Using digital to maintain your relationship with HCPs in uncertain times (part 1)
Today we are meeting with Claire Versluys & Didier Dierckx at Trilations. Starting from a data-driven perspective, Claire and Didier advise pharmaceutical and MedTech companies on their optimal (digital) interaction strategies with physicians and how to translate this to customer journeys. (Read part 2 of this article here)
So, Claire and Didier, as digital is playing a more and more prominent role in pharma’s interaction strategies with HCPs, what are your expectations for the near future?
Claire: Well, in the past decade we have been working with pharma and MedTech companies about optimal channel mixes, the need to combine both face-to-face and digital channels in their interaction strategies and how to do so. Each study that we conduct clearly shows that the best results are achieved when there is a synergy of face-to-face and digital interactions with HCPs.
Each study that we conduct clearly shows that the best results are achieved when there is a synergy of face-to-face and digital interactions with HCPs.
Didier: When talking to our clients, we consistently see that the sales representative and the MSL still play a vital role in their interaction strategies. Other channels, i.e. digital channels, are mainly used to complement the face-to-face sales representative and MSL activities. This is perfectly fine, as long as it is part of a wider strategy and journey. However, more often than we would like, we also see there is no real strategy when it comes to the use of digital channels.
Claire: That is why we wonder whether the current COVID-19 pandemic will force pharma and MedTech companies to re-think their current strategies on the use of digital channels in their interaction strategy.
How do you mean?
Claire: Well, face-to-face interactions have been under pressure for some time, but now in most countries, face-to-face interactions are not allowed anymore. So, all kinds of face-to-face interactions (e.g. visits to the HCPs, hospital group meetings, pharma-organized promotional and educational events, etc.) were cancelled, and rightly so!
Didier: But at the same time, we know from our most recent research, that 45% of the sources that physicians are using to access medical information, are pharma sources. As the way in which the information is disseminated with physicians needs to change, there is a need for pharma to improve the way it uses digital channels and the content it brings via these channels. Digital will have to be an alternative for face-to-face interactions!
We know from our most recent research, that 45% of the sources that physicians are using to access medical information, are pharma sources.
Could you give an example?
Didier: Sure, a prime example is the online medical event, i.e. webinar. Our research consistently shows that webinars are quite popular among physicians. We see in the various regions where we perform this kind of research (EMEA, APAC, LATAM, etc.), that approximately 23% of physicians even want to increase the number of interactions they are having with pharma via webinars.
Claire: In addition, we also typically find that – when done right – it is actually a very impactful channel. Based on our latest numbers, we see that it has approximately half (0.56) the impact of a face-to-face MSL visit.
Didier: Which makes it a very interesting – and more cost-efficient – digital alternative to a face-to-face medical event.
So, what is the problem then?
Didier: In a nutshell: the reach. Pharma companies invest heavily in organizing webinars but fail to attract a significant number of participants in online events. On average, 40% of physicians participate in an online webinar, compared to 65% in a face-to-face medical event which significantly decreases again the cost-effectiveness of this channel.
Pharma companies invest heavily in organizing webinars but fail to attract a significant number of participants in online events.
What would then be your recommendation?
Claire: Don’t forget about the simple and obvious things! Some examples:
1) do not assume that all physicians are equally digitally savvy you may need to educate them on how to log in to the platform.
2) Make sure that they are aware when the event is happening so send a calendar invite to registered physicians or even already a placeholder for interested physicians.
3) Timing of the event is also important, so avoid scheduling it during patient consultation hours.
Didier: And … integrate it into a broader customer journey! It is not an event on its own. It should be part of a wider journey where you e.g. share a recording of the webinar via a customized email, make the recording accessible on-demand, etc.
Claire: But more than anything, let us hope that the outbreak is contained very soon, especially for the people in the affected areas!
Find out if pharma succeeded in improving the use of its digital channels here in part 2 of this interview.
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