Next year’s marketing plans must offer physicians valuable, requested information in  their venue of choice, and the best way to ensure the performance you need may be through digital channels.

There has been much written about the pharmaceutical rep situation. Certainly layoffs in large pharma companies have been significant, yet small and specialty pharma companies are hiring. Why? Although the duplicate team approach to primary care physicians (PCPs) no longer works, representatives still provide a valuable function. In fact, a recently published survey on rep access by Cegedim Strategic Data (CSD) indicates that PCPs were still receiving the most number of details in comparison to specialists in the 12-month period ending June 2012. However, unlike prior years, these reps now represent a greater number of brands over multiple therapeutic categories.

So what does personal promotion have to do with the digital world to which this column is dedicated? Simply put, personal promotion is now the most effective when reps share content via digital tools. According to Manhattan Research’s recently published ePharma Physician study, 65% of physicians saw reps conducting an eDetail via their iPad—double the percentage from last year.

PUT THE REP IN THE DRIVER SEAT

Prior columns have addressed how to create content for use in digital channels that will satisfy the physician’s need for information, and how to do so in a manner that creates a superior learning experience. That is one way to build better relationships and create higher brand recognition. But think about how much better it would be if we could tap the person who has fostered a relationship— who knows his target’s interests, preferred learning venues and best times to deliver that content—as the person who drives all content delivery. Then we could truly deliver a superior customer experience.

Dashboards have already been built that integrate non-personal campaign data into the sales force automation system so that reps can track all outreach to their targets. This capability has proven invaluable in providing the field force with insights on how they might attempt to get “in the door” or keep a physician engaged. This improved targeting results in better access and goes a long way in providing that superior experience. Now the next logical step is to create a two-way digital conversation between physician and rep, and provide the rep with the tools to trigger the appropriate non-personal outreach. Creating a true multi-channel dialogue not only makes sense, but is where the industry is heading.

DRIVING PERFORMANCE, EFFICIENTLY

The data accumulated as a result of all this multi-channel outreach is highly specific and offers a significant opportunity to better target and drive efficient performance. Reps can understand their targets better within this new selling environment, improving their relationships and ultimately broadening their reach. Non-personal interactions can be built using predictive responses, delivering a truly superior customer experience.

Assimilating field and digital response data into the tools driving personal and non-personal promotion is not an easy task, however, and may take some time to achieve. Yet if we want to improve the physician experience in all interactions with our company and brand, and if we want to do so efficiently, it is key that we marry personal and non-personal data while making sure that our content is worthy of sharing across all tools at the rep’s disposal.

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