Pharma’s Online Presence
With over 3.4 billion active social media users worldwide as of 2019, it is clear that having an online presence and utilizing internet technology is essential for any pharma marketer. Recently, the possibilities for digital pharma marketing have become endless. As the pharma industry establishes an online presence of its own, new strategies continue to emerge for its marketers to leverage this presence in order to connect with their target audiences.
Influencers: Celebrities and other professionals have partnered with companies to market products for decades. Pharma influencers are typically patients who are willing to promote or share their insights on different products online. According to Wego Health, a patient influencer talent agency, 87% of people following an influencer who posts about a specific drug will ask their health care provider about it, often leading to a prescription.
Voice Technology: Voice technology, such as Apple’s Siri, has significantly changed the way in which consumers search for information. Healthcare is the second most active industry for voice search. With voice technology outpacing the rate at which cell phones were adopted, pharma must optimize its online platforms for voice in order to successfully adapt.
Chatbots: According to Global Market Insights, the chatbot market is expected to exceed 1.34 billion USD by 2024. By mimicking human conversation, AI powered chatbots allow the pharma industry to have one-on-one interactions with customers, doctors, and patients in real time. These bots can detect and diagnose diseases, provide medical information, promote products, act as a customer service representative, and automate sales processes.
Virtual Reality: By creating interactive experiences for pharma audiences, virtual reality has become a widely used tool for telling realistic stories that engage audiences and immerse them in the moment. VR has both marketing and educational applications: giving users the opportunity to “take a ride” through the bloodstream, see how therapy works within the body, or feel what it is like to live with the symptoms of a certain disease. Watch the video below to learn more about how VR is revolutionizing the pharma industry.
Downsides of An Online Presence
While the internet and social media will play a vital role in the future of pharma marketing, the pharma industry has been reluctant to maintain an online presence. User-generated content (UGC) (such as disease information and product reviews) is often inaccurate, which results in a significant amount of misleading information being available to readers. Many patients, especially younger generations, are skeptical of medical information they read online. Other patients read inaccurate content and believe it, which can be dangerous.
Influencers often encounter their own issues. They are sometimes scrutinized for the financial benefits they receive from the firms that they advertise for. In addition, tough regulations dictate what can and cannot be said regarding pharmaceutical products in their social media posts.
With a growing number of patients engaging with online advertisements and utilizing internet technology to learn about products, the pharma industry must focus on creating strategies that enable it to use its online presence to its full advantage.
Innovara’s Marketing Academy courses are designed to help you strategically build your company’s presence, online as well as offline.