New challenges of reaching digital HCPs
Digital physicians require digital solutions. What challenges do pharma companies need to overcome to reach digitally savvy HCPs?
Doctors go digital — new challenges of reaching HCPs
The world does not stand still. Changes in the medical field in recent years have led to an "online revolution" — doctors are becoming digitally savvy. In consequence, the old methods of engaging HCP are becoming obsolete.
HCPs' engagement methods have evolved
It may be hard to believe that the practice of in-person meetings, once the best method of engaging with pharma reps and HCPs, is no longer effective. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically influenced how companies engage with HCPs, provoking the shift towards online interactions. A survey conducted by Strategy&PwC found that 64 percent of respondents (HCPs) who need information about products are willing to receive it virtually .
The post-Covid period indicates that the healthcare sector embraced digitalization, successfully adapting to new practices. Medical providers are more digitally savvy than ever before. For example, 77% of med staff use digital channels for personal needs, primarily education, while 58% indicated that digital channels give them the flexibility to plan meetings with pharma providers .
The drastic pivot to digitalization has given birth to a new tech-savvy generation, which requires new solutions and approaches. And with that comes the question: how can pharma companies leverage new opportunities to create strong connections with HCPs through the use of virtual channels? First, it is necessary to understand all the challenges of reaching digital HCPs.
New challenges in bringing in HCPs or how to stay at the top of the pharma market
#1 Going to reach doctors with Google Ads? It's not that simple
Using Google Ads in your marketing practice can significantly increase your chances of coming across valuable leads. But only if you approach it correctly, with a deep understanding of all the restrictions related to the promotion of pharmaceutical products. You can read more about the challenges of targeting сlinicians in Google Ads here.
Ignoring the limitations of Google Ads for pharma can, at best, lead to an ineffective marketing strategy or, at worst, your ads or account getting blocked.
Here are some crucial aspects that should not be ignored:
- Google has a specific guide  for advertising medical services and drugs.
- Advertising for certain products and services is not allowed . If your product is on the list of unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements, you will not be able to advertise it on Google.
- Pharmaceutical companies must be certified by Google before placing ads.
- Geographical restrictions. For example, prescription medicine advertising is only permitted in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States.
Even though advertising on Google (or rather the restrictions) may discourage you initially, pharmaceutical companies that use this platform correctly can only benefit. The right setup and consideration of all the "buts" can help you reach those who are looking for med solutions online.
#2 The audience needs a more tailored approach than ever before
70% of clinical staff consider that companies "do not fully understand their needs and expectations". At the same time, 62% are "overwhelmed" by the content from pharmaceutical representatives . Such reps have failed to take into account the most critical thing — the desire of their audience and the time when that desire is most intense. Correctly identifying the audience, their needs, and pain points is half the battle. Next, it all depends on what content you can deliver to them.
To build a tailored approach, it is also significant to consider the geographic aspects of HCPs as well as their preferences for devices, channels, and time for receiving information. For example, clinicians in Europe prefer to get med-based and advertising content on computers and laptops, while those in the Asia-Pacific region opt for mobile devices and tablets. German, Spanish, and Italian doctors are more active in getting content from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for UK HCPs, and after 8 p.m. for French clinicians.
#3 Social media is a new format for reaching the medical audience
Social media (SoMe) has become one of the most used channels for doctors to connect with their colleagues, patients, and consumers. A survey of more than 4,000 doctors found that nearly every user leverages SoMe for personal purposes and two-thirds — for business ones .
Gaurav Kapoor, executive VP at Indegene , said: “Social media is at a watershed moment and its role and significance will continue to rise in the coming few years… Given this, pharma reps should consider social media as an important channel to communicate and strengthen their relationship with HCPs.” However, engaging a medically-oriented audience is not the end of the matter. Now it's essential to cement the relationship. That's where quality medical content creation is paramount. More and more clinicians are turning to the Internet as the first place to enhance their medical background. By generating proven, evidence-based healthcare content, you provide answers to their questions and, more importantly, increase your chances of converting them into loyal customers.
The key message of successful engagement:
try to deliver the right content to the right customer at the right time through the right channel.
#4 Omnichannel — must-have when setting up a marketing strategy
The possibilities for accessing information are limitless. More and more healthcare-oriented consumers prefer multiple channels for obtaining information, making them mobile in addressing their needs. However, such "channel siloing" makes it difficult for pharma companies to attract an audience. Multichannel, evolving into omnichannel, can help bring customers from different touchpoints to a single one: your services.
Yet omnichannel does not mean storming clients on all fronts in the hope of reaching at least one. This approach is doomed to fail in the long run. Omnichannel communication is about ensuring seamless customer interaction across multiple channels that are most appropriate for them.
To create an HCP-centric omnichannel model and generate a 360-degree view, it's vital to bring together all of the valuable audience data. Therefore, analyzing data such as HCPs characteristics, market state, and others allows companies to gain a more detailed view of the customer and determine which touchpoints are most effective.
Start with a team
A med-and-tech-savvy team is always a winning option. HCPs require a different and often difficult-to-implement way to address needs. As a team that includes developers, marketers, and content creators with a medical background, Brandmed can be your gateway into the digital healthcare business. With over 7 years of experience, we know the challenges and, more importantly, the ways to overcome them. Shall we start transforming your online health business together? Contact us.
- Strategy and PwC, Pharma companies’ route to a digitized go-to-market model, https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/de/en/industries/health/pharmas-route-to-digitization/pharmas-route-to-digitization.pdf, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].
- Indegene, The Digitally-Savvy HCP Learnings to Engage HCPs Around the World More Effectively and Efficiently, https://indegenerep.s3.ap-south-1.amazonaws.com/indegene/pdf/articles/the-digitally-savvy-hcp.pdf, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].
- Google, Healthcare and medicines, https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/176031?hl=en, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].
- Google, Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements, https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/2423645?hl=en, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].
- LiveWorld, HCPs & Social Media: A Tactical Primer, https://info.liveworld.com/hubfs/HCPs-Are-Changing-Channels-LiveWorld-eBook-CH1.pdf, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].
- FiercePharma, The drive to digital in pharma marketing is 'overwhelming' doctors, https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/drive-to-digital-pharma-marketing-overwhelming-doctors-as-industry-must-train-up, [last accessed: 26.08.2022].