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Pharma and digital marketing: the new trend?

Posted on: 21 Jun
Though the Pharmaceuticals industry has traditionally found it hard to market its products effectively, thanks to a slew of strict regulations across the UK and Europe, the sector is finally starting to innovate. The increased freedom that the Internet and social media are offering marketers new chances to open up their sectors- and especially for Pharma.

With the Pharmaceuticals market in the UK expected to grow to be worth $43bn by 2020, and BioTech making significant inroads into the established market, it’s a time for growth and upheaval- and digital marketing is capitalising on this to bring a range of new products to the attention of a massive and diverse customer base.

Indeed, Novartis recently made waves with what was described as a ‘digital first’ for pharma, by partnering with Pear Therapeutics to create a digital therapeutic treatment aimed at treating patients with substance abuse disorders and improving the overall clinical outcome for patients. Previously, people with SUD, treatment has involved a high number of intense face-to-face interactions in a tailored location, where limited accessibility has resulted in an inconsistent quality of treatment. 

The new app is designed to make waves in the world of medical innovation: designed to be the first in a range of new technologies, the ultimate aim is to develop apps and software that let Novartis to monitor patient data in real-time, detect change s in condition and create a treatment that’s better tailored to each individual, by helping them to understand and control the way in which they receive healthcare.  

Though it’s only the latest in a series of increasingly ‘smart’ AI systems designed to make healthcare more easily-accessible for all, reSET is also an indication of how the Pharmaceuticals market- and the way in which products are marketed- is changing. Many companies are now investing in technology to create personalised treatments for their prospective patients, for a variety of ailments- indeed, Novartis has invested heavily in Pear Therapeutics, which developed the first FDA-approved app for smartphones last year- and this is becoming clear in the amount of new trends transforming the market, both in the US and across the UK and Europe. It’s not only a PR coup for Novartis: it’s the future.

Today, digital marketing is taking more of a front seat than ever before in the way that companies operate. Not only are apps making it easier to reach out to candidates- and market their products in an accessible way- but the sector also seems to be catching up to an overall trend in digital marketing. Many Pharmaceutical companies are starting to turn away from traditional marketing methods to messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat to spread their message, as well as boosting their brand with a 24/7 branded service. Given that 70% of consumers have used social media to talk directly to a brand, it’s an avenue that marketers are starting to go down: 90% of doctors in Brazil use WhatsApp to chat to their patients, followed by 50% in China. 

Chatbots are also becoming a popular method of connecting patients with their healthcare provided- indeed, a recent pilot program by the NHS uses AI to serve as a port of first call for patients, before connecting them with the relevant person or service. By combining the scalability of many of these chatbots with the understanding tone of a Pharmaceutical marketer, and you have a tool that many are using to offer targeted content to their customers, providing customer services and even recruit others, even if they can’t directly advertise their products. 

Alongside this, marketers in Pharma are quickly realising just how versatile technology can be, with many companies starting to trial VR, with impressive results- especially in such a nascent industry. Healthcare, pharma and Biotech companies are all investing time and money into creating everything from health product demonstrations- which Novartis recently did- to education and therapeutic use, working towards a future where huge amounts of AI data can be funneled into interactive screens. Indeed, given that more than 50% of people in the medical industry say that they would be interested in using VR to learn, the future looks bright.

The digital age is here, and Pharma is evolving to keep up with it. With more tools at their disposal than ever before, the industry is finally starting to evolve and adopt smarter practices for delivering new services to customers, in new ways. 

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Sources

https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/novartis-and-pear-therapeutics-partner-again-time-for-commercialization-deal-substance 
https://www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/sandoz-signs-agreement-pear-therapeutics-develop-and-commercialize-prescription-digital-therapeutics-patients-substance-use-disorder-and-opioid-use-disorders
https://www.thepharmaletter.com/article/uk-pharmaceutical-market-set-to-grow-to-43-billion-by-2020-report
https://www.liveworld.com/2017-guide-messaging-apps-pharma-companies/ 
https://www.liveworld.com/pharma-marketers-start-using-messaging/
https://www.fiercepharma.com/marketing/pharma-marketing-trends-for-2018-include-hero-stories-technology-maturity-and-frontline 
http://combinedmedia.ie/pharma-articles/five-pharma-marketing-digital-trends-watch-2018/#ftn3