Historically, pharmaceutical sales, marketing, and communications has been mostly about connecting with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. Patients were typically a secondary consideration.
Recently, the high level of competition in the pharma industry has made it critical for companies to more actively market to, communicate with, and develop relationships with their end-users. Putting patients first and treating them like kings or queens is a proven way to drive new business and prevent people from switching to competitive offerings.
Here are some proven ways to connect with your consumers.
Focus on the patient.
The only way to get people to engage with your brand is to really get to know — and understand — them. That’s why you have to develop clear profiles of everyone in your prospective client base.
If a drug is approved for use by men and women in different age groups, how you connect with them, what you say and the way you communicate are likely to be very different. Their concerns and individual needs will vary. A mom on the go might respond to quick, easy-to-understand, and concise messages. Her senior dad might need more in-depth messaging to build comfort and trust.
Think about it: How you interact with your sister is probably very different from how you communicate with your grandmother.
A younger individual may feel completely comfortable connecting and interacting in social media or through text messages. An older person probably prefers email alerts and printed brochures.
Start by developing comprehensive personas for everyone approved to use the products you offer. Include all the information the people on your marketing team will need to create communications that will resonate with your end consumers, including:
- Product-specific facts for each group
- Consumer mindset
- Worries and concerns
- Media usage
- Preferred messaging style
- Income, education, and living circumstances.
Also, consider whether you’ll be communicating to the patient directly or through a caregiver or medical professional. This could make a difference in how you develop your personas and the campaigns that result from them.
Solid profiles make it possible to develop meaningful communications for the users of your products and their intermediaries. They give marketers and communicators what they need to move out of their own minds and shift their focus onto patients, caregivers, and medical professionals.
Your profiles and personas will evolve over time as you learn more about users of your pharmaceuticals and what they respond to. A sales enablement system like Mobile Locker makes it easy to track the effectiveness of your marketing and communication materials so you always have a clear picture of what’s working and what’s not with different types of people.
Provide opportunities for feedback.
Good communication is all about talking WITH, not talking TO consumers. Provide easy ways for people in all your customer segments to ask questions, provide feedback, and express their opinions. For older users, offer 24 / 7 phone service. It’s a familiar and comfortable way for them to interact with your organization. Digital options may not be right for some seniors. However, younger people probably prefer to connect online.
Almost everyone today is open to providing online ratings and reviews. If collected and used in legal and compliant ways, they can help you gain novel insights about your products and consumer experience. People are more likely to share honest opinions under the cover of anonymity.
Develop a permanent patient portal starting at the clinical trial period.
When you begin a clinical trial, create an online website for people to enroll in it, and to share information. Don’t eliminate it once the trial is complete. Scale it up so it becomes a central resource for patients and medical professionals after the drug is released. It will provide people with historic information about the development of the product. This level of transparency will help build trust with new users. It will make them feel a part of something bigger. Don’t forget to make the user experience of the portal a good one across all devices including smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Leverage a common patient marketing platform.
Are there patients who use more than one of your products? Could there be ways to expand your business through cross-promotion of your offerings? If you answered YES to these questions, then you need a common platform to manage your client marketing and communications. It will help you develop more valuable programs for your multi-product users and identify and support cross-selling opportunities. Mobile Locker’s app has been developed with this functionality in mind. You owe it to yourself to speak with a helpful representative to find out how it could make marketing to — and communicating with — patients simpler and more effective.
Make it easy to buy your products.
Find ways to simplify the buying process for your pharmaceuticals. Provide clear and easily accessible information on your website that covers where to find them, how to discuss them with doctors and pharmacists, discount availability, and insurance information for different providers. You’re more likely to begin a relationship with someone if you make it simple to do so.
Get creative about how you interact.
Don’t limit yourself to delivering communications through websites, emails, brochures, or other conventional methods. Automated calendar or text messages can be good ways to remind people to take their drugs or get prescriptions refilled. Phone messages might be ideal for some patients, especially those with poor eyesight. Videos are a great medium for training and education, especially for younger people who grew up learning from them.
Leverage artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t the future. It’s today. You should be using it to do things like coming up with cross-promotional opportunities, figuring out which patients are more likely to stop taking their medications, and determining who might use them improperly. Then leverage the AI insights to deliver proactive communications to your consumers. If you’re not an artificial intelligence expert, it could be worth it to hire a consultant to help you understand how you could use it to improve your client marketing and outreach efforts.
In the end, building relationships is good for patients AND your business.
If you take steps to form solid bonds with your customers, they won’t be the only beneficiaries. Your business will benefit, as well. The feedback you get from them could help you better understand how people are responding to your therapies and messaging about them. You may even identify subpopulations within your customer segments with significant differences that could help you refine your product offerings and how you deliver them. In some cases, you may identify completely new drug opportunities. You’re only limited by how far you’re willing to go to get to know your consumers so you can serve them like royalty.