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Doctors are suffering from promotional fatigue. And this time, they want pharma marketers to cure it!

10 Mar 2022

The rise in digital channels for engagement has turned Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) very discrete about their pharma experience. For pharma marketers enabling a personalized experience, the challenge is that no two HCPs are the same. HCPs’ preferences are constantly evolving and vary by country, specialty, experience level, and even their daily schedule. The latest edition of the Digitally Savvy HCP survey provides insights on how pharma marketers can develop effective omnichannel marketing strategies and deliver a great HCP experience.

Deep HCP insights are vital to driving engagement

HCPs are time-constrained and want pharma to share only relevant content so that can they can make informed decisions. Thus, pharma marketers have a short window to capture HCPs’ attention and drive them to desired actions. An in-depth understanding of HCPs’ channel, device, and content preferences is needed to develop innovative approaches and personalized engagement models for enhancing the HCP experience.

For instance, 66% of the oncologists surveyed from the US preferred to access medical information on their computer devices, whereas 61% of the orthopedists surveyed from the US preferred mobiles and tablet devices for accessing the same information. By meticulously incorporating these nuances in their engagement strategies, pharma marketers can orchestrate the customer journey in a way that adds greater value to the HCPs.

Share content that is relevant and adds value to HCPs’ clinical practice

HCPs are more digitally-savvy now than ever. However, this should not mean that pharma marketers now have more options to inundate HCPs with content. 55% of HCPs surveyed indicated that they feel overwhelmed to an extent by the content they receive from pharma companies. A key reason for this is the volume of promotional information that HCPs receive from pharma companies. 62% of HCPs said that they are overwhelmed by product-related promotional content. Hence, pharma marketers should share content that is simple, brief, and to the point and helps the HCPs deliver superior outcomes for their patients. For instance, wherever possible, replace long videos with short videos or infographics, lengthy white papers with one-pagers, and static content with interactive content.

Also, share this content with HCPs at their convenience. For example, the survey findings show that, globally, HCPs prefer to access information between 5 PM and 8 PM on weekdays and 8 PM and 11 PM on weekends. HCPs will appreciate such initiatives as they will know that pharma companies are designing content by being considerate to their time constraints and hectic schedules.

Deliver educational content through innovative models

77% of HCPs said that they use digital channels primarily for Learning and Development (L&D) activities. This extensive use of digital channels by HCPs for L&D activities is not a one-off trend and will persist in the future. As a result, the demand for educational content will only surge and HCPs will expect pharma companies to share in-depth and complex content in a simple and digestible format across all channels.

The survey findings revealed that online journals ranked among the top 3 channels preferred by the HCPs. HCPs are more receptive to in-depth educational content that is backed with useful statistics and examples. A total of 79% of HCPs indicated that they preferred to receive content on treatment guidelines. Further, 77% of HCPs indicated that they preferred to receive real-world evidence data and 72% of HCPs indicated that they preferred to receive peer-reviewed articles. For pharma marketers, this is a critical piece of development. They should consider incorporating innovative models such as gamification, micro-learning, and interactive content to impart educational content and think beyond the conventional reach and frequency or brand-centric conversations.

Augment pharma reps’ relationship with meaningful digital touchpoints

Pharma reps share powerful relationships with HCPs, which are built on trust and communication. However, because of Covid-19, reps do not enjoy the same level of in-person engagement as they did before. This has contributed to a change in HCPs’ expectations from rep interactions.

70% of HCPs surveyed feel that reps do not completely understand their needs and expectations. The good news is that 62% of HCPs believe that reps can still add value by understanding their needs and sharing only relevant content. At some point in their journey, HCPs would still desire access to pharma reps to have in-depth focused discussions on topics that will not always be covered in marketing materials. This is the cue for pharma organizations to elevate the status of their reps from mere salespersons to influencers who are highly educated and adept. One way to achieve this is by identifying digitally savvy reps and empowering them with the right education and training, They, can in turn share their learnings and best practices and help other reps to gain HCPs’ mindshare.

Serve the growing need for on-demand and personalized content

One out of two HCPs indicated that pharma reps can still add value to their interactions by providing them with access to on-demand relevant content. HCPs desire greater control and flexibility in their rep interactions as well as the ability to use and re-use content as per their convenience. By designing a content catalog that is available to HCPs on-demand, pharma marketers can bring greater value to the conversations that will follow between the HCPs and reps. This will also ensure that HCPs can consume the content based on their schedule and share their learnings with their peers.

Concluding thoughts

HCP engagement is at an inflection point presenting a wide range of challenges and opportunities to pharma companies. Today’s digitally-savvy HCPs expect the same level of customer-centricity they experience while interacting with digital natives across other industries. Hence, factors such as deep customer knowledge, well-trained salesforce who are adept at handling digital interactions, powerful content in different formats for all channels, and a measurement framework that is agile enough to incorporate HCPs changing preferences will be critical in building sustainable HCP engagement journeys.


Anant Puranik
Anant Puranik
Jhansi R Bijay
Jhansi R Bijay