With healthcare resources and information available at the tip of one’s fingers these days, patients have become empowered. Indeed, pharmaceutical companies don’t merely rely on physicians anymore to sell their products, although the latter still hold powerful influence over patients’ procurement choices.
Billions of users key in questions about almost anything these days, including queries about healthcare, and their purchasing decisions may be influenced largely on the results that the Internet dishes out for them. As such, pharmaceutical companies should be more aware of consumer behaviors, looking at the ways in which various online channels influence their buying decisions.
1) Understand The Stages That A Consumer Goes Through Before Buying A Product
Patients go through a few stages before buying. When a user feels off, it’s time to seek quick answers by clicking various search engines. But, it’s not enough for pharmaceutical giants to just strengthen their presence online.
For one, they can provide useful information about a specific disease and its symptoms, but most buyers still seek corroborating statements from friends and family, and, eventually, from clinical doctors. This means users are still seeking for healthcare services to be personal and responsive to their needs. Knowing what goes into the minds of the majority who seek medical care is a key component in effectively communicating with patients.
2) Study The Influences Of Patients’ Buying Behaviors
The Internet can feed too much information to the patients and offer a world of convenience to consumers. With a web-based device, buyers can now seek for information on the specific symptoms and health problems, check out the costs of treatment, and from among the information gathered, choose the next steps, such as booking an appointment.
With the pharmaceutical advertising agency clearly identifying the channels patients seek before coming up with their decisions, they’re able to target the means and methods of effective interaction with potential buyers.
3) Check And Re-Calibrate Your Marketing Strategy
These days, it’s no longer enough for pharmaceutical giants to rely on their reputation. Apart from the raving reviews from family members and friends, or along with the tagline ‘most recommended by doctors,’ other external influences are increasingly impacting the way patients choose the kind of care they want.
For instance, some want their medicines to forego animal cruelty in the testing stage. Hence, they require that pharmaceutical companies employ animal and eco-friendly testing procedures. Others who are conscious of the side effects of chemicals used in particular drugs may want natural or herbal medicines integrated as an ingredient in an otherwise synthetic-filled capsule.
4) Enhance Patient Engagement
This step requires creativity on the part of pharmaceutical companies to correct the age-old impression that drug firms are created to further encumber patients with medical debt. Users tend to feel good about companies with a heart, and it’s high time for drug companies to consider user-centric means in developing vaccines and breakthrough products.
Partnership programs or apps that promote a healthy lifestyle may be created for specific consumers so that, for once, the focus will be on prevention rather than cure. Some medical companies may likewise launch health programs in countries struggling with greater healthcare access, or in specific initiatives to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
5) Improve Customer Loyalty
Patient retention is another major challenge faced by pharmaceutical companies, and some marketing strategies aimed at enhancing customer experience may be employed to encourage users.
For instance, companies can create a downloadable free-with-every-purchase app for patients who need to take prescription drugs regularly. Aside from providing full product information, ideal dosage, and side effects, the app may also be used to remind patients to take their medicine or have their prescriptions refilled. Some information about how to manage symptoms or the disease itself may be included in the app.
Use Social Media Endorsements with Caution
The digital age gave birth to a ton of social media influencers. These individuals, aside from being famous, are likely to be considered experts in a specific industry, and, thus, have the ‘power’ to drive in product conversions. This is a tempting option to provide some level of personal connection to the buyers, but take this move with caution.
Although there’s nothing questionable about this practice from a pharmaceutical marketing standpoint, care should be exercised in using this tactic. The Food and Drug Authority and Federal Trade Commission have strict guidelines in using influencer advertising, especially when dealing with specific types of medications.
It’s no longer enough for pharmaceutical companies to focus their resources on creating breakthrough medicines to address various health concerns. To solve the decades-long disconnect between companies and consumers, these well-funded drug firms should reach out by promoting initiatives in providing a patient-centric approach to overall wellness. While it’s important to combat the spread of major illnesses, such as COVID-19, it’s likewise equally essential to reach out to consumers looking at these firms to achieve their health goals.