all about how pharma brands can make the communication relevant and consistent through-out different stages of AIDA model; very similar to what happens outside the pharma world i.e. in the consumer marketing space.
Physicians today have widespread digital footprint. While reaching them through sub-campaigns via relevant touchpoints, it is important to mould the communication as per the nature of the platform so that the messaging while being consistent remains contextual. Only that adds real value.
By aligning offline and online messaging and tweaking the communication basis information and data generated through digital campaigns from time-to-time, Pharma brands can also improve remarkably the face-to-face relationship between Physicians and sales representatives.
In an hypothetical situation, Homogesic- a brand known for fever and pain, how this digital journey in an omnichannel approach looks like:
Target speciality: GP & CP
Campaign objective: Increase awareness and visibility to right audience at right places
Number of brand exposures is the key for Physicians to identify and relate with a brand. Thus, reaching out to them in both offline and online space is absolutely essential while making sure the messaging at all times is contextual.
That’s why an optichannel approach is the best way to win over Physicians.
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