The nature of the pharmaceutical industry puts sales teams in a unique position. Unlike in other product-focused verticals within healthcare — like the medical device space, for example — pharma reps don’t spend their days creating opportunities and closing deals. They aren’t trying to persuade customers to buy a product directly. Rather, they’re focused on influencing — influencing patients to ask their doctors about a particular drug, influencing providers to prescribe it.
That’s why many pharmaceutical companies depend on marketing teams to complement the work of their sales reps — because they’re equipped to influence at scale. Using a tool like Salesforce Marketing Cloud to deliver ads and content to both patients and providers, marketers can reach a wide audience without sacrificing targeted messaging. Assuming their strategy is sound, they can educate and attract the kinds of people most likely to be interested in a particular drug — and ultimately drive sales. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how.
How Pharmaceutical Companies Can Market Directly to Patients
Not all that long ago, pharma companies mostly ran ads on television and in print. Commercial breaks sometimes seemed entirely filled with spots for various medications, and the same could be said for magazine ads. These kinds of media blasts certainly touched a lot of people, but limited targeting tempered their effectiveness. Yes, pharma companies could buy time/space based on demographics like age and income, but that was still pretty broad. No matter what, they were going to end up paying to get their message in front of people who were never going to become customers. It was a numbers game.
The internet, of course, changed everything.
Online, you can target a desired audience much more precisely. Instead of blasting out a message to everybody who watches a particular show or reads a certain magazine, you can use Marketing Cloud’s advertising and social studios to reach individuals on the websites they visit and in their social media feeds, segmenting by multiple demographics at once, as well as their interests, activities and more. Say your company is trying to market a new arthritis drug. Before, you might have spent an exorbitant sum buying commercial slots during shows favored by those over 65. Now, you can deliver Google and Facebook ads directly to those who have already searched for things like “arthritis pain” or “arthritis drugs.”
What’s more, these ads don’t just serve as isolated touchpoints, but rather as calls to action that start potential patients/customers on a journey. Once somebody clicks on an ad, they’ll be taken to your website, where they can sign up to receive emails, which will be sent to them on a pre-planned schedule… See where we’re going with this? It’s a way to stay engaged with your audience — to keep your products in mind long after a person’s initial interest. And if any portion of the journey isn’t working as it should — maybe people are clicking away from your landing page, or they aren’t opening your emails — you’ll have that data easily available in Salesforce, and can make any necessary changes to prevent the drop-off.
How Pharmaceutical Companies Can Market to Providers and Pharmacies
The first way to use Marketing Cloud to reach providers and pharmacists? Deploy the same strategy as above. Just as prospective patients will search online for drugs that can help them with their illnesses, doctors and pharmacists will research the latest products on the market. As a result, you can still deliver ads that function as the first stage of a customer journey. You just need to tailor this content and messaging to serve healthcare professionals, as opposed to the potential patients you’re reaching elsewhere.
The other way to use Marketing Cloud to reach providers and pharmacists is to treat it as a sales enablement tool. When it comes to influencing physicians, reps have more room to maneuver than they do with patients. They can actually meet face-to-face with the MDs in their region, personally driving future prescriptions. However, it’s still important to make sure your product stays top of mind even for receptive doctors — that way, they’ll actually follow through on those prescriptions. With Marketing Cloud, you can automate emails to the physicians in your database so that they’re always receiving the latest information about your drug.
Got questions about how to make Marketing Cloud a reality for your pharma company? Don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to use our consulting experience to help you figure out your ideal next steps.