Why Pharma Needs An Integrated Point-of-Care Marketing Strategy

How effective is a car that has two wheels in drive and two wheels in reverse? Well, maybe you’ll go a bit sideways and get somewhere, but it’s not really moving you to where you need to go, right? I think we can all agree that cars, much like marketing plans, are most effective when all the wheels are turning in a coordinated direction. 

There’s no denying that marketing a healthcare brand successfully is a complex task. There are so many customers involved: the patient, the healthcare professional, the payer, the distributor, and yes, even internal customers like your sales force. And there are so many environments in which we can connect with our customers in: at home, at work, in the doctor’s office, or in the pharmacy. But there’s no one tactic, a magic bullet if you will, that can single-handedly launch or move the needle on a brand. Instead, it takes a marketing plan that is customer-centric, connected, and delivers valuable content.   



Are we best organized to achieve this? Well, if you are like many companies, you attempt to simplify and drive efficiencies by assigning client marketing teams to focus on specific customer groups (healthcare professional (HCP) vs. consumer) or projects (sales aid or product website), and select individual agencies based on a specific customer, channel or project expertise. In some cases, this division or fragmentation can work just fine. But what happens when this siloed model is applied in an environment like in point-of-care? 

There is no more complex environment that requires unique coordination and cohesion in strategy, messaging, and media like at doctor’s office, in the hospital, or at the pharmacy. This is where patients, HCPs, and sales collide every day in a big way and these are the key times when decisions are being made that will have the most impact on brand KPIs: the request, the Rx, and the fill.

The point of care marketing industry is finally diversifying and technologically booming which means increasing opportunities to capitalize on this critical intersection of decision-making customers. So now more than ever, is the time to make sure your strategy and marketing plan at point-of-care delivers valuable content, custom created for this environment to move HCPs and patients along their journey to your brand.  

Here is my top five list of things to think about:

1. Truly commit to delivering an integrated and customer centric point-of-care strategy internally and with your agency partners; integration isn’t easy but it’s the right thing to do to drive results.

2. Assign the appropriate cross-functional team as well as a point-of-care champion who will ensure that all the right people are involved strategically and tactically throughout the process. This includes cross-customer brand clients, sales, analytics, and appropriate agency partners.

3. Work to deeply understand the point-of-care ecosystem for your brand and visually map it out to show the processes, intersections, and overlapping customer touchpoints and communication needs. This will be the jumping off platform for a solution focused content marketing plan.

4. Don’t assume that you cannot afford marketing opportunities at point-of-care. Again, there are more choices than ever and good media, marketing, and publisher partners can drive the creation of new opportunities to fulfill your brands’ and customers’ unique needs.

5. Resist the urge to contract marketing opportunities first and think about the creative/messaging second or assume your current creative assets can fit the bill here.  Is your TV commercial exactly as it appears on TV really the best message to deliver to patients right before they see the doctor? 

I am a media professional, so why do I talk so much about creative and content? I’m a solution-seeker, a strategist, and a marketer first and foremost because media alone in the absence of great content and creative is just space. True impact is driven by integrated thinking. The recent evolution in point-of-care and the multi-dimensional customer touchpoints just makes this need for integrated thinking much more important.

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