“I think the biggest innovations of the 21st Century will be the intersection of …biology [health, medicine] and technology [digital]. A new era is beginning…” –Steve Jobs
A digital wave is sweeping across the $17 billion Indian pharmaceutical industry and companies are dumping old ways of marketing for newer technology, a survey of 20 top drug makers in the country has found. This new technology ranges from scientific detailing to doctors to using newer algorithms for better insights into issues like patient compliance. The trend matches a similar switch in China over the last few years.
Mobile apps and social media are set to play a bigger role in this growth, the study that is part of a larger report on global digital marketing trends found.This will help India catch up with tech-savvy emerging markets peers like China, where nearly half the companies are expected to allocate more than a fifth of their marketing budget to digital marketing.
The concept of multichannel marketing dates back more than 50 years and has been practised for as long as companies have long been able to use different channels to reach customers at various points in their decision cycles. However, for pharmaceutical companies one channel always reigned supreme: the field force. Meeting healthcare professionals (HCPs) face-to-face was the way to shift products.
Now, multiple forces are unpicking this long-standing model. The proliferation of digital technologies has redefined the parameters of multichannel marketing, giving companies many more ways to reach customers on their paths to purchases. More importantly, a fast-rising number of the pharmaceutical industry’s customers rely on online searches, websites and other digital platforms for information.
In traditional marketing to physician, a typical face-to-face communication channel with the representative use to be followed with the product sample and detailing aids to market the prescription drugs, which ultimately give away the market to the product. The majority of these marketing practices work on the premise of oneway conversations, with Pharma informing consumers of the benefits of its products, as well as the risks of a particular drug as required by law. In recent times, reduction in the active time allocation by the physicians towards to representatives selling has become significant. The advent of digitalization all around the globe have altered the shifted marketers strategy towards utilization these technologies in marketing a product in more significantly and conveniently. This concept has driven a way to multichannel marketing (MCM). Simply, multichannel marketing can be defined as the marketing strategies for the customers who are using more than one channel of interaction with an organization for marketing a product. Multichannel marketing in pharmaceutical industry approaches with various coordinated communication channels to reach consumers, patients, and physicians with marketing communications or product/marketing information at the appropriate point in their product selection decision cycles. In MCM the integrated use of internet based diversified multiple marketing channels, facilitated pharma companies to render better presentation of the products to end consumers in business to consumer model. MCM prevailed over limitations of a single channel i.e., follow customers where a sales representative cannot, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It promises to save marketing departments money by allowing them to use the most efficient method to contact each of their customers
To get your MCM strategy right, following are the key steps :
Planning– Primary objective for the MCM strategy which should be align with your business strategy.
Research & segmentation– It is important to spend some time & effort in understanding the HCP channel preference & segmenting them into 4 to 5 HCP buckets based on their behavior & preferences.
Channel Selection & Communication Strategy– The selection of channel should be based on the research & the profile of Doctors & proper communication strategy should match with you divisional or product strategy.
Budget Allocation– Budget on the MCM campaign should be based on the stage of the product life-cycle- The ideal would be as follows;
A- Launch Phase- 80 % traditional + 20 % MCM
B- Growth Phase- 60 % Traditional + 40 % MCM
C- Maturity Phase- 40% Traditional + 60 % MCM
Success Matrix & Adoption of future strategy – Companies often measure the success of MCM campaigns as how much sales has been generated which is not advisable specially when you are planning for a pilot & exploring the opportunity in this space.
The success of the campaign should be measures in the following aspects–
A- Level of Access
B- Quality of Interaction
C- Interaction on different Channels (Engagement)