But the much of the hype about digital doesn't mean there's less need for pharmaceutical sales reps but rather more of a need for them.
San Diego, CA (PRWEB) March 13, 2015
In the field of pharmaceutical sales marketing, the shot heard round the world sounds more like a door slamming in reps' faces. Digital media is said to be taking the place of face-to-face meetings with physicians, and some recent restrictive access policies certainly put a damper on the marketing party.
But the much of the hype about digital doesn't mean there's less need for pharmaceutical sales reps but rather more of a need for them. It also does not mean that digital pharma marketing is fully functional. A new study shows that doctors still prefer traditional forms of communication to digital when deciding which pharmaceutical products to prescribe.
PharmaForce Strategic Data looked at how physicians prescribed pharmaceuticals, and found that all doctors preferred some mix of digital and traditional marketing. The U.S. had a 24% rate of digital interactions contact including webinars or e-mails. Other countries such as France, Canada, Spain and Germany trailed the list, with Germany citing just a 5% rate of digital interactions
For physicians who did prefer digital to traditional marketing, a large portion mentioned email as the most common mode of communication, Peter Wortz of PSD said,. “A streamlined, easy-to-use interface could help marketers reach more doctors before they write prescriptions.”
"Doctors are just like you and me. They are going to be receptive to digital channels if it's easy," Wortz said. "It has to bring them what they need to know, when they need to know it in a form that they're comfortable with. They have to be confident in the interaction."
Physicians aren't the only ones adjusting to digital marketing changes; the pharma industry is still warming up to new technology and finding the best ways to reach doctors before they write scripts. Techniques such as automated detailing--or providing information to physicians without pharmaceutical sales reps--and video streaming are becoming more commonplace as companies try appeal to healthcare professionals and control their marketing costs.
"The industry is at a moment of trial and error," Wortz added. "There is no one standard that is working for everyone. It will be several years before something like Webex or Skype rises to the top of the pack."
In the meantime, pharmaceutical sales reps will continue to play an integral role in marketing to physicians and other healthcare professionals, Wortz also mentioned. More physicians are watching YouTube videos or using new technology to learn more about branded pharmaceuticals, but hearing from a pharmaceutical sales rep still is the best method of influence with healthcare professionals prescription choices. Wortz mentioned the example of a consumer checking for an item on sale on Amazon. A user can look at the prices themselves, but interaction with a knowledgeable rep may have swayed the person's initial decision.
"Physicians are extremely busy but many of them that don't want to lose touch entirely with the industry on a personal basis and believe that the interaction is necessary," Wortz said. "The personal and the individual relationship is an essential part of the whole, multi-channel environment that the industry is trying to develop and leverage."
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