Marketing executives for pharmaceutical companies are stepping up their use of digital technologies and analytics to save money and fine-tune their targeting efforts. That includes hyper-personalization through retargeting and other digital ad technologies.
According to a recent survey by management and tech consultant Accenture, more than 80% of the 200 executives surveyed named cost reduction as their top priority. Following cutting costs, 70% indicated they would be investing in more multi-channel marketing over the next two years, along with improving the use and effectiveness of digital interactions (60%) and exploiting analytics (56%).
The survey does not break down the types of advertising pharmaceutical companies are investing in, e.g. mobile versus display versus social media. But according to Craig Robertson, North American managing director of Accenture’s Life Sciences’ sales and marketing practice, the results show a greater focus on patient services and the use of additional channels to provide reimbursement navigation support and product information.
“Pharmaceutical companies recognize that their customers are already going to digital properties to find information,” Robertson told AdExchanger. “At the same time, it’s also a means by which they can continue to drive information to customers at a lower cost basis; digital is a much less expensive way to provide anything from sampling to information about a product in an effective way.”
Pharmaceutical companies are also delving into behavioral targeting solutions for patients as well as physicians, noted Eric Pilkington, SVP of digital strategy for McCann Health, a health communications network that provides pharmaceutical marketing services, among other services, to companies across the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
“The idea of mass is out and hyper-personalization is in,” Pilkington said. “We’re able to leverage information that sales reps can use for a personalized scenario so that they’re talking about the interactions doctors have already had with [a pharmaceutical company’s] website instead of an impersonal sell.”
In terms of ad spend, budgets for digital media, according to Pilkington, run the gamut from “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to budgets “well north of $7 million dollars where the majority is focused on digital.”
Social listening combined with other customer databases is effective as it allows companies to understand what customers such as physicians and patients are concerned with within specific categories of medicine. Social listening projects, Pilkington noted, can range from “what people are saying about a brand to what they’re saying about the competitor. Ultimately we want to know everything we can to build a better connection with that individual.”