Engaging HCPs has always relied on the 4Rs: right message, right target, right channel, and right time. But what do HCPs want and need now that will create an opportunity to receive your brand’s marketing message?

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As an agency named by MM&M as “Ones to Watch,” with deep roots in social media and online community management, here’s our take on how to adapt HCP marketing to power your brand.  

Pinpoint your HCPs’ pain points

Unlike traditional NPP, digital marketing gives you the power to truly speak to your HCPs as individual people with unique needs, so it’s vital to ask some important questions.  What is their subspecialty and prescribing habits? Are they in small practices or large? How is COVID-19 impacting their practice? Are they working in a metropolitan area impacted by the pandemic? Or, are they pediatricians and Ob-Gyns trying to maintain health and wellness remotely? 

The answers will help you segment your audiences, driving uniquely relevant content that is more likely to capture attention, views, clicks, responses, and conversions. Unlike traditional HCP content, focused on science with an occasional nod to the emotional benefits to the patient, consider content that is more stimulating, contextually relevant, and personalized based on behaviors/interactions, and data.  Digital marketing enables marketers to deliver brand touchpoints that are more targeted and frequent, in the channels HCPs use throughout their day and available on-demand. And the best part: it can all be repurposed across your brand’s digital footprint, in online advertising, social media, PR, and other channels to create tremendous efficiency and increased reach.

Digital is more than a short-term fix 

The pandemic has accelerated the use of digital channels to engage HCPs. Almost every brand has embraced virtual meetings and email to compensate for the absence of face-to-face rep calls. The Wall Street Journal reported, according to Veeva, during April virtual meetings increased from 4900 to 316,000 and emails to physicians grew from 1.2 million to 7 million. Unfortunately, many brands bombarding HCPs with digital messaging will get lost in the sauce. 

Turning to digital is often an automatic stopgap reflex. But many pharma brands have simply checked the box on digital assets in spite of elaborate investments in unbranded and branded websites, surveys show that HCPs go elsewhere as their first source of information. Too many pharma sites use similar imagery and have the feel and functionality of 1999. Savvy marketers are embracing new content forms, more video, interactive elements, infographics, games and simulations and chat or infobots to build connections, conversations, and repeat site visits. The integration of data and AI should expand our ability to personalize and persuade more effectively.  

Social media is a growing opportunity to intersect and engage with HCPs. Covid-19 has prompted significant membership, traffic and usage spikes on Doximity, Sermo, and Medscape, the gated communities dedicated to peer-to-peer interactions among HCPs. HCPs are also accessible on public social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn where geographical and condition-based groups are firming and growing.  

Digital NPP is the new normal 

Traditional NPP starts losing value as soon as it’s created. Static messages and marketing mixes are unable to anticipate or respond to HCPs’ changing needs, rapidly changing clinical environments, competitive moves, or the advent of new communications platforms. Nimble marketers understand that every campaign idea and every element have to stimulate thoughts, feelings and action. They are reconsidering how they allocate budgets to allow for the rapid pivots that digital marketing and social media provide. And each of these channels, synchronized and coordinated with links, search optimization, and paid media amplification, create a synergy in which the sum is greater than each of its parts.

HCPs are eager to engage with pharma on-demand and on their own terms. Skillful use of digital assets are the best tools to engage and build lasting relationships in a changing, competitive marketplace.