The digital shift in pharmaceutical marketing is “overwhelming” physicians. Solution? Train digital savvy representatives

Pharmaceutical marketers don’t understand what healthcare professionals need and, worse, they overwhelm doctors with drug promotions at the expense of more personalized content.

That’s according to a new report, the Digitally Savvy HCP, from healthcare solutions company Indegene, which has been tracking these relationships for a few years. This report focuses on just under 1,000 physicians from the United States, Europe, India, and China.

This gives gloomy reading for pharma salespeople: 70% of healthcare professionals (HCPs) surveyed by the company believe that reps “do not fully understand their needs and expectations”, while 62% of HCPs are “overwhelmed”. by product issues. promotional content they receive from drug manufacturers.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) said businesses should only share relevant content with them to “make interactions more insightful.”

This echoes some of the findings of a report undertaken by Accenture late last year, which found that 64% of healthcare professionals said they receive too much digital content from the pharmaceutical industry and 65% said at least one pharmaceutical company had spammed them during the pandemic. .

RELATED: Don’t spam us, healthcare professionals plead, as they seek quality over quantity from pharma marketers

Gaurav Kapoor, executive vice president of Indegene, said COVID raised more issues as healthcare professionals and representatives were limited to face-to-face meetings. Sometimes the digital awareness was too much, he said.

“As a result, pharmaceutical companies have relied on digital channels to deliver product-related promotional information,” Kapoor said in an interview. “This has increased the frequency of touchpoints and, in some cases, led healthcare professionals to link certain pharmaceutical companies with sharing excessive promotional content.

“Given the limited bandwidth,” he added, pharmaceutical companies should look for innovative ways to share information. For example, drugmakers could optimize their communications for the devices doctors use to consume the kind of information at stake.

Additionally, pharmaceutical companies should look beyond their own channels and forums and partner with other websites, he advised.

“By publishing and co-creating educational content on such platforms, pharmaceutical companies can bring greater value to healthcare professionals and smooth the transition to the business conversations that will follow.”

The training of doctors is only part of it. Pharmaceutical companies must also train sales representatives. Businesses should seek representatives who are digitally savvy and help them improve their skills to ensure they are “flexible and efficient” in using digital channels and content based on HCPs’ preferences, Kapoor said. .

While the pharmaceutical industry has made major investments in omnichannel strategies, drugmakers “still have a long way to go to achieve customer-centricity,” he added.

So what is the solution ? Go beyond the product script, especially if a given doctor has already seen a lot of digital product information. “Representatives need to focus on conversations that make interactions insightful…and avoid inducing product information fatigue,” he said.

Indegene said that when healthcare professionals wanted to hear from pharmaceutical companies, they cited webinars and webcasts, in-person meeting discussions, online journals, websites and offline journals as the most common preferences. . Affinity for webinars is “particularly correlated with the prevalence of Covid-19”, the report notes.

What about social media? Will channels like Twitter or even TikTok become a more preferred method in the future? “Overall, there has been an increase in the adoption of social media by healthcare professionals,” Kapoor explained, adding that the survey found

social media adoption was highest among healthcare professionals in China.

“Social media is at a watershed moment and its role and importance will continue to increase in the coming years,” he said. “Given this, pharmaceutical representatives should consider social media as an important channel to communicate and strengthen their relationship with healthcare professionals.