Changes in the healthcare environment have made market segmentation and targeting more critical than ever before. Diminished access to physicians and shrinking sales forces are forcing pharma to explore new ways to reach prescribers in lieu of face-to-face rep meetings. In order to succeed in this non-personal business model, marketers need to consider the mounting demands on providers. A value-based reimbursement model, adoption of new technologies, and changing patient demands are putting pressure on physicians’ time.
This creates a growing urgency for pharma to deliver the right messages to the right providers at the right time. Given the challenges associated with this current marketing dynamic – to say nothing of competitive pressures – implementing best practices can help life science companies concoct a successful formula.
Segment Your Audience
Although some channels offer the flexibility to reach a large prescriber base, targeting providers with irrelevant messages can erode their perception of your brand. Not to mention, it results in wasted marketing costs. An audience segmentation strategy should be developed that is based on a combination of demographics, psychographics, decile, prescribing patterns and patient data.
It’s imperative to work with your channel partners to hone in on the right targets. Investing the time early on to effectively segment your audiences will benefit both the provider and the patient, which will lead to positive results for the brand.
Develop Concise, Customized Messages
Each physician segment may require a different messaging strategy. Understanding each provider’s needs, interests, and motivators will allow brands to develop meaningful messages. Study after study shows that personalized content can increase audience responsiveness while reducing promotional costs, creating an optimal return on investment for your marketing dollars.
The more concise a message, the more likely it is to be consumed by a time-pressed physician. The average adult's attention span is down to just 8 seconds, so messages need to be brief, clear and compelling. This is particularly important when attempting to communicate with providers at the point of care when they are making critical clinical decisions.
Establish a Multi-channel Mix
No one channel is THE right channel. The best way to determine a physician’s preference for when he/she wants to receive marketing messages is to establish an integrated multi-channel mix. This approach will also help to increase brand recognition by reaching physicians at different touch points throughout their day.
Select a few channels where your audiences are interacting on a regular basis and are receptive to promotional messages. Integrate a combination of digital approaches and traditional print vehicles to effectively cut through the noise and reach a diverse prescriber base at a variety of touch points.
Measure Results and Refine Database
Before even launching a campaign, marketers need to identify the measurement criteria that will be used in post-program ROI and impact analysis. Properly evaluating a campaign will allow marketers to determine which strategies and channels yielded the best results. This data can be used over time to refine your marketing mix and optimize your investment. Ask channel partners to share measurement results and work with a third-party credible company that can measure audience exposure and interaction.
About the author: Robert Bedford is the Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing of MediScripts. His career spans a wide breadth of prominent positions at leading direct to pharmaceutical marketing services companies. Robert is supporting MediScripts’ growing suite of clinical management solutions designed to help marketers reach physicians at the point of care.
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