Shifting Pharma Marketing Dollars in a Post-Covid Environment

Contributed by:

Nick Bellomo, Tech Lead, Ogilvy Health

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As we settle into an updated way of marketing, some things are becoming clear. The old ways of allocating marketing dollars need to be reassessed. As the reality of 2020 has given way to the promise of 2021, we’ve seen some new, creative ways to capture audiences as well as a revival of some proven strategies. Let’s highlight a few…

Virtual Conferences
As just about everyone knows, over the last year there has been a complete halt of in-person medical conferences. Some well-known conferences scrambled in 2020 to shift into a virtual space. Most interfaces were clunky, allowing only the simple scrolling though PDFs, images, and videos.

However, some companies have broken the mold of format restrictions that come with a typical virtual conference and instead of “playing by the rules” of the conference structure, they link out to their own virtual booths hosted on microsites. These virtual spaces are built within a 3D environment using preexisting files provided by an exhibit booth builder. Users are able to navigate the booth as if they were there — stopping at different sections to see data, engaging with an interactive MOA, taking a survey, or opting in to receive more information. This is a potential low-cost effort on the part of the companies, particularly as some of these tactics can even be repurposed from existing assets.

Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing (ABM) is an emerging technology that revolutionizes how you can target potential clients and prescribers. It starts by identifying accounts, in any type of business or institution, to target. Then, based on a predetermined keyword list and job description, “audiences” may be built that already have intent to interact with a given product. Some sample audiences might include healthcare providers (HCPs), payers, procurement managers, or C-suite executives.

Then the technology takes over. Based on a user’s work IP address, the platform can target not only specific accounts, but also very specific personnel. From all of this information, customized ads can be fed to appear on sites they visit each day. These banner ads can drive to customized landing pages that can even mention the user’s company name, that has been identified by the platform.

Another huge advantage of this technology is the tracking code it places on marketer’s own website. It’s possible to get analytics on which accounts are visiting your site, even if they don’t click on a banner! This can give marketers very accurate “lift” data for solid return on investment (ROI) numbers.

Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records (EHRs) provide an yet another way to target very specific HCPs for a marketer’s drug or therapy. EHR systems have been established for some time and most allow for very targeted ads during all aspects of the workflow. Ads can comprise the basics like simple, text-based clinical messages all the way to branded ads that incorporate scrolling Important Safety Information.

The opportunities come in how specific marketers can be when targeting their ad to reach HCPs. They can provide a list of National Provider Identifier (NPI) numbers, particular types of doctors, or use custom tools to create a list of doctors based on institutions and geographic regions. Then business rules may be tailored, so these individual HCPs are served the marketer’s ads while seeing a particular type of patient. Some parameters that can be used are gender, age, diagnosis, previous treatment, and medication(s) prescribed.
Very detailed analytics then have the potential to help marketers focus sales on particular institutions or with optional NPI data, give them the opportunity to discover just who their new prescribers are.

Telehealth — Patient Messaging With EHRs

When it comes to reaching patients directly, certain EHR platforms can be very powerful. Targeting based on specific parameters allows marketers to reach patients with the messages that have the most impact—and they are able to do it in real time. For example, an SMS text message providing copay assistance and resources can be sent when a patient is prescribed a certain medication. What if marketers have a strict set of parameters for a clinical trial? Doctors can start the trial conversation while the patient is being seen and then a text message containing a link for more details and sign-up can be sent as a follow up to that conversation before the patient even leaves the office.

Continuing to assess targeting strategies and make periodic adjustments makes sense as the post-COVID environment evolves. And gathering timely analytics on these tactics gives marketers an opportunity to adjust and fine-tune both messaging and targeting.

The icing on the cake is that targeting can be as narrow or broad as needed while still allowing marketers to adhere to a budget. Getting to the right people in real time with the right messaging while staying within the budget? That’s the stuff marketing dreams are made of.(PV)

Ogilvy Health keeps our audiences’ health, healthcare and wellness needs at the center of every touchpoint.
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