Time to update pharma marketing strategies

The pharmaceutical industry has used the same marketing strategies for centuries. So, we in the industry do not care whether our prime customers’ discomfort with all those techniques. You and even I think who cares if we get the sales though the conversion rate is low. Isn’t this the time to update the pharma marketing strategies?

However, you may think we use the old-school marketing strategies, and we still harvest the results. Yes, I agree with you. But do you think it gives you an effective ROI on your effort and spending? Some might say even the ROI is fine strategies and activities are successful. But what if suddenly a new pharma firm starts disruptive promotions with inventive tactics and activities? What will happen to other existing conventional companies?

Hence, my point is better to be aware of emerging marketing strategies applicable to the pharmaceutical industry and be familiar with them. First, let me remind the strategies, tactics, and activities you often use in your marketing effort.

Centuries-old pharma strategies we repeatedly use

  1. Medical detailing with printed brochures or e-brochures – Only tool for some firms
  2. Meetings – Inside and outside of institutions 
  3. Sponsorship for college events and other typical demands
  4. Gimmicks to register the brand in customers’ mind
  5. Investments in customers’ continuing medical education (CME) programs

Those are the frontline activities we all used and continue till today. Further, the strategy might be market development, market penetration, and new product launches, but you would end with the above activities. Though I have seen few innovative activities, most of them fall on whatever activities are mentioned above.

Your targeted product may be focusing on cost leadership or differentiation leadership, or hybrid strategy, but still, the activity would be one from above. 

Don’t you think those activities are too common and nothing surprise your customers? Those everyday activities bring only general feeling to your customers. 

You may be the one company that sticks to the same strategy, as the distribution of gimmick throughout the year to remind their brand. But did you check their effectiveness, ROI, and the usefulness of those gimmicks to your customers? Sometimes they might have odd feelings whenever they get brand reminders that have no relevance to them.  

What could be the disruptive tactics and activities to use in Pharma?

  1. Adapt into storytelling instead of medical detailing
  2. Use smaller explainer videos for your products to promote the brands, and your field force can use them for field promotions. 
  3. Create innovative and attractive content to share with possible social channels of your customers
  4. Trying to utilize the digital channels to share content
    1. Bring your customers into a web or blog by doing SEO
    2. Create animated explainer videos about your products to run a YouTube channel
    3. Email marketing
    4. Possibility to use customized Google ads
    5. Affiliation programs with customers for online experience sharing
    6. Surveys through social media to develop a buyer persona for prospects 

The above disruptive strategies and tactics could be the best alternatives to use in pharmaceutical marketing.

I am aware many pharma giants use those strategies in the marketing effort but the strategies have not penetrated the majority of the pharmaceutical organization worldwide due to various reasons. Let’s discuss later those reasons that companies have scared to adapt to general marketing strategies.

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