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The drive to digital in pharma marketing is ‘overwhelming’ doctors. Solution? Train digitally savvy reps

The drive to digital in pharma marketing is 'overwhelming' doctors. Solution? Train digitally savvy reps
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Pharmaceutical marketers don’t understand what healthcare professionals need – and worse, they are drowning doctors in drug promotions at the expense of more personalized content.

That’s according to a new report, Digitally Savvy HCP, from healthcare solutions company Indegene, which has been tracking these relationships over the past few years. This report focuses on just under 1,000 physicians from the United States, Europe, India and China.

This makes for some grim reading for drug sales staff: 70% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) surveyed by the company feel reps “do not fully understand their needs and expectations,” while 62% of healthcare providers are “overwhelmed” with products with The relevance of the promotional content they receive from the pharmaceutical industry.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) said companies should only share relevant content with them “to make interactions more insightful.”

This mirrors some of the findings in a report by Accenture late last year, which found that 64% of healthcare providers said they get a lot of digital content from drugs, and 65% said at least one drug company had “spam” during the epidemic. .

Related: Don’t bother us healthcare professionals, because they seek quality more than quantity from drug marketers

Gaurav Kapoor, executive vice president at Indegene, said COVID has raised more issues given that health practitioners and representatives have been restricted to face-to-face meetings. Sometimes, he said, digital communication was too much.

“As a result, drug companies have relied on digital channels to push product-related promotional information,” Kapoor said in an interview. “This has increased the frequency of touchpoints and, in some cases, prompted healthcare providers to associate some drug companies with sharing overly promotional content.”

“Given the limited bandwidth,” he added, drug companies should look at innovative ways to share information. For example, drug makers might improve their communications for devices doctors use to consume the type of information used.

Additionally, drug companies should look beyond their own channels and forums and engage other sites, he advised.

“By publishing and co-creating educational content on such platforms, drug companies can deliver greater value to healthcare providers as well as simplify the transition to the business conversations that will follow.”

Educating doctors is just part of it. Pharmaceutical companies need to train their salespeople, too. Kapoor said companies should seek out digitally savvy representatives and help them upgrade their skills to ensure they are “flexible and efficient” in using digital channels and content based on healthcare providers’ preferences.

He added that while drug companies have made some significant investments in omnichannel strategies, drugmakers still have “a long way to go to achieve customer focus.”

So what is the solution? Go over product text, especially if a particular doctor has already seen a lot of digital product information. “Representatives should focus on conversations that make interactions insightful…and avoid overloading product information,” he said.

When healthcare clinicians want to listen to drug companies, Indegene said, they cited webinars and webcasts, in-person meeting discussions, online journals, websites, and offline journals as the most common preferences. The report noted that the convergence of webinars is “particularly related to the spread of Covid-19”.

What about social media? Will channels like Twitter or even TikTok become a more preferred method in the future? “Overall, there has been an increase in healthcare providers’ adoption of social media,” Kapoor explained, adding that the survey found

Social media adoption has been the strongest among health care providers in China.

“Social media is at a watershed moment and its role and importance will continue to rise in the next few years,” he said. “Given this, drug company representatives should view social media as an important channel for communicating and strengthening their relationship with healthcare providers.”


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