If you were to ask a pharma marketer today about the biggest struggles in their line of work, most would say that reaching physicians is their primary concern. Indeed, as the primary link between pharma companies and patients, physicians have the biggest impact on how a product performs once it’s launched on the market.
Unfortunately, it’s getting more difficult to market to physicians as time goes by. With decreased rep access to offices, in-person visits are becoming increasingly rare and they’re becoming replaced by digital methods of communication.
However, there’s no sure-fire method of maximizing reach that works for all therapeutic areas, all physicians and all products. Here’s what you can do.
Sales reps aren’t welcome any more
It’s no secret that physicians and sales rep force aren’t exactly in love. For busy physicians, it’s hard to find rationale in taking time off their day and seeing a pharma sales representative talking about a product they would like prescribed.
The problem is not in the time only. According to research, 51% of physicians claim that the information provided by reps is already familiar to them – they either discovered it themselves through research or it was shown by another rep.
In fact, this occurs even more frequently in some therapeutic areas. For example, 68% of oncologists say that reps show them info they’ve already seen, as well as 62% of dermatologists.
While this could be seen as bad news, there is a silver lining: physicians ARE very much interested in the product, just not the way it’s presented to them. In fact, 74% of all HCPs use search engines regularly and 52% of them use digital resources regularly, most often those related to the product.
So far the issues pharma marketers have to address are:
– Low availability of physicians (no time)
– Ineffective methods of promotion (rep visits)
– Quality of data presented (stale vs. new)
– Format for presenting data (presentations and reprints)
Here are the ways to solve this challenge.
Use tablets more
As studies have shown, tablets actually improve the HCP experience during rep calls. This is particularly evident with content that is not strictly product-related, but instead focus on patient education and support. The latest research states that 35% of physicians were very satisfied with their interactions with reps who used tablets.
It appears that pharma marketers are unaware of this information, since tablet use in rep calls is gradually decreasing over the years. As latest research suggests, 67% of physicians who see reps state that the reps have used a tablet in their interactions.
There is no lack of great materials that reps can show to physicians on tablets – from data behind the products, including research, as well as patient education materials.
Communication between reps and HCPs needs to be stronger
In-office rep visits are just one piece of the pharma marketing puzzle. With many pharma companies attempting to use multichannel marketing, their efforts need to go far beyond visits as the only method for promotion.
When it comes to communication, the industry standard are approved emails (services such as Veeva). Although pharma marketers have a lot of faith in approved email, only 12% of HCPs state that they emailed their sales rep in the past six months.
On the other hand, 36% of physicians expressed interest in communicating with sales reps. Clearly, there is a significant gap which is easy to remedy. Additionally, only 9% of HCPs use remote detailing programs at the moment, with 35% being interested in using it more.
Video to bridge the pharma marketing gap
Although pharma marketers have slowly but surely embraced digital, they are still struggling to find the best channel for approaching physicians and getting maximum results. As multiple studies have shown, physicians’ preferences towards pharma marketing depend on various factors, such as therapeutic area and the type of product being marketed.
Instead of trying to find the ideal channel to suit all physicians, pharma marketers can instead focus on one medium that can be used across channels for maximum efficacy and physician reach. In our experience with pharma marketing, we’ve found video to be the most versatile option.
While it can be used in sales rep visits (to show physicians research behind the product), it’s only the first of many possible uses of video. By presenting scientific publications in video form, pharma companies have an easy to use format for displaying on tablets.
Moreover, videos are effortless to use in approved email. Pharma marketers have the choice of embedding videos in the email or leading them to a pharma company website.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, video marketing for pharma shows immediate, easily trackable return on investment.
Maximize HCP reach using video marketing
If you’re interested in using video for your pharma marketing campaigns, reach out to us. We’re RedNovius, home of PubVisual – a pharma marketing solution that makes it easy to reach low-see and no-see physicians and maximize your share of voice.
If you’d like to learn more, reach out to us today to book a free demo with one of our video marketing experts!