BioPharm Briefs

Keynote Presentation from 2019 eyeforpharma Philadelphia - “Thrive or Die in the Omnichannel Era”

Keynote Presentation from 2019 eyeforpharma Philadelphia - “Thrive or Die in the Omnichannel Era”

The Challenge

That’s a very ominous title; are things really that dire? Our environment has certainly evolved. As personal selling access has diminished in our industry, as traditional tactics such as dinner meetings have become more restricted, as technology has become ubiquitous, there has been a significant increase in the use of non-personal promotion (NPP), particularly digital. Successful use of digital is dependent on brands achieving competitive advantage by providing more effective NPP than their counterparts in that specific therapeutic category, often through personalization.

But other aspects have remained the same. We have a common, enduring goal: to serve the right message, at the right time, to the right target, to produce a desired outcome.

In preparation for this meeting, I looked into what the rest of the world thinks about our performance so far. What was being written about the use of omnichannel marketing in pharma and biotech? There was one comment stated many times over with little variation: “Isn't it nice to see that the pharmaceutical industry is finally starting to catch up to where consumer marketing was about a decade ago?!”

One major reason for our tardiness is the requirement to adhere to government regulations and oversight, resulting in a very conservative industry, resistant to change. So when you compare us to the rest of the world, of course it looks like we’re doomed. We have a history of poor user experience with digital information, especially product websites. HCPs and patients often complain they’re unable to conveniently access the information they are looking for. As an industry, our website bounce rates are far higher than well-constructed consumer sites. Our apps are far less used.

The Solution

Yet despite our slow start, I am optimistic. It’s not all doom and gloom. We have an opportunity to create a roadmap for the future that is not the same journey we’ve been on.

First, let’s look at the “glass half full”.  We actually have significant advantages in pharma/biotech marketing relative to consumer marketing, for example:

So, while there are both advantages and disadvantages to pharma/biotech marketing in comparison with consumer products, there are reasons to be cheerful. We have an opportunity to take advantage of several positive differences we have in comparison with our colleagues in consumer marketing and maximize our true potential.

Of course, none of the benefits will be realized without a strong omnichannel component – i.e., an integrated ecosystem that provides a positive user experience, allowing customers to access the information they want, when they want it, and in a way that they’d like to receive it. This approach presumes that information is designed to be user-centric and not product-centric: HCPs are consumers too. They won’t tolerate a measurable negative difference in consumer experience and the professional experience.

But get it right, and you’ll be at a huge competitive advantage in the marketplace of the future.

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