The Covid-19 crisis has represented a breaking point for the entire industrial sector in the UK. While many businesses have been forced to prioritise basic survival, for pharmaceutical companies this situation has presented a huge opportunity for growth. And this is where pharma marketing comes into play.
The marketing of drugs and medical devices by private and public organisations to doctors, clinicians and consumers are now, in fact, the key driving force behind shareholder value.
On the one hand, it enables pharmaceutical companies to identify, anticipate and provide solutions for customer requirements. On the other hand, as shown by this article of Healtycareweekly.com, pharma CEOs often don’t consider marketing a priority. That’s the reason why professional marketers are often required to take responsibility for pharma branding and for the ROI on investment.
Despite this, marketing is frequently the key that allows a pharmaceutical company to emerge among others, even more so during these difficult times. Red on to find out how.
The reputation of pharmaceutical companies during Covid-19
The rising demand for treatment and therapists needed to combat this devastating pandemic has put a strain on the health system. It has, however, also created huge development opportunities for the pharma companies. This, coupled with vaccine development by BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, has led pharma to get significant credit for saving the world.
According to research conducted by the global network Pwc, 78% of UK consumers believe that pharma are working hard to develop solutions for Covid-19. Instead 74% believe that they are striving to ensure patients get access to required medicines. A trust that, after the release of vaccines, is further increased – although sceptics are not lacking.
This is a great chance for companies with a mixed reputation. In fact, as mentioned, this situation has presented an huge opportunity for growth. They can, in fact, improve public perception of big pharma with their continued input into strengthening the health care system. Moreover, leading pharmaceutical industries should give serious consideration to capitalising on this opportunity to positively reinforce their reputation. Despite their economic success, they’ve often been subject to a less favourable consumer trust profile than the provider segment of healthcare. And this is where communication strategies play an essential role.
Communication strategy: be consistent
As we have seen, the reputation of the whole health system (including pharmaceutical companies) is enjoying its day in the sun, but how can companies make the most of it? ‘Communication’ is the keyword. Thanks to a smart and consistent approach pharmaceutical companies should be able to enjoy a trust ‘halo effect’ for some time after Covid-19.
But where do you start? By ensuring consistent messaging in both internal and external statements. Playing your part in this exceptionally critical period is essential. And even more essential is knowing how to communicate the role you played
That’s why, as explained by Kristen Kelly, Director of Communications at Novaris UK Oncology, a good strategy for a pharmaceutical company in 2021 should, first, talk about its support to the community and the NHS even after the first phase of the pandemic.
In addition, the safety and support of its employees and the continuity of the supply of medicine are important topics too.
According to Alexander Davies, senior Director at Hanover Communication, the communication should focus on “how we are contributing to this fight and what value we are adding. The industry is doing more now to collaborate with the NHS and doing so faster”.
Use an analytics-based approach
The gap between the features and benefits of pharmaceutical products is becoming less pronounced over time. Which is why the impact of standard marketing efforts that focus on features and benefits continues to reduce over time.
So, what’s the best way to market pharma products? The answer is analytics-based marketing. Data analytics, indeed, are essential for effective marketing and measuring them in a scientific way leads to at the very least a decent return on investment. Monitoring the data and being ready to change strategy if necessary is a good method. As a rule, marketing analytics metrics should include many factors including sales, costs and profits. Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Adwords.
Identify the right audience of pharmaceutical companies
Pharmaceutical marketing has two audiences, doctors and patients. Using the right tone of voice when you are speaking with one of them is essential for the success of your company.
Identify the needs of these professionals: be specific and well-articulated with your content, and make sure they are well placed (a combined strategy might include SEO and SEM).
Try to win the trust of your patients, providing clear and efficient solutions to their search queries. Use targeting to reach the right audience (for example, if you’re selling a drug against depression).
Imagine having to create content about a depression drug that the end-user is likely to find in search engine listings. Your marketing strategies should communicate efficiently with people who are struggling with depression and searching for a solution to it.
To reach this goal, the right approach will include:
- The analysis of existing search results (identifying commonly search keywords with low competition for depression medicine)
- The creation of blog articles about these keywords
- A link building activity with the objective of obtaining inbound links of high authority websites
- The optimisation of this article until Google and other search engines rank this content on page one.
- If necessary, a Google Adwords campaign.
As shown by this article, 2021 is a year full of opportunities for pharmaceutical companies. To achieve their objectives, two main things are essential. The first is a communication strategy that is precise and consistent, able to inspire confidence and to address, with the same effectiveness, both doctor and patients. The second is a data – based approach to market the products. As we believe we know our audience, in fact, in the final analysis will be the numbers to tell us what is working and what is not. Monitoring the results of your campaigns is crucial and being able to change approach if things don’t go as planned is not synonymous with vacillation. It means being a good marketer.