The pharma revolution will be digital, with new targets: study

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There have been multiple promises by pharma to change its sales and marketing approach. Booz & Co. partner Danielle Rollmann says the time for promises is over, and action needs to happen, particularly in the digital space. Now.

“We are beyond the point of hand-wringing over the issue,” she told MM&M, as part of a discussion of a survey her company conducted with National Analysts Worldwide of 156 US and EU-based executives. For those who read the survey's initial results MM&M reported in February, the latest news is how execs say they will put money behind their promises to change.

Among the 69% of execs who said the current marketing model needs to change:
• 58% said they were increasing their budgets for social media that targets doctors over the next two years
• 55% said they were increasing their investments in mobile tech
• 52% said they were increasing their use of e-details, and
• 51% said they were going to amp up their budgets for physician media channels.

Less enthusiastically embraced: journal ads, which only 19% said they were planning to put more dollars behind over the next two years.

Although these changes may not feel radical – non-personal selling and alternative media channels have been part of the pharma marketing lexicon for quite a while – Rollmann says the digital shift is part of a greater transformation, which is that the industry is changing not just the way it speaks to the healthcare sector but with whom it chooses to communicate, an approach that is highlighted by the following messaging priorities:

• 47% said they would focus more on key accounts,
• 47% said they were increasing their outreach to accountable care organizations, and
• 36% said they were going to talk to more hospitals/group purchasing organizations.

In contrast, just 19% said they were going to try to reach more community doctors.

Rollmann said that as doctors become part of larger networks like ACOs, and as payors have increasing input on treatments, decision making is becoming more consolidated and pharma is increasingly dealing with individuals who have a direct responsibility for their practices' balance sheets.

Translation: when it comes to seeking out info on how to treat patients, healthcare providers are “looking for a broader discussion for how your product fits into the disease state and are looking for how your product is going to impact the bottom line in financial and clinical outcomes.”
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