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Pivoting During a Pandemic: Pharma's New Strategies to Reach HCP's

By Jenna Bruce on Thu, Apr 09, 2020 @ 11:23 AM |


The coronavirus has disrupted many businesses and industries and big pharma has not been spared. Before the crisis, pharma sales reps all over the country drove from one hospital or doctor’s office to another, shaking hands and handing out samples and sales collateral. Obviously, the pandemic has put a stop to this traditional way of marketing.

In an effort to comply with the current stay-at-home policies, drug makers are turning to digital media to drive sales. Big names in the industry such as Bayer, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merk, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Johnson & Johnson have all asked their representatives to work remotely and leverage digital tools and platforms to get their messaging in front of healthcare providers.

While some in the industry have found the sudden pivot challenging, many are realizing the opportunity digital channels offer as a way to build relationships now and once the crisis has passed, as the current environment may become the new norm.

An overall change in pharma marketing strategy right now must be to understand that this outbreak is affecting every HCP differently. Certain specialties are experiencing unique pressure and barriers.

The most obvious example would be immunologists, who have been directly affected by this crisis. Oncologists, while they do not directly treat the immune system, treat patients who are at high risk for contracting the virus.

And then there’s psychiatrists, who may see an uptick in scheduled appointments as a result of more fear and anxiety. The key with your digital marketing campaigns is to ensure your online engagement helps HCPs rather than overburdens them.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the three core challenges HCPs are currently facing with this crisis that can be addressed using your digital marketing strategy.

  1. New Barriers

HCPs are under more pressure than ever before thanks to an already-taxed healthcare system, new treatment protocols and increased levels of risk. Be mindful of this and, instead of “filling the gap” in your face-to-face visits with blatant sales messaging, provide HCPs with the necessary tools to facilitate self-service channels. Help them understand the best new channels they can use to contact you for further information.

  1. Ongoing Care

Though the current pandemic is taking focus, the truth is people still need access to regular medications and healthcare services. Pharma reps should develop messaging, partner with telemedicine services and leverage pharmacy delivery networks to continue to provide HCPs with the information they need to ensure patients have access to the medications they require.

And speaking of access…

  1. Limited Access

Though everyone has been asked to stay at home, many patients will still need to visit their provider’s office to refill their prescriptions or get a co-pay card. Consider digitizing your existing co-pay cards or create digital channels so patients can request that RXs be shipped directly to their door.

Omnichannel is Key with Pharma Marketing

Beyond tweaking your campaigns to recognize the current crisis and challenges faced by most HCPs, it’s important that you use a variety of digital channels to help you deliver your messaging. There really is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to selecting “the right” digital media mix.

From email to social media, text messaging to video marketing, each channel offers unique opportunities to pharmaceutical companies looking to form new relationships with HCPs and strengthen the ones they have already built.

If you could use a hand pivoting to digital solutions during this crisis, please reach out to us. We work with major pharmaceutical brands to help them improve customer acquisition, increase script lift, and promote new product launches. Our programs provide opportunities in Direct to Consumer (DTC) and Direct to Physician (DTP) categories.

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