By Ida Vallo Morris
Social Media & Content Manager
Pharmaceutical brands face a different set of challenges than other brands when it comes to digital advertising. There are lots of complicated but necessary rules regarding patient privacy and the veracity of information that non-pharma brands don’t have to worry about. It’s why the industry has been slow to embrace digital marketing’s potential.
After a robust beginning of the year, which included beefed-up infrastructure and increased transparency, healthcare and point-of-care marketers were looking forward and poised for growth.
How Pharma Brands Pivoted During the COVID-19 Pandemic
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, every aspect of the industry had to evolve, quickly. With stay-at-home orders, or at least strong suggestions, in place across the country, many healthcare providers’ offices and healthcare-related storefronts were suddenly empty, changing the entire paradigm of how care is provided and how brands can connect with their audiences.
Both healthcare providers and pharma marketers have proven up for the challenge, pivoting their practices, their messaging, and their media platforms to stay connected with their audiences, and delivering relevant, valuable information to people wherever they’re consuming media.
For example, healthcare providers have taken crash courses in telemedicine (virtual healthcare and appointments) and since some people simply can’t put off seeing their doctor, healthcare providers have figured out how to see patients in their offices while maintaining social distancing and taking all the necessary precautions.
For their part, brands have been connecting with consumers via social media and other platforms that they were hesitant to use before. And they’ve moved away from the hard sell, instead sharing important information about how people can keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19.
To be sure, there is still opportunity available—for healthcare marketers to increase awareness, affinity, and conversion—that can’t be ignored.
Pharma Marketing has Transformed in the Digital World
Technology has made it very easy for people to take a much more active role in managing their health and wellbeing. There are countless health/wellness/fitness-focused apps and websites at consumers’ fingertips—52% of smartphone users gather health-related information on their phones—and pharma brands need to be sure they’re connecting with their audiences where they're consuming media. Learn more about how health and wellness marketing is merging with online data.
The pandemic has also increased the use of telemedicine, which has proven successful for many patients and healthcare providers. It’s reasonable to assume that this trend will be one that continues after the quarantine restrictions have been lifted.
Pharma Marketing Rules and Regulations
Extensive audience targeting technologies are available, to target consumers by demographics, behavior, geography, devices, purchase history, search queries, IP address, and more. But comprehensive (and necessary) privacy regulations prohibit pharma marketers from collecting certain identifiable data—the exact thing these targeting tactics were created to do. Pharma marketers must also clear the hurdles of creating engaging, eye-catching ads that also include all the required patient information. It can be hard to make that stuff sexy.
Thankfully, there are many options for pharma marketers to reach the precise audiences they need to reach—delivering helpful and informative messaging to patients who need it, while maintaining the strictest levels of privacy.
Strong data security, contextual targeting, and native advertising are just some of the effective solutions available to pharma marketers who want to reach their audiences, online and on their mobile devices.
Digital Spend on the Rise for Pharma Brands
In 2020, the U.S. healthcare and pharma industry will spend $4.23B on digital ads. That’s why we created the Digital Pharma Marketing Guide. It’s filled with fundamental information and advice to help pharma marketers get the most out of every ad dollar—during the coronavirus and beyond—while complying with industry restrictions.
Get in touch here to learn more about what makes MNI Targeted Media Inc. the pharma brand experts.