Reaching and engaging healthcare professionals (HCPs) used to be straightforward. Pharmaceutical field forces called on physicians, educated them about new therapies, and distributed samples. Pharma companies would then connect those face-to-face meetings to resulting prescription sales.

Today’s landscape looks very different. This year, COVID-19 accelerated the trend away from face-to-face meetings. As a result, brands are increasing their use of digital engagement tactics, including rep-driven email and virtual visits, with the average remote meeting duration more than doubling since the start of COVID-19.1

Beyond rep-driven engagements, brands are increasingly turning to digital—and specifically, HCP websites—as effective vehicles to distribute information to potential prescribers. HCPs are also relying on professional brand sites as a source of clinical and prescribing information, with 46% of HCPs deeming them a credible source of information in 2019, up from 27% in 2017.

Case Study: HCP Site Engagement

While most brands track website visitation through web analytics software (e.g., Google Analytics), those programs do not answer the key questions most brand marketers have: what specialists are visiting my website, what content do they engage with, and what do they do after visitation? Veeva Crossix recently worked with a pharma brand in a specialty category to analyze audience quality and engagement on their HCP website.

Audience and Search Drivers: Of the approximately 1,500 HCP users visiting the brand’s professional site, about 20% were in the brand’s target specialty. The site also brought in a variety of other HCPs, beyond the targeted relevant users. The brand did a deep dive on their search campaign and found two of the four paid search campaigns were driving target list specialists to the site. The other two paid search groups reached only non-target list HCPs, which gave them a clear opportunity to reallocate those paid search investments.

Content Engagement: While significant investment was made developing high-quality video assets for the site, the brand was surprised to find that target HCPs had the lowest engagement with video (see figure). Instead, HCPs engaged the most with clinical data and prescribing information. Based on this insight, the brand reallocated resources to invest more in the relevant content driving the most engagement.

Combining HCP and DTC Data

Finally, it is important to realize that HCP promotions do not run in a vacuum. Their effectiveness is also driven by patient requests for a specific Rx brand that they could have learned about through a direct-to-consumer (DTC) ad or consumer website. If your digital DTC campaign is driving patients to request a brand and HCPs don’t have the background information to conduct a dialogue about the treatment, the effectiveness of the DTC campaign can be undermined. But bringing together CRM engagement data and data measuring marketing across media channels can help companies better understand the synergistic impact of field force engagement on both HCP and DTC media campaigns and provide a true, cross-channel and cross-customer view of their marketing efforts.


1. Source: Veeva Pulse, U.S. Engage Meetings, March – Oct. 2020.

  • Sarah Caldwell

    Sarah Caldwell is General Manager, Crossix Analytics at Veeva. Sarah is responsible for Crossix measurement and optimization and audience targeting solutions at Veeva Systems. Crossix leverages connected health data to help life sciences more effectively activate, measure, and optimize their marketing investments. Sarah joined Crossix in 2007 and has consulted with pharmaceutical brands across various therapeutic areas and business situations, including launch and loss of exclusivity.


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