Making Pharmaceutical Marketing Cost-Effective

Posted by Tom Hemy on

The world of pharmaceutical marketing has evolved into one which relies on personalized, yet cost-effective approaches. Legislative changes, economic turmoil and increased competition have been instrumental in the adoption of software to engage customers and stakeholders with customized presentations. An increasingly crowded marketplace has also heaped pressure on market access and commercial teams to ensure the effectiveness of sales material is maximized. As a result, deciding on the correct sales and marketing strategy is more important than ever.

There is now a much wider variety of factors influencing a company's choice of marketing strategy. Distinguishing between visits to physicians or prescribers, and visits to payers or healthcare providers is perhaps the most critical. This is because each group requires different information and a unique engagement strategy.

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Sales and Marketing to Physicians and Prescribers

Many established engagement strategies used by the pharma industry have recently come under increasing criticism.

Reportedly, 83% of doctors have accepted food or other gifts from pharmaceutical representatives. This strategy has been widely used amongst pharma companies. However, the passage of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act sought to change this. It enabled the creation of an open portal to document gifts between pharma reps and physicians, generating increased scepticism and scrutiny from the public.

Providing free samples is another common pharmaceutical marketing strategy; however, it is both costly and controversial. Regularly accounting for large proportions of marketing expenditure, the industry spends upwards of $5 billion on free samples each year. Whilst effective, research has shown that the practice can lead to bad clinical decision-making and encourages doctors to prescribe free samples in favor of more effective treatments.

A less controversial method that has been gaining traction is the use of mobile sales tools. In contrast to other heavily scrutinized practices, mobile sales tools allow pharma reps to make a transparent and evidence-based pitch, that’s not only compliant, but highly cost-effective.

Engaging with Payers and Healthcare Providers

Marketing to healthcare providers has commonly consisted of a large, ‘one-size-fits-all’ presentation, which would then be used repeatedly, regardless of the audience. However, this mass-market approach simply wasn’t effective when engaging with senior stakeholders. To effectively communicate the benefits of a new product, content needed to be personalized, and supported by relevant data.

In order to better engage with payers and healthcare professionals pharma companies started to develop multiple versions of the same, static content to suit different individual needs. This soon became a serious organizational challenge. In recent years though, mobile sales tools have again provided a solution: by design, a single tool can be tailored to meet the requirements of every engagement. This eliminates the need for multiple versions of a presentation and the administrative issues involved with managing so many files.

Mobile sales tools are now prevalent throughout pharmaceutical marketing

From physicians and prescribers, to payers and healthcare providers, mobile sales tools have been widely adopted throughout pharmaceutical marketing. The flexibility, transparency and cost-effectiveness are all crucial factors in their widespread adoption. However, these benefits often come with a price, as creating mobile sales tools is easier said than done. Most teams therefore outsource this job to an agency, who then usually provide a custom software solution using HTML5 developers. This method—while common—is not cost-effective. Using agencies is associated with various issues which can cause the overall cost of a project to soar.

Based on our extensive industry experience, we’ve outlined the top five hidden costs associated with outsourcing the development of mobile sales tools.

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