Magazine article CRM Magazine

Drug Makers Are in the Midst of a Digital Revolution: Pharmaceutical Firms Are Sharpening Their Focus on Multichannel Marketing and Analytics

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Drug Makers Are in the Midst of a Digital Revolution: Pharmaceutical Firms Are Sharpening Their Focus on Multichannel Marketing and Analytics

Article excerpt

The pharmaceutical industry is undergoing a customer engagement revolution that demands improved capabilities from sales and marketing organizations, according to new research from Accenture.

The research found that senior sales and marketing executives at large U.S. pharmaceutical companies--all with corporate revenue exceeding $1 billion a year--plan to sharpen their focus on multichannel marketing and step up their use of digital technologies and analytics in 2013. In fact, nearly one in four direct sales force interactions at these companies has already been replaced with digital interactions for targeting doctors, health insurance providers, and patients, and executives plan to increase their use of digital interactions by 26 percent, on average, during the next two years.

Ironically, this comes at a time when 83 percent of the executives see cost reduction as their number-one priority for the year.

As they work to meet their bottom-line goals, executives plan to combine cost-cutting efforts with increased marketing efficiency through the following strategies:

* greater use of analytics to target spending and drive improved ROI (87 percent);

* boosting their use of digital and multichannel interactions (83 percent); and

* using third-party service providers (72 percent).

Additionally, nearly half of the respondents said their sales and marketing organizations had opportunities for greater efficiency, with more than 10 percent of them citing a need for a complete overhaul.

"From this survey, we believe a correlation can be drawn that cost reduction is enabled by mastering multichannel marketing using digital interactions and analytics," observes Craig Robertson, North American managing director of Accenture's Life Sciences Sales and Marketing Practice.

One of the key goals behind the digital initiatives--largely encompassing new mobile apps that let patients track their medicines and share the results with their doctors--is greater patient care, Robertson adds.

The new mobile apps are replacing online portals that drug companies had used to push information about their products.

Digital technologies are also changing how the drug companies' salespeople meet with potential clients. Face-to-face meetings in busy doctors' offices are being replaced by Web chat sessions, voice and video conferencing, and online product demonstrations, the research found. …

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