What is online pharmaceutical marketing? Particularities, trends and channels

The pharmaceutical sector, according to professional Enrique Dans, is undoubtedly moving in a complex environment.

Firstly, there is the product cycle, which begins with a large investment in research by the pharmaceutical company, going through multiple clinical trials and regulatory approvals – which make the process last years –, to end with the arrival of generic medicines when the patent ends.

Second are the regulated channels dependent on factors that are difficult to control.

And finally we have the point that concerns and interests us, that of online pharmaceutical marketing, which in itself is extremely complex. According to current regulations, marketing actions can only be directed to the final consumer in those medicines that are sold over-the-counter (OTC), That is, over-the-counter or non-prescription medications, while medications that require a prescription are relegated to restricted channels aimed at the physician.

What is online pharmaceutical marketing?

I have already let go of some brushstrokes in the previous paragraph.

What is it? This is the area of ​​online marketing aimed at the pharmaceutical industry. Where The restrictions and limitations are very marked, as they are products related to health and the medical field..

You can only carry out campaigns on freely available medications that do not have to be prescribed by a medical professional. This happens both in the offline and digital environments. Non-OTC products cannot be advertised on social networks, portals, display networks or word-based advertisements; even content marketing or digital advertising could conflict with this regulation.

It is true that every day thousands of patients discuss their cases in forums in a more or less open way. Encouraging them to develop questionable marketing techniques, to bypass the imposed ban and promote prescription drugs. And there is even less control over what is spread on closed social networks. All of this is susceptible to being penalized and pharmaceutical companies are very aware of this.

Nor can we take away the patient’s right to investigate his or her condition in a responsible and mature manner and to gather all possible information. Information that can be given by health centers, doctors or the pharmaceutical industry itself.

There are countless factors and more in the online environment. Where everything appears and disappears at dizzying speed, making what is already difficult even more difficult to control. But this does not mean that it should not be ignored and unregulated. For this reason, at we always support very strong ethics in our marketing strategies. online pharmaceutical marketingwith legal advice behind.

Digital trends in the pharmaceutical sector

After the explanation, and partly previous reflection, on what the pharmaceutical marketing. I want to present here the trends to comesince the pharmaceutical industry can be very powerful, but at the same time it is conservative and reluctant to technological changes.

Mobile communication, the cloud, big data, metrics and analysis and the internet of things (IoT) are innovations that will be a vital turning point in the transformation of the healthcare sector, just as the retail industry has already been converted, the media or banking.

  • 1# Personalized attention: Digital service for personalized treatment 24/7. Within about 5 or 7 years, a significant proportion of the pharmaceutical industry will create value through factors other than just medicines. Many drugs will be part of a digital ecosystem that will constantly monitor the patient’s condition and provide information to the affected person and other interested parties, such as doctors or other physicians who care for them. Wireless sensors already exist on the market to measure the biophysical constants of patients. For example, if this information is collected by the smart objects that we use in our daily lives, such as the food we remove from the refrigerator or the exercise we do at the gym, it can reach our doctor and he can act if there is any anomaly.
  • 2# More complete engagement: Multichannel conversations for doctors and patients. Digital engagement technologies open a new world for OTC pharmaceutical marketing. Patients are starting to use patient-oriented portals for their medical records or to communicate with their doctor, as well as mobile apps for patients to talk to other patients about their illnesses.
  • 3# Advanced data analytics to increase business value. The pharmaceutical industry has a large amount of health-related information in its possession, although it is normally poorly accessible, since it is in the possession of small technical or organizational groups. Some have already linked their data to improve their strategies and products. But there is still a great opportunity to create value, join forces and achieve highly superior results through data and analysis, using external and internal sources. For example, physiological simulation will accelerate product development, and three-dimensional tissue modeling will help evaluate potential toxicity through computer simulation.
  • 4# Real-time responses: automated processes to improve costs, reactions and agility. The technology cloudNext-generation mobile, sensors and business intelligence will create a wave of automation in business processes. They will be automated and simplified workflows and will focus on real-time transparency, to help reduce costs and increase commercial value. In pharmaceuticals, shipping staff planning, sales and operations planning, and marketing content approval will benefit from these streamlined and automated workflows. In addition, clinical trials or processes for recruiting new talent.

Actions for the online channel in pharmaceutical marketing

All that remains is to comment on the best ways to promote a pharma product with online marketing.

There are several channels, but the essential ones, according to our experience, are 4.

  • Pharmaceutical Content Marketing: a good blog attracts our potential audience. Pharmaceutical marketing cannot miss this opportunity. Attract potential consumers on health-related topics with valuable content. Don’t forget to design a responsive website and have a good ecommerce platform. With all this and with the blog, you will be able to positively impact the visibility of your brand.
  • Social Networks: patient care and market analysis. Create a community around your brand on social media. Where consumers can inform themselves and ask about different ailments and obtain healthy solutions, in addition to introducing your OTC products. If you are focused on B2B, do not deny social platforms, since LinkedIn can be very useful for you as a professional network. Perform a deep analysis of the needs of your followers, in order to find out the real problems of the users and thus properly focus your online digital marketing strategy.
  • Paid advertising: an essential in pharmaceutical marketing. You cannot put all the weight on SEO and content marketing, since the results do not come overnight. Give your marketing strategy a boost with paid advertising on Google Adwords or the display network and Social Ads. To improve the performance of your campaigns, always perform A/B testing, changing different factors of the ads to reoptimize the results obtained.
  • Email marketing: think carefully about your strategy before everything. Email marketing and newsletters are valuable tools to be in permanent contact with your health consumers, whether B2B or B2C. But, before launching any email, analyze the profiles of your potential consumers very well: demographic factors, age, sex, needs, habits and tastes. Then create a workflow that manages the sending of information and where everything is discussed from the most generic with respect to the pharmaceutical industry, to the mention of your products or services at the appropriate time.

I hope that this article has been useful to you and helps many of you understand what online pharmaceutical marketing is, the trends of the moment and what are the most recommended actions to design a strategy.