From projects with the introduction of artificial intelligence to machine learning, from voice search to telemedicine, from chatbots to multichannel promotion - this is not a complete list of achievements in the field of digital pharm in recent years. Time to move on! As 2018 left with its victories and defeats, new technology trends are entering the market, which has yet to be learned to use. Let us take a closer look at some of the future directions that pharm market makers need to arm themselves for in full readiness for the next year.
While everyone was actively discussing the blockchain and its impact on business processes in the pharmaceutical industry, its revolution has passed imperceptibly in pharma marketing, namely, the widespread use of mobile devices. Yes, perhaps this is not as impressive as, say, conducting diagnostics using artificial intelligence or operating a patient using virtual reality technology. However, how do you rate that today 80% of patients use mobile every day to search for information? Besides, did the fact that a doctor can at any time in a couple of clicks on the phone find almost any data from clinical studies, calculate the dose of the drug's destination on a calculator or use the application, passed by the discussion of large technological trends in 2018? Did it not affect the communication of pharm and doctors, as well as pharm and patients?
A particular focus on mobile technology is the first and most visible digital achievement of pharm in the last couple of years. It is not surprising since Internet-competent doctors are no longer just a separate group of young interested specialists; almost all doctors visit the Internet at least once a day on work issues. Is this the window of opportunity? The portable format is endless possibilities for viewing short video training content, communicating via social networking messengers and individual applications for doctors. What about the fact that people open 70% of all emails on their smartphones? Sounds promising, does not it? Therefore, it is also essential for the creators of pharm content to think about adapting their communication channels to a mobile device — no one likes to go to the landing page with “floating” tagging. By the way, one can view the operation mentioned above almost in real time on any mobile devices. It is another proof that in 2019, apparently, all pharm marketing roads lead to the smartphone screen.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) in the pharmaceutical industry is more known for its success in the diagnosis and invention of drugs. One can only imagine how AI and machine learning can help in marketing aspects. Here are just some of the examples of possible cooperation between AI and pharma marketing specialists:
1. A solution of management tasks. The first thing you expect from a robot is automation of monotonous tasks. The automatic entry of data into the CRM system “unloads” medical representatives, allowing you to maximize the time for direct communication with doctors. If there is an opportunity to spend much less time preparing reports, then why not use it?
2. Planning. The AI can provide the medical representative with the necessary content for a visit, as well as give hints as to which information would be most unusual for a particular doctor. This approach minimizes the time spent on searching and selecting such content at times.
3. Sharing best practices. Assessing the effectiveness of each user, AI allows you to determine what works best to attract the potential audience of doctors and provide recommendations on real-time content to other users. In other words, what about a sales assistant for a medical representative who can quickly analyze the material used by his colleagues at work? Teamwork through AI!
4. Increase sales. By examining the data obtained, over time, the AI will be able to manage the entire sales cycle, offering from this information the best next steps and actions.
Work in this mode is the dream of any representative in the fields. With the technology of artificial intelligence, finally, a comprehensive opportunity to analyze the market dynamics, preferences and needs of doctors and other variables, allowing you to choose the most effective marketing strategy, choosing the appropriate channels for communication
Big data and chatbots
Yes, not everyone is ready to talk frankly with artificial intelligence, but do not worry. About 70% of online users claim that they like to chat with a chatbot, and another 9% reported having such communication experience. The main directions of the development of chatbots and the big data technology supporting them are the improvement of artificial intelligence and the humanization of virtual assistants, which improve interaction between companies and from the audience. Chatbot provides direct communication with the client 24/7, which is a good base for good user experience. Therefore, it is not surprising that according to the bold forecasts of Gartner analysts, by 2020 85% of customers will interact through a chatbot.
As of 2018, chatbots have already brought their effectiveness inside the pharmaceutical companies - most often, they act as such reference. To expand the capabilities of this reference, you need more data and links between them. Pharm is a bit cautious with chatbots outside - however, as with all digital initiatives, but Google Trends suggests that interest in this request began to manifest itself only in 2016. It is not yet a settled trend, but its popularity is continuously growing, which means that it is possible to predict further positive dynamics.
Remote visits and telemedicine
Today we have the opportunity to not only get in touch with friends and relatives but also even to talk with the doctor via video call. Telemedicine as a way of communication between the patient and the doctor has not quite become a part of usage yet, but the interaction between the doctor and the medical representative has long passed into this plane. It is convenient for both sides of communication - while the doctor has less and less time for a personal visit with the medical representative, the pharmaceutical representative, in turn, cannot sit at the door of the doctor’s office all day, waiting for an opportunity.
For 2 minutes of the visit (namely, so much, on average, it lasts) it is difficult to provide sufficient information about the drug. Therefore, partly at the present stage, visits are partially “migrated” to the virtual space, so that they can be carried out during off-hours - just when it is convenient for the doctor. The experience of the last 2-3 years has shown that such visits are perceived much more favorably: the duration has increased (at least to 7.5-15 minutes); the percentage of sales has increased. Surveys, primarily conducted by IQVIA during the introduction of the new practice, showed that 91% of doctors expressed interest in subsequent sessions. Is this not proof that the future is already here?
Multichannel personal content
One thing, which is genuinely a "seasoned" trend, is a multichannel promotion; a concept that has not been marketed by marketing specialists for about four years now - and this is quite a long time by the standards of the trend. The secret of such consistency lies in the fact that as data accumulates, we discover all the new ways of multichannel promotion, which stand on the consumer side. Hence, 2018 finally confirmed the conjecture that traditional advertising methods are outdated. It is not that the ads did not work, but rather they lost their positions because it brings some fatigue. Surely, you also have a Facebook ribbon replete with questions like “how effective are the funds you invested in advertising?” The struggle for the attention of the consumer is coming from the answer to this question. A jaded consumer no longer distinguishes between products from different companies - even if there are significant differences between them.
The tactics of multi-channel content have replaced the main marketing tools. The content philosophy is that if you have a good product, you need to promote it so that the client goes to you, and not advertising slogans to drag you. However, for this content to be useful, you need to submit it at the right time, in the proper format and through the correct channel. It is the meaning of multi-channel promotion: through a webinar, in a personalized message, in a presentation script, tailored specifically for this doctor. All the content remains useful and exciting.
One can guess that the content is also gradually sorting through some of the functions that used to be sacred medical representatives: on-request webinars, chatbots already mentioned, one can order even probes on Amazon (Amazon Ping button). Tectonic changes in this regard have already begun: 68% of doctors in the West already prefer an exclusively online mode of communication with the pharmacy for a straightforward reason - it is more convenient for them. The pharm has already begun to adapt to this - just in the form of multi-channel promotion. In addition to the technologies required for multichannel development and content creation for it, pharm also takes care of personnel who are interested in this concept. This year, the global offices of Pfizer, GSK, and Novartis took on professional positions as Chief Digital Officers, and this is a serious step by the pharmaceutical company, which has been preparing for this decision for four years.
In the coming years, it is essential for pharmacy marketing specialists to get as much information about their customers as possible to target, select comfortable channels and personalize their offer accurately. Finally, yet importantly, artificial intelligence will take part in this. Therefore, this year, the maximum task is to polish the multichannel approach of communicating with doctors, if it is already implemented.
About the Author: Melisa Marzett is an excellent freelance writer and an author of plenty of articles by now, which have been published on numerous online resources. To write a book remains her ultimate goal. Meanwhile, she keeps on writing, improving herself inside out.