What's on Tap...
A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

3 Biggest Mistakes Pharma Marketers Make (And How You Can Avoid them!)

By Jenna Bruce on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 @ 11:44 AM |


The global market for pharmaceuticals is currently $900 billion and that figure is expected to exceed $1 trillion in the next few years. In fact, some studies show that the pharma industry is growing at a rate of 5%.

There’s no denying that pharma is big business and one of the most profitable industries in the entire world. And to think, all of this money started with advertising. Exactly how much is spent on marketing every year?

Well according to the NCBI, pharma companies spend roughly $2.6 billion for every drug they bring onto the market, many spending more on marketing than on R&D. For instance, Johnson & Johnson spent more than twice their R&D budget of $8 billion on marketing in recent years. While that may seem exorbitant, many pharma marketers can justify this large number when they bring in huge returns.

The bottom line is, experts know that pharma marketing is critical when the differentiation between existing products gets smaller and smaller. In fact, it can be said that in today’s market, the key to revenue growth is understanding consumer needs and marketing to those needs as opposed to creating new or improving existing products.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 5 biggest mistakes pharma marketers make and what you can do to avoid them so you can earn your share of the market.

Mistake #1: Relying on What Doctors Say

Many pharma marketers rely on physician statements to guide their strategies. But what a physician says and actually does are two different things.

Case in point: AMA research found that when it came to prescription behavior, 75% of docs fulfilled their intentions only when they were checked. When they weren’t observed, only 19% fulfilled their intentions and promises.

The moral of the story is: don’t rely on hearsay to direct your marketing efforts. Instead, make decisions based on detailed market research. These will always yield more accurate results.

 Mistake #2: Not Knowing the Product

Pharmaceuticals are a complex business. Marketing them requires you to fully understand what problem they solve specifically from the doctor’s point of view as well as the patient’s point of view. You’re not selling soda or shoes or cans of paint. People understand the value of those without much work on your part.

But when it comes to prescription drugs and medical devices, more information is needed. If you don’t have it at your disposal, you’ll never answer the questions your audience will inevitably have.

Mistake #3: Relying on Vanity Metrics

When using digital channels to reach an audience, many pharma marketers will use vanity metrics when tracking a campaign’s success. But these numbers, which constitute things like page views, downloads and registered users, are A) easily manipulated and B) don’t mean a hill of beans.

Numbers you should pay attention to are things like engagement, cost of acquisition, and new revenue. These numbers are actionable metrics and give a clearer, truer picture of how your campaign is performing.

The above mistakes should be avoided at all costs. But the following are things every pharma marketer should do for each of their campaigns:

  1. A) Define Their Target Audience

Before building a marketing plan or developing your creatives, you must know who your target audience is. Are you marketing to doctors? Payers? Consumers? What are their pain points? How does your drug or medical device solve their problem? Are they familiar with your brand at all? The more information you have about your audience, the better able you’ll be to create messaging that resonates and drives the action you desire.

  1. B) Track Their Campaigns

A set-it-and-forget-it approach doesn’t work. You’ve got to keep your eye on the ball because if you aren’t tracking it, you can’t improve it.

To track effectively, it’s important to set up KPIs (key performance indicators) and track how these numbers change over time. Set a goal before you launch your campaign and tweak and adjust until you hit it.

It’s important to put an emphasis in conversions. Your ad may have gotten you good traffic to your digital assets. But how many visitors are actually converting? Remember, don’t focus on vanity metrics, pay attention to only those numbers that count.

  1. C) Integrate Their Channels

Pharma marketers that use a combination of traditional (TV, newspaper, billboard) and digital channels will be at the forefront of global marketing. Once you have selected only those channels where you know your audience can be reached, you’ll want to integrate them properly so that your brand and messaging is uniform and recognizable on each platform. Also, think about how these assets will connect with one another to move your prospects along the sales funnel.

  1. D) They are Focused on the Patient’s Needs

Patient centricity tends to be a buzzword among pharma marketers, but the concept is important. Pharma brands need to remain aware of the patients’ needs at all times to ensure messaging is on point and drives action.

If you follow these guidelines you’ll be able to drive results and increase your bottom line with each campaign.

Need some help with your pharma marketing? We focus on improving customer acquisition, increasing script lift, building hospital service awareness, new product launches, and new pharmaceutical indication announcements. Our programs provide opportunities in Direct to Consumer (DTC) and Direct to Physician (DTP) categories. Given this is a highly regulated industry, Mediaspace developed an Assured Compliance program that includes safeguard steps that confirm and reconfirm accurate, timely, and flawless campaign execution.

Get in touch with us today!